June 30, 2009

Electronic Discovery Expert Witness On Deleted Email Part 2

In Challenges in Recovering Deleted Email, electronic discovery expert witness Steve Burgess writes:

There are three main types of email in common usage – Microsoft Outlook (often paired with a Microsoft Exchange Server), text-based email client programs, and web-based email, or webmail.

In Microsoft Outlook, all emails are kept in one large, encrypted, non-text file - the PST, or Personal Folders file. Outlook has additional functions and additional content as well. There is an integrated address book, multiple mailboxes, a calendar, and a scheduler, all of which are contained in the PST file. When one looks into a PST file with a file editor or word processing application, there is little or nothing intelligible to the human eye. The file content looks like nearly random characters.

In general, the PST file must be loaded into Outlook to be read. When an email is deleted, or even when it is purged, it may be kept within the body of the single large file, but become inaccessible to the program. Some deleted emails may be recovered by manipulating the file though a manual process, repairing the resultant file, and then loading back into Outlook.

June 29, 2009

Trust and Estates Expert Witness On Michael Jackson Inheritance

Trust and estates expert witness Mina N. Sirkin says it is likely that the nomination of guardian by Michael Jackson relating to the two children he had with his ex-wife, Debbie Rowe may fail because the court did not make the special findings necessary to terminate her paternal rights. Therefore, under California law, Rowe as the mother of those two children will have priority over any nominated "guardian of the person" by Michael Jackson. However, Debbie can't expect the same results when it comes to guardianship of the estate of the minors. FoxBusinessNews.com reports:

The Jackson case is a perfect example of when guardianship nominations can go bad. Parents who name guardians of the person who were married to the parent of the minors can't expect their intended results, unless the other parent has actually consented to the nomination in writing in California....

Any and all of Jackson's life insurances are at risk at this point, even if he created irrevocable life insurance trusts for his minor kids naming those children as beneficiaries. Sirkin continues to say that large policies are subject to many exclusions and the facts of death of Jackson, along with the coroner's findings, will greatly impact whether those insurance will be paid.

June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson's Medical Expert

Investigators in Michael Jackson's sudden death have turned their focus towards the prescription drugs that the pop legend had been taking and a mysterious doctor who was with him when he went into cardiac arrest. Detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery-Homicide Unit reportedly were seeking to question a doctor who was in the late entertainer’s Holmby Hills' mansion Thursday, when his heart stopped.

Dr. Conrad Murray, a cardiologist with offices in Las Vegas and Houston, was identified by a Jackson advisor as the 50-year-old singer's personal medical expert for three years. Murray was hired by organizers to assure Jacko’s health during the comeback concert series that had been planned for next month at the O2 arena in London. Murray reportedly witnessed Jackson's collapse and went off radar shortly after Jackson was pronounced dead.

A spokesman for the LAPD said that investigators had spoken to Murray briefly Thursday but they intended to speak to him again. It is reported that Murray was performing CPR when paramedics arrived at Jackson's house Thursday.

Excerpted from TheMoneyTimes.com.

June 27, 2009

Forensic Engineering Expert Witness On New NYC Legislation

Forensic engineering expert witness Andrew Yarmus writes that on May 12, 2009, the Epoch Times reported that newly announced NYC legislation will enhance safety protocols, oversight, and inter-agency communication at construction, demolition, and abatement site across the city. The new legislation incorporates 33 recommendations to enhance standpipe and sprinkler safety, improve inter-agency communication, increase safety at construction and demolition sites, regulate oversight, and improve safety of asbestos abatement. From TheEpochTimes.com:

The new legislation includes 11 bills that include the following measures:

• Implementation of the uniform color coding of standpipe and sprinkler systems for ease of identification in case of emergency;
• Required pressure testing of new or altered sprinkler or standpipe systems;
• Site safety managers mandate to conduct daily checks of standpipes and weekly tracing of the system at construction and demolition sites to ensure no breach has occurred;
• DEP, FDNY and DOB mandate to share information about violations issued and other key inspection data so that inspectors from all three agencies are aware of any serious problems and have the knowledge to allocate sufficient resources to the properties with the highest risks;
• Mandatory submission of a detailed plan for demolition by a registered design professional in the permit application process;
• Implementation of a zero-tolerance smoking policy at certain demolition, construction and abatement sites;
• Limiting simultaneous asbestos abatement and full demolition work unless the job meets certain thresholds established by DEP, FDNY and DOB;

