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Expert Witness References

Don Searles Expert Witness References

Stephen Eiland had installed a new Warn winch on the front of his Jeep.  The cable came off the winch drum and the Jeep ran over Mr. Eiland.  Mr. Eiland was permanently injured and is now a paraplegic.

The winch cable was retained on the drum with a set screw.  The cable pulled out from under the set screw which permitted the cable to come off the drum. 

I, Don Searles, designed, built and tested a wedge cable retainer.  Tests of my wedge cable retainer showed that it would hold the cable on the drum with a pull of 8,600 pounds, which, was the maximum pull of the winch.

After the case was settled, I received the e-mail below from Mr. Ray Chadwick the attorney I was working for.

 Don, congratulations to you! We were able to settle the Eiland case at mediation this past Monday. (A confidentiality agreement on amount was required but the Eilands are very pleased.) Obviously, your winch so impressed the defendant's lawyer that he didn't even want to take your deposition. Thanks for all your hard work. Make sure all of your bills have been submitted. If we ever get the opportunity to work together on another case I look forward to it.

Best regards,

Ray Chadwick.

On September 7, 2006 I testified in Federal Court, in Abilene, TX as an expert witness for the Lytle Lake Water District in a suit against a contractor that failed to complete a 600,000 cubic yard dredging project. After my testimony the contactor made an offer to settle the case. The District accepted the offer and the case was settled. On this case I was working for attorney Mr. Steve Suttle. Following are two paragraphs from an e-mail I received from Mr. Suttle after the case was settled.

All’s well that ends well, and I wish that I had had the time to properly thank you for the valuable assistance you gave us. We had the right man. You did a fine job on the witness stand, and I believe the jury truly believed that you knew what you were talking about because you were straightforward, objective, calm and confident. You never got on stage. You never argued with the cross-examiner. You never got short or “smart” with your answers. In short, you demonstrated through your confidence and demeanor that you truly were an “expert” and demonstrated that you knew what you were talking about. That is the winning combination in a jury trial.
Thank you, Don.

Steve Suttle

On June 1, 2000, Mr. Dale Browning was going home after finishing planting the last field on his 2,000 acre farm in Southwest Ohio.  He was driving his John Deere 8630 tractor [24,000 lb. articulated] with over 25,000 pounds of planting equipment behind it.  The route home was a 2 lane, paved, rural road that required Dale to go down a steep hill and cross a creek bridge.  When Dale got to the bridge, the tractor went to the right, crashed through the guard rail and fell 20 feet to the rocky creek bed below.  The tractor was now upside down and Dale was crushed in the cab.  Dale died while still trapped in the cab.  Before he died Dale said, “I had no transmission, no brakes and no steering.”

The tractor was brought to my shop and completely disassembled from the engine flywheel back.  I found that both brakes, [on the rear wheels, the only brakes], had failed, the clutch between the engine and the transmission was disengaged and the steering valve had jammed in the bore.  The case went to trial but was settled before it went to the jury with a substantial sum paid to the Browning estate.

I was the expert witness for the Browning estate in the suit against the John Deere Dealer.  Bart Browning is Dale’s son.  The attorney I worked for on this case was William [Bill] Gustavson.  The following is an e-mail I received from Mr. Gustavson. 

Good work, Don. 

You should know that when I spoke to Bart Browning about our meeting, I told him that I had been doing this stuff for a long time and that I had never met an expert who was more knowledgeable, thorough, and hard working.  I really mean that.  Thanks for everything.

William M. Gustavson, Esq.
Casablanca Building
1011 Paradrome Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202-1516
(513) 621-4477
(513) 421-3043 facsimile