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ARXIS - Litigation Consulting
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June 2017


Considerations in Selecting an Expert for Wrongful Termination Matters

As with other matters in which financial experts are important contributors to a successful legal team, wrongful termination cases can often hinge on the presentation of a qualified expert. Choosing a forensic accounting professional who can tip the scales in your favor is not always so easy. To aid legal counsel in the selection process, it is useful to look at many factors, including when to hire the expert, components in determining compensation, key areas of contention, and options in experts available.

Hire Early in the Case

The starting point in any wrongful termination dispute is whether there was a damaging event. Forensic accountants rarely, if ever, contribute to establishing this part of the case. However, that does not negate the importance of involving an expert early in the case, in particular:

  • A financial expert can estimate the damages to assist the plaintiff and/or their legal counsel in valuing the case.
  • Most law firms want the calculations done early in the case to prepare for the possibility of negotiating a settlement without a trial.

Establishing the economic loss sustained by the plaintiff as a result of wrongful or discriminatory action is based on the loss of income and fringe benefits both before and after trial. The calculation involves determining historic (pre-trial) losses as well as projecting future losses. The losses are mitigated by actual income earned in the historical period and in the projected period. In addition to loss of income the damage calculations will include other costs such as medical.

More Than Salary

Compensation is more than simply salary or wages. There are several additional potential benefits associated with employment that must be included in the calculation, if applicable. These include:

  • Employer payroll taxes paid for the benefit of the employee such as social security, unemployment insurance, workers compensation insurance, and other state employment taxes
  • Insurance (medical, life, disability, etc.) offered by the employer on either a matching or full-pay basis
  • Payments for holidays, sick days, vacation, paid time off, family and medical leave pay, etc.
  • Retirement benefits including matching 401k contributions, defined benefit plans, stock bonuses/ESOP's, cash balance plans
  • Any other expenses of the employer for the benefit of employees

Obviously, the financial expert must have knowledge of, and experience with, understanding the existing compensation elements and structure of the employer at the time of injury. A miscalculation of any of the above elements can have a material effect on total damages.

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Service Profile:

Forensic Accounting Services for Unfair Business Practices

Unfair business and trade practices involve a wide range of matters, such as business conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets and other proprietary information, fraud, tortious interference with contracts, misrepresentation, and other oppressive or unconscionable acts or practices. Through an examination of financial records, a forensic accountant plays a vital role in uncovering facts that can support of repudiate an unfair business practice claim. Forensic accountants are uniquely qualified for this role because of their knowledge and experience in financial document analysis, accounting principles and auditing techniques.

Arxis Financial offers litigators exceptional forensic accounting support. With thousands of clients served over the decades, we have developed a depth of expertise in working with businesses of all sizes from many industries. This experience carries over significantly to our "Forensic Accounting" practice. Our services include reconstruction of accounting records, analysis of business transactions, document review and tracing, and expert witness testimony.

Arxis Financial's professionals apply detailed investigation and analysis that is necessary to uncover essential facts and provide meaningful insights. We assist attorneys in interpreting the data, and help counsel to understand and analyze events or issues. Expert analysis and conclusions are presented in depositions and trial at local, state and federal court levels as well as mediation and arbitration. This level of support can be a key asset in determining a legal strategy as well as reaching a reasonable and efficient conclusion.


Upcoming Speaking Engagements for Chris Hamilton

Chris Hamilton's upcoming presentations include:


  • "Prisoner #61727-054 - Fraud's Origin and Consequences" presented to Leadership Simi Valley, Reagan Library
  • "The Impact of Adverse Regulatory Action Valuation and Damages" presented to NACVA, Chicago, IL
  • "Hardball with the masters" presented to NACVA, Chicago, IL
  • "Business Valuations: An Introduction with Real-World Applications" presented to Knapp Petersen & Clarke, Glendale, CA
  • "The Impact of Adverse Regulatory Action Valuation and Damages" presented to NACVA, Webinar

If you are interested in asking Mr. Hamilton to speak at your organization's upcoming meeting, please feel free to contact him.

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Chris Hamilton, CPA, CFE, CVA
Chris Hamilton, CPA, CFE, CVA
(805) 306-7890
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