July 31, 2010

Police Procedures Expert Witnesses On BART Shooting

Two police procedures expert witnesses with Force Science backgrounds are believed to have been influential in a jury’s recent decision to reject a murder conviction of a former transit officer accused of deliberately shooting an unarmed suspect in the back during a handcuffing scuffle.

The witnesses, Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute, and retired LAPD captain Greg Meyer, a certified Force Science Analyst, testified in detail how a combination of inadequate training and psychological stress phenomena most likely led to a tragic accident in which the officer mistakenly drew his sidearm instead of his X26 Taser while trying to restrain the struggling suspect. The prosecution had claimed the incident was one of intentional homicide by an out-of-control cop.

“This case,” Lewinski told Force Science News, “is a classic illustration of powerful forces beyond an officer’s conscious awareness that can shape a threatening encounter. These forces may not be readily evident even to unbiased witnesses, but in a matter of seconds they can change the lives of those involved forever.”

Read more: policeone.com.

July 30, 2010

Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Removal A Mistake

Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports a trial court erred in removing plaintiffs’ medical malpractice expert witness in a trial on the basis that defense counsel’s representation of the doctor 10 years earlier created an irreconcilable conflict of interest, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled on July 16th.

Div. Three said prophylactic removal was unnecessary where the expert waived any conflict arising out of the previous representation, so long as that waiver was unequivocal.

Orange Superior Court Commissioner Janet C. Pesak disqualified board-certified plastic surgeon John M. Shamoun from testifying against physician Mark Knight in a suit over a liposuction he performed on Laura Montgomery. Montgomery sued Knight in 2007, alleging she was injured by the procedure, and her husband, Douglas, brought a claim for loss of consortium.

July 29, 2010

Insurance Expert Witnesses & Surplus Line Insurance Part 2

Insurance expert witnesses may opine on insurance customs, insurance practices, malpractice insurance, surplus insurance and more. Here the Surplus Line Association of Illinois answers the question: What is surplus line insurance?

Since this insurer is not licensed in your state, they are not regulated by your state's Department of Insurance in the same way licensed insurers are regulated (they are, however, regulated in the state or country where they are domiciled or located). Since they are not strictly regulated by your state, they are generally free from the form or rate regulations imposed on licensed insurers. This gives them the freedom to maintain broader internal guidelines for accepting risks. They have more flexibility to design and price their policies and can, therefore, accept risks that licensed insurers will not.

In many states, including Illinois, the licensed surplus line producer is required to ascertain that the insurer meets certain financial standards before buying a policy from them. In many other states the Department of Insurance, or some other authority, monitors the financial condition of surplus line insurers and maintains a list of insurers that surplus line producers are allowed to use. Whether done by the surplus line producer, the state Department of Insurance, or some other entity, this financial monitoring is an important function because if the insurer were to fail (go bankrupt), there is no guaranty fund protection for you.

It is important to note that these insurers are generally not unable to obtain a license in your state, rather they choose to operate on an unlicensed, surplus line basis.

July 28, 2010

Expert Witness On Hostile Opposing Counsel Part 3

In Hostile Opposing Counsel Expert Communications.com writes:

This all brings to mind a deposition I had in which the opposing counsel made a very big deal of the fact I had not brought exactly some financial data on my expert practice he had requested (I had brought something equivalent and in fact more responsive to his concerns). He then proceeded to politely but persistently ask me the same question over and over, in different ways but always the same question. My answer was critical to his case, and I answered politely but firmly each time. He never got what he wanted, and politely made sure I knew he was not happy about this. I thought he was a bit of a jerk.

Several months later he called me and asked me to work with him on a case. He introduced me to his partners as an expert who "is really good". It was only then that I realized he had been "trying me on for size" in that first deposition. Since that time he and his partners have become regular clients. I have come to understand he is in fact a pretty nice guy, and a well respected attorney. Learning how lawyers play the game is one of the many things I enjoy about my expert practice.

