March 31, 2010

Insurance Expert On Spring Driving Conditions

According to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), vehicular fatalities account for nearly 95 percent of transportation related fatalities. Drivers often think that warmer weather means safer road conditions, but the effects of winter weather often make for difficult spring road conditions. As March 20th marks the first day of spring, CURE Auto Insurance provides tips on how drivers can stay safe on the road this season.

1. Watch for potholes. Snow, ice and rain from the winter months often leave roads in bad shape. The repeated freezing and thawing of moisture seeps through road surfaces causing potholes. It is best to avoid potholes entirely. If that's not possible, apply brakes before hitting a pothole and release them just prior to impact. Additionally, keeping your tires properly inflated will help reduce damage from potholes and other road hazards.

2. Spring showers bring May flowers--and wet driving conditions. Rain water that mixes with oil on the streets can result in slippery conditions that may cause unexpected skidding. Stay alert and avoid driving through large puddles ¬-the splashing water may affect your brakes.

Citizens United Reciprocal Exchange, (CURE) is a not-for-profit reciprocal exchange headquartered in Princeton, N.J. Founded in 1990 by New Jersey Insurance Commissioner James J. Sheeran and award-winning insurance expert, Dr. Lena Chang as an answer to the insurance crisis in New Jersey.

For more, see

March 30, 2010

Construction Expert Witness On Experts As A Valuable Asset Part 4

In Expert Witness - A Valuable Asset, William Gulya, Jr., construction expert witness and President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

Expert witnesses often will be required to be deposed and testify under oath at trial. The attorney should know in advance how the expert would appear and perform under pressure. The expert should always be dressed in business formal attire, which sends a clear signal to the jurors the expert is respectable and professional.

The attorney should meet with the expert so he can observe the expert’s composure and tone and how he carries himself in a mock deposition or trial testimony atmosphere. Even some of the very best experts can get somewhat flustered during a rigorous and demanding cross-examination. The attorney should educate the expert in the redirect process so he or she fully understands the process and its importance.

By incorporating the guidelines above, an attorney utilizing an expert witness will be better able to serve his client effectively.

March 29, 2010

Georgia Utilities Expert Witnesses

The House has approved a bill that requires utilities to pay for utilities expert witnesses who come before the state Public Service Commission to help make the case for rate hikes. Currently, those expert witnesses are paid for by taxpayers. The measure from state Rep. John Lunsford, a McDonough Republican, passed 114-49 on Wednesday. Opponents say the legislation allows utilities to pass the costs along to consumers and could lead to higher gas and electric rates.

Excerpted from

March 28, 2010

Guidelines For Social Services Expert Witnesses

In The Social Worker as an Expert Witness in Suspected Child Abuse Cases: A Primer for Beginners, LeRoy Schultz offers guidelines to the social services expert witness:

Before the cross exam, in your pretrial conference with your attorney, you will have discussed the weakest points in your testimony. Ask for directions from your attorney on how to handle these. Be prepared for intense scrutiny of your information, argue well, but not emotionally. The intent of the opposing attorney is to discredit you. Expect denigration and sarcasm but stay calm and professional. You can be discredited in front of the jury by:

1. Lack of licensing or evidence of falsification of credentials.
2. Showing your bias or an unusual interest in court outcome.
3. Presenting evidence of bad character, i.e., misconduct, drinking, owning a pornography collection.
4. Proof of prior inconsistency (in previous trials).
5. Contradictions in your accounts or publications.
6. Lack of knowledge of case or subject matter.

Beware the trap of answering legal questions which only a jury can determine. Offer your opinion but never be drawn out of your expertise, or lured out of your expertise into legal areas, although the opposing attorney may use this tactic. Do not become emotional and defensive on the witness stand — if you have made a mistake in first exam, quickly admit so, and move on.