June 26, 2009

Sexual Abuse Expert Witnesses On How Jurors React

Sexual abuse expert witnesses Professor Vanessa Munro of The University of Nottingham and Dr Louise Ellison of the University of Leeds found jurors have a poor understanding of the various ways in which women might react when raped, the levels and types of injuries they might sustain and the different behaviors they might display in the witness box.

The researchers, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, set up mock court cases to examine how jurors reacted to different pieces of evidence and how these were then discussed in the jury room.

In particular, they found that many jurors expect rape victims to:

* Fight back against their attacker;
* Sustain serious physical injuries;
* Report the offence immediately;
* Appear tearful and distressed when recounting their experiences in court.

In reality, many rape victims offer no physical resistance, many suffer no injury, many delay reporting rapes for significant periods and many react to rape by exhibiting extreme calm — often as a strategy to help them cope. The research shows that each of these reactions, in challenging the assumptions of jurors, can work against rape complainants when they appear in court — and may be one factor which contributes to the low conviction rate of 6.5 per cent in reported rape cases.

Excerpted from PhysOrg.com.

June 25, 2009

Hydrology Expert Witness On Dam Seepage

Army Corps of Engineers officials said Tuesday that water is flowing through the 48-year-old Howard Hanson Dam's right abutment "very fast" and may mean the earth-and-rock structure could erode if too much water is stored behind the dam. By November the Corps will install a "grout curtain" to reduce seepage and will drill more vertical and horizontal drains 32 miles upstream from Auburn, WA, at a cost of over $20 million.

Planning will then begin on a permanent solution, which is likely several years away. Hydrology and dam safety experts from around the country are advising the Corps on those interim measures and possible long-term solutions. The speed at which water is seeping through a flank of the Howard Hanson Dam has, by one key measure, increased since January, and the people who operate the dam don't know why.

Excerpted from TheSeattleTimes.com.

June 24, 2009

Psychiatry Expert Witness On Fort Meyers Competency Case

Justin Grodin was found guilty Wednesday of killing his 11-month-old step daughter Gretchen in 2000. Grodin had been in and out of court over the last nine years over his competency and mental state. Psychiatry expert witness Dr. Frederick Schaerf of Fort Meyers testified for the defense Tuesday regarding Grodin's "mental illness" but the jury didn't buy it.

Grodin had multiple outbursts and showed strange behavior in court over the last two weeks but the judge declared Grodin fit for trial. Medical expert witness Doctor Frederick Scharef saw Grodin 8 times since 2003 and said there is no doubt that at times Grodin is malingering or faking.

Excerpted from WinkNews.com.

June 23, 2009

Security Expert Witness In McDonald's Wrongful Death Case

Wayne and Cathy Makowski testified in their wrongful death suit against Brickman Management Co., the McDonald's franchisee, and B & B Cash Grocery Stores, the owner of the U.S. 41 shopping center that is home to the restaurant. The lawsuit alleges the businesses failed to provide adequate security to keep their son Anthony, 21, safe in the early morning brawl at a McDonald's in Land O'Lakes.

The security expert witness for the plaintiffs said last week that incidents like parking lot fights have a probability of escalating into something worse and the restaurant should have had something in place, such as a security guard, to deter them. An expert for the defense countered Monday that alcohol-fueled fights between strangers that result in a death are rare, thus impossible to foresee and prepare for. Gregg McCrary, a former FBI agent, said the shopping center was not an area known for violent crime — only for late-night nuisances — and that restaurant employees responded appropriately when the fight broke out.

Excerpted from TampaBay.com.

June 22, 2009

Expert Witnesses Testimony In Police Officer Killing

The Nebraska Supreme Court issued a decision Friday upholding Edward Poindexter’s conviction in the 1971 killing of police officer Larry Minard Sr. The Omaha police officer responded to a call for help at a vacant house and was killed when a suitcase found at the house, and rigged with a bomb, exploded.

