March 31, 2008

Home Inspections Expert Witnesses - Part 2

How can a home inspection expert witness help your client? The #3 problem that comes up in home inspections is roof damage. Ranked third, leaking roofs are a frequent problem. Home inspections expert witnesses can report and testify on old or damaged shingles or improper flashing and drainage. Home inspection expert witnesses can also testify on the 4th most common home inspection problem, heating systems. These expert witnesses can opine on broken or malfunctioning controls, blocked chimneys, and unsafe exhaust disposal.

March 30, 2008

Compensation Expert Witnesses Aid Clients in Salary Disputes

Compensation litigation may involve disputes regarding base salary, short-term incentives, long-term incentives, employee benefits and prerequisites. When employers get themselves in trouble regarding these compensation issues, violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act are common and may result in legal action. A compensation expert witness can help. Attorneys representing clients with cases concerning base compensation, executive compensation, position analysis and evaluation, variable and incentive compensation, performance management, and sales compensation will benefit from the assistance of an expert witness. Employers facing lawsuits involving commissions and overtime pay will also profit from the reports and expert witness testimony a compensation expert witness can provide.

March 29, 2008

Home Inspections Expert Witnesses - Part 1

How can a home inspection expert witness help your client? The number one problem that comes up in home inspections is improper surface grading and drainage. This causes the most common household aggravations including water penetration into a basement or crawlspace. Home inspections expert witnesses can report and testify on water intrusion causes using data from sophisticated moisture detection equipment. These expert witnesses can opine on the effect of water damage on contents and and the cost of restoration. Home inspection expert witnesses can also testify on the second most common home inspection problem, improper electrical wiring. They can testify on insufficient electrical service, inadequate overload protection, and amateur (often dangerous) wiring connections.

March 28, 2008

Fraud Investigation Expert Witnesses Work With FBI

The FBI is the leading agency investigating corporate fraud and has focused its efforts on cases which involve accounting schemes, self-dealing by corporate executives and obstruction of justice. The majority of corporate fraud cases pursued by the FBI involve accounting schemes designed to deceive investors, auditors and analysts about the true financial condition of a corporation. The FBI has worked with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the North American Securities Administrator's Association, Inc. These organizations have referred fraud investigation expert witnesses and other technical assistance regarding accounting and securities issues. In addition, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and Dunn & Bradstreet have been able to provide significant background information on subject individuals or subject companies in an investigation.

Corporate fraud remains the highest priority of the Financial Crimes Section and the FBI is committed to dealing with the significant crime problem. As of the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2006, 490 Corporate Fraud cases are being pursued by FBI field offices throughout the U.S., 19 of which involve losses to public investors that individually exceed $1 billion.

March 27, 2008

Commercial Real Estate Expert Witnesses & Litigators Will Soon Be Busy

Don Boyken, chief executive of Boyken International, a consulting and building project management company, says look for a commercial real estate crisis to follow the residential real estate slump. “We have found that when the residential market moves, the commercial market moves 12 to 18 months later,” says Boyken.“When the economy goes down, commercial litigation increases,” he says. Representatives of his company often are called as commercial real estate expert witnesses, so they have a first-hand sense of how much litigation is going on. DailyReport also writes:


“In a good economy, owners [of projects] and contractors want to move on to the next project, so they come to a settlement” when there is a dispute, Boyken says. “When things turn down, contractors go after every dollar that's out there.” Positions become more entrenched because there is no next project to move on to, he says, and more suits get filed. Most commonly, contractors sue owners or developers and trades people sue the contractors to get paid. Litigators who specialize in the construction industry will see “the start of a wave of business headed toward them,” Boyken predicted.

March 26, 2008

Challenging Plaintiff's Lead Poisoning Expert Witnesses - Part 2

In Defending Lead-Containing Toy Lawsuits, Ryan L. Nilson and Michael R. Carey explore ways to challenge plaintiffs' lead poisoning expert witnesses in lead toy exposure litigation. They write:

Among United States toy manufacturers, lead content is regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CPSC regulations apply to everything from metal alloys used in toy jewelry to the paint that covers the toys themselves. But CPSC regulations do not apply to the manufacture of toys abroad. Nevertheless, domestic distributors and retailers remain liable under state product liability laws for the harmful effect of foreign-made products that they place into the stream of commerce.

