February 28, 2010

Prison Authorities Expert Witness On Inmate Riots Part 3

Prison authorities expert witness Richard Lichten gives an inside view on the causes of jail and prison riots:

Perhaps one of the best things the staff can do to keep control is to use the single most powerful weapon available to jail or prison staff… I am talking about the jail keys. There must be good, well thought out security procedures and then making sure those procedures are followed for inmate safety and security to be enhanced. Staff must conduct plenty of searches, keep accurate records, keep on top of maintenance, and most importantly, keep doors (which are called “gates” in jail), securely locked at all times to enhance security and safety. Remember the New Mexico State Prison riot in 1980? I learned that a poorly trained prison guard failed to lock the gate that separated the two sides of the prison which allowed the rioters to spread out and take hostages and kill other inmates throughout the entire prison. I will never forget the wording of a sign above the entrance to one of the large jails I was assigned to. It states, “Good security is not convenient.”

February 27, 2010

Emergency Medicine Expert Witness On Myocardial Infarction Medicolegal Pitfalls

Emergency medicine expert witness and Chief Editor of web-based eMedicine Dr. Erik Schraga would like legal professionals and experts to know that eMedicine offers continually updated clinical reference information which may prove useful in cases they are working on. The following excerpt on cardiology provides information on myocardial infarction medicolegal pitfalls.

Medicolegal Pitfalls

* Failure to diagnosis a myocardial infarction is the leading cause of litigation against emergency department clinicians and cardiologists.

* Consider atypical presentations in elderly patients, patients with diabetes, and women. Assess all patients carefully, especially if they have significant cardiac risk factors.

* Review all ECGs that are obtained in a prompt fashion because time is crucial.

* Obtain cardiology consultation whenever the diagnosis is questionable.

* Consider an echocardiogram to assess wall motion abnormalities in difficult cases with nondiagnostic ECGs, such as with an LBBB.

February 26, 2010

Daubert As Elegant Process To Qualify Expert Witnesses Part 2

In Daubert: Very Convoluted, Usually Confusing to Many, Nevertheless Elegant, Armand Rossetti writes:

Daubert also requires that an expert witness has to assist and not to confuse the Trier of fact. If the Jury (Trier of fact) can understand whether a substance in particular is able to cause an injury and whether an injury resulted from that particular substance, an expert opinion would be redundant and unnecessary.

On the other hand, Rule 403 requires a Court to balance the probative value against the prejudicial effects of expert witness testimony. Courts should not confuse Rule 403 with Rule 703.

For example, experts do not necessarily need an epidemiological study with an internal control group or randomly selected participants to be able to show an association between exposure to a chemical and resulting bodily abnormalities. That is true because an association is not causation. While a case study might not be sufficient to show causation, it may be all that is necessary to show an association between presence of a toxic substance and a resulting injury.

February 25, 2010

Medical Expert Witness On Cardiology Medicolegal Pitfalls

Medical expert witness and Chief Editor of web-based eMedicine Dr. Erik Schraga would like legal professionals and experts to know that eMedicine offers continually updated clinical reference information which may prove useful in cases they are working on. The following excerpt on cardiology provides information on sudden cardiac death medicolegal pitfalls.

Medicolegal Pitfalls
* Failure to recognize and initiate early management of patients with ischemic heart disease is a pitfall. The importance of this cannot be overestimated because approximately 80% of SCD cases can be attributed to ischemic heart disease.
* Failure to use appropriate medical therapy for ischemic heart disease (eg, beta-blockers) can be a pitfall.
* Involving a specialist in cardiovascular disease in the care of patients who have had a cardiac arrest or have symptoms of ischemic heart disease, valvular disorders, or presentations with complex arrhythmias is very important.
* Failure to educate patients about the consequences of noncompliance with medical therapy is an important pitfall to avoid.

February 24, 2010

Hospitality Expert Witness On Renovations Part 3

In Tough Question Requires Equally Tough Answers, hospitality expert witness Steven Belmonte, President and C.E.O., Hospitality Solutions LLC, asks the questions: “Are product upgrades and renovations really needed during hard economic times?”

