May 31, 2010

Computers Expert Witness On Tactics In Depo & Testimony Part 2

In My Favorite Top 10 Strategies and Tactics Used by Expert Witnesses in Deposition and Trial Testimony, computers expert witness Judd Robbins writes:

Expert Witness Tactic #4: If you are the expert for the plaintiff, consider all the possibilities. Prepare to explain why you may have chosen one or only a subset of the possibilities as the basis for your opinion.

Expert Witness Tactic #5: Listen. Listen. Listen ... to exactly what an attorney asks you. If you do not hear the question fully, or if you do not understand the question completely, how can you possibly answer it effectively and correctly?

Expert Witness Tactic #6: If you are the defendant's expert, you should list other possibilities that the plaintiff's expert should have considered, and why.

Visit http://www.expert-witnesses.net to learn more about each of these tips and other expert witness advice, and get a jump start on your competition by discovering how to earn additional income as an expert witness in your specialty area.

May 30, 2010

Medical Malpractice Expert Witnesses On "Know Who You Want To Sue" Part 2

In Know Who You Want To Sue, medical malpractice expert witnesses at Medical Opinions Associates write:

If you have a medical malpractice case and if you are looking for a medical expert to review and opine on the medical records, ask yourself a few questions that will save you time, effort, and money:
1) Who do I blame for the presumed medical negligence? In other words, whose errors of omission/commission led to the injury?
2) If more than one medical provider is presumed to be at fault, whose care do I principally blame [you may ultimately need more than one medical expert, but if the beginning expert opinion is supportive, then you know you have a case. If not, you will need to reassess the situation]?
3) What is the provider’s medical specialty?
When the action is personal injury, the considerations are different. The issue then becomes one of determining whether the injury in question resulted directly from the accident. The decision concerning the appropriate medical specialty in such cases is driven by the nature of the injuries and the course of treatment that followed the injury.

May 29, 2010

Intellectual Property Expert Witness On Tactics In Depo & Testimony Part 1

In My Favorite Top 10 Strategies and Tactics Used by Expert Witnesses in Deposition and Trial Testimony, intellectual property expert witness Judd Robbins writes:

Expert Witness Tactic #1: Understanding the Daubert Supreme Court case and the implications on your performance as an expert will increase the likelihood that attorneys will hire you and that your eventual opinions and testimony will be legally acceptable.

Expert Witness Tactic #2: You can contribute to each case by providing your attorney with analyses of the facts, regardless of whether your findings seem helpful or not to the side that hired you.

Expert Witness Tactic #3: Never say 'never' and always avoid 'always' in your opinions.


Visit http://www.expert-witnesses.net to learn more about each of these tips and other expert witness advice, and get a jump start on your competition by discovering how to earn additional income as an expert witness in your specialty area.

May 28, 2010

Insurance Agency Expert Witness On Recission Part 9

In his article Insurers: To Rescind Or Not to Rescind?, insurance agency expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

The square footage figures provided by the insured and its broker in the application was lower than the figure in the inspection report that was ordered by the insurer after it issued the policy. In asserting materiality, the insurer disregarded another inspection report subsequently ordered by the insured, which confirmed the original figures in the application for the policy.

Based on the above points, it was not reasonable for the insurer to rely on the square footage information provided by the insured, and the insurer’s contention that it did rely on the square footage data provided by the insured was questionable.

Although this case was resolved and the insured received payment for its claim, the pre-trial discovery process took over a year, with detrimental financial consequences to the insured.

The lesson from cases like this is that all parties should take thorough measures to ensure the accuracy and completeness of underwriting information, and that conflicts or ambiguities are promptly resolved before coverage is bound.

May 27, 2010

Medical Malpractice Expert Witnesses On "Know Who You Want To Sue" Part 1

In Know Who You Want To Sue, medical malpractice expert witnesses at Medical Opinions Associates write:

The decision about what medical specialist to use in a medical malpractice case is up to the client. Nevertheless, we have all too often discussed cases with individuals and attorneys when they did not know what type of medical specialist they wanted to be involved. Sometimes we get the comment that any medical expert will do. In our view, the notion that any medical expert will do is wrong-headed and possibly even self-defeating.

Why?
You need to know who you are suing. You want to have a physician expert in the same medical specialty review the records (there are exceptions, but we won’t get into them here). In this way, you ensure that the medical expert will be able to authoritatively comment on the same standards of care owed by a provider in the same specialty. It does no good to have someone of lesser expertise comment on those standards of care because the opinion will surely be impeached for lack of qualifications. That is fairly obvious. However, the same applies for someone who is overqualified because the offending provider cannot be held to higher standards of care than those owed by someone in his medical specialty. There is abundant case law that backs this assertion.

May 26, 2010

Engineering Expert Witness On Gulf Spill

The color of the oil gushing from the main pipe in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows the underwater plume has changed in color from medium gray to black. Two scientists noticed the change, which oil company BP downplayed as a natural fluctuation that is not likely permanent.

However, engineering expert witness Robert Glenn Bea, Ph.D., P.E. at the University of California at Berkeley, says the color change may indicate the BP leak has hit a reservoir of more oil and less gas. Gas is less polluting because it evaporates. Bea has spent more than 55 years working and studying oil rigs.

For more, see seattlepi.com.

May 25, 2010

Automotive Engineering Experts & Toyota Hearings

Appearing before a congressional panel, Toyota Motor Sales USA president James Lentz said the automaker is "taking major steps to become a more responsive, safety-focused organization." But lawmakers on a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee said the firm has gone to extraordinary efforts to rebut critics – while doing too little research on the nature of the problem.