For more, see

March 27, 2010

Medical Expert On Cheaper Medicines Part 3

In Cheaper Medicines Not Always Better, medical expert Peter Pitts, President, Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and former associate FDA commissioner writes:

There are several reasons such a policy hurts our health system. For one, it is an assault on the relationship between physicians and patients. When a doctor decides on a treatment, he is employing years of medical experience and weighing countless factors, like the patient's age, diet, and lifestyle. Patients, meanwhile, trust that the doctor knows best.

When it's possible for a health care bureaucrat to override the decision of a trained medical professional, this valuable association between a patient and his doctor breaks down. A patient is no longer under the care of single medical expert, but is now being treated by faceless organization looking to cut corners.

This breeds distrust among patients, but it also results in worse medical outcomes and higher overall costs.

For more, see Orange County Register.

March 26, 2010

Nursing Expert Witness & Legal Nurse Consultants Part 2

The nursing expert witness may often be a Legal Nurse Consultant. Here, the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants answers:

What Does a Legal Nurse Consultant Do?
# Acts as a liaison with attorneys, physicians and clients
# Educates attorneys regarding medical facts and issues relating to a case or claim
# Researches applicable literature and evidence to determine the merits of a case
# Reviews and analyzes documents and compares them to the allegations
# Summarizes medical literature
# Screens for record tampering
# Defines and evaluates the standards of care practices
# Evaluates the possible breach of duty on the part of the healthcare practitioner or facility
# Prepares witness and exhibit lists

For more, see

March 25, 2010

Construction Expert Witness On Experts As A Valuable Asset Part 3

In Expert Witness - A Valuable Asset, William Gulya, Jr., construction expert witness and President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

As in any profession, there are good and bad experts. An attorney should always talk with a prospective expert to obtain a sense of his or her demeanor, character, and experience in their field of expertise. One of the most common questions faced by experts from opposing legal council is “Mr. Expert, have you ever personally performed or supervised this type of task?” The ideal response would be “Yes, I have.” There are three types of experts -- those with book knowledge only, those with hands-on field experience only, and those with both. Those experts who possess both book knowledge and hands-on experience in their field of expertise are the most desirable and sought after because they can answer “Yes.”

The most crucial component provided to the attorney is the expert’s report. After days of hearing conflicting testimony during trial, it is in large part the expert’s report that jurors will turn to for clarification. It must be neat, professional, properly formatted, grammatically correct, and organized. The report must present the facts of the case in a clear and concise manner and include a summary of the expert’s opinion to which laypersons and jurors will relate.

March 24, 2010

Groundwater Expert Witness Course

The National Ground Water Association is offering the two-day course, "Guidelines for Groundwater Legal Consultation," April 15-16 in Denver, Colorado. The course will introduce individuals to what is involved in being a groundwater expert witness — writing an opinion statement, grasping legal terminology, preparing for testimony, and setting up administrative benchmarks.

NGWA, a nonprofit organization comprised of more than 13,000 U.S. and international groundwater professionals — contractors, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, scientists, and engineers — is dedicated to advancing groundwater knowledge. NGWA's vision is to be the leading groundwater association that advocates the responsible development, management, and use of water.

For more, see

March 23, 2010

Computers Expert Witness Testifies In Microsoft Patent Case

In a $242 million lawsuit VirnetX alleges Microsoft's Office Communicator and other products infringed upon its patents on technology for automatic and secure virtual private networks, or VPNs. On March 17th, Microsoft attorney Matthew Powers, of Weil Gotshal & Manges, cross-examined computers expert witness Mark T. Jones, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Virginia Tech who testified in favor of VirnetX.

The Scotts Valley, Calif., company of 12 employees alleges Microsoft infringed two of its patents – Nos. 6,502,135 and 7,188,180 – on technology for secure and automatic virtual private networks, or VPNs. In its defense, Microsoft is arguing that the patents are invalid largely because the technology was obvious – in this sense, a legal term – and that Microsoft's Windows XP, Windows Vista, Office Live Communicator and other products did not infringe.