The state Supreme Court found no merit in Poindexter’s claims of misconduct by prosecutors, ineffective defense and errors made during his trial. Poindexter alleged his defense attorneys were ineffective in their cross examination of witnesses, did not inquire about missing police reports, and did not offer evidence discrediting expert witnesses or evidence concerning a 911 tape recording. The court also rejected Poindexter’s arguments.

Excerpted from JournalStar.com.

June 21, 2009

Internet Expert Witness On Company E-mail Part 6

In Managing the Risky Business of Company E-mail Part1 internet expert witness Scott Greene, CEO of Evidence Solutions, Inc., writes that his company has documented, during the examination of electronic systems, employees who frequently say/save things into e-mails or store on a computer, things they would never say anywhere else.

As an owner/supervisor, take a moment to examine your current IT or company’s technology policy. If your company doesn’t currently have an IT or technology policy-get one! While you will need to insure the individual needs of your company are met, following are some topics of what you should consider including in your usage polices:

Electronic information ownership
Monitoring of technology use
Acceptable use of company technology
Acceptable content

If you currently hold meetings with your employees or publish a company newsletter, these are excellent venues to use to educate your employees. Utilize these opportunities to let them know there are certain things they should be aware of when sending or responding to e-mails. Employees should be counseled to be cautious and to not make statements that can be considered a legal conclusion. Let your employees know they should utilize the knowledge and expertise within the company by picking up the phone and calling their supervisor or Human Resource Department.

June 20, 2009

Medical Expert On Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical expert Mark Gorney, MD, is co-founder and senior consultant for The Doctors Company says that physicians “must accept that behavior and personality play an absolutely critical role in the outcome of malpractice action.” Winning a malpractice lawsuit requires more than proving your treatment was appropriate, prudent, and conformed to the standard of care. "Exit polls consistently reveal that juries are at least as heavily influenced by their feelings about the players as they are by the facts of the case.” Dr. Gorney suggests showing a little humility.

"When you are the target of a malpractice lawsuit, it is not very different than an illness,” Dr. Gorney counsels. “This time you are the patient. Although we all know that doctors make the worst patients, your own personality characteristics may determine whether the verdict comes back for the defense or [includes] several million dollars in punitive damages."
Excerpted from CortlandtForum.

June 19, 2009

Document Examination Expert Witness On Questioned Writing Part 7

Document examination expert witness Ronald N. Morris is a certified forensic document examiner and in this excerpt from Submitting a Handwriting Case for Examination, he writes some final thoughts.

A very important point to remember, all of the submitted collected or nonrequest and known writing used in the examination and comparison process must be admitted as evidence in court at the time of trial. All conclusions in the results of the examination section of the report are based on the examination and comparison of the submitted questioned and all of the known writings. Any change in the number, status, or admissibility of any of the writing submitted for examination and comparison, including the exclusion of examined writing at the time of trial, will impact upon the conclusions as stated in the report. In this case, the conclusions in the report are no longer valid and a new examination and comparison will have to be conducted using only the writing that will be admitted into evidence. The reason, the conclusion reached by the examination and comparison process is based on the combined significance of the evidence in the examined writing. The same is true if additional writing is added at the time of trial.

All examinations and comparisons must be conducted in an appropriate setting, using recognized and acceptable techniques, and examination aids as necessary. While testifying as a witness in court, during a deposition, or any other judicial situation absolutely NO examinations and comparisons will be performed. NO new opinions will be given, on or off the record, until a comprehensive examination and comparison of the evidence has been done. The only opinions given as part of the expert testimony in court or at a deposition will be those based on acceptable examination and comparison procedures and reported in either a verbal or written report.

June 18, 2009

NASCAR Accuses Medical Expert Witness Of False Credentials

NASCAR is accusing Jeremy Mayfield's medical expert witness of presenting false testimony about his credentials, according to a motion filed in U.S. District Court. Mayfield's lawyers used the testimony of Dr. Harvey MacFenerstein as the basis for their request that Mayfield be reinstated immediately as he fights his indefinite suspension. NASCAR is questioning the medical degrees and certifications claimed by MacFenerstein. HamptonRoads.com reports:

MacFenerstein said he received a bachelor of science degree in medical technology from Midwestern State University (Texas) in 1975. According to NASCAR, school records do not show MacFenerstein graduated or received a degree from the school.

