The Expert Witness in Catalysis Litigation? In today’s world, many different things like petroleum products, plastics, textiles, pharmaceutical products, and various other chemicals are prepared through catalytic processes. Catalysts speed up chemical reactions but can be recovered unchanged at the end of the reaction. They can also direct the reaction towards a specific product and allow chemistry to be carried out at lower temperatures and pressures with higher selectivity towards the desired product. As a result, they are used very extensively in the chemical Industry. There are two kinds of catalysts. Heterogeneous catalysts are insoluble in the medium in which the reaction is taking place so that reactions of gaseous or liquid reagents occur at the surface, whilst homogeneous catalysts are dissolved in the reaction medium and hence all catalytic sites are available for reaction. Problems can occur in catalysis in many areas, including the activation of the catalyst, the catalytic process itself, and in the result of the process. When these occur and litigation ensues, the expert witness in catalysis is normally front and center.
The best renewable energy and biochemical consulting firms have experts in a wide variety of bioeconomy specialties, including catalysis. (They should also be able to provide clients with project expertise and be available as expert witnesses in matters like aquaculture, biochemicals, bio-fertilizers, bio-fibers, biomass-to-sugars, bioplastics, cellulose, enzymes, food ingredients, industrial chemicals, latex, lubricants, nano carbons, nutraceuticals, organometallics, polymers, renewable chemicals, rubber, and solvents). Catalysis refers to a process used to increase the rate of some chemical reaction by adding a substance known as a catalyst. This catalyst is not consumed in the reaction, so it can continue to act repeatedly. Thus, in principle, only small amounts of any catalyst should be required to alter the reaction rate. The reason that chemical reactions occur faster in the presence of a catalyst is that the catalyst provides a reaction pathway that requires lower energy than the non-catalyzed mechanism. A homogeneous catalyst is one whose molecules are dispersed in the same phase (usually gaseous or liquid) as the molecules of the reacting substance. A heterogeneous catalyst is one where the molecules are not in the same phase as the reactants, which are typically gases or liquids that are absorbed onto the surface of the solid catalyst. The third category of catalysts is enzymes and other and other biocatalysts, which are often used in many processes in the bioeconomy.
An expert witness in catalysis is a person who by virtue of his or her knowledge, experience, education, training, and skills has special knowledge of catalysis that is not known to the general public. Some experts are hired purely as consultants to assist a party or attorney in better understanding the technical or scientific matters at hand. Others are truly hired as “expert witnesses” to both assist a party or attorney in better understanding the matters at hand and to testify in the legal proceeding. Some experts are hired to assist with a determination of exactly what happened and who was at fault. Others are hired to assist with determining the damages that occurred. Many are hired to help support both issues.
While a judge makes the ultimate determination as to whether one qualifies as an expert and can testify as such, the jury is normally free to decide how much weight and credibility to give the expert’s opinion. Thus, it is very important to choose an expert with not only the proper credentials but also one who can effectively translate complex, technical matters into terms that juries can easily understand. At Lee Enterprises Consulting, our experts are the top specialists in their fields. Testifying as an expert is only a small part of our experts’ professional work. We have generalized training for all our experts that we refer to as expert witnesses, making sure they understand their role in a proceeding and can check for conflicts prior to engagement. We stress the importance of Daubert qualification and the relationship they need to have with the hiring attorneys. For a full discussion on expert witnesses and hiring those in the bioeconomy, see our two articles: ”The Expert Witness in Biofuels and Biochemicals Litigation” and “Hiring An Expert Witness in The Bioeconomy”. We also have highly qualified experts available to assist you with any bioeconomy-related matter. Feel free to call or email us for more information.