For more, see

March 22, 2010

Medical Expert On Cheaper Medicines Part 2

In Cheaper Medicines Not Always Better, medical expert Peter Pitts, President, Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and former associate FDA commissioner writes:

Yet some policies that are gaining popularity are weakening the doctor-patient relationship by putting treatment decisions in the hands of third parties.

Chief among these schemes is "step therapy." Also called "fail first," this is a policy that is sometimes adopted by insurers and government health programs to save money on pharmaceuticals. It forces patients to try cheaper alternatives to a prescribed drug before they are permitted to get the medicine that their physicians ordered.

So even though a doctor might recommend drug A to treat a patient's hypertension, an insurance company or government program would require the patient first try cheaper drugs B and C, and only after the cheaper drugs are shown to be ineffective can the patient receive the medicine his doctor recommended.

For more, see Orange County Register.

March 21, 2010

Nursing Expert Witness & Legal Nurse Consultants Part 1

The nursing expert witness may often be a Legal Nurse Consultant. Here, the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants answers what makes a Legal Nurse Consultant distinct:

As licensed registered nurses, legal nurse consultants bring specialized health care education and clinical experience to the medically related issues of the litigation process. This education and experience distinguishes legal nurse consultants from paralegals and legal assistants and provides the foundation for the legal nurse consultant's ability to recognize, interpret and analyze all relevant medically related information in a claim or case.

The primary role of the legal nurse consultant is to evaluate, analyze, and render informed opinions on the delivery of health care and the resulting outcomes. For over 20 years, legal nurse consultants have acted as collaborators and strategists, offering support in medically-related litigation and other medical-legal matters.

The AALNC 2010 National Educational Conference will be help March 24-27 in Pittsburgh, PA.

For more, see

March 20, 2010

Construction Expert Witness On Experts As A Valuable Asset Part 2

In Expert Witness - A Valuable Asset, William Gulya, Jr., construction expert witness and President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

A case in point, an attorney in New Jersey, had a case in which his client suggested utilizing an expert. The attorney indicated to his client that it was not necessary, citing cost as the major factor. At trial, the testimony of three of the attorney’s key witnesses was rejected or restricted. The judge based his decision on the hearsay rule and restricted witnesses’ testimony to only those reports, tests or documents they alone prepared.

In the end, the evidence the attorney was able to get on the record was so limited that the case he had intended to present was non-existent. Had the attorney hired an expert witness, the hearsay rule would not have applied and the attorney would have been able to present the case as he intended. Notwithstanding the validity or invalidity of the judge’s ruling, he made the ruling at trial just the same. Now the case will go to the appellate division. In hindsight, the attorney’s decision to not bring on an expert compromised his case, upset his client and will not save his client any money. What his decision did do was to put the outcome of his case in jeopardy.

March 19, 2010

Logging Expert Witnesses & Illegal Timber

Logging expert witnesses may opine on illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber.

Illegal logging and the international trade in illegally logged timber is a major problem for many timber-producing countries in the developing world. It causes environmental damage, costs governments billions of dollars in lost revenue, promotes corruption, undermines the rule of law and good governance and funds armed conflict. It retards sustainable development in some of the poorest countries of the world. Consumer countries contribute to these problems by importing timber and wood products without ensuring that they are legally sourced. In recent years, however, producer and consumer countries alike have paid increasing attention to illegal logging.

Excerpted from illegallogginginfo.

March 18, 2010

Wood Products Experts On Timber Tracking

Wood products experts at the International Wood Products Association write that DoubleHeli Tracking Technologies has developed a DNA-based timber tracking system. The company representatives are confident that their international team of genetic scientists can make DNA tracing easy and affordable for the industry to verify the origin of their timber supplies and for law enforcement agencies to conduct spot-checks of timber imports.

Describing DNA as the natural “barcode” they hope to be able to trace wood back from a finished product to its origin. DHTT is creating a DNA geno-graphic database, which is done by analyzing specific DNA markers that are unique to a particular species of timber, but vary across different geographic regions.

