Expert Witness - Hartley Mellish, Ph.D., Economist

Forensic Economics You Can Trust

COVID-19 Announcement

Although COVID-19 is disrupting many businesses, GHME has had no interruptions in providing expert witness services. Our use of Zoom Meetings, Conferencing, and Webinars enables compliance with physical distancing directives. GHME has a long history of employing technology in communications. As an early example, in 2008 live video connection allowed Dr. Mellish to testify from Idaho with real-time cross examination as well as conversation with a Florida Judge. To set up a Zoom Meeting to discuss your latest case, give us a call so we can send you a meeting invitation by email.

Who is Dr. Mellish?

Dr. Mellish is an expert witness specializing in the valuation of loss due to business damages, wrongful termination, personal injury and death. He has been qualified as an expert witness in the majority of the Circuit Courts in Florida and many Federal Courts in various states including FL, GA, AL, NY, TX, CA, US Virgin Islands, and others.

This office has a reputation for providing expert witness consultation at the highest standards. We assist attorneys in identifying areas of damages as well as calculating the present value of future losses including lost wages, benefits, the value of household services, the amount necessary to provide medical care in the future, hedonic damages (value of the loss of enjoyment of lifestyle issues) as well as punitive damages in cases that warrant it. In worker's compensation cases, our reports are often made a part of the fee petition package. We have designed a computer-assisted format for presenting the results of our analysis in the worker's compensation cases. We have also developed a computer-assisted format for calculating the present value of future medical care items required in a life care plan for catastrophic injury cases. These computer assisted formats allows us to keep billing to a minimum by reducing the amount of professional time needed. Please refer to our Services page for a detailed list of services provided.

What does it take to evaluate economic damages?

Quite often attorneys call us to quickly estimate the level of economic damages in an injury or death case. When the attorney can give us a short description of the nature of the injury, we can typically identify the probable damage elements:

We can usually provide an estimate in a 5 to 15 minute phone call. We do not charge for such brief consultations. By contrast, a written report requires documentation for underlying data. That is what takes the most time and is billable. Business damages cases are different from personal injury cases when it comes to quick estimates. That said, we can usually describe the type of underlying data that will be needed to estimate business damages in a 5 to 15 minute consultation.

How is COVID-19 effecting interest rates?

After reaching a high of 2.5% in December of 2018, the Federal Reserve began lowering the interest rate in August of 2019 and continued to lower the rate to .25% by March 15, 2020 in response to COVID-19 pandemic. The current Fed Rate of .25% is effectively zero and is expected to stay at that rate through 2024 according to Cleveland Federal Reserve President Charles Evans during a Webinar on March 25, 2021 as reported by Maket Watch.

How does this effect future economic losses?

When the interest rate or discount rate is low, the present value of future economic losses will be higher. However, the other element in the present value calculation is the growth rate in wages, or in future medical expenses or inflation rate. When interest rates are low, these other two elements of the present value calculations will also be low. Therefore, the present value will not be substantially different than in a period of high interest rates.

Recoverying from Soaring Unemployment amid COVID-19:

As a result of COVID-19, 3.28 million workers filed for unemployment in March 2020. Consequently, the unemployment rate soared approaching 20% after hitting a 50-year low of 3.5% for March 2020. Almost a year later, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.2% but remains well above the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5% according to the latest release by the BLS. Gad Levanon, VP of Labor Markets at The Conference Board, stated during a podcast that "there will be a strong recovery in the second quarter and it will continue for the rest of the year."

Economic Forecasts:

What is the economic forecast in light of COVID-19 outbreak? Most economist agree that the US economy has already started to recover from the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic with Goldman Sachs predicting an 8% annual growth in GDP and Deutsch Bank estimating 7.5% growth in GDP for 2021. However, The Conference Board's Economic Forecast for the US isn't quite as optomistic; however, they do predict a 5.5% annual growth in GDP for 2021.