MacFenerstein said he obtained his medical doctor degree in clinical pathology from CETED University. NASCAR said the school in Mexico has no record of MacFenerstein as a former or current student.

June 17, 2009

Forestry Expert Witnesses On Oregon National Forest Grazing

U.S. District Court Judge Ancer Haggerty ruled that grazing will be allowed on seven allotments in Oregon's Malheur National Forest as part of a ruling issued Monday in Portland. The ruling lifts a ban on grazing in two allotments, Murderers Creek and Lower Middle Fork, issued by Haggerty in May 2008. Ranchers who rely on the national forest for grazing were expected to turn out their cattle on Friday, June 19.

Environmentalist groups involved in the lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service had requested that Haggerty completely prohibit cattle grazing in eight allotments in the national forest.
Testimony from forestry expert witnesses summoned by the U.S. Forest Service, on the other hand, "has established that the grazing proposals for 2009, if properly executed, will adequately protect riparian habitat." During a hearing Friday, June 12, fish and stream experts countered allegations that grazing causes permanent damage to threatened steelhead habitat.

Excerpted from CapitalPress.

June 16, 2009

Toxicology Experts & Chinese Drywall Litigation

Toxicology expert witnesses will be testifying in the consolidated case against Chinese drywall manufacturers in New Orleans although South Florida attorneys argued that Miami would be a better location because a majority of Chinese drywall problems and lawsuits have occurred there. The problems first cropped up in southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast cities. The drywall was imported following hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005, after the housing boom and rebuilding efforts created a material shortage among domestic suppliers.

In addition to Florida, lawsuits have been filed in Louisiana, Virginia and Ohio among other states. The Florida Department of Health is tracking more than 440 complaints about the defective high-sulfur drywall.

Excerpted from TampaBayBizJournal.com.

June 15, 2009

Internet Expert Witness On Company E-mail Part 7

In Managing the Risky Business of Company E-mail Part1 internet expert witness Scott Greene, CEO of Evidence Solutions, Inc., writes that his company has documented, during the examination of electronic systems, employees who frequently say/save things into e-mails or store on a computer, things they would never say anywhere else.

When educating your employees about the content of an e-mail or using other forms of traceable electronic technology, train the employee to ask themselves these simple questions:

Should I put this in e-mail or should I call?
Would I write this down knowing that it may exist forever?
Would I put this on a postcard and mail it?
Would I want to see this printed in the newspaper?
Would I want this to get into the hands of my company’s competition?
Would I want this to get into the hand of my worst enemy?

Electronic communications are not transient, temporary or untraceable. E-mail is evidence. Education and proper policies go a long way to keep both employees and the employer from ending up in a potential lawsuit trying to explain the written word.

June 14, 2009

Psychology Expert Witness In Rockefeller Alias Case

The man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller was sentenced Friday to four to five years in state prison for his conviction in the kidnapping of his daughter last summer, ending a colorful chapter in the bizarre saga of the German national whom police call a "person of interest" in an ongoing California homicide investigation. Rockefeller's two lawyers tried to cast him as a mentally disturbed man who believed in the fantasy world he had created and said he should be acquitted on grounds of insanity.

But the jury rejected the defense argument and found Rockefeller guilty on two of the four counts against him: parental kidnapping and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The defense presented two experts who testified that Rockefeller's mental illnesses caused him to believe in his invented lives, including that he was a member of the storied Rockefeller family. "Expert witness testimony figured prominently," jury foreman Michael Gregory said. The state's psychology expert witness countered that Rockefeller suffers from a mental disorder but exaggerated his symptoms and was legally sane when he abducted his daughter.

Excerpted from Boston.com

June 13, 2009

Document Examination Expert Witness On Questioned Writing Part 7

Document examination expert witness Ronald N. Morris is a certified forensic document examiner and in this excerpt from Submitting a Handwriting Case for Examination, he writes some final thoughts.