Evidence of Exposures is Not Proof of Causation
Various factors affect proof of specific causation in lead-exposure cases, including exposure, absorption, pathway, and absorption rates. Loof for four things to attack plaintiff's proof of specific causation. The first element of specific causation is actual exposure to lead. In lead, as in other toxin cases, exposure is a condtion precedent to causation. Exposure can be proven in a variety of ways. For example, blood tests can measure suspected lead exposure. When elevated levels of lead in the bloodstream are present, the plaintiff's treating physician can testify to the lead levels found inthe plaintiff's blood and the symptoms reported.


Excerpted from Defending Lead-Containing Toy Lawsuits Ryan L. Nilson and Michael R. Carey, For the Defense, February 2008.

March 25, 2008

Was TiVo's Patent Expert Witness Testimony Contradictory?

Dish Network asked a federal appeals court this past week to rehear the TiVo patent-infringement case, alleging that a TiVo expert witness gave contradictory testimony. In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the lower court's ruling that Dish violated TiVo's "Time Warp" software patent and affirmed the judgment against the satellite operator for $94 million in damages. Dish said this week that one of TiVo's patents expert witnesses contradicted himself and argued that the infringement verdict was not "supported by substantial evidence." Broadcastnewsroom.com also reports:

EchoStar argued that a TiVo expert witness, Jerry Gibson, testified at one point that a Broadcom chip in Dish's digital video recorder included software that extracted audio and video from a physical data source (a process he said pertained to the Time Warp patent). At another point, however, Gibson identified the Dish DVR's "Ioctl command" as the software that extracted audio and video " a command, according to Dish, that's handled by a separate data-buffering memory chip, not the Broadcom chip. "The two parts of Dr. Gibson's testimony the [appeals court] panel considered are thus in conflict," Dish said in its petition. In a statement, TiVo said: "This appeal was expected and we remain confident we will prevail in this appeal."

March 24, 2008

Sexual Abuse Expert Witness Or Sexologist?

Former University of Minnesota football player Dominic Jones, 21, is accused of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. His defense attorney is asking for a "sexologist" as a witness and for the state to pay the bill for the expert's testimony. The St. Paul lawyer Earl Gray lost the battle to keep the jury from seeing a cell phone video and photos, taken by a witness to the alleged assault which purportedly show Jones ejaculating on the woman. Gray hopes to convince jurors that some people view that as playful and not sexual abuse. Jones was charged after an 18-year-old woman said he and three other players got her drunk on vodka and then took turns having sex with her. Twincities.com writes:

Gray said in court papers his expert witness will testify that while some people view ejaculation as an act of hostility or aggression, others see it as "a symbol of closeness, sexual bonding or sexual competence."
Sorry counselor, but from my perspective as a woman, a sexual abuse expert witness and not a "sexologist" is called for.

March 23, 2008

Automotive Expert Witness Testifies For Drag Racer In Vehicular Homicide

Troy Critchley, a Queensland drag racer, has been charged with six counts of vehicular homicide in Tennessee. Six people were killed and 22 were injured when Critchley's car ploughed into a crowd of spectators at a charity drag racing event. The racer was performing a "burnout routine" in June of 2007 when he lost control of his car and crashed. Race car builder Bobby Umstead testified as an automotive expert witness for Critchley and said that revving the motor did not affect the speed of Critchley's dragster.
Couriermail.com reports:

An internationally-recognized expert in crash reconstruction and mechanical inspections was hired to conduct a comprehensive vehicle autopsy of the race car, with the evidence turned over to District Attorney General Mike Dunavant.

March 22, 2008

State Department Top Official to Testify As Expert Witness

Steve Rosen, American Israel Public Affairs Committee former foreign policy chief, and Keith Weissman, its former Iran analyst, face charges that they traded in secrets. Carl Ford, the State Department's top intelligence official from 2001 to 2003 will serve as a foreign policy expert witness for the defense. PittChron.com also reports:

The heart of the 2005 indictment is a sting operation conducted a year earlier in which a government agent told the defendants that he had information that could prevent the imminent killing of Israelis. Rosen and Weissman relayed the information - which turned out to be a fiction - to journalists and Israeli diplomats...

