Few expert witnesses are more in demand and less in supply than the true credit expert witness. The complexities of consumer credit dictate that the witness must have firsthand knowledge not only of the industry, but also the practices of lenders, credit reporting agencies and credit score developers. In layman’s terms, he or she must be able to provide commentary not only on the credit report and credit score, but also on any changes in credit reputation, damage caused by negligence, or disingenuous accusations of lender misconduct as well as embellished economic damage reports.
John Ulzheimer leads the small team of experts and chose the other credit experts who are part of the CreditExpertWitness team because of their time spent in the credit industry, a collective 84+ years, but also because of the positions they once held and the knowledge they now hold. We are experts in not just credit reporting but how the data is furnished, stored, delivered, mined, archived, damaged, scored, updated, corrected and interpreted by lenders. We are experts in not just credit scoring but in how the scoring models are designed, developed, calibrated, validated, delivered, damaged, manipulated and updated. Further, all of our credit expert witnesses are FCRA certified (Fair Credit Reporting Act) by the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), which is the trade association of the credit reporting agencies.
I am proud to call many of the largest banks, collection agencies, debt buyers and insurance companies our clients and have roughly a 50/50 case distribution between Plaintiffs and Defendants. I passed 100 cases at the end of 2011.
I regularly perform the following:
Credit Report Review – This is the most basic function of a credit expert witness. This is the process whereby we’ll review credit reports produced as part of discovery and assess the baseline credit rating/standing of the consumer/s involved in the litigation. This is important because most credit damage claims allege a negative impact caused by the actions of a furnisher of credit report data, such as a bank or a collection agency.
Credit Damage Assessment – Also called an “Impact Analysis”, this is quantification of the damages to credit scores caused by the inclusion of some piece of credit information. This information can be a late payment, a judgment, a balance, a collection, or a loan default. This can only be done by someone who has deep knowledge of and access to credit scoring tools, which most credit expert witnesses simply do not have. As all of our expert witnesses have spent time at either FICO or one of the credit reporting agencies, we do.
Economic Credit Damage Assessment – Using three of the commonly used metrics for quantifying credit damages, we’ll place an exact number on alleged credit damages/losses. And if we’re on the defense, which we are about 50% of the time, we’ll ensure that any adverse damage assessments aren’t simply a series of embellished numbers.
Expert Reports and Rebuttal Expert Reports - All of our experts reports are written in the Rule 26 format, regardless of whether or not the case is in Federal court. And unlike many of the expert reports forms used by other experts, ours are not cut and paste jobs. Our reports are written after a thorough review of relevant discovery and clearly identify our opinions in easy to read and understand language. We’re also very familiar with the expert reports written by adverse Plaintiff’s only expert witnesses and have successfully dissected them many time over.
Testimony – I’ve testified on the topic of consumer credit in both Federal and state courts. I’ve also been deposed dozens of times using a variety of formats (In person, Telephonic, Skype, Video conference).
Discovery – In credit damage cases there’s almost always a need for credit reports (current and past), adverse action letters, FICO scores, and other relevant documents. We’ll ensure that you know what to ask for, or why you’re being asked to produce certain items.
Adverse Expert Deposition Preparation – In the credit expert witness space there aren’t that many players, but almost all of them are Plaintiff’s only experts. I seem to keep running into the same experts over and over and I’ve become intimately familiar with their expert reports and their abilities, or lack thereof. When it comes time for you to depose the adverse credit damage expert, I will have already provided you with a long list of questions that will uncover their lack of knowledge and credibility.
Procedures and Reasonableness – One of the common threads throughout FCRA, FDCPA and credit damage claims is the question of whether someone’s actions (normally a credit bureau, lender, or collection agency) were “reasonable.” As our experts have spent actual time working at or with credit bureaus, lenders or collection agencies, we have a unique perspective of industry procedures and have successfully testified as to the reasonableness, or lack thereof, relative to credit reporting, dispute resolution, and collection actions.
Hand Scoring – This is the process whereby we convert raw credit report data into an estimation of the consumer’s FICO credit scores. This is common when we’re working with archived credit reports (from an older point in time) or a credit report purchased or claimed from one of the many retail websites that sell credit reports. As with impact analyses, you have to have first hand knowledge of credit scoring models in order to do this, properly.
There are two types of credit experts. There are those who have researched the industry from the outside, the academic. And there are those who have spent significant time functioning within it, the real expert. Our experts have built FICO scores, managed the credit bureau dispute process, developed the consumer websites where credit data is being sold, trained credit bureau sales representatives, developed FICO score training programs, and have made hundreds of credit presentations of varying levels of complexity. Please contact John Ulzheimer at 1.866.985.8884 to discuss your case.