Excerpted from

March 17, 2010

Medical Expert On Cheaper Medicines Part 1

In Cheaper Medicines Not Always Better, medical expert Peter Pitts, President, Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and former associate FDA commissioner writes:

The health care reform debate has been focused almost entirely on just two broad issues: the large uninsured population and the rising cost of care. But there's another problem that plagues our health system, and it's just as serious. Doctors are losing their ability to treat patients without being obstructed by outside parties. Any discussion about improving our health system must recognize that rules which empower bureaucrats to get in the way of the doctor-patient relationship are a serious threat to the quality of medical care.

A strong, trusting relationship between doctors and patients is crucial to a well-functioning health care system. Without such a bond, serious conditions might go misdiagnosed or improperly treated, patients might give inaccurate medical histories, or doctors' orders might be ignored.

This is no small problem. Failing to follow a prescribed treatment regimen – a practice known as "nonadherence" -- costs the U.S. health system over $100 billion a year in avoidable medical costs. And, according to a study published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, patients who don't have a close relationship with a single doctor are less likely to receive the proper tests for preventing chronic illnesses.

For more, see Orange County Register.

March 16, 2010

Service Station Expert Witness On Access Degradation

In Identification of Potential Severance Damages In Retail Gasoline Properties,
service station expert witness Robert E. Bainbridge writes:

Retail gasoline businesses are especially sensitive to access degradation. In some cases impaired access can make the business unviable and the property unmarketable as a gasoline outlet. The potential for severance damages from access management takings should be regarded with greater scrutiny by stake holders and the courts when retail gasoline properties are involved.

Retail gasoline properties, such as convenience stores, derive a significant part of their gross sales, about 50 percent, from the sale of motor fuels. One of the reasons why retail gas properties are particularly sensitive to access management issues is the sale of motor fuel requires retail dispensing improvements, such as underground tanks, dispensers and canopies, that are situated on-site but separate from the building. The placement of the fuel dispensing improvements, car wash and other profit centers involves more intensive use of those portions of the site outside the building footprint. This heightened intensity of the use of the site is a characteristic that is unique to retail gasoline businesses and requires an increased need for accessibility both to and across the site. As a result, access management issues involved with retail gasoline properties are usually more complex than for most other types of properties.

March 15, 2010

Construction Expert Witness On Experts As A Valuable Asset Part 1

In Expert Witness - A Valuable Asset, William Gulya, Jr., construction expert witness and President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

Are attorneys overlooking a valuable asset? Many indeed are. As in any field of expertise, there are good and bad expert witnesses. A slogan I once read said, “The right attorney can make the difference.” So too can the right expert witness.

The right expert witness can be one of the most valuable assets an attorney can use to win his case. Although attorneys know the law, trial procedure, etc., they cannot realistically be expected to know the operations of every type of company. Utilizing an expert witness will provide the attorney the inside knowledge and explanation of corporate details that will help with facts surrounding a particular case. The expert explains strengths and weaknesses that will give attorneys the knowledge to best

March 14, 2010

Materials Expert Witness On Toyota Sudden Acceleration

In Understanding Toyota Sudden Acceleration, materials engineering expert witness Joel S. Hirschhorn writes:

When products fail due to a systemic design, materials or manufacturing flaw, large and statistically significant levels of problems emerge fairly rapidly. This is definitely not the case with the Toyota problem. With many millions of Toyota models on which even more millions of miles have been driven, if there had been an inherent materials or manufacturing design defect, then we would have seen untold thousands of cases of sudden acceleration. It literally would have been virtually a daily event happening all over the country in many Toyota models. But, in fact, little more than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported since 2001 that their vehicles suddenly accelerated on their own. This is a tiny, minuscule percentage of Toyotas....

In my professional opinion, the likely scenario is a defect in a semiconductor chip used in the electronic control system. A defect that was caused by some infrequent flaw in a raw material or manufacturing process that would not show up in routine quality control testing of raw materials or components. That so many different Toyota models over many years have been found defective signifies the likelihood of a particular problem component made in a specific factory that has been used for quite a while. Moreover, the defect obviously does not ordinarily impair vehicle performance but only manifests itself under some infrequent conditions, as yet undetermined.

