Corporate profileBrown Economic’s commitment to excellence informs all of the work we do. This commitment manifests itself in the following ways:
- - Investigating and presenting an education, employment and income history for the plaintiff (whether we are working on behalf of the plaintiff or defendant) so that the “scenarios” used to calculate income losses or dependency losses conform to the injured person’s or decedent’s background.
- - Supplying a statistical benchmarking analysis to place the plaintiff’s or decedent’s income history into context with his/her statistical peers. This involves exploring all data sources that provide salary information, not just Statistics Canada’s Census or National Household Survey data, but salary surveys from Towers Watson as well as surveys from Merit Contractors’ Association (for tradespeople), industry surveys (i.e. from each province’s engineering or accounting association as examples), and other surveys such as CompInsight’s National Legal Practices and Compensation Survey.
- - Providing research and corroboration for all economic assumptions. We do not adopt the approach of simply stating the assumptions in our reports without any backup. This leads to:
- Providing a methodology summary (on CD-ROM or as PDF) with each report (known as “section 5”)
- Providing ancillary documents pertaining to an approach used (i.e., published articles, excerpted pages from Ms. Brown’s text, Damages: Estimating Pecuniary Loss, or newsletter issues from Brown’s Economic Damages Newsletter) with the main report;
- Ensuring that report authors can testify about all methodological aspects upon which the report is based, since court rules dictate that the expert witness can only speak to what is contained in his/her report;
- Engaging in on-going research & development, which can be in the form of obtaining unpublished data from Statistics Canada, analyzing results from Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey modules (for time use data and retirement ages), and using regression analysis on Statistics Canada’s Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) for injury cases and on Surveys of Household Spending for fatality cases
- Avoiding any “template” material in our reports. The final, court-ready report printed by Brown Economic focuses strictly on the plaintiff in an injury case, or the family in a fatality case
- - Conforming to Alberta’s civil practice note no. 5 for economic experts issued in 20111 in our exective summary of facts & assumptions, as well as to the ethics principles of National Association of Forensic Economics (NAFE) and the American Academy of Economic and Financial Experts (AAEFE), of which Ms. Brown is a member
- - Updating economic data every year for Ms. Brown’s text, Damages: Estimating Pecuniary Loss published by Canada Law Book, a Thomson Reuters business. The scope of the economic data is broad, covering topics ranging from non-wage benefits (from Towers Watson’s Benefits Data Source - Canada) to negative contingencies for working life expectancy (Statistics Canada) to time use data (for housekeeping losses) to information on interest rates for discounting (from the Bank of Canada). Case law is also included when it provides guidance for economic experts in all matters related to quantifying damages. To assist her with this component, Ms. Brown relies on one of Brown Economic’s consultants (Rachel Rogers), who holds both an economics degree and a law degree.
Ms. Brown has also developed and refined various aspects of methodologies underlying injury and fatality cases. In creating a wage deficit approach with regression analysis (using the Heckman method), Brown Economic has been able to publish the results in the Journal of Legal Economics entitled “The Impact of Disability on Earnings and Labour Force Participation in Canada: Evidence from the 2001 PALS and from Canadian case law” vol. 16, no. 2, April 2010. For more information on the HALS/PALS data, go to our website.
In analyzing Statistics Canada’s Surveys of Household Spending, Ms. Brown has published two articles in the Journal of Forensic Economics to derive personal consumption rates for the deceent. The most recent article is entitled “Personal Consumption Rates for Canada: Update of 2000 PCRs using 2007-08 Survey of Household Spending” data, vol. 23, no. 2, 2012. This is a refinement that is long overdue, as it provides PCRs by family size and income level. It also obviates the need to decide between what has been referred to as “joint/cross” and “sole” dependency, since the proper dependency formula includes both spouses’ incomes (where the survivor’s income falls out of the equation when it is zero). The anonymous referees who vetted the 2012 article commented that “This is an important resource for forensic economists in Canada.”
The firm’s litigation experience is substantial. Ms. Brown has been qualified by and testified in more than 130 cases in every province and territory in Canada (except New Brunswick and PEI) since 1989, as well as in two American states (Texas and North Dakota). Dr. Strain has testified in both New Brunswick and Newfoundland. See Court Testimony for case law excerpts. Ms. Brown was also hired in the Milgaard and Truscott cases (the firm quantified the eventual $10 million award given to the Milgaard family), had her opinion accepted by the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal in the Walsh case, and had her evidence accepted in B.M.G. v. Nova Scotia (Attorney General) for damages in a sexual assault case in 2007. In 2010 and in 2015, Ms. Brown’s evidence for the federal government in Brodie v. Canada (Attorney General) and Adams v. Canada (Attorney General) was accepted over the plaintiff expert’s evidence in both cases. Ms. Brown’s evidence was also accepted by the Supreme Court of Canada in Young v. Bella, Rowe and Memorial University of Canada.