Please take the time necessary to prepare your case for submission to the laboratory. Proper preparation is essential to ensure that the examiner has the documents necessary for a meaningful examination and comparison, and that the request is clearly worded and understood. If assistance is needed before or during the preparation process, please contact the FDE for assistance.

It is extremely important to remember that if the documents being submitted are for handwriting examination, a substantial percentage of the known writing should repeat the questioned material. If possible, the collected writings should have been written around the same time as the questioned writing, and the requested writing as close to the date of the questioned writing as possible.

The known writing, while not necessarily repeating the questioned writing, should contain numerous repetitions of the same written letters and letter combinations as in the questioned writing.

June 12, 2009

Security Expert Witness On Avoiding Security Litigation Part 4

In Security Experts: Litigation and Beyond, security expert witness Robert A. Gardner, CPP, writes:

Q. Is my security expert qualified?

A. The security profession is a collection of specialties. While there are basic concepts common to all, each specialty requires its own unique blend of training and experience. Unfortunately many so-called “security experts” claim almost universal expertise and often make claims that their documented training and experience can’t support. Look for the following in a qualified security expert:

• Professionalism - Membership in associations such as ASIS International and the International Association of Professional Security Consultants is an indicator of professionalism. Certifications such as the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) or Physical Security Professional (PSP) designation are also indicators; as are professional licenses, provided that they relate directly to your issue.

• Issue Specific Training and Experience – Regardless of their academic education, a qualified security expert must have advanced technical training and extensive hands –on work experience dealing with your specific security issue. Avoid the common mistake of automatically equating law enforcement experience with security expertise. Unless assigned to a special security function, most law enforcement personnel have little or no qualifying training or experience in the security disciplines.

• Communication Skills – Knowledge is useless if the “expert can’t convey it clearly and intelligently both verbally and in writing.

June 11, 2009

Fire Expert Witness On The Fire Report Part 3

In Fire Investigation Reports: The Key to Writing a Quality Report fire expert witness and Principal of Pyrocop, Inc., Robert Rowe "Who is your audience?"

When writing a fire investigation report, the fire investigator should determine who the target audience will be (i.e. attorneys, insurance companies, public entities, etc.) and write the report for that particular audience. Remember, the person reading the report may know nothing about fire investigation.
The fire investigator must also avoid terminology that only fire investigators understand. If you do use terminology known only to fire experts, then be sure to explain the terms. Below are a few examples;
- "V patterns." Explain that these patterns point toward the area of origin
- "Alligatoring" Explain that you found a pattern which is typical of the use of accelerants.
Try to avoid terminology that cannot be explained such as “There was a strong Ethylene odor in the room". It is difficult to describe an Ethylene odor and even more difficult for the reader to comprehend.

June 10, 2009

Hospitality Expert Witness On ADR Part 4

In Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Hospitality Industry hospitality expert witness Maurice Robinson writes on ADR neutrality and experience.

Regardless of the provider, it is critical to the resolution of the disputes that the
“neutrals”, those individuals empowered to resolve the disputes, possess both impartiality
and industry experience. The clear advantage of using members of ISHC’s ADR Panel is
to bring not only neutrality and independence to the process, but to ensure that industry
experience and understanding is applied when reviewing facts, analysis and testimony,
and in arriving at findings and conclusions, solutions and awards. ISHC members are
professionals who abide by strict professional standards of independence that have been
well established and recognized by the hospitality industry for many years. It is thus their
independence, industry knowledge and professional expertise that is brought to the ADR
process and makes an ISHC solution to ADR so desirable.

One of the primary advantages of the ISHC is that its members bring vast experience
covering all areas of the hospitality sector, ranging from the technical (architecture,
engineering, construction, appraisal, and real estate development) to marketing,
operational, financial and economic areas, to the strategic, organizational, people,
process, technology, capital and real estate property markets. The ISHC is the single most
comprehensive organization to find experts to resolve disputes in the many disciplines of
the hospitality industry.

June 9, 2009

Internet Expert Witness On Company E-mail Part 5

In Managing the Risky Business of Company E-mail Part1 internet expert witness Scott Greene, CEO of Evidence Solutions, Inc., writes that his company has documented, during the examination of electronic systems, employees who frequently say/save things into e-mails or store on a computer, things they would never say anywhere else.