The hearing centered on Toyota's efforts to debunk claims that electronic-control systems in the cars may have been at fault. Toyota hired Exponent, a consulting firm, to research the issue. But Representative Waxman and other lawmakers said this effort focused on casting doubt on automotive engineering expert witnesses that plaintiffs may use in court.

Read more: csmonitor.com.

May 24, 2010

Security Expert Witness On Parking Lots

Security expert witness Randy I. Atlas, Ph.D., AIA CPP, vice-president of Atlas Safety and Security Design, Inc. writes:

It has been estimated that as much as 40 percent of rapes and assaults take place in parking lots. Major errors in the design and operation of parking facilities arise from the mind-set that these are merely stables for vehicles and not places where human behavior occurs. Among the resulting problems from this shortsighted design approach can be an environment with numerous hiding spaces, as well as poor visibility created by high walls, structural columns, and multiple levels. Even worse, subsurface or underground parking facilities often include no outside visibility.

Parking areas can avoid these problems if they use the precepts of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). With CPTED, for example, criminals can be made to see parking areas as places where they will be observed and where suspicious behavior will be challenged, making it not worth the risk and effort.

May 23, 2010

Insurance Agency Expert Witness On Recission Part 8

In his article Insurers: To Rescind Or Not to Rescind?, insurance agency expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

Major weaknesses emerged in the insurer’s justifications for its decision to rescind the policy, including:

• The insurer previously issued policies for a previous owner, covering the same premises, and therefore it had prior knowledge of the underwriting information, including square footage, which differed from what the insured had provided.

• Just because the square footage information provided by the insured differed from the prior information in the insurer’s underwriting files, it was not sufficient for the insurer to conclude that the insured’s statement is false, especially since its insurer failed to make any attempt to reconcile the difference.

May 22, 2010

Medical Expert Witness On Mistakes Attorneys Make Re: Experts Part 2

In Ten Mistakes Attorneys Make Regarding Their Expert Witnesses, medical expert witness Barry Gustin, MD, MPH, FAAEP, writes:

Mistake 2: Delay
It is one of the most common mistakes attorneys make: Waiting too long to locate, or once located, engage an expert. Lawyers have a mistaken belief that they will be able to find an expert quickly. They fail to consider that finding the best expert can take time particularly in a complex case and when multiple experts are needed. Once found, experts must be engaged quickly to insure that they aren't booked by opposing counsel. Sometimes, lawyers inherit the delay when they take over a case from someone else. However, most of the time, it is easy to avoid the 11th hour time crunch simply by starting early.

How early? Start your search as soon as you have received your initial screening review and you have decided to take the case. After this initial review you should be in a position to know what specialties are involved and what kinds of expert you need. Start your search early and you will find the right expert, and you will increase your chances that the ideal experts will be available to you.

May 21, 2010

Trauma Medicine Expert Witness On Mistakes Attorneys Make Re: Experts Part 1

In Ten Mistakes Attorneys Make Regarding Their Expert Witnesses, trauma medicine expert witness Barry Gustin, MD, MPH, FAAEP, writes:

Optimal expert witness management often makes the difference between successfully managing your case or undermining it. Over the years I have identified ten common mistakes attorneys make when hiring and managing experts. Any one of these mistakes can have significant consequences ranging from spending too much for your experts to losing your case. Here's the list of ten:

Mistake 1: Preliminary Case Screening

Given the challenges associated with medical-legal cases, from the very beginning it is always prudent to hire an experienced medical-legal physician consultant to screen your case for merit whether you are for the plaintiff or defense. Hire a consulting expert immediately to help you understand the nature of your case, its issues, and its strengths and weaknesses. With a consulting physician, you retain the attorney/client privilege; their work is non-discoverable, and you are able to discuss the case more thoroughly, including case strategy. Your consultant will identify the medical issues, address standard of care, causation and damages, will identify the names of culpable people and entities, and will make a list of the necessary expert specialties to retain. This is an invaluable initial step in the pre-litigation process.


May 20, 2010

Packaging Expert Witness On Crate Litigation

In How Attorneys Should Choose Crate Experts, packaging expert witness Sterling Anthony, CPP, writes:

An attorney involved with crate litigation might readily recognize the need for a packaging expert, yet, not be sufficiently aware of the specific knowledge and capabilities that best qualify that expert. Crates are unique among packaging types, owing to factors related to materials, construction, loading, logistics, and unloading. Even when a crate is said to have been built in accordance with a national specification or an industry standard, the aforementioned factors combine for particularity. Besides, the majority of crates are designed by the shipper or by a supplier, with varying regard to a national specification or an industry standard, further contributing to the uniqueness of every crate.

As such, whether the crate litigation alleges personal injury or cargo lost, the right packaging expert is one who brings the expertise and experience necessary to: understand the attorney’s theory of the facts; educate and advise the attorney in the many intricacies; and, analyze, opine,
and communicate with uncompromised honesty and professionalism.

May 19, 2010

Marketing Expert & Keeping Your Small Business Going Part 2

Marketing expert Rosalie Hamilton offers this article on her website: Keeping Your Small Business Going After Surgery, by Dr. Jean Murray.

I wanted to tell you about my experience and give you some suggestions for getting through with your health and your business intact.

3. Get help. I turned over all my bookkeeping to my brother-in-law, who works cheap and who is a QuickBooks wizard. And I loaded my VA up with tasks. Of course, you may not have a VA or a brother-in-law, but you’d be surprised how friends and family will pitch in if you ask.

