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.
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.
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
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.
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.
1011 Paradrome Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202-1516
(513) 421-3043 facsimile