In many cases we have found that most policies do not adequately cover what is necessary in the computer and electronic communication age. Companies should have a very clear e-mail and technology use policy. One of the more important ones usually not covered, and unfortunately to the detriment of the employer, is an e-mail retention policy. Since many industries are governed by different and specific federal and/or state statutes on how long information must be retained, your policy should reflect these guidelines.

The policy should be as specific as possible in what types of communications are kept and how long. Make it clear there are both business and legal reasons for the company keeping such information. Information from e-mails as well as other electronic systems can be used in many types of cases, including: harassment, discrimination, antitrust, retaliation, Americans with Disabilities Act, insider trading, accounting fraud, improper trade secret disclosure and more!

June 8, 2009

Forensic Engineering Expert Witnesses Part 3

Joseph E. Bonadiman, PhD, PE, writes on Experience versus education in forensic engineering:

The practicing engineer, that professional who keeps a pair of work boots in the back of his sedan and who has hands-on experience with every stage of a project, might at first seem a distant second choice to the gilded aura of the academic expert. This individual would have less experience presenting or discussing complex engineering concepts with anyone except other engineers who already grasp the subject. Technical terms might be difficult for an engineer to convey in a way a layman would understand; on the other hand, it is not impossible to conceive of a practicing engineer as having attained sufficient social qualities that enable him to competently relay complicated information in an understandable way. For example, he may be a principal in an engineering firm where he makes presentations to private and public entities. Regardless of the way he comes about his mixture of qualifications, is that mix enough to make him the best choice for an expert witness?

Excerpted from The Forensic Examiner, Winter, 2007

June 7, 2009

Document Examination Expert Witness On Questioned Writing Part 6

Document examination expert witness Ronald N. Morris is a certified forensic document examiner and in this excerpt from Submitting a Handwriting Case for Examination, he writes on preparing a work request.

After separating the documents into questioned and known, the next step is to prepare a work request. The work request can be a specially designed form or letter. Regardless of which format is used the work request should contain the following elements:
a. A specific and complete description of the submitted documents, both questioned and known.

b. Accurately describe the desired examination(s), handwriting identification, alteration, fabrication, etc. For example, “Did John Jones write the name Sam Brown on …”, “are all of the James Joyce signatures by the same writer,” etc. Accurately describe the questioned material and its location on the document. If the known writing is collected, the location of the writing to be compared should be accurately described. One option would be to copy the collected document, and on the photocopy highlight the known writing. Attach the photocopy with the original document when submitted.

c. What disposition is to be made of the submitted documents at the conclusion of the examination(s)? Are they to be temporarily retained by the laboratory for preparation of court illustrations, or returned to the submitter? It is strongly recommended that the submitter be prepared to receive the submitted documents at the completion of the initial examination, and if at a later time another examination becomes necessary, then they be resubmitted. They can also be resubmitted for the preparation of court illustration.

June 6, 2009

Security Expert Witness On Avoiding Security Litigation Part 3

In Security Experts: Litigation and Beyond, security expert witness Robert A. Gardner, CPP, writes:

Regardless of the focus of your practice, there may be a place for a qualified security expert in your legal tool kit. Consider making these suggestions to your client:

• In employment situations, have a qualified security expert review policies and practices with regard to employee selection and screening, employee honesty, and workplace violence prevention and response.

• If your client is a public figure, celebrity or senior business executive, have a qualified security expert conduct periodic threat assessments and assist in developing a protection plan for the client, the client’s family and their home.

The above list is not exhaustive of the areas in which a qualified security consultant can help you protect you client’s interests but it provides a starting point.

June 5, 2009

Fire Expert Witness On The Fire Report Part 2

In Fire Investigation Reports: The Key to Writing a Quality Report fire expert witness and Principal of Pyrocop, Inc., Robert Rowe writes on peer review.

As the report will be read by peers, supervisors, the public and colleagues, it is extremely important that fire investigator uses correct grammar, spelling and punctuation throughout the report. Misspelled words and improper grammar can cast an unprofessional shadow over the fire investigator as well as the entire fire investigation. Each report should be proof read to ensure that it is not only complete and accurate but easy to read.