4. Focus on the essentials. Don’t spend time on items that aren’t necessary right now.

5. Don’t overestimate. The biggest shock I had was how bad I felt for so long, partly because of the drugs I was taking for pain, but just in general too. I had difficulty concentrating on work for very long, and I spent a lot of time sleeping and watching TV (and I NEVER watch TV!).

It has only been in the last week that I have been able to sit for any time in a chair. I do as much as I can every day, and that’s all. I have been able to keep up with my work, but just barely. If I had tried to do more, the stress would have not been helpful.

6. Think long-term. I learned I could make it through surgery and keep my business going. No, it’s not expanding, but that’s OK.

For more, see expertcommunications.com.

May 18, 2010

Insurance Expert Witness On Recission Part 7

In his article Insurers: To Rescind Or Not to Rescind?, insurance expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

A policy may be rescinded even after a loss that would otherwise be covered by the policy. Since rescission could have severe negative financial impact on the insured, the insurer must be certain that the reasons for rescission are based on solid grounds and able to withstand potential legal challenge.

In a 2001 case, an insurer rescinded their policy following a major fire loss, alleging material misrepresentation and concealment by the insured, pertaining to several matters, including square footage of the premises.

The pre-trial discovery proceedings included examination of ambiguous questions contained in the insurer’s application form, and the accuracy of the inspection report provided by an independent inspection company retained by the insurer.

May 17, 2010

Fire Expert Witness Testifies In Tragic Blaze

The defense team for Peter Brown has chosen not to call him to give evidence at his trial in the death of jockeys Jamie Kyne and Jan Wilson in the fatal fire of September 5, 2009. Fire expert witness Philip Reed testified on the different factors involved in the tragic blaze at Buckrose Court flats in Norton, UK. The fire expert witness testified that it is not possible to determine whether the blaze developed through flames or smoldering because there wasn't enough evidence of the fuel that fed it, and the way that fuel was arranged, or "configured".

For more, see racingpost.com.


May 16, 2010

Homeowner's Insurance Expert On Property Loss Part 2

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 3.5 million housing units in the U.S. are for seasonal, recreational or occasional use--from big summer estates and time-share condos to A-frame structures and simple fishing cabins.

"That means these homes are unoccupied a good portion of the year," says homeowner's insurance expert Charles Valinotti, senior vice president, QBE Regional. He offers tips on how you can minimize property loss and damage for your home away from home:

• Snuff out fire hazards--Valinotti says he's seen several large losses as a result of portable fire pits, where ashes can smolder long after a homeowner has locked up and left. Before you vacate your vacation home, make sure coals are completely extinguished. Consider signing on with a central-station alarm company that provides services to monitor burglar and fire alarm systems.

• Discourage break-ins--Burglar alarm systems will summon help to vacation homes in more-populated areas but aren't as effective for isolated cabins, which are more difficult for police to locate. Invest in high-quality dead-bolt locks and post an alarm warning as a deterrent.

Attending to these important details can go a long way to protect your investment and ensure continued enjoyment of your seasonal home.

For more information, visit www.qberegional.com.

May 16, 2010

Insurance Claims Expert Offers Hints For Homeowners Part 1

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 3.5 million housing units in the U.S. are for seasonal, recreational or occasional use--from big summer estates and time-share condos to A-frame structures and simple fishing cabins.

"That means these homes are unoccupied a good portion of the year," says insurance claims expert Charles Valinotti, senior vice president, QBE Regional. He offers tips on how you can minimize property loss and damage for your home away from home:

• Team up with your neighbors--If there are other seasonal homes in your area, get to know the owners and exchange phone numbers. Keeping an eye on each other's property is a good way to quickly learn about wind and hail damage--and take care of it before it gets worse. If a full-time resident isn't nearby, consider hiring someone to periodically patrol your residence.

• Shut off the water--As you prepare to exit your vacation residence for the season, remember to turn off the water. Not doing so can lead to massive water damage from a burst pipe. Valinotti suggests installing an alarm system that notifies a service when water is detected or the temperature dips below a certain level. "The service will contact you, so you'll know about problems sooner rather than later," he says.

May 15, 2010

Tile Expert Witnesses Offer Resouces

Tile expert witnesses at Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants offer links to these resources on their website:
Industry Associations
Ceramic Tile
Distributors
Importers
Installers
Manufacturers
Cleaners and Sealers
Computer Services
Construction Defect Attorneys
Economic Forecast
Economic Indicators
Floor Warming Systems
Industry Statistics
Ceramic Tile
Stone
Industry Articles
Installation Products
Manufacturers

See ctasc.com for more.

May 15, 2010

Electronic Discovery Expert Witness On "The Case For Electronic Discovery" Part 3

electronic evidence recovery expert witness Steven G. Burgess writes on: The Case for Electronic Discovery:

Saving a File

When a document is named, it is saved. It may be saved with a name such as “Untitled” even if not given a unique name by the author. When the file is saved, there are several attributes saved with it. One is the date the file was created; one is the date the file was last changed, or modified; one is the date the file was last accessed. This information is kept as part of a file listing called a “directory.” This file listing is viewed as a “folder” by the computer user. The computer saves a long version and a short version of the name as two adjacent directory listings as well.