In short, you can’t afford to defer upgrades because of the poor economy. To put it another way, you can’t afford not to invest in an upgrade, regardless of the economy’s strength (or lack of it). The truth is, your guests don’t care if the economy is in bad shape, as long as your hotel is in good shape—and if it isn’t, they won’t be back.

Now because of the economic downturn and the resultant difficulty in getting a loan, you may be wondering how you could possibly afford to upgrade when business is down and cash-flow has been reduced to a trickle. One thing to consider is repositioning your product in the marketplace. Don’t let your ego get in the way—there’s nothing to be ashamed of in repositioning to a “lower” segment, and there are many economy-focused products available. It may be the right decision, one that keeps guest expectations in check while eliminating the need to invest what could be millions of dollars to upgrade in order to meet high expectations. Granted, this is not an easy choice: Your average daily rate will be negatively affected, but it may be your only viable alternative. After all, isn’t it better to reposition to a lower tier than to have your guests dissatisfied because their expectations are not being met? Think about it.


February 23, 2010

Prison Authorities Expert Witness On Inmate Riots Part 2

Prison authorities expert witness Richard Lichten gives an inside view on the causes of jail and prison riots:

The jails and prisons must have easy to follow policy and procedures in place for rioting. One of the best ways to stop the fighting is with a very swift, sure, well supervised, well equipped, overpowering response by the emergency response teams. And these teams must have on-going, realistic, verifiable training.

In situations wherein the inmates are not fighting, but rather barricading themselves against the staff in an open revolt, time is not on staff’s side. It has been my experience that negotiating with barricading inmates ought not to last more than two minutes before taking action. While the staff negotiates with the inmates, inmate leadership is emerging, weapons are being fashioned, courage is being amped up, the inmates’ terrain is being fortified, and plans are being made. All of this makes it much more dangerous when the staff finally goes in tactically.

February 22, 2010

Jail Expert Witness On Jail & Prison Riots Part 3

Jail expert witness Richard Lichten gives an inside view on the causes of jail and prison riots:

One of the reasons it is important to keep the jails and prisons fully funded is inmate and staff safety. In jail and prison, it is a given that inmates will fight. It’s going to happen, and it cannot be stopped. There are a number of things however the staff can do to lessen the violence and keep injuries to a minimum.

It is essential to have proper staffing, training, and supervision. Fewer staff members mean fewer officers walking around talking with the inmates. Sometimes inmates will tell officers about impending violence. Fewer staff means fewer patrols in the cell blocks and yard. With fewer staff the tension in the block and yard will not be felt. Feeling jail and prison tension is essential to do, but you must have staff there to do it. Fewer staff means important clues to danger will be missed. For example, when a number of inmates go to sleep with the clothes and shoes on trouble is brewing. Fewer staff means fewer inmates searched and fewer cell searches for contraband. And fewer staff means less opportunity to train for riots and other emergencies such as earthquake, fire, evacuation, and escape.



February 21, 2010

Law Enforcement Expert On Prison Riots

Law enforcement expert witness Richard Lichten gives an inside view on the causes of jail and prison riots:

I’m often asked which is more dangerous, and which is harder time, jail or prison. In my opinion and in the opinion of hundreds of inmates I’ve spoken with, hands down, jail is more dangerous and the time is much harder to serve. The reason for this is that in jail there is a very good chance young, non-violent inmates with little jail savvy will be housed in the same area with hardened, experienced, violent inmates who have no issue taking advantage of the uninitiated and vulnerable. Persons entering jail and prison for the first time have no idea how to act. They haven’t the slightest clue about showing respect to other inmates and have no idea how to interact with the staff. Remember, in jail it’s all about showing respect.

In jail you have far less privacy than in prison. You have far fewer chances to go to school and work, and you have far less recreation time. For example, in jail you might get your allotted three hours of yard time a week, where in prison you can spend hours a day in the yard. Believe me, yard time is a big deal. I’ve had many inmates tell me that they cannot wait to get to “catch the chain” so they can relax in prison.