The report should also be written in the “first person” such as “I arrived at the scene at 9:00 a.m.” or “I observed heavy smoke staining on the exterior wall surface above the south entrance”. Try to avoid second or third person phrases such as “This investigator arrived on scene at 9:00 a.m.” or “this officer noted heavy charring”, etc.

June 4, 2009

Internet Expert Witness On Company E-mail Part 4

In Managing the Risky Business of Company E-mail Part1 internet expert witness Scott Greene, CEO of Evidence Solutions, Inc., writes that his company has documented, during the examination of electronic systems, employees who frequently say/save things into e-mails or store on a computer, things they would never say anywhere else.

We have now asked and answered two very important questions. First, the majority of employees do not consider the legal risk of electronic communications. Second, as an owner/supervisor why it is crucial you understand the potential legal ramifications. The remainder of this article is devoted to assisting you in creating and/or updating your current policies.

In today’s litigious society, company’s both large and small should have company policies. These policies have traditionally covered areas from dress codes to vacation policies. Within the past five years companies have begun adopting IT policies, generally found within the employee handbook. As a professional Computer and Technology Forensics company, when we are called in to examine hard drives and/or servers due to a company suspecting the improper use of systems, we also discuss the company’s IT policies with the appropriate supervisor or IT manager.

June 3, 2009

Forensic Engineering Expert Witnesses Part 2

Joseph E. Bonadiman, PhD, PE, writes on Experience versus education in forensic engineering:

So, what is more important, experience or education, when choosing an expert witness? When considering a bridge failure, for instance, is it more beneficial to know the modulus of elasticity of steel and vector dynamics or why a similar bridge failed 10 years ago under similar conditions? Who is informed? Who would go in the right direction in an investigation? Who would provide the most appropriate testimony for the client?...

A purely academic expert, one whose accomplishments in a discipline are represented by reports in journals or a doctoral dissertation is, on the surface, a good choice for an expert witness. This expert may be a professor at a university supplementing his or her income with expert work. He or she would be highly familiar with state-of-the-art procedures in the field and would be very competent at conveying this information to an audience like a class, jury, or judge. He or she may appear, and rightly so, highly knowledgeable and capable, but is a Professor Jones on campus equivalent to an Indiana Jones in the field?

Excerpted from The Forensic Examiner, Winter, 2007

June 2, 2009

Hospitality Expert Witness On ADR Part 3

In Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Hospitality Industry hospitality expert witness Maurice Robinson writes:

ADR Providers
A “provider” organization is usually needed to administer the dispute resolution process,
such as a hearing. There are numerous providers of these services, including organizations such as the American Arbitration Association (AAA), JAMS, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and the Institute of Conflict Management (ICM), which has provided the training and certification of ISHC panel members to date. While ICM is currently the ISHC’s preferred vendor relationship for the provision of support services in ADR, all panel members are prepared to serve with any provider in the ADR field where the circumstances dictate or are appropriate. Some existing contractual agreements within the hospitality industry, for example, provide for the
application of AAA or JAMS rules, under which all panel members would serve. It is important to note, however, that the parties involved can agree to use any provider organization to resolve a dispute, even if it is not named in the original contract.

June 1, 2009

Document Examination Expert Witness On Questioned Writing Part 5

Document examination expert witness Ronald N. Morris is a certified forensic document examiner and in this excerpt from Submitting a Handwriting Case for Examination, he writes on how to organize a case for submission.

Step 1—Separate the questioned and known documents.

Step 2—Write the word “questioned” on an envelope and place the questioned document inside this envelope.

Step 3—Write the word “known” on another envelope, or several envelopes depending upon the number of known writers. Use one envelope for each known writer and write that person’s name under the word known. Place the appropriate documents inside each envelope and seal it. Rather than fold the documents and try to place them into a small envelope, use large flat envelopes to hold the documents.

Do not write on the envelope when the submitted material is inside. Write on the envelope first and then put the document for examination inside. If the questioned document is to be processed for fingerprints, the document should be safeguarded using established and acceptable procedures by placing it in a separate and approved protector. The envelope holding the document should be marked, “contents to be processed for prints.”