Excerpted from

March 13, 2010

Fish Expert On Sacramento Delta

Changes to the way California manages its water delivery system are in the works, including options that avoid central pumps at the south end of the Sacramento Delta, known to harm fish. The plan is to make improvements not only to the pumping system, but also to establish habitat where aquatic and land animals can recover. At a Northern Sacramento Valley Water Forum held in Chico Wednesday, experts discussed the status of the process, with about 100 people in attendance.

Chuck Hanson, a fish biology expert witness, has written more that 75 scientific reports and called as an expert witness for state and federal court cases. Hanson displayed graphs that showed that in the last decade many fish species have declined dramatically. "The message is that what we're doing isn't working," Hanson said.

For more, see

March 12, 2010

Technology Expert Witness On Computing Power

In Four Billion Cell Users : Computing Power Anytime, Anyplace, technology expert witness Ron Maltiel of RMG Associates writes:

We are on the verge of the next computing technology wave - a merging of cell phones, laptop computers, internet, gaming controllers, and navigation devices. The new products do everything a laptop can do and are small enough to fit in a pocket, are always at our fingertips, connect to the internet everywhere, all the time and lend themselves to merging the physical and cyber worlds. There will be ten times the number of mobile internet users versus desktop internet users. The potential for this market is much larger than any of the previous computing technology waves.

Since semiconductors are the major building block of these electronic devices, this growth wave will be the key driver of semiconductor chip growth. After all, integrated circuits (IC) make up half of the manufacturing cost for the Google Nexus , Apple iPhone, Motorola Droid, Palm Pre, and Toshiba TG01. Best estimates indicate an annual growth rate of 30% for semiconductor companies over the next year.

March 11, 2010

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Street Racing Crash

A Symmes Township, OH, man was sentenced Monday to 180 days in jail for street racing and aggravated vehicular homicide in a Clermont County crash that took the life of a friend riding in his hot-rod car. Purcell’s car was going 70 to 90 mph at the time of the fatal wreck, according to an accident reconstruction expert witness.

Dustin Purcell, 21, had faced up to five years in prison when sentenced by Judge Victor M. Haddad of Common Pleas Court. The prosecution recommended that he be put on probation for five years with the understanding he would speak to kids about the risks of reckless driving. The souped-up 1992 Honda Civic LX driven by Purcell ran off the right side of the narrow, two-lane road, hit a ditch and flipped over three times about 12:22 a.m.

For more, see

March 10, 2010

Neuropsychology Expert Witnesses & Chantix Litigation

All lawsuits filed in federal court against Pfizer over alleged side effects of Chantix, their popular smoking cessation treatment, have been centralized for pretrial litigation before U.S. District Judge Inge Prytz Johnson in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The cases involve similar allegations that Pfizer failed to adequately research their medication or warn about the risk of suicide from Chantix or other psychological side effects.

Experts, including neuropsychology expert witnesses, must be designated by April 2011 and May 2011, for the Plaintiffs and Defendants respectively, with expert depositions set to begin in July 2011 and conclude by October 3, 2011. Motions practice on general causation and liability will then occur through the end of 2011, with case specific expert discovery not permitted to begin until after the Court decides the issues that are generally applicable to cases in the litigation.

For more, see

March 9, 2010

Medical Malpractice Expert Witness & Orthopedic Clinic Lawsuit

In July 2008, plaintiff Ted Slaughter filed a medical malpractice lawsuit claiming he was not promptly treated by the Beaumont Bone & Joint Institute after cutting his left hand in a circular saw. Slaughter alleges the delay led to the amputation of his right index finger. On March 4, justices seated on the Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals issued a memorandum opinion that partially reversed the lower courts ruling which kept several Beaumont Bone & Joint employees trapped in the ongoing litigation.

The clinic, in its appellate brief, argued that the "trial court abused its discretion in failing to dismiss (Slaughter's) claims of direct negligence ... when these claims were not (thoroughly) discussed in any expert report." Conversely, Slaughter argued the appellate court lacks jurisdiction over the matter and claimed the medical malpractice expert witness report does not have to conform to Texas civil law since "no new claims were made in the amended petition."

For more, see Southeast Texas Record

March 8, 2010

Medical Expert Witness On Pulmonary Embolism 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 pulmonary embolism medicolegal pitfalls.

Medicolegal Pitfalls

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is an extremely common disorder. It presents with nonspecific clinical features and requires specialized investigations for confirmation of diagnosis. Therefore, many patients die from unrecognized pulmonary embolism. The other common pitfalls are as follows:

* Disregarding patient's complaints of unexplained dyspnea as anxiety or hyperventilation

* Blaming complaints of unexplained chest pain on musculoskeletal pain

* Failing to recognize, diagnose, and treat deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

* Failing to initiate an appropriate diagnostic workup in patients with symptoms consistent with pulmonary embolism

* Failing to initiate therapeutic anticoagulant therapy with heparin in patients suspected to have pulmonary embolism, before the V/Q scan or other investigations

March 7, 2010

Social Services Expert Witnesses

At The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) website, Carolyn I. Polowy, JD and law clerk Joel Gilbertson, write on Social Workers as Expert Witnesses:

Courts of law rely upon information offered in evidence as the basis for decisions rendered. Evidence comes in many forms, including photographs, recordings, devices, forensic evidence, documents, and individual testimony. Oral testimony by witnesses is, however, often the major source of evidence at a trial.

Witnesses who testify as experts play an important role in interpreting data, explaining complex material, and drawing knowledgeable inferences based upon their training and experience. Social workers are called to testify as expert witnesses on a variety of subjects. This Law Note discusses the role of the expert witness and reviews case law confirming the role of social workers as expert witnesses in a variety of settings.

For more, see NASW.

March 6, 2010

Franchising Expert Witness On Renovations Part 5

In Tough Question Requires Equally Tough Answers franchising 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?”

I believe most of the major franchise companies have, to a degree (and some more than others), backed off from mandating expensive upgrades until the economy is on a strong upswing. Franchisors are realizing that in today’s economic environment, such a mandate is onerous simply because their franchisees simply can’t afford, or perhaps don’t need, certain upgrades. I applaud this mandate-backoff by the franchise giants—it makes good business sense. However, this backoff policy should be rescinded once it is obvious that the recovery is a sure thing.

It’s hard to crystal-ball such a thing, but now that things may be looking better on Wall Street—if not on Main Street—perhaps it is time to at least begin thinking about upgrades and renovations. The earlier they can be done, the sooner owners and operators will be able to reap the benefit of higher levels of customer satisfaction, repeat business and renewed customer loyalty.

Here’s a final word of advice: Regardless of what category your hotel falls into—whether you need an immediate upgrade or not, whether you need to reposition or don’t need to—the very last items you should scrimp on are employee training and customer-service focus. Those efforts should remain firm and steady regardless of the economic climate. Invest in your employees. Treat them like business partners. Create a culture within your company, your group or your hotel that emphasizes training so that your employees—your business partners—are confident in their abilities and empowered to respond to any issue a guest might have. Do this and it will pay off big for you, your guests, your staff and your bottom line—no matter how up or down the economy happens to be.

March 5, 2010

Emergency Medicine Expert Witness On Aortic Stenosis 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 aortic stenosis medicolegal pitfalls.

Medicolegal Pitfalls

* Patients with severe valvular AS should receive appropriate counseling regarding their conditions, including restriction of physical activity and the need for surgery, if appropriate. Physicians should document these points in patients' records.

* In cases where the patient refuses AV replacement surgery, the patient needs to have a full understanding of the potential implications (including sudden cardiac death) of his or her decision.