Ford's leadership coincides with much of the timeline cited in the indictment against Rosen and Weissman. He would have been privy to much of the specific information they allegedly received.

March 21, 2008

Challenging Plaintiff's Lead Poisoning Expert Witnesses

In Defending Lead-Containing Toy Lawsuits, Ryan L. Nilson and Michael R. Carey explore ways to challenge plaintiffs' lead poisoning expert witnesses in lead toy exposure litigation. They write:

An injured child epitomizes the sympathetic plaintiff. Not surprisingly, therefore, children injured by toys containing lead have captured the attention of the plaintiff's bar. Proving - or disproving - exposure, causation, and damages in lead poisoning cases, however, is not child's play...

Lead is everywhere in our environment. Its most prevalent source is leaded-fuel exhaust that, for decades, has accumulated in the soil and entered our bodies as dust. Exposure also occurs in residential homes when lead paint peels and flakes off walls and children ingest the chips or when drrinking water becomes contaminated by lead piping and solder used in home plumbing.

Because lead is so prevalent in the environment, nearly everyone has a meassureable blood-lead level (BLL)....For centuries, lead exposure has been associated with negative health effects, including irreversible neurological damage, renal disease, cardiovascular effects, and reproductive toxicity.


More to follow including, Evidence of Exposures is Not Proof of Causation

Excerpted from Defending Lead-Containing Toy Lawsuits Ryan L. Nilson and Michael R. Carey, For the Defense, February 2008.

March 20, 2008

Automotive Expert Witness On Stolen Vehicles - Part 2

Ever wonder and/or worry about what would happen if your car was stolen? Rob Painter, forensic locksmith, automotive expert witness, and principal of Rob Painter & Associates, can tell you. In this excerpt he writes on forced entry:

The first thing you must know is that vehicles are not secure. Commonly equipped with electronic door locking systems, the insured might assumed he locked the door when in fact it did not lock by use of the transmitter. Forced entry tools are readily available to anyone on the Web. Most leave no obvious signs of damage. You lock your keys in your car. You call a locksmith. He opens the car doing no damage and yet when working for the insurance company, he observed no signs of forced entry. Strange but true. On 99.9% of the thousands of vehicles I have examined, they were always unlocked at the time of my examination.

Insurance companies deem vehicles with anti theft systems “Unstealable.” This is interesting because even the manufacturer of the vehicle does not guaranty their vehicle can’t be stolen or they would warranty it accordingly. Who do we believe? The manufacturer that makes the vehicle? Or the insurance company and their experts?

From Mr. Rob Painter, http://www.autotheftexpert.com/

March 19, 2008

Celebrity Autopsy Expert Witness On Trial For Fraud

The jury begins deliberating today in the fraud trial of celebrity autopsy expert witness Cyril Wecht. Wecht is charged in a 41-count federal indictment with using his former Allegheny County coroner's staff and resources to help him earn millions doing autopsies for hire. The expert witness has become a famous author, TV pundit and public speaker on high-profile cases in which he was involved, including the deaths of Elvis Presley, JonBenet Ramsey and Claus von Bulow. FortMillTimes.com also writes:

Wecht is also accused of cheating some private clients with phony limousine bills and other bogus travel expenses. Finally, he faces the macabre allegation that he traded as many as 16 unclaimed county morgue cadavers for laboratory space at a Pittsburgh university in recent years. Wecht's attorneys have argued the indictment is a laundry list of administrative peccadilloes, not federal crimes.

March 18, 2008

Skiing & Snowboarding Expert Witness Defends Ski Areas

Are skiiers responsible for the injuries they suffer? Kenny Salvini, 23, became paralyzed from the neck down after a jump in 2004 at the Summit on Snoqualmie, WA. Nine days later ski instructor Peter Melrose died at the foot of the same jump. Jasper Shealy, skiing and snowboarding expert witness defends the ski industry. Seattlepi.com reports:

In 2007, a King County jury found the Summit at Snoqualmie liable for just less than half of Salvini's pain, suffering and lasting paralysis, levying $14 million in damages against the ski area. The judgment -- described by one group representing ski areas as a "runaway jury verdict" -- came as a shock to the industry, which, in the past two decades, has largely received legal protection from skiers hurt on the hills. Jasper Shealy, a retired engineering professor often hired as an expert witness by the ski industry, called the assertion that ski area managers can design safer jumps "a naive notion." Salvini's injuries were unfortunate but, Shealy contended, occurred because he hit the jump too fast. In Shealy's view, suggested engineered fixes underestimate a skier's impact of flight and the variability of snow.