The space on a computer’s hard disk is divided up into pieces called “sectors.” Each of these sectors contains 512 bytes of space, and a character (such as a letter or a number) generally takes up 2 bytes. Therefore, a sector can hold about 256 characters. When a file is about to be saved, the computer sets aside a “cluster” of space for it. A cluster is generally about 64 sectors. This cluster is assigned to the file whether or not the file needs all of the space in the cluster, and cannot be assigned to another file (except through malfunction) as long as the file still exists as a file. So, even if a file consists of one letter, which is 2 bytes in size, the computer allocates approximately 32,000 (actually 32,768) bytes of space. The file is then actually written to the first 2 bytes of the cluster, leaving the great majority of the cluster unchanged. Whenever a file exceeds one cluster in size, the computer sets aside another entire cluster for it.

May 14, 2010

Marketing Expert & Keeping Your Small Business Going Part 1

Marketing expert Rosalie Hamilton offers this article on her website: Keeping Your Small Business Going After Surgery, by Dr. Jean Murray.

I wanted to tell you about my experience and give you some suggestions for getting through with your health and your business intact.

1. Plan and work ahead. This sounds obvious, but it takes some doing. For my freelance writing, I write content that includes a blog and articles every week. I worked hard before surgery to get ahead at least 5 days, so I didn’t have to worry about writing from my hospital bed. With other writing jobs, I anticipated what had to be done and did as much as I could beforehand. Sure, it made double work in some cases, but it helped a lot not to have to worry about things not getting done.

2. Communicate with everyone. I sent out emails to clients, editors, vendors, everyone I could think of. People are incredibly understanding if you let them know what is going on. It’s much better to inform people you won’t be able to communicate than to leave them wondering what happened to you.

For more, see expertcommunications.com.

May 14, 2010

Process Service Expert Witnesses' Work Product Part 2

Process service expert witnesses may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers writes on unsworn declarations and affidavits of service:

Unsworn Declarations Made Under Penalty of Perjury
An Unsworn Declaration made under Penalty of Perjury is a written or printed recitation by the process server of the facts and circumstances surrounding the delivery of legal process to a particular person or entity consistent with applicable state or federal court rule or law. The declaration is to be signed only by the person making the statement.

Affidavits of Service
An “affidavit” is a written or printed declaration or statement of facts made voluntarily, confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the party making it, and taken before an officer having the authority to administer such oath. An “affidavit of service” is intended to certify the service of a writ, notice or other legal document.


May 13, 2010

Physics Expert Witness On Anti-lock Brakes

Physics expert witness Louis A. Bloomfield, Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia, answers the question "How do anti-lock brake systems work?"

If you brake your car too rapidly, the force of static friction between the wheels and the ground will become so large that it will exceed its limit and the wheels will begin to skid across the ground. Once skidding occurs, the stopping force becomes sliding friction instead of static friction. The sliding friction force is generally weaker than the maximum static friction force, so the stopping rate drops. But more importantly, you lose steering when the wheels skid. An anti-lock braking system senses when the wheels suddenly stop turning during braking and briefly release the brakes. The wheel can then turn again and static friction can reappear between the wheel and the ground.

For more, see howeverythingworks.com.

May 13, 2010

Pesticides Expert Witness On Termites Part 2

Pesticides expert witness Allan Snyder; ACGIH, AIHA, SPCI, writes that there are more than 2,500 different types of termites in the world with the most common species being Drywood, Dampwood and Subterranean. Dampwood Termites:

They live and breed in soil, sometimes many feet deep.

Subterranean termites require moist environments.

They usually nest in or near the soil and maintain some connection with the soil through tunnels in wood or through shelter tubes they construct.

These shelter tubes are made of soil with bits of wood or even plasterboard (drywall).

Much of the damage they cause occurs in foundation and structural support wood.

Because of the moisture requirements of subterranean termites, they are often found in wood that has wood rot.

The western subterranean termite, Reticulitermes hesperus, is the most destructive termite found in California.

Reproductive winged forms of subterranean termites are dark brown to brownish black, with brownish gray wings.

Swarming often occurs on sunny days following fall or sometimes spring rains.

Soldiers are wingless with white bodies and pale yellow heads. Their long, narrow heads have no eyes.

Workers are slightly smaller than reproductives, wingless, and have a shorter head than soldiers; their color is similar to that of soldiers.

May 12, 2010

Diesel Engine Experts On Fuel Types

Diesel engine experts at TractorData.com write on tractor fuel types:

Diesel Fuel
Diesel fuel first started appearing in large agricultural crawlers in the 1930s, but it was not until the 1950s that diesel became a major fuel source for farm tractors. Difficult starting limited the use of early diesel engines. Some manufacturers built spark-ignition diesel engines, or engines that started on gasoline and were switched over to diesel. Others used small gasoline "pony motors" to warm and start the diesel main engine.

By 1960, diesel engines had greatly improved and were becoming very popular for large farm tractors. By the 1970s, nearly all farm tractors used diesel engines.

LP Gas
Liquified propane, or LP, gas was commonly used in the 1950s and 1960s as fuel for farm tractors. Farmers began converting their gasoline engines to LP gas in the 1950s to take advantage of the low cost. Manufacturers soon began offering these engines as an option. LP gas eengines were discontinued as diesel engines began the primary fuel for farm tractors.


May 12, 2010

Packaging Experts Share Their Industry Glossary

On their website, packaging experts at the Paperboard Packaging Council offer their Industry Glossary. Definitions include:

basis weight: the specification of boxboard as density of weight per unit area. In the US it is measured as “pounds per thousand square feet,” and in Europe, as “grams per square meter”(gsm). It ranges from a light weight of 60 pounds per thousand square feet to as heavy as 200 pounds per thousand square feet in a single ply; however, any one machine is ordinarily not capable of making this complete range.

