Expert Testimony

    We regularly serve as consulting experts on tax matters, providing technical expertise and guidance to litigation counsel. Robert W. Wood renders expert testimony on tax and tax-related issues in civil disputes. In the vast majority of these cases, he has been disclosed as an expert and then testified, with or without a written expert report. In some cases, Wood has not been disclosed as an expert and has instead rendered consulting services to the plaintiff or defendant team. In these latter cases, his discussions and work product are protected by the attorney-client privilege.

    A common focus of Wood's testimony is the tax treatment of a transaction or factual pattern. He has served as an expert on the distinction between independent contractors and employees, the treatment of home office expenses, investment interest expenses, the tax treatment of marital dissolution, the dissolution of quasi-marital palimony relationships, the tax aspects of real estate transactions, tax shelters, etc.

    In some cases, Wood’s role also extends to non-tax matters affecting tax issues (for example, the admissibility of evidence relating to tax issues). Tax calculations are sometimes also needed, including projections based on anticipated alternative awards to be made by the court. The tax treatment of attorney fees may also be addressed.

    Expert witness roles have included the following:

    • Testified for the defense in a case involving medical corporations and the status as employee or independent contractors of physicians (Ziba Chavoshi, M.D. and Michele Vargas, D.O. v. Michael S. Agron, M.D., Inc., et al., Los Angeles County Superior Court, Consolidated Case No. BC333843).

    • Testified for the plaintiff group of limousine drivers in a case involving the status of drivers for a national limousine chain (Brown, et al. v. Carey Limousine of S.F., Carey International, Inc., San Francisco County Superior Court Case No. CGC 04 437287).

    • Served as an expert concerning independent contractor vs. employee distinctions in litigation against the Los Angeles Times newspaper (Robert and Elizabeth Rodgers v. Los Angeles Times Communications and Benjamin Ruiz, Superior Court Orange County, Case No. 04CC09546).

    • Served as an expert for the plaintiffs in a class action involving the status of drivers as independent contractors or employees (Anthony Estrada, et al. v. RPS, Inc., Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case No. BC210130). 

    • Served as an expert for plaintiffs regarding worker classification (Alfredo Alvarez and Anthony Mariscal v. Fox Transport Inc., We-R-Drayage, McKesson Corp., et al., Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case No. BC284345).

    • Testified on the status of insurance brokers as independent contractors versus employees in a nationwide class action over the classification and benefits of thousands of workers (David A. Morlan, et al. v. Universal Guaranty Life Insurance Company, et al., Case No. 992-274-PER).

    • Testified in a large accounting malpractice case concerning the tax implications of liquidating a corporation or electing S corporation status as a result of federal tax legislation (Harvard Investments v. DeLucca, San Jose Superior Court, Case No. CV 760424).

    • Appeared for the plaintiffs in a large employment discrimination case, providing technical support for the tax aspects of a fee application having a dramatic effect on the tax treatment to the plaintiff class (Kaaren Yarborough v. PeopleSoft, Alameda County Superior Court, Case No. 775 405-2).

    • Testified on the tax impact of the separation of personal and investment assets of an unmarried couple.

    • Served as an expert in an action for alleged malpractice by an accounting firm over a failed tax-free exchange of real estate (Pamela Kramer v. Rich & Kornetsky, CPA, Steven Kornetsky, and James Hopper, San Francisco County Superior Court, Case No. 315588).

    • Served as a tax expert in a dispute involving the tax treatment of payments between U.S. and Russian affiliate companies.

    • Rendered expert testimony on the classification of statutory employees in a large class action against multiple employer defendants (Smith v. Torchmark, Case No. 95-3304-CV-S-4).

    • Served as a court-appointed expert reporting to the Judge in a large employment discrimination case, advising on the income and employment tax impact to the defendant employer and the recipient employees (Patrick Graham v. Boy Scouts of America, Northern District of California, D.C. No. CV-93-2958 MHP).

    • Served as an expert in two cases involving insurance company and structured settlement company defendants and the assignability of structured settlement awards and annuity payments.

    • Advised on the tax aspects of ownership and use of intellectual property in an arbitration among multiple commercial parties.

    • Advised class counsel and their economists on the tax impact of a more than $100 million antitrust settlement involving Microsoft (Microsoft cases I-V, Microsoft 4106 Class, see Judicial Council Coordinating Proceeding (J.C.C.P) 4106).

    • Advised a condominium association on the tax treatment of anticipated settlement monies arising out of construction defect litigation.