"The problem here is you're not dealing with something like steel or iron or concrete. You're dealing with a very malleable, changeable substance," said Shealy, speaking from his Rochester, N.Y., office. "Even if we had some magic formula -- and frankly I don't believe there is one -- within a day or two the jump is likely to be very different."

March 17, 2008

Accidents & Safety Expert Witness On SUV Rollovers - Part 2

The number of deaths in rollover crashes has climbed with the popularity of SUVs and other light trucks whose relatively high centers of gravity increases the chance of rollovers. While some carmakers have denied any connection between roof strength and passenger safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a study Wednesday that suggests the opposite. Carl Nash, a former NHTSA official who works as an accident and safety expert witness in rollover cases against car companies says automakers "build cars as if the roof is never going to touch the ground." Newsday.com also reports:

In its tests, the institute said, the differences among the 11 vehicles were dramatic. For example, it said, when a Nissan Xterra and Ford Explorer, both 2000 models, were subjected to a crushing force of up to 10,000 pounds, the Nissan's roof crushed about two inches, while the Explorer's deformed 10 inches, "caving far into the occupant compartment even before reaching 10,000 pounds of force."

Other vehicles tested and studied included the 1996-2004 Chevrolet Blazer, 2002-05 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, 1998-2003 Dodge Durango, 2002-04 Ford Explorer, 1996-98 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2002-05 Jeep Liberty, 1997-2004 Mitsubishi Montero Sport, and 1996-2000 Toyota 4Runner.

The report, "Relationship between roof strength and injury risk in rollover crashes" by M.L. Brumbelow et al. is available by writing to: Publications, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1005 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington, Va., 22201, or by e-mailing publications@iihs.org.

March 16, 2008

Appraisal and Valuation Expert Witness's Liability - Part 2

In A Look at Art Experts' Liabilities John Dratz Jr. discusses the appraisal and valuation expert witness's role in authenticating and appraising works of art. This excerpt discusses defamation cases.


Defamation actions protect the aggrieved party's name as opposed to his or her purely economic interests. As with disparagement, the statement must be false and published to a person other than the plaintiff. The defamatory statement must also be of a purported fact that can be objectively verified. Thus, a television news report implying that an art dealer knowingly sold stolen candelabra to the de Young Museum is a defamatory statement capable of being objectively determined to be true or false. (Weller v. American Broadcasting Cos., 232 Cal. App. 3d 991 (1991).)

As in other actions based on defamation, the public or private nature of the matter affects the burden of proof. Artists as a rule assume the status of public figures by placing their art in the public eye, and to prevail a plaintiff would be required to prove that the defendant's statement regarding the artist was "substantially false." (Weller, 232 Cal. App. 3d at 1010.) However , if the allegedly defamatory statement centered on a private matter - such as a purely contractual relationshiop between artists or between artists and dealers - then the defendant would have the burden of proving its truth. (See Polygram Records, Inc. v. Superior Court, 170 Cal.App. 3d 543 (1985).)


Excerpted from California Lawyer, November 2007

March 15, 2008

Accidents & Safety Expert Witness On SUV Rollovers - Part 1

Safety advocates have long argued that SUV roofs crush too easily in rollover crashes and cause avoidable deaths. About 10,000 deaths a year occur in rollovers. The numbers have climbed with the rise in popularity of SUVs and other light trucks, whose relatively high centers of gravity increased the chances of rollovers. While some carmakers have denied any connection between roof strength and passenger safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a study Wednesday that suggests the opposite. Carl Nash, a former NHTSA official who works as an accident and safety expert witness in rollover cases against car companies says automakers "build cars as if the roof is never going to touch the ground."

NHTSA hasn't upgraded its standard for roof strength since 1971but this about to change. Newsday.com writes:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is scheduled to increase vehicle roof strength requirements this summer for the first time since 1973 for passenger cars and since 1994 for light trucks. The current minimum mandates that cars and light trucks be able to support of 1 1/2 times the vehicle's weight in a roll over crash without deforming more than five inches, and that requirement could change to 2 1/2 times their weight.