May 12, 2010

Wood Products Experts On Household Mold Part 2

In Mold, Housing and Wood, wood products experts at the Western Wood Products Association write:

Why is there concern about mold in homes?

Mold growth in homes has not necessarily increased in recent years, but new court cases involving mold, sensationalistic media coverage and publication of questionable scientific research have increased public awareness of the issue.

Much of the recent concern about mold was aroused after several articles on the subject appeared in scientific journals. One of the most widely publicized articles was written by researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (CDC, 1994, 1997). They reported that in 1993, there were 10 cases of acute ideopathic pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis (AIPH) in infants, some of whom died, that was thought to be linked to the mold Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra).

This article caused great concern and spurred reactions across the country. However, upon closer examination of the study and its data and conclusions, a CDC expert panel and an outside expert panel both refuted the initial findings. Both panels determined there was no reliable scientific evidence that Stachybotrys caused the health problems in these infants (CDC, 2000a).

While the initial report of the CDC research was widely publicized, the revised findings received little coverage. As a result, there continues to be the misperception that there is scientific proof Stachybotrys chartarum causes serious health problems in infants. In fact, the CDC notes: "At present there is no test that proves an association between Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) and particular health symptoms."(CDC, 2000b)

May 12, 2010

Insurance Expert Witness On Recission Part 6

In his article Insurers: To Rescind Or Not to Rescind?, insurance expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

State insurance codes and legal precedents also have an impact on the insurer’s decision-making process concerning rescission.

For example, the California Insurance Code allows policy rescission even in cases of unintentional misrepresentation or unintentional concealment, and it provides that materiality is to be determined solely by the probable and reasonable influence of the facts on the insurer.

Also, case law precedent prevents insurers from relying solely on representations contained in the policy application or underwriting information if an inspection of the insured’s property is conducted.

May 11, 2010

Tractors Experts On Roll-Over Protection

Tractors experts at TractorData.com explain Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS):


A roll-over protective structure (ROPS) is a frame designed to protect a tractor operator if the tractor rolls. ROPS acts by limiting most rolls to 90-degrees. In the case of a full roll-over, ROPS protects the operator from being crushed by the tractor. On tractors with loaders, the ROPS is often equipped with an overhead structure to prevent dropped object from hitting the operator, this is known as a falling-object protective structure (FOPS).

!is an internet tractor resource containing descriptions on over 6,000 models of tractors listed. You can use the Farm Tractors or Lawn Tractors links at the left of the homepage to browse a list of all tractor manufacturers. There are over 141 currently on the site. The search box will move directly to a specific tractor manufacturer's information. Simply type the first few letters and then select the brand you want from the list.

May 11, 2010

Electronic Evidence Expert Witness On "The Case For Electronic Discovery" Part 2

Electronic evidence recovery expert witness Steven G. Burgess writes on: The Case for Electronic Discovery:

Document Creation and Storage

Microsoft Word is the leading word processing program for office computers. When a document is begun in Microsoft Word, three things happen:

* The new document is displayed on the screen.
* A “temporary” work file is created on the hard disk. Let us call this file “Work File A.” This file is invisible to the user.
* Data begins to churn though the virtual memory file, which is a physical file on the hard disk. Let us call this file the “VM file.” This file is also invisible to the user.

When the author saves the document he or she is writing, a fourth thing happens:

* A file with a name given to it by the author is created on the computer’s hard disk. Let us call this file the “User Document.”

As the writer continues to write or update the document, changes occur within the User Document, these changes are reflected in Work File A, and much of this data is written into the VM file. As the writer changes and updates the User Document, much of the previous edition is invisibly archived into the User File as well as into the other two files we have mentioned. When the file is closed, “Work File A” is not saved as a document accessible to the user, but it continues to exist as a deleted file on the computer’s hard disk.

When the User Document is opened again, a new temporary and invisible Work File is created. It may be named “Work File B.” There may be several iterations of the creation of a Work File on a given hard disk, one corresponding to each time the User File is opened and viewed and/or modified, and correspondingly named “Work File C,” “Work File D,” etc.

If the User Document is saved with a different name, the document is still maintained on the hard disk with its original names, as well as with the new name.

Email and other documents behave in much the same way, although the specifics differ somewhat from program to program. Microsoft Outlook saves its email files somewhat differently from Microsoft Outlook Express, for instance.

May 11, 2010

Insurance Agency Expert Witness On Recission Part 5

In his article Insurers: To Rescind Or Not to Rescind?, insurance agency expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

The insurer cannot reasonably rely on a fact received from the insured alone if it is aware of a conflicting fact.

• Did the insurer rely on it?

There must be clear evidence to demonstrate that the insurer did rely on materially false facts when making its underwriting decision.

May 11, 2010

Trucking Expert Witness On ABS Brakes Part 2

In Truck/Tractor-trailer brakes and accident reconstruction, trucking expert witness
Robert Reed writes:

Compatibility is also an issue as older trucks pull newer trailers and newer trucks pull older trailers. This creates different issues for reconstruction. Load conditions, total weight, weather, environment, road and tire conditions, brake system maintenance, adjustment, capacity and capabilities must also be considered. These issues can produce conflicting data, cloud issues and render unfair judgments on the drivers/vehicles involved. Remember that since March 1999 trucks and buses with hydraulic brakes are ABS equipped and trucks with air brakes have ABS after March 1997 and air brake trailers have ABS after March 1, 1998. These are manufacture dates of the vehicles. Analyze all data carefully, identify systems properly to understand actions of the vehicles involved in the crash.