July 27, 2010

Electronics Expert On Deepwater Horizon Safety Systems

Electronics expert Michael Williams testified in federal hearings that emergency alarms on board the Deepwater Horizon were disabled weeks before it exploded, killing 11 workers and spewing more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, is the most damning evidence yet of shoddy maintenance and compromised safety systems on board the oil rig.

Hearings conducted by a federal panel of investigators from the US Coast Guard and the department of the interior have already uncovered several incidents of apparent safety irregularities that leave both BP, the oil giant that was working the Macondo well, and Transocean, the owner of the oil rig that was operating under contract to BP, with big questions to answer.

Williams, a former Marine, managed to survive the explosion on 20 April by jumping from the burning rig. His evidence before the federal panel in Kenner, on the outskirts of New Orleans, suggested a litany of problems, from alarm systems that had been switched off to software that was so faulty the rig's computer systems – critical for the monitoring of key safety equipment – regularly crashed.

Read more: theguardian.com.

July 26, 2010

Forensic Accounting Expert Witness On Fair Market Value Part 5

In THE REAL ESTATE CLIENT: VALUATION SERVES IMPORTANT MASTERS IN LITIGATION CASES, forensic accounting expert witness Richard M. Squar writes on the valuation expert:

The valuation expert provides many assets to the litigation arena of a limited partner’s attempt to recover value for his/her investment. The expert can assist in coordinating, selecting and supervising other experts on the case and help in the assessment of the case and early approximation of ranges of value of the limited partnership interest. The valuation appraiser provides expert testimony, critique of the opposition, and rebuttal. Legal counsel is assisted and supported in developing briefs, discovery, and preparation of interrogatories. The skilled valuation expert also provides litigation support in research and damage calculations.

The valuation expert here is valuing the real estate limited partner’s partnership interest, taking into account its underlying asset value, lack of control and saleability.

The competent business valuation expert provides an independent, unbiased approach with professional demeanor. In a litigation case involving a real estate limited partner, this expert actually serves many masters – the client, legal counsel and the court itself.

July 25, 2010

Forestry Expert Witness On Construction Sites Part 2

Forestry expert witness Russell E. Carlson, RCA, BCMA, Tree Tech Consulting, writes on Guidelines for Protection of Trees on Construction Sites:
The following guidelines are minimum standards recommended for the preservation of trees. These guidelines should be incorporated in construction contracts, and the details made available to all parties involved with work on the site, including equipment operators. Other guidelines and protective measures may also be appropriate, in addition tho those listed below.

1. Protection Barrier: A protection barrier shall be installed around the tree or trees to be preserved. The barrier shall be constructed of durable fencing material, such as plastic construction fencing, snow fence, or chain-link fencing. The barrier shall be placed as far from the base of the tree(s) as possible, preferably at the drip-line. The fencing shall be maintained in good repair throughout the duration of the project, and shall not be removed, relocated, or encroached upon without permission of the arborist involved.
2. Storage of Materials: There shall be NO storage of materials or supplies of any kind within the area of the protection barriers. Concrete and cement materials, block, stone, sand and soil shall not be placed within the drip-line of the tree.
3. Fuel Storage: Fuel storage shall NOT be permitted within 150 feet of any tree to be preserved. Refueling, servicing and maintenance of equipment and machinery shall NOT be permitted within 150 feet of protected trees.
4. Debris and Waste Materials: Debris and waste from construction or other activities shall NOT be permitted within protected areas. Wash-down of concrete or cement handling equipment, in particular, shall NOT be permitted within 150 feet of protected trees.
5. Grade Changes: Grade changes can be particularly damaging to trees. Even as little as two inches of fill can cause the death of a tree. Lowering the grade can destroy major portions of a root system. Any grade changes proposed should be approved by an ISA Certified Arborist or a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists before construction begins, and precautions taken to mitigate potential injuries.
6. Damages: Any damages or injuries should be reported to the project arborist as soon as possible. Severed roots shall be pruned cleanly to healthy tissue, using proper pruning tools. Broken branches or limbs shall be pruned according to International Society of Arboriculture Pruning Guidelines and ANSI A-300 Pruning Standards.
7. Preventive Measures: Before construction begins, fertilization of the affected trees is recommended to improve tree vigor and health. Soil analysis testing should be completed to assure fertilization with the appropriate fertilizer products. Pruning of the tree canopies and branches should be done at the direction of the project arborist to remove any dead or broken branches, and to provide the necessary clearances for the construction equipment.