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March 14, 2008

JurisPro Expert Witness Directory In 12 of 20 Top US Law Firms

JurisPro, the national expert witness directory built by practicing attorneys, is now directly accessible through the internal network of 12 of the top 20 law firms in the US. The newest firm to take advantage of JurisPro's database of experts in over 4500 fields of expertise is Sidley & Austin LLP, the #5 law firm in the United States. With 1800 lawyers, Sidley has annual revenues of more than one billion dollars and offices in 16 cities worldwide.

At JurisPro, you can read and the expert's full CV, see their photo, hear the expert speak, learn their background as an expert witness, read their articles, access that expert's website, and contact that expert by phone, mail, fax, or e-mail. There are no charges to use JurisPro, and no referral fees.

An interesting Sidley & Austin bit of history:
Barack Obama met his wife, Michelle Obama, an associate at Sidley Austin, while he was a summer associate at the firm.

March 13, 2008

Automotive Expert Witness On Stolen Vehicles

Ever wonder and/or worry about what would happen if your car was stolen? Rob Painter, forensic locksmith, automotive expert witness, and principal of Rob Painter & Associates, can tell you. He writes:

It’s a common occurrence especially now with the factory anti-theft systems for the insurance company to assign an examination of the reported stolen vehicle to a forensic locksmith. His purpose is to check for forced entry and to determine if the vehicle was key operated last. They will assemble what they call a “Forensic Report” on the vehicle and will commonly use general statements like “The last time the vehicle was operated was with a key of the proper type.”

Sounds good, but let’s look at this in further depth. “Proper type” could be anything that will operate the lock. It could be a pick, a duplicate key or no key at all. The reason the term "proper" is used is that I believe this does not lock the forensic locksmith into an exact statement, although the terminology infers the last time the vehicle was operated was with nothing other than the insured’s key. Now if the scientific process was used and all hypotheses have been eliminated, the examiner should be able to state that the last time the vehicle operated under its own power was with a key of exacting cuts coinciding with the ignition lock cylinder.


More to come from Mr. Painter, http://www.autotheftexpert.com/

March 12, 2008

Appraisal and Valuation Expert Witness's Liability

In A Look at Art Experts' Liabilities John Dratz Jr. discusses the appraisal and valuation expert witness's role in authenticating and appraising works of art.

A thriving international art market has led to an equally robust industry of art authenicators and appraisers. But as recent court cases illustrate, people holding themselves out as such experts may face liabillty under an increasing number of theories when their opinions are challenged...

The most common theory on which to base a case against an art authenticator or appraiser is negligence. Such claims require proof that the defendant failed to provide a reasonable level of care to a plaintiff to which it was owed. This duty could arise from a contractual relationship between the plaintiff and the authenticator or appraiser in a number of different situations.


Excerpted from California Lawyer, November 2007

March 11, 2008

Personal Injury Expert Witnesses Use "Fake Bad Scale"

In Test to Spot Liars Takes Center Stage in Personal Injury Cases Debra Cassens Weiss writes for the ABA Journal on personal injury expert witnesses using the "Fake Bad Scale":

Expert witnesses are citing a test designed to spot those who are faking their pain in hundreds of court cases, prompting debate about its reliability.

The so-called Fake Bad Scale was added to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory last year, leading to its increasing use by expert witnesses in personal injury cases, the Wall Street Journal reports (sub. req.). The MMPI is often used to diagnose and treat patients at mental-health facilities.

The 43-question test was created by psychologist Paul Lees-Haley, who often works as an expert witness for the defense, the story explains. He tested the questionnaire on three groups: malingering personal-injury litigants, who had an average score of 27.6; people told to fake emotional distress, who had an average score of 25; and injured litigants, who had an average score of 15.7. He concluded that those who score 20 or above may be lying about their symptoms.

