Expert Witness Services and Litigation Support

Peterson Economics is uniquely qualified to provide a variety of expert witness and litigation support services in a wide range of contexts. Our firm has successfully applied economics to litigation involving property valuations, property damages, and other real estate-related issues. In particular, Peterson Economics has extensive experience evaluating the past, present, and future market and financial potential for proposed, existing, or partially developed:

  • Master-planned resorts (focused on golf, spa, beach, lake, and/or skiing);
  • Second-home communities;
  • Amenitized retirement communities;
  • Resort hotels or lodges;
  • Golf courses; and
  • Other specialized recreation-oriented developments.

During the past eight years, Peterson Economics has been retained to complete in excess of 345 consulting assignments, including detailed market and financial analyses for approximately:

  • 100 of the largest and most complex master-planned resort communities proposed in the western hemisphere;
  • More than 100 proposed new golf courses;
  • More than 50 stand-alone second-home developments (e.g., beachfront condominium developments, ski-oriented developments, infill projects, etc.);
  • More than 50 proposed resort lodges, conference centers, boutique hotels, and other lodging properties; and
  • A variety of retirement-oriented communities, wilderness lodges, RV parks and campgrounds, and other facilities.

Peterson Economics maintained a dominant share for such assignments in the Pacific Northwest, the northern Sierras, Montana, the west coast of Mexico, and Hawaii, while also completing other assignments in various settings such as Alaska, Vermont, Virginia, Mississippi, Texas, California, Costa Rica, Argentina and even Australia. The geographic and analytical diversity of these projects provide Peterson Economics with exceptional depth and breadth of market knowledge and experience, along with a rich historic database. These resources in turn create a competitive edge for our clients in litigation or other adversarial situations.

Given our unique market focus and extensive experience, clients often retain Peterson Economics to provide detailed market overviews, prepare detailed program recommendations (e.g., identifying the highest and best use of a site), and complete detailed pro forma financial projections for a site. These analyses can be used to accurately assess a site’s past, present, or future value. Such analyses can be highly valuable in litigation contexts for:

  • Estimating site value, or providing the client’s real estate appraiser with the market research and analysis necessary to accurately assess site value. Peterson Economics has worked in close coordination with licensed real estate appraisers to provide thorough supporting documentation for an appraiser’s assessment of site value, particularly where the appraiser possesses only limited experience with the unique and specialized land use in question.
  • Carefully documenting historic trends (in the national or regional economy, local visitor markets, second-home markets, lodging markets, etc.) and discussing their impacts on market and financial potential for proposed or existing development on a subject parcel. This information can be especially helpful in partner-dispute situations, foreclosures or bankruptcies, or other situations where one party is claiming fraud, negligence or other wrongdoing.
  • Identifying and evaluating future repositioning or redevelopment options for a parcel.

Most Recent Expert Witness and Litigation Support Assignments

Peterson Economics’ expert witness and litigation support assignments in 2010 include:

  • Master-planned Resort, Columbia River Gorge, Washington: Peterson Economics was retained as the lead expert witness in a major lawsuit regarding a proposed new resort overlooking the Columbia River near Hood River, Oregon. Critical portions of this site burned in 2007. Peterson Economics was asked to prepare a detailed Expert Report retroactively evaluating market and financial potential for this proposed resort, and estimating the likely market value of the undeveloped parcel both before and after the fire. Client: Portland-based Haglund, Kelley, Horngren, Jones & Wilder, LLP.
  • Resort Golf Course, Mississippi Gulf Coast: Peterson Economics was retained by one of the owners of a new, upscale, visitor-oriented golf course to evaluate the impacts of Hurricane Katrina and the Great Recession on the Mississippi Gulf Coast visitor market and golf market. Our analysis provided an extensive overview of conditions and trends in the region before Hurricane Katrina, after Hurricane Katrina, and through the Great Recession, discussing impacts on the golf course’s operating potential. Our analysis also assessed future potential for this golf operation. Client: Houston-based Beck, Redden and Secrest, LLP.
  • Resort Conference Center and Fractional Resort, Southern California: Peterson Economics was retained to provide litigation support services regarding a proposed new resort conference center and private residence club in Southern California. Peterson Economics assisted our client by preparing a report summarizing trends and conditions in the fractional real estate industry, with a focus on top comparable existing properties in California, Mexico, Hawaii, and Oregon.
  • Master-planned Resort in Central Oregon: Peterson Economics was retained to assist our client by evaluating documents associated with a distressed large-scale destination resort proposed in Central Oregon and to provide detailed development recommendations and financial projections for this project going forward.

In 2010, Peterson Economics also assisted a variety of clients seeking approvals for proposed new projects by completing opinion letters and memoranda discussing anticipated job creation, indirect and induced impacts, tax revenues, and other economic benefits, as well as evaluating likely fiscal impacts of new projects. These opinion letters and memorandum reports provide our clients with important and persuasive tools to counter claims by opposition groups, which often have little merit but can have significant detrimental impacts if not effectively countered.

Additional Expert Witness Assignments

Some of Mr. Peterson’s prior expert witness assignments include:

  • The Plateau Golf Club, King County, Washington: expert witness services in 1995 for Weyerhaeuser subsidiary Quadrant Homes, which developed the Plateau Golf Club (near Seattle) and its associated residential parcels. Mr. Peterson advised on the potential impacts on club value resulting from a modest increase in the number of units overlooking the golf course. Client: Quadrant Homes. Outcome: settled before trial.
  • Pinehurst Country Club, Denver, Colorado: expert witness services in the late 1990s assisting Koelbel Communities in valuing the Pinehurst Country Club in a dispute with the club’s members. Client: Koelbel Communities. Outcome: settled before trial.
  • Myrtle Creek Golf Course, Roseburg, Oregon: expert witness services in 2001 and 2002 regarding the Myrtle Creek Golf Course south of Roseburg, Oregon. Mr. Peterson critiqued a market and financial analysis incorporated in a bond offering used to finance this municipal golf course, which failed to cover debt service. Client: Stoll, Stoll, Berne, Lokting, and Schlacter. Outcome: settled before trial.

» Next: Our Role in the Development Process

The geographic and analytical diversity of these projects provide Peterson Economics with exceptional depth and breadth of market knowledge and experience, along with a rich historic database. These resources in turn create a competitive edge for our clients in litigation or other adversarial situations.

New Condos at Kolea, Kohala Coast of the Big Island, Hawaii