May 11, 2010

Risk Management Expert Witness On "The Best In Class Risk Manager" Part 2

Risk management expert witness Alan F. Shirek describes the job of the risk manager:

The “best in class” risk manager has a relationship with the CEO and meets periodically with the Board of Directors. The risk manager is respected for his or her knowledge, experience and ability to assist the organization in accomplishing its major goals while protecting assets, income stream and employees.

How does a risk management consultant add value to such an operation? Primarily by helping the risk manager solve problems that are beyond his or her level of direct experience and by taking on tasks requiring time that the risk manager does not have available.

Such tasks or projects may include developing ways to enhance the effectiveness of insurance brokers or agents, insurance carriers, third party claims administrators or other outside vendors. They may include developing communication tools that will enhance the ability of the risk management department to assist the operating companies or departments. They may include projects designed to provide an independent appraisal of key catastrophic exposures to loss. And they may involve analysis of certain significant legal exposures that could be difficult to absorb without a negative impact on corporate earnings.

May 10, 2010

Neonatology Experts Write On Prematurity

In Medical legal issues in the prevention of prematurity, neonatology experts DE Seubert, WM Huang, and R Wasserman-Hoff of the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New York University write:

Preterm birth remains the leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality in the world today. This article discusses ways the treatment team can inform parents of probable outcomes and help them reach decisions about treatment for the newborn under emotionally fraught conditions. In addition to supporting the patient, these approaches may help the clinician avoid malpractice litigation.

For more, see pubmed.gov.

May 10, 2010

Tile Expert Witnesses On Problem Installations

Tile expert witnesses at Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants write in the Ceramic Tile & Stone Industry News:

The substrate is the foundation of a ceramic tile or stone installation. When this foundation is unsuitable for whatever reason, then the products applied on top are automatically in jeopardy. Thankfully, remedies exist for correcting substrate problems, but it is important to first evaluate the substrate and take any corrective action as part of the floor preparation process.

Compounded by the shortage of qualified installers, most ceramic tile and stone (Tile & Stone) floor failures are related to the lack of proper floor preparation. These floors are only as good as the substrate to which they are applied and the method of installation used. Substrate preparation, in turn, will determine whether a particular substrate is adequate for the intended use.

Common failures are due to substrate cracking and excessive deflection, moisture problems (that can lead to mold), bond failure, and lack of flatness or slope.

May 10, 2010

Electronic Discovery Expert Witness On "The Case For Electronic Discovery" Part 1

electronic evidence recovery expert witness Steven G. Burgess writes on: The Case for Electronic Discovery:

Nearly all documents created in offices these days begin their lives on a computer, as a computer file. Computer files are quite dynamic in nature. They change over time as they are accessed. Computer files are not immortal, but the act of deleting a file does not destroy it. Nonetheless, the very act of using a computer overwrites computer files. This document describes how documents are created, what happens to them after their creation or attempted destruction, and explains the following important points:

* Documents when deleted are not necessarily destroyed, and as such, may be recoverable by a professional computer forensics examiner.
* Files retrieved by commercially available data recovery programs are not likely to include all relevant documents or information.
* Continued use of a computer after file deletion may cause the destruction of previously deleted files or documents: Time is of the essence.
* Copying of computer media can be performed without disrupting the data on the computer.


May 10, 2010

Forensic Psychology Expert Witness On Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Part 2

In A Forensic Psychologist's Report In A Sexual Harassment, Hostile Work Environment And Retaliation Case forensic psychology expert witness Stephen Reich, Ph.D., writes on the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from DSM-IV 309.81, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, the American Psychiatric Association. (See 5/5/10 entry for part 1).

(C) Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by the following:
1. efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
2. efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
3. inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
4. markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
5. feeling of detachment or estrangement from others
6. restricted range of affect
7. sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, or a normal life span)

(D) Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), as indicated by the following:
1. difficulty falling or staying asleep
2. irritability or outbursts of anger
3. difficulty concentrating
4. hyper vigilance
5. exaggerated startle response

(E) Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in Criteria B, C, and D) is more than 1 month.

(F) The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The duration of symptoms is chronic (3 months or more).

May 9, 2010

Process Service Expert Witnesses' Work Product Part 1

Process service expert witnesses may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers writes:

Process Server's Work Product
The work product of a professional process server is the proof or affidavit of service submitted by that person attesting to the fact that a particular person or entity was given legal process in a manner prescribed by law. The proof or affidavit of service is what the courts rely upon to determine whether jurisdiction has been acquired over a particular person, entity, or property. The proof or affidavit of service must be beyond reproach.

May 9, 2010

Marketing Expert On Retainers

Marketing expert Rosalie Hamilton has this to say on expert witness retainers:

You should NOT empty your waiting room, re-arrange appointments, etc., to schedule deposition or courtroom time UNTIL you receive a check for the full, estimated time. Then, if they postpone or cancel, you can refund money on a sliding scale (see Fee Schedule and related info in The Expert Witnessing Marketing Book) based on how easy/difficult it is and based on the date of postponement/cancellation, how easy is it is for you to restore your local work schedule.

I hear this over and over, and experts should not experience loss of income due to dates being moved by the courts and the attorneys.

For more, see expertcommunications.com.

May 9, 2010

Sales Expert Witness On Winning Cases

In Using Marketing, Business & Competitive Research to Win Cases, sales expert witness Don Smith writes that the keys to the selection and use of marketing research professionals include:

1. Define the hypothesis and the information required to win the case. This guides you in the selection of your researcher and keeps the research focused and affordable.