March 10, 2008

Pellicano Was Audio Expert Witness For Police

A Los Angeles prosecutor told the court this week that Anthony Pellicano masterminded a "thriving criminal enterprise" that used illegal wiretapping and bribery to solve the legal problems of Hollywood's rich and famous. Pellicano is accused of running a criminal service that bugged phones and bribed police and telephone workers to run illegal background checks. Pellicano has been refused bail and is representing himself. Ironically, before his indictment, Pellicano was often called on by law enforcement as an audio expert witness on recordings. The Telegraph reports:

"Primarily what I did was to serve clients in problem solving," the investigator said in his opening statement.

March 9, 2008

Computer Expert Witness For the Defense Also Talked to FBI

The leading expert witness for National Century Financial Enterprises executives accused of the nation’s largest private fraud also had talked with the FBI about fraudulent business at the company. Computer expert witness Bryant testified about work he did analyzing National Century’s computer system. Crashes in nine of the company’s hard drives, discovered years after National Century filed for bankruptcy, made it impossible for anyone to make conclusions about the company’s data, Bryant told the jury. But Bryant also had met with the FBI and handed over National Century documents he had secretly stored at his house. He did not disclose that to defense attorneys before federal Judge Algenon L. Marbley declared him an “expert witness” for the defense. Dispatch.com also writes:

Former National Century executives Parrett, Ayers, James E. Dierker, Roger S. Faulkenberry and Randolph H. Speer are charged with fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

March 8, 2008

Expert Witnesses in Demand

In Testimony From Experts In Demand Tyler Kekewich of the Financial Post describes expert witnesses:

You've seen them in movies and watched them on television. They are the superstars of a trial and their testimony can make or break a lawyer's case. They're expert witnesses -- from coroners to accountants, engineers and scientists -- and judges and juries hang on their every word. They can be the difference between acquittal or conviction or reaping a huge damage award versus being left with nothing but a big legal bill to pay.

Kekewich also shares the five traits of a successful expert witness:
1. Highly intelligent - Most expert witnesses are professionals, such as doctors, chartered accountants or scientists.

2. Inquisitive and thorough - Expert witnesses need an eye for detail. Incomplete, vague, or careless testimony will be picked apart by a skilled lawyer.

3. Good communicator - Experts must explain technical data and jargon to a wider audience of people who might not understand it.

4. Concentration and focus - A complex civil lawsuit can drag on for years and an expert's testimony can last days.

5. Patience and discipline - Experts must often repeat themselves in court so they must be prepared to constantly go back over the same testimony.

March 7, 2008

Nutrition Expert Witness Opines Before US Senate

James Ziliak, director of the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, testified Tuesday as a nutrition expert witness before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging in Washington, D.C. UKy.edu also reports Ziliak is expected:

... to provide expert witness testimony on hunger among senior citizens in America. During the testimony, Ziliak will deliver results of research he conducted with co-investigator Craig Gundersen of Iowa State University on the causes, consequences, and future of senior hunger.

The two recently completed a major research initiative funded by the Meals on Wheels Association of America Foundation and underwritten by Harrah’s Foundation. Ziliak is one of six invited witnesses who will speak before the committee. Other expert witnesses include officials from the U.S. Administration on Aging, Department of Agriculture, a volunteer with the Meals on Wheels program, and a representative of the Harrah’s Foundation

March 6, 2008

Cardiology Expert Witness Opines in Ritter Wrongful Death Suit

Expert witness Dr. Douglas Zusman testified this week in the wrongful-death suit filed by John Ritter's family. The cardiology expert witness said Ritter had a 'lethal' tear of the aorta. Zusman testified that Ritter was too far gone for the emergency surgery performed the night he died. Zusman has performed 8,000 surgeries on the aorta and described the procedure to repair a torn aorta, aortic dissection, as long and difficult.

Ledger.com reports that the lawsuit was filed against two doctors involved in the actor's care, Dr. Joseph Lee, the cardiologist who treated him that night, and Dr. Matthew Lotysch, a radiologist who performed a body scan on Ritter two years earlier and allegedly did not discover an enlarged aorta.

March 5, 2008

Law Enforcement Expert Witness Opines On Illegal Entrant Death

Gustov 'Bud' Clark, prosecution expert witness in the death of Francisco Javier Dominguez, testified on how Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Corbett could have shot and killed the 22-year-old Mexican national. The law enforcement expert witness told jurors in federal court Friday about 'sympathetic squeeze.' The Arizona Department of Public Safety expert said it means if a gun is held in one hand, and the other grabs something, you'll likely pull the trigger, as a reflex. Clark told jurors that in video training sessions with Border Patrol agents, when a scenario is presented where a suspected illegal entrant is holding a rock, the agents are trained to back up but nothing in the surveillance video indicates that Corbett backed away from Dominguez.

