Facts from the courtroom
May 17, 2022

Forensic economist Gary Crakes’ opinions on Flint fail to consider critical factors

On May 16, 2022, Gary Crakes took the stand. Crakes is a forensic economist who was paid by plaintiffs’ counsel to provide an opinion on potential economic damages they argue the plaintiffs will experience due to lead exposure. Crakes, a professional expert witness, testified that he has a longstanding business relationship with the plaintiffs’ lawyers, having been retained by their firm in 75-80 prior cases on behalf of plaintiffs.  

Crakes’ analyses are purely hypothetical and based on the opinions of Dr. Krishnan, who was also paid by plaintiffs’ counsel to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of the four plaintiffs, each of whom she met one time, very briefly, in a law office in Flint Michigan in 2020. Crakes’ opinions fail to consider critical factors known to influence earnings potential, such as family history, geography, trauma, and other environmental factors. Crakes also fails to consider the impact of cost-effective and widely available interventions for mild neurocognitive disorders, such as ADHD, which affect millions of children and adults who lead full and productive lives. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Crakes’ analysis relies solely on Dr. Krishnan’s neuropsychological findings, yet he never spoke with Dr. Krishnan nor did he consider other highly relevant factors.

  • Crakes never spoke with the plaintiffs or with Dr. Krishnan regarding her reports.  
  • He never reviewed the plaintiffs’ medical records or deposition testimony, nor did he consult with other medical professionals regarding them.
  • Crakes did not consider other pertinent information about the plaintiffs, such as their families or socioeconomic backgrounds, and assess how those factors could impact their future economic potential.  
  • Crakes never considered individual facts when reaching his conclusions, such as how the children are doing in school or if they are receiving support for the mild neurocognitive impairments Dr. Krishnan identified. 
  • The only two factors that Crakes considered in his analyses were gender and level of education.

Crakes assumes the plaintiffs cannot surmount the mild behavioral and cognitive deficits that Dr. Krishnan diagnosed.

  • Crakes did not consider the widespread availability of interventions that are proven to help children and adults with mild neurocognitive disorders lead full and normal lives.
  • He does not account for extra educational or social support that could help the children attain higher education.  
  • Crakes never performed any cost estimates for tutoring or other supplemental support the plaintiffs might receive, which are likely to be magnitudes less than his findings.