February 20, 2010

Insurance Expert Witness On Underwriting Part 6

In All Should Use Greater Care Handling Underwriting Information, insurance expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

In some instances, there may be an appearance of misrepresentation or omission due to the failure by the insurer to clarify responses to application questions. When presented with ambiguous or conflicting information, it behooves insurers to seek clarification prior to binding coverage or issuing the policy. For example, when an applicant found an application question inapplicable to its business, he amended it in a good faith attempt to provide accurate and complete information, and the insurer issued the policy without seeking clarifications. When a claim occurred, the insurer denied it, citing the answer to the modified question as evidence of misrepresentation.

In certain circumstances only litigation can resolve allegations of misrepresentation or omission. However, the exercise of greater care in obtaining and preparing underwriting information by applicants or brokers, and clarification of ambiguous information by insurers can substantially reduce the number of cases requiring litigation and inevitable delays and costs.

February 19, 2010

Hospitality Expert Witness On Renovations Part 2

In Tough Question Requires Equally Tough Answers, hospitality expert witness Steven Belmonte, President and C.E.O., Hospitality Solutions LLC, asks the questions: “Are product upgrades and renovations really needed during hard economic times?”

First of all, it doesn’t matter whether you’re operating in a recession or in the most robust economy imaginable. The fact is that if your hotel doesn’t meet guest expectations, if it’s inferior to other, similarly priced properties in your market—well then, you need to upgrade. In fact, if you think you’re being fiscally responsible by not upgrading your hotel’s public spaces and guestrooms right now, you’re mistaken. Failing to renovate could lead to an irreversible decline in guest satisfaction and loyalty—and that scenario, obviously, will destroy your bottom line.

Here’s another piece of advice for hotel owners and operators: It’s crucial that you have in-depth knowledge of your property’s competitive position in the market. You have to take a thoughtful—and brutally honest—look at the quality of your hotel. Ask yourself if the property meets the needs of today’s increasingly demanding guest. How does your hotel compare with nearby (and perhaps much newer) properties? If your hotel isn’t cutting the mustard qualitywise, its future—and yours—is looking very dim.


February 18, 2010

Handwriting Expert Witness Evidence & Frye Hearing Part 2

After being convicted of premeditated first degree murder, Jeremy Hull took his case to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The reason the defense is appealing the case has to do primarily with their belief that the Mille Lacs County District Court should have granted a Frye hearing in regards to fingerprinting and handwriting evidence.

Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Kimberly Parker argued that a Frye hearing is for novel or emerging techniques and that the report Carlson referred to is not novel or emerging and that it’s the burden of the defense to prove there is novel or emerging techniques. “There’s nothing new here,” she said. But a judge countered that the report is saying the technique is in question and not necessarily valid. The assistant attorney general also pointed out that the defense had an opportunity at trial to attack the handwriting issue, but they did not provide handwriting expert witness testimony to say it wasn’t his handwriting.

For more, see MilleLacsCountyTimes.com.

February 17, 2010

Medical Expert Witness On Medicolegal Pitfalls

Medical expert witness and Chief Editor of web-based emedicine Dr. Erik Schraga would like legal professionals and experts to know that emedicine offers continually updated clinical reference information which may prove useful in cases they are working on. The following excerpt on cardiology provides information on atrial fibrillation medicolegal pitfalls.

Medicolegal Pitfalls

* Proper anticoagulation is extremely important in both paroxysmal and persistent atrial fibrillation.
* Anticoagulation before and after cardioversion is necessary.
* Use of antiarrhythmic agents requires regular, drug-specific follow-up testing.

Special Concerns

* Warfarin is contraindicated during pregnancy.
* Give special consideration to patients who are noncompliant and patients who are at risk for falling. These patients may be better off with antiplatelet agents such as aspirin.

February 16, 2010

Insurance Customs Expert Witness On Underwriting Part 5

In All Should Use Greater Care Handling Underwriting Information, insurance customs expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

The need for greater care with handling of underwriting information is not limited to applicants and brokers. Insurers should ask all pertinent questions in the application form because, in many instances, the applicant may be aware of important underwriting information but does not disclose it simply because it was not asked.

Application questions should be limited to seeking factual information rather than eliciting the opinion or judgment of the applicant. For example, when the applicant answered “no” to a professional liability application question as to whether future claims were expected, based on the applicant’s opinion or judgment, the insurer concluded that the response was a misrepresentation or omission just because a claim did occur.

