Sample Cases

Personal Property Valuation Expert

Bringing experience in both U.S. District and State Courts, Personal Property Valuation Expert, Don Stafford provides litigation services, expert witness reports, and testimony.

Engagement and compensation in assignments are not contingent upon reporting an opinion of predetermined results. Don’s independent, objective, and unbiased professional analyses, opinions, and conclusions are limited only by the reported assumptions and limiting conditions.

Mr. Stafford’s case assignments stem from the defense ~60% of the time and ~40% from the plaintiff.
Each case has unique facts and circumstances that may impact results, as such, prior results do not guarantee similar outcome. For the convenience of the reader dollar amounts depicted below have been rounded.

Don takes pride in presenting an independent, objective, and unbiased analysis. Don excels at presenting a judge, a jury, or attorney, with an accurate valuation of the property at the heart of the litigation, and not some number based on which side is presenting the evidence.

Personal Property Valuation Litigation

First Party Tort Defense – Personal Property Diminution in Value

Plaintiff claimed damage to furnishings, apparel, and other personal property due to water, fire, smoke and soot allegedly caused by Defendant’s actions. Damages claimed exceeded $1M based on Plaintiff’s original valuation.

Don’s scope of work included an on-site inspection of items held in storage, documenting items by photograph, noting item condition, and developing an inventory. After review of the evidence presented and observations made during inspection, ultimately, Don opined as to the actual values of the personal property contents allegedly damaged or destroyed: Replacement Cost Value (“RCV”) – $630k, Actual Cash Value (“ACV”) – $480k & at Fair Market Value (“FMV”) – $256k. The diminution in value attributable to the degree and type of damages sustained – $141k.

First Party Tort Plaintiff – Personal Property Actual Cash Valuation

Plaintiff claimed damage to personal property due to fire, smoke and soot allegedly caused by Defendant’s negligence. As a result of the loss, the Plaintiffs initiated a claim with their insurance carrier for partial compensation of damages due to limited coverage. The first party insurance claim was assigned by the carrier to an independent adjuster and a 3rd party company specializing in personal property contents scoping and valuation.

Don opined as to the Replacement Cost Value (“RCV”) & Actual Cash Value (“ACV”) damages sustained. Don reviewed the 3rd party estimate for accuracy and identified exceptions where the Like Kind and Quality (“LKQ”) selections were not equivalent to the original loss item described, items where the RCV was inaccurate, other instances where the usage and condition of items was not adequately considered and additionally found items left off the original estimate entirely.

Ultimately, Don found the ACV damages to be 30% higher than the 3rd party valuation.

Tort & Subrogation Defense – Personal Property Fair Market Valuation

Plaintiff claimed damage to personal property due to fire. Carrier outlined personal property damages of $475k – Replacement Cost Value (“RCV”) & $345k – Actual Cash Value (“ACV”). Plaintiff claimed additional personal property damages of $245k at RCV. Accounting for errors in Like Kind and Quality (“LKQ”) selection and > $25k in duplicated items, Stafford’s analysis reported $260k in damages at Fair Market Value.

Subrogation Defense – Commercial Loss Valuation of Stock & Salvage Recovery

Retail men’s & women’s clothier loss due to smoke and soot from fire in neighboring restaurant. Defense asked Expert to opine as to damages incurred net of salvage. Expert’s scope of work involved analysis of retail stock valuation, mitigation, cleaning, restoration, business interruption and salvage recovery. Don’s analysis showed claimed damages exceeded actual by $25k.

First Party Tort Defense – Personal Property Fair Market Valuation

Plaintiffs alleged that the Defendants are liable for damage to property destroyed by fire. Personal property household furnishings were claimed at $900k Replacement Cost Value (“RCV”). The defense requested my opinion as to the RCV, Actual Cash Value (“ACV”) and Fair Market Value (“FMV”). My analysis determined that RCV was $515k, the ACV was $450k (based on limited use) and that the FMV was $245k.

Tort Consulting Expert – Personal Property Replacement Cost Value & Actual Cash Value

The litigation arose out of a claim for damages sustained resultant of a massive fire which destroyed an apartment complex. Don was asked on behalf of multiple Plaintiffs to opine as to the replacement cost and actual cash value attributable to the personal property lost in the fire.

First Party Tort Defense – Unauthorized Removal by Post Foreclosure Service

Plaintiffs claimed damages exceeding $500k alleged to be the result of unauthorized removal of personal property contents, commercial property, industrial equipment, and tools from their premises. Defendants included the mortgage bank, mortgage service providers, inspection, preservation, post foreclosure services. Don’s valuation at Fair Market Value (“FMV”) was $115k.

First Party Tort Defense – Unauthorized Removal by Post Foreclosure Service

Plaintiff made claim for damages exceeding $103k alleged to be the result of unauthorized removal of personal property from in and around a metal storage building on their property. Defendant enlisted Expert to opine as to the value of the personal property. Types of items involved included automobile parts, tools, building materials, commercial machinery & equipment, yard power equipment and sporting goods. Expert’s valuation at Replacement Cost Value (“RCV”) $133k, at Fair Market Value (“FMV”) $47k.

First Party Tort – Consulting Expert for the Defense – BPP Valuation w/ Coinsurance Clause

Loss involving theft of wood working equipment from trim molding shop. Assignment to determine net payment due per the Commercial 80% Coinsurance Clause. Scope of work included valuation of all covered property at the time of loss, determination of coinsurance factor (limit of insurance/value of covered property), valuation of equipment lost in theft, determination of covered loss amount after the application of the applicable co-insurance penalty.

Personal Property Valuation ADR

Arbitration – Expert for the Respondent – Analysis & Critique of Plaintiff Expert Report

Respondent requested an analysis and critique of the personal property damages report completed by Claimant’s expert.

Mr. Stafford found the opposing expert erroneously reported an actual cash value equal to his reported replacement cost value – taking no deduction for depreciation to account for the decline in value since being placed into use. Further the opposing expert mistakenly equated fair market value with replacement cost value. In addition, there were numerous errors found in individual line-item valuations.

Stafford found the Plaintiff Expert Report lacking in detail and supporting evidence regarding the original loss items, the Like Kind and Quality (“LKQ”) replacement selection and the resulting Replacement Cost Value and consequently, failed to meet its purpose and was inadequate in the calculation of damages in this case.

Dispute Resolution – Consulting Expert to Insurance Carrier

Claims settlement valuation dispute. Carrier loss payment based on 3rd party contents vendor estimate of $238k Replacement Cost Value (“RCV”) and $130k Actual Cash Value (“ACV”). The insured’s Public Adjuster loss submission reflected $275k at RCV and $238.4k at ACV. Expert identified duplicated items which resulted in overpayment of $16k. At client request, Expert developed a depreciation recovery scenario based on the quantity of loss items in each contents category, their RCV price points to provide an estimate of the range recoverable depreciation payments that one might anticipate. The carrier was then able to negotiate a settlement.

Personal Property Expert Consultation

Mass Tort, 2017 Pacific Gas & Electric California Wildfires

Don developed a Personal Property Claim Guide as a resource designed for distribution to disaster victims. The guide included information, tips, and strategies to help claimants produce the personal property inventory required to establish the damages sustained in the catastrophe loss.

The topics included: an overview of typical insurance claims process, duties of Insured re: inventory documentation, valuation concepts impacting insurance claim loss settlement, what to consider prior to preparing inventory, and suggested process to document total personal property loss.

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