A Closer Look At Rebuttal Reports

August 2012       Download PDF      Print

Business appraisers don't generate a complete valuation report for every valuation assignment. Sometimes a rebuttal report will suffice. In fact, there are a few scenarios in which a rebuttal report might come in hand, including in unearthing discrepancies and preparing for trial.

Here are some typical scenarios in which a rebuttal report might come in hand:

Exposing flaws or critiquing the opposing party's report

In the event the plaintiff obtains a business valuation to support its allegations, rather than obtain its own appraisal, the defendant may hire a rebuttal expert to expose flaws in the plaintiff's case.

The rebuttal expert also might provide his or her own independent opinion, using the plaintiff's report as a starting point. This approach can be advantageous in the right situation - it's usually cheaper and faster to critique or build upon an existing report than to start anew.

Unearthing discrepancies

Suppose both the plaintiff and defendant hire appraisers to estimate a company's value. Their conclusions differ significantly and neither side will split the difference. The experts may submit rebuttal reports critiquing each other's work to identify differences in methodology or mistakes and to defend their own assumptions and analyses.

Alternatively, the parties may jointly hire a third expert to compare and contrast the two original reports. In this case, the rebuttal report would determine specific differences and provide an objective third opinion.

Preparing for trial

Imagine a business owner obtains a valuation and their attorney must draft technical deposition and trial questions. Another appraiser may be hired to act as a consultant and provide a rebuttal report. The report may, for example, explain technical issues, provide authoritative references, identify mistakes or recommend points to highlight during questioning.

Defending a valuation

Financial experts also use rebuttals to defend their analyses and conclusions. For example, an appraiser may issue a rebuttal report after a deposition has gone awry or in response to an IRS inquiry. The purposes of these rebuttals are to clarify ambiguities, provide additional support for assertions and correct any calculation errors.

The appropriate format for rebuttal reports varies. Sometimes experts provide oral rebuttals on the stand. This strategy minimizes preparation costs, prevents discovery and introduces an element of surprise during court proceedings.