February 15, 2010

Insurance Practices Expert Witness On Underwriting Part 4

In All Should Use Greater Care Handling Underwriting Information, insurance practices expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

The following are examples of alleged misrepresentations or omissions involving litigation:

* the broker asked the applicant to sign a blank application form, completed and released it to the insurer without providing copy to the applicant;
* the applicant did not review an application prepared by the broker, which contained a misrepresentation or omission;
* the broker did not ask the applicant about past losses and provided the wrong answer in the application;
* the applicant and broker did not communicate clearly about the scope of coverage and limits sought in the application;
* an application question was ambiguous to the applicant and the answer was incorrect;
* the insurer did not seek clarification of an ambiguous response to an application question.

February 14, 2010

Insurance Expert Witness On Underwriting Part 3

In All Should Use Greater Care Handling Underwriting Information, insurance expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

State insurance laws generally allow the insurer to deny claims or rescind the policy for misrepresentation or omission, including concealment fact or incorrect statement, if:

* it was material either to the acceptance of the risk or to the hazard assumed by the insurer, or
* a reasonable insurer would have acted differently had it known the true facts, e.g. would have charged higher premium, restricted coverage or declined to issue the policy.

While most misrepresentations or omissions are unintentional, the insurer’s right to deny claim payment or to rescind the policy is not limited to intentional or fraudulent misrepresentation under a number state laws, when either of the above two criteria applies.

February 13, 2010

Handwriting Expert Witness Evidence & Frye Hearing Part 1

After being convicted of premeditated first degree murder, Jeremy Hull took his case to the Minnesota Supreme Court. It’s an automatic appeal and Hull did not waive his right to appeal. Hull, 26, was convicted in 2008 of killing Lewis Wilczek of Little Falls in April 2007, then dismembering, burning and burying Wilczek’s body outside of Foreston. After killing Wilczek, he stole the 21-year-old’s identity. The reason the defense is appealing the case has to do primarily with their belief that the Mille Lacs County District Court should have granted a Frye hearing in regards to expert witness testimony on fingerprinting and handwriting evidence.

A Frye hearing is used to determine whether scientific evidence (produced by an expert witness) is admissible in court. In the 1923 federal Court of Appeals case Frye v. United States, the court held that expert testimony is admissible when the technique or theory it is based on has gained “general acceptance” in the relevant scientific community. In a Frye hearing, the trial court determines whether or not given testimony is, in fact, generally accepted (a Frye hearing is typically called after prosecutors or defense lawyers move to exclude the testimony of an expert witness).

For more, see MilleLacsCountyTimes.com.


February 12, 2010

Hospitality Expert Witness On Renovations Part 1

In Tough Question Requires Equally Tough Answers, hospitality expert witness Steven Belmonte, President and C.E.O., Hospitality Solutions LLC, asks the questions: “Are product upgrades and renovations really needed during hard economic times?”

That’s a question I used to get asked a lot. But, as always, things change—and, obviously, not for the better, at least economically speaking these days. And so the question has changed. In these almost unprecedented hard economic times, the question isn’t so much whether a renovation is needed—rather, it’s whether a renovation is, first, viable and, second, whether it’s a smart thing to do.

This is a question you absolutely must ask yourself, especially in this incredibly tough financial environment. As for the answer … well, here’s what I think: There are two answers to this crucial question—and they both add up to an emphatic “Yes!”


February 11, 2010

Aviation Expert Witness On Pilot Medical History Part 2

On his website, aviation expert witness John Ogle, MD, MPH, FACEP, lists FAA medical questions regarding a pilot applicant's medical history and information on how the FAA considers any problems with respect to flight safety. Here are13-24:

Medical History
13. Mental disorders of any sort; depression, anxiety, etc. (More...)
14. Substance dependence; or failed a drug test ever; or substance abuse or use of illegal substance in the last 2 years (More...)
15. Alcohol dependence or abuse (More...)
16. Suicide attempt (More...)
17. Motion sickness requiring medication (More...)
18. Military medical discharge (More...)
19. Medical rejection by military service (More...)
20. Rejection for life or health insurance (More...)
21. Admission to hospital (More...)
22. Conviction and/or Administrative Action History (More...)
23. History of nontraffic convictions (More...)
24. Other illness, disability, or surgery (More...)