2. Define key words that define the background and experience you require from your researcher. Such fine-tuning is now possible through the use of ExpertLaw.com’s search capability.

3. Use researchers with extensive (a) Business experience and (b) Expert witness experience. Unfortunately, many market researchers are (a) Academically strong but do not have in-depth experience in line management of a business or (b) Not comfortable or practiced in public speaking and are not effective during the stress of a deposition or trial.

4. One of the strengths of market researchers is attention to detail. This can also be a weakness. An experienced researcher recognizes when details are not required; this saves both time and money.

5. Secure several research-in-progress verbal reports. The information will provide you with valuable insight to the case and your strategy. It also helps focus the researcher.

May 8, 2010

Physics Expert Witness On Engines

Physics expert witness Louis A. Bloomfield, Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia, answers the question "What is the difference between spark ignition engines and diesel engines?"

Just before burning their fuels, both engines compress air inside a sealed cylinder. This compression process adds energy to the air and causes its temperature to skyrocket. In a spark ignition engine, the air that's being compressed already contains fuel so this rising temperature is a potential problem. If the fuel and air ignite spontaneously, the engine will "knock" and won't operate at maximum efficiency. The fuel and air mixture is expected to wait until it's ignited at the proper instant by the spark plug. That's why gasoline is formulated to resist ignition below a certain temperature. The higher the "octane" of the gasoline, the higher its certified ignition temperature. Virtually all modern cars operate properly with regular gasoline. Nonetheless, people frequently put high-octane (high-test or premium) gasoline in their cars under the mistaken impression that their cars will be better for it. If your car doesn't knock significantly with regular gasoline, use regular gasoline.

A diesel engine doesn't have spark ignition. Instead, it uses the high temperature caused by extreme compression to ignite its fuel. It compresses pure air to high temperature and pressure, and then injects fuel into this air. Timed to arrive at the proper instant, the fuel bursts into flames and burns quickly in the superheated compressed air. In contrast to gasoline, diesel fuel is formulated to ignite easily as soon as it enters hot air.

Find more at howeverythingworks.com.

May 8, 2010

Expert Witness Financial Bias

In Appellate Opinion On Expert Witness Financial Bias,John Bratt writes on the Court of Appeals of Maryland opinion addressing the extent to which expert witnesses who are retained solely for litigation may be forced to produce documentation of the amounts they earn providing expert witness services.

Without getting into the minutiae of the documents sought in the cases, it is pretty easy to summarize the Court of Appeals’ holding. Documents relevant to a retained expert witness’s economic interest are a proper subject of document discovery. Trial courts should carefully control the production, as to the relevant time period, and as to the scope of the material sought. Additionally, where this kind of material is ordered to be produced, trial courts should enter a confidentiality order protecting the material from re-disclosure. This ruling applies to “professional witnesses”, whom the court defined as physicians who are “paid to testify about someone who is not that physician’s patient under treatment….’

May 7, 2010

Pesticides Expert Witness On Termites Part 1

Pesticides expert witness Allan Snyder; ACGIH, AIHA, SPCI, writes that there are more than 2,500 different types of termites in the world with the most common species being Drywood, Dampwood and Subterranean. Drywood termites:

• Drywood termites may infest dry, undecayed wood, including structural lumber, as well as dead utility poles, posts, and lumber in storage.
• Winged reproductives generally migrate to nearby buildings and other structures.
• Migration usually occurs on sunny days during fall months.
• They do not require contact with moisture or soil.
• They remain entirely above ground and do not connect their nests to the soil.
• They leave piles of fecal pellets which are elongate (about 3/100 inch long) with rounded ends and have six flattened or roundly depressed surfaces separated by six longitudinal ridges.
• Pellets appear granular and are generally salt and pepper like in color and appearance.
• Drywood termites are most prevalent in Southern California (including the desert areas), but also occur along most coastal regions and in the Central Valley.
• Drywoods are generally dark brown with smoky black wings and have a reddish brown head and thorax; wing veins are black.
• Drywood termites are noticeably larger than subterranean termites.

May 7, 2010

Wood Products Experts On Household Mold Part 1

In Mold, Housing and Wood, wood products experts at the Western Wood Products Association write:

Fungi evolved over 400 million years ago (Sherwood-Pike, 1985) and references to mold in buildings suggest that molds have always been present in human environments. At present there is growing public concern about the potential health effects of mold in homes and structures that has been heightened by media reports and litigation.

There are a host of materials in and around the home that, under proper conditions, can become breeding grounds for mold. Molds can grow on organic materials such as drywall paper, wood panels, lumber and carpet backing. They may grow equally well on inorganic materials such as concrete, glass or plastics that may have nutrients on the surface. In all cases, the presence of moisture is a critical condition for the growth of mold.

Lumber is an organic material. In situations with adequate moisture, mold can become established on wood. However, in all cases involving mold, the underlying problems such as flooding or water leaks affect many materials in the structure, including lumber.

May 6, 2010

Risk Management Expert Witness On "The Best In Class Risk Manager" Part 1

Risk management expert witness Alan F. Shirek describes the job of the risk manager:

Today’s “best in class” risk manager spends a very minor part of their time tweaking their insurance programs. They have gone beyond that stage. They spend time operating within the “retained risk” area and direct the process in which their employer assumes risk associated with their business model.

In dealing with their insurance programs, they spend up to 25% of their time dealing with their brokers or vendors, their insurance carriers and various claims professionals representing them or adverse parties.