* The patient who agrees to undergo aortic valve replacement needs to understand its possible consequences, including perioperative death, the need for lifelong anticoagulation depending on the type of prosthesis, the need for bacterial endocarditis prophylaxis, and the risk of prosthesis malfunction with potential need for reoperation at a higher operative risk.

* Discussion and careful documentation of these issues not only would help patients become familiar with their condition and therapeutic options, but also would help to avoid misunderstandings and potential litigation.

March 4, 2010

Hospitality Expert Witness On Renovations Part 4

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?”

I mentioned earlier that there are two answers to the question, “Is renovation viable in a tough economy, and is it a smart thing to do.” Here’s the second answer, and it differs from the first in that it relates to hotels that do not need to be upgraded.

In my humble opinion, owners and operators whose properties are in order and competitive in their marketplace should defer major improvements until the economic recovery is well under way. In these tough economic times, I advocate taking a hard look at every line item on your profit-and-loss statement. Put everything out for competitive bid, whether it is to technology vendors, linen companies, insurance firms, f&b suppliers, you name it. All too often, managers get comfortable dealing with one company—but you’d be amazed at the money you can save by inviting competitive bidding for services and products on a regular basis. It’s a great way to increase cash flow without affecting customer service.

March 3, 2010

Networking Expert Witness On Credit Card Fraud Case

In August 2009 the Justice Department accused three men of stealing account information for more than 130 million credit and debit card numbers. Networking expert witness Ivan Zatkovich, principal consultant for the security firm E-Comp Consultants, had this to say on the credit card fraud case.

In this particular case, they hacked in to a payment gateway system, which is actually a central hub for processing millions of credit card transactions specifically for outlets like 7-Eleven and supermarket outlets like Hannaford Brothers supermarkets.

I think it's a matter of diligence in terms of data security for the companies that run payment gateway systems. In fact, Heartland Payment Systems was cited in 2007 for being out of compliance with data security and were just reinstated last year by Visa after meeting compliance and as recently as this year they've been touting themselves as a leader in data security. Which turns out not the be case.

March 2, 2010

The Expert Witness & Daubert

In Daubert: Very Convoluted, Usually Confusing to Many, Nevertheless Elegant, Armand Rossetti writes that it is the expert witness in the first instance, and not the court as gatekeeper, who is the judge of what resources to choose to assist her in forming an opinion. It is the expert who will initially filter out prejudicial information as being irrelevant. The Court then uses Rule 703 to assure the reliability of evidence by vetting the bases that forms an expert’s testimony.

Let's take environmental asbestos infiltration an example, the fact that an air sampling study is an associational (or case) study affecting a few subjects, rather than a higher evidence based epidemiological study that affects several hundred subjects should not bar an expert from using the case study to inform her opinion about the dangers of asbestos release in the environment. The fact that a single case study published in a peer reviewed journal fails to establish causation under a Rule 703 review should go to the weight that the jury will give such evidence, but it does not mean that an expert cannot eventually rely upon it in part to form an ultimate opinion.

Of course, if a single case study were the only source of evidence, then the court might be reasonable in immediately performing a Rule 702 analysis to disqualify the entire testimony. However, the fact that an expert has relied upon several case studies to form an opinion, and has not used even one single epidemiological study should not in itself disqualify that expert’s testimony.

For more see

March 1, 2010

Medical Expert & Vermont State Police Case

The Vermont State Police said Friday they have no proof a Rutland police officer intentionally downloaded child pornography onto a department computer while on duty last year. The admission was contained in an unusual statement released by the state police that discussed the status of its investigation into the allegation that the officer had more than 150 images of child pornography on his laptop computer. The state police rarely comment about ongoing investigations.

“There is insufficient evidence to indicate that the images were knowingly and intentionally downloaded,” the statement read in part. “Investigators have consulted with a medical expert regarding the possible age of an individual” in the images, the statement said. “The medical expert has indicated that he cannot say that the individual depicted is under the age of 16.”

For more, see