March 4, 2008

How Jury Consultant Expert Witnesses Can Improve Your Trial Strategy Part 4

In Jury Psychology Can Undermine Plaintiffs' Expert Witnesses authors Neil Goldberg, John Freedenberg, Joseph Mooney, and Joseph Hanna write that cross examination of plaintiff's expert witness should be geared to thwart the emotional hijacking of jurors that plaintiffs endeavor to secure. This strategy includes hiring a jury consultant expert witness. In this excerpt they write on anger management.
The adversarial legal system is dependent on the assumptin that decision makers are rational, unbiases, and not strongly predisposed. The plaintiffs' bar recognizes that this paradigm can be altered by their trial strategy, which can benefit the plaintiff's case mightily.

In recognition of this fact, the plaintiffs' bar has developed aggressive discovery initiatives, questioning techniques, order of proof strategies and expert witnes presentations that, among other things, are geared towards capitalizing on the tarnished reputation of Corporate America.

The plainfiff's goal is to capitalize on the tarnished image of Corporate America, by creating anger and suspicion on the part of the juries toward the defendant, with the arguments developed from the implementation of these stragegies in hand, plantiffs' counsel angle to generate as much anger against the corporation as they can. They recognize what we all intuitively know from our own experiences; what is rational is of en overcome when anger holds sway. In our own lives, we have all observed time and again how passion overwhelms reason.

Excerpted from Jury Psychology Can Undermine Plaintiffs' Expert Witnesses, For the Defense, December 2007.

March 3, 2008

Distribution & Dealers Expert Witness Shares Top Ten Mistakes To Avoid With Distributor Agreements - Part 6

In Avoiding the Top 10 Mistakes with Distributor Agreements, Glen Balzer, management and forensic consultant and expert witness in domestic and international marketing and sales, shares a checklist of ten common mistakes to avoid when drafting your next distributor agreement. Mistake #6 is entitled Termination by Only One Party - Not Both.

Distributor agreements that allow for termination by only one partner are biased. Experience suggests that such lopsided agreements more frequently end in a legal dispute. By allowing both parties to terminate the agreement, some legal disputes can be avoided. The best distributor agreements allow either party to terminate the agreement.

Glen Balzer, President of New Era Consulting, can be reached at glen@neweraconsulting.com.

March 2, 2008

How Jury Consultant Expert Witnesses Can Improve Your Trial Strategy Part 3

In Jury Psychology Can Undermine Plaintiffs' Expert Witnesses authors Neil Goldberg, John Freedenberg, Joseph Mooney, and Joseph Hanna write that cross examination of plaintiff's expert witness should be geared to thwart the emotional hijacking of jurors that plaintiffs endeavor to secure. This strategy includes hiring a jury consultant expert witness. In this excerpt they explain the role of jurors in analyzing the credibility of expert witnesses:

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Excerpted from Jury Psychology Can Undermine Plaintiffs' Expert Witnesses, For the Defense, December 2007.

March 1, 2008

Distribution & Dealers Expert Witness Shares Top Ten Mistakes To Avoid With Distributor Agreements - Part 5

In Avoiding the Top 10 Mistakes with Distributor Agreements, Glen Balzer, management and forensic consultant and expert witness in domestic and international marketing and sales, shares a checklist of ten common mistakes to avoid when drafting your next distributor agreement. Mistake #5 is entitled Frequency of Price Changes

Distributors sometimes believe that they would have a competitive advantage if their manufacturers are restricted to adjusting prices only once per year. This may serve the distributor well, but at the expense of the supplier. An arbitrary advantage of one party over the other party does not bode well for the partnership.

During periods of inflation or other rising costs, the manufacturer must have the opportunity to pass along increases in cost. The marketplace disallows aggressive price increases. Allowing a manufacturer to increase prices upon 30-day notice eliminates one opportunity for conflict and reinforces the principle of fairness in the partnership.


Glen Balzer, President of New Era Consulting, can be reached at glen@neweraconsulting.com.