The risk management position fits into the organization as a direct report to the CFO, Treasurer or General Counsel, depending upon the make up of the firm’s cost of risk. Finance is preferred where the cost of risk is most heavily weighted toward insurance and administration. General Counsel is preferred when self-insured claims are supervised by in-house legal staff and have frequently litigated outcomes.

May 6, 2010

Trucking Expert Witness On ABS Brakes Part 1

In Truck/Tractor-trailer brakes and accident reconstruction, trucking expert witness
Robert Reed writes:

Large trucks and tractor-trailers with ABS anti-lock brakes involved in crashes and accidents have complex systems that must be identified and accounted for in reconstruction and causation issues. Misconception as to skid marks at scenes of crashes can be attributed to the truck/tractor-trailer involved by the police or the investigating agency. Upon investigation and inspection of truck/tractor-trailer it should be noted if the unit has ABS anti-lock brakes and if the system is working. This could change the investigation and reconstruction dramatically as to stopping distance and actions of trucks. ABS systems can apply and release the brakes 5 times a second to keep wheels from locking up and skidding. Numerous times skid marks are attributed to units that did not lock the brakes or skid the tires.

May 6, 2010

Insurance Agency Expert Witness On Recission Part 4

In his article Insurers: To Rescind Or Not to Rescind?, insurance agency expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

The insurer must have incontrovertible evidence to demonstrate that the fact obtained from the insured is false.

• Is the falsity material?

Materiality is determined within the context of probable and reasonable influence on the insurer by the false fact. Consequently, if the insurer’s underwriting decision is not affected, then the falsity cannot be deemed material.

• Is it reasonable to rely on it?

May 5, 2010

Forensic Psychology Expert Witness On Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Part 1

In A Forensic Psychologist's Report In A Sexual Harassment, Hostile Work Environment And Retaliation Case forensic psychology expert witness Stephen Reich, Ph.D., writes on the criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from DSM-IV 309.81, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, the American Psychiatric Association.

(A) The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:
1. the person experienced, and was confronted with an event or events that involved serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others
2. the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror

(B) The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in the following ways:
1. recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts or perceptions
2. recurrent distressing dreams of the event
3. acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening)
4. intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event
5. physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event


Part 2 to be published 5/10/10.

May 4, 2010

Annuities Expert Witness On Evaluating Annuities Part 4

In Annuities for Dummies: A Buyers Guide, annuities expert witness Stephen George writes:
Carriers sell three types: Fixed, Indexed-Linked, and Variable. Fixed and Equity Indexed annuities guarantee no risk of loss if held to term. Variable annuities do have market risk. Indexed-Linked annuities guarantee minimum interest, plus index growth participation. Variable Annuities do not guarantee minimum interest or principal safety, but generally offer higher returns than Fixed or Indexed-Linked annuities. Annuities require tying principal up for a certain term, or paying surrender charge penalties for early withdrawal. Money in 401 or retirement plans invested in the market is much riskier than Indexed-Linked Annuities guaranteeing principal safety. Although the investment income portion of most annuity distributions is taxed at ordinary income tax rates, taxes are deferred until annuity withdrawals and distributions, making them ideal for seniors maximizing their income over a fixed period, or managing taxes paid on Social Security benefits.

May 2, 2010

Medical Expert Witness On Standard Of Care

In Medical Expert Witnesses Are Necessary to Determine Whether the Standard Of Care Was Met, medical expert witness Dr. Barry Gustin writes:

Medical expert witnesses in all medical disciplines including medical toxicology and pharmacology are essential to establishing whether or not the standard of care was met in any particular medical legal case. The standard of care holds the medical professional to that specific behavior that would be expected of a reasonable person possessing the same or similiar skills or knowledge under similar circumstances. In medical malpractice cases, the physician's actions must be measured against those expected of other similar physicians. This often means that similar physicians are those in the same medical specialty. There are exceptions to this caveat because physicians in different specialties can care for the same type of patients or perform the same type of procedures. An example of this would be Orthopedic spine surgeons and Neurosurgeons who both operate on the spine.

Does this mean that there is only one standard of care in a given medical situation? No. There are often more than one appropriate standard of care for a given situation. Further, there may be standards of care that are less frequently employed, but that are perfectly appropriate. In fact, the defendant physician may not be held to a single or even a majority standard of care if it can be shown that the physician behaved in accordance with good medical practice for the care he delivered. For example, adjuvant chemotherapy for lung cancer is "a relatively new standard of care, but not necessarily the only standard of care, according to an article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. Some clinicians have chosen not to employ it in certain situations. Of course, informed consent is critical in these situations because patients must be given the choice.

Standard of care issues is one reason why the medical expert is absolutely necessary in a medical malpractice action. The medical expert must sort through the various applicable standards of care and determine what was or was not appropriate for that specific medical situation. And there are myriad subtleties and nuances in this regard. It is not always so black and white. In most medical malpractice cases, both the standard of care and its breach are established through the necessary testimony of medical expert witnesses.

May 1, 2010

Insurance Agency Expert Witness On Recission Part 3

In his article Insurers: To Rescind Or Not to Rescind?, insurance agency expert witness Akos Swierkiewicz writes:

In most cases, rescission is based on materially misrepresented facts in the policy application, or in underwriting information provided by the insured or its broker. However, unless there is a satisfactory answer to each of the following questions, the rescission is not justifiable:

• Is the fact known only to the insured?

If the insurer possesses a fact that differs from what the insured had provided, then it must attempt to reconcile it before proceeding further with consideration of rescission.

• Is it false?