February 10, 2010

Real Estate Expert Witnesses & Cook County Circuit Court Hearing

At least 51 witnesses may be called upon by the Park District of La Grange, IL, to provide testimony in an upcoming Cook County Circuit Court hearing in support of its petition to sell 2.82 acres of Gordon Park to developer Atlantic Realty Partners. Experts named in the document include real estate valuation expert witness Patricia L. McGarr and real estate expert witness Brian L. Paupore, both of Integra Realty Resources. Witnesses recognized by the court as experts may include opinions in their testimony where appropriate, whereas other witnesses may only speak to the factual nature of any evidence presented.

The Park District reserved the right to add additional witnesses at a later date. Judge Susan Fox Gillis has not yet set a date for the presentation of testimony, but the next status hearing is scheduled for Feb. 19.

For more, see http://everythinglagrange.typepad.com.

February 9, 2010

Patent Infringement Expert Witness On Patent Litigation Part 2

In Product Experience or Expert Experience?, patent infringement expert witness James G. Rice writes:

Because patent litigation is one of the more complex areas of litigation, the expert witness is susceptible to making a critical mistake, for example, during a deposition. From my own experience, it appears that patent litigation is the foremost area of litigation in which technical issues can be strongly interwoven with legal issues. This can lead to the situation during a deposition where what may appear on the surface to be a relatively straight forward technical question can have critical underlying legal implications. I recall being asked during a deposition if a particular element of a claim was a "method." The wording of the claim was not entirely clear on this issue and a less experienced witness might have simply answered "yes" and thus inadvertently have testified in effect that the claim was invalid. Although the attorney the expert is working with during preparation for the deposition may be excellent, it is difficult, if not almost impossible, to anticipate all of the avenues the opposing attorney may take during the course of a deposition. This makes it all the more important that the expert have strong experience in patent litigation.

February 8, 2010

Patent Expert Witness On Selecting Patent Litigation Expert Part 1

In Product Experience or Expert Experience?, patents expert witness James G. Rice writes:

Quite often when I receive an inquiry from an attorney about a new case, the case deals with a product or device that involves a very specialized and narrow area of design and engineering. A typical example of such a device would be a vacuum cleaner. The attorney will state that they are looking for an expert who has specifically worked in this specific segment of industry in the design and engineering of vacuum cleaners. They often will then state that they are having a hard time locating such an expert. The problem of course is that in such a very specialized area, such individuals are not widely available and are also highly unlikely to be working in litigation support. Even further, should the attorney be fortunate enough to find such an individual, it is frequently the case that they are not be willing to participate in litigation support.

February 7, 2010

Pathology Expert Witness & Stanley Cole Trial

The trial of Stanley Cole, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Jackson State University student Latasha Norman, is set to begin February 8 in the Circuit Court of Hinds County, Mississippi. The evidence against Stanley Cole at this point includes: (a) he confessed to murdering Natasha Norman; (b) he confessed to placing her in the trunk of his car; and (c) he went out on a date with another woman while Latasha Norman’s corpse was in his trunk. There is DNA evidence that places Latasha Norman’s blood in Stanley Cole’s trunk. Circuit Judge Swan Yerger postponed Cole's murder trial to make sure pathology expert witness Dr. Steven Hayne will be available to testify.

Source: criminaldefenseblog.net.

February 6, 2010

Insurance Customs Expert Witness On Underwriting Part 2

In All Should Use Greater Care Handling Underwriting Information, insurance customs expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

Misrepresentations or omissions primarily originate from negligence by the applicant or broker during the course of the obtaining underwriting information and completing the application.

One of the major functions of brokers is to obtain accurate and complete underwriting information, which requires their active involvement in the process of gathering, preparing and communicating such information to the insurers, rather than just being the conduit to pass information from applicants to insurers. Brokers should also take the initiative and explain major provisions or conditions of the policy to applicants to minimize negative surprises when a claim occurs.

February 5, 2010

Insurance Practices Expert Witness On Underwriting Part 1

In All Should Use Greater Care Handling Underwriting Information, insurance practices expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

One of the tenets of insurance law is that parties to an insurance policy are expected to deal with each other in utmost good faith. Applicants for insurance or their brokers must disclose all relevant underwriting information fully and accurately to prospective insurers. If the application contains any misrepresentation or omits information that could affect the underwriting decision of the insurer, the standard of utmost good faith is not met and the insurer may deny coverage for claims or rescind the policy.

Allegations about misrepresentation or omission usually surface in the course claim investigations by insurers. In many instances the ensuing litigation may result in denial of the claim or rescission of the policy. Even if misrepresentation or omission is not proven, litigation inevitably causes significant delays in claims adjustment and direct and indirect expenses to the parties.

February 4, 2010

Law Enforcement Agent Expert On Jail Riots

Law enforcement agent expert witness Richard Lichten gives an inside view on the causes of jail and prison riots:

It is a fact that to get along in jail or prison, you must stick with your own race. If you are in an area where there is rioting, you must participate to show respect to your race. If you have an opportunity to join in the riot and do not, you run the risk of getting a beating, or being sexually assaulted later on. In one of the large jails I was assigned to, some of the gang leaders would order a beating called, “30 seconds under the stairs.” That means you would be pummeled for 30 seconds under the stairwell in the dorms. Thirty seconds is a very long time to suffer a beating. Look at your watch for 30 seconds and think about how your face can be mashed into pulp in that time. The staff may see what is happening and come to your aid, but it will take at least that long to get back up, open the door, and run to you.

February 3, 2010

Prison Authorities Expert Witness On Inmate Riots

Prison authorities expert witness Richard Lichten gives an inside view on the causes of jail and prison riots:

Some of the reasons inmates riot are power issues between races, revenge for an assault/killing on the streets, showing disrespect to others, stealing from each other, being ordered to riot by the prison gang leadership, and power over who controls the drugs and other contraband such as cell phones and cigarettes just to name a few. When I talk of disrespect, I’m not talking about forgetting to say please and thank you. I’m talking about failing to use the “right” toilet, walking through someone’s personal space, using the “wrong” telephone, not cleaning up your assigned space, speaking with someone of another race, not standing up for your own race and so on.

February 2, 2010

Jail Expert Witness On Jail & Prison Riots Part 2

Jail expert witness Richard Lichten gives an inside view on the causes of jail and prison riots:

Of course over crowding adds to the problem. It adds to the stress the inmates feel. It means fewer inmates can get the proper health care they need, and there are fewer opportunities for the inmates to attend school, etc. You get the picture. Over crowding places heavy burdens on the staff as well. It is a serious matter. But there is so much more going on in a riot.

This is what I can tell you about jail and prison riots based on my training, knowledge, and experience. Please know that I do not differentiate between jail and prison. It is not necessary that I do so.

Whenever you place criminals together in jail, they are going to fight one another at some point. For the most part, people in jail are mean, ugly, violent people who have very little regard for others. Not all of them, but most of them. A great number of inmates in jail and prison will fight and damage they can.

February 1, 2010

Law Enforcement Expert On Prison Riots Part 1

Law enforcement expert witness Richard Lichten gives an inside view on the causes of jail and prison riots:

For some time now, the news media has inundated the public with stories of prison under funding, poor prison health care, and the possibility of California releasing thousands of prison inmates to ease overcrowding. Additionally, two major prison riots were reported. One riot was in California and one in Kentucky. Numerous prisoners were injured and millions of dollars in damage was done during both riots. The news reported that prison overcrowding was to blame in each case.

During my 30 years in law enforcement I have led emergency response teams to quell over 100 large inmate disturbances (what many would call riots) in several very large, violent jails. I have taught other supervisors and line personnel how to handle such riots, and I have lectured on this topic in other states. And even though I have retired, I am still involved with jail and prison issues by working with the Dr. Prison (www.drprison.org) organization. Dr. Prison counsels individuals who are going to be incarcerated for the first time how to survive by learning the rules of jail or prison.

For once I would like to see the media report the full story about why jail and prison riots occur. To be fair, I do not know the specific cause of these two particular riots; however, based on my experience I can tell you what may have really happened and why.