July 24, 2010

Insurance Practices Expert On National Flood Insurance Program

The House leadership pulled a bill off of the floor before a vote could be taken on legislation that would add windstorm coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The bill, H.R. 1264, introduced by Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., could still be taken up again at any time, but for the moment, insurance industry representatives were satisfied that the House did not pass the measure after legislators discussed it on July 22.

An insurance industry expert told NU Online News Service that it is believed the bill was pulled because Rep. Taylor did not have enough votes to secure passage. The industry representative said the bill is not likely to come up next week and could be on hold until September.

In a formal statement of administration policy, the White House said that the Multiple Peril Insurance Act—H.R. 1264—would expand the government’s role in providing windstorm coverage that is “already readily available in the private sector.”

Read more: property-casualty.com.

July 23, 2010

Marketing Experts On Surveys Part 1

In 7 Habits of Highly Successful Surveys, marketing experts at Vovic Corporation write:

Surveys are perhaps the most proven method for gathering data about customers in a structured way. But a number of trends have made it harder for survey authors to be successful. First, phone surveys suffered declining responses, as people thought the Do Not Call list exempted them from surveys (it doesn’t) and as households gave up landlines for cell phones (which it is against U.S. law to call in an automated fashion). Now, web survey response rates are dropping due to the rise in spam and the increasing use of smart phones to check email. A successful survey is one that is designed to meet its original goal, provides accurate data that is representative of the target population, and that improves the satisfaction level of its respondents. This whitepaper distills the seven keys to ensuring the best possible outcome for the survey author.
1. Focus on a Goal
2. Survey the Right Number of People
3. Craft Your Invitation Carefully
4. Order Questions Logically
5. Write Objective Questions
6. Shorten the Survey
7. Close the Feedback Loop

July 22, 2010

Expert Witness On Hostile Opposing Counsel Part 2

In Hostile Opposing Counsel Expert Communications.com writes:

If the attorney spends most of the deposition attacking how much money you make as an expert witness or how you testify more for one side or the other, or is extremely obnoxious and aggressive, just remain cool and calm. You have already won the case and that attorney knows it all too well. His only hope is to get you crack and say or do something stupid. Like you said, these tactics are primarily in depositions where they can't be "seen". These kinds of tactics are rarely used in front of a jury because the jury would see them for what they are. In addition, while you can't always depend on it, judges may limit some of these theatrics as your client attorney may object to the witness being abused.

July 21, 2010

Forensic Accounting Expert Witness On Fair Market Value Part 4

In THE REAL ESTATE CLIENT: VALUATION SERVES IMPORTANT MASTERS IN LITIGATION CASES, forensic accounting expert witness Richard M. Squar writes on minority interest:

A minority interest discount is applied to reflect the degree of absence of control or power over various business decisions of the partnership. It is common in partnership agreements of real estate limited partnerships to “limit” the ability of the limited partner to influence operations in the partnership, including management decisions, the ability to transfer limited partnership interests or substitute limited partners, the right to compel distributions, or the power to initiate liquidation of the partnership.

The discount for lack of marketability is concerned with the liquidity of the interest being valued. Liquidity is a measure of how quickly and easily the limited partnership interest can be converted into cash if the owner of the limited partnership interest wants to sell his/her investment.

In recent years, various court decisions indicate that the business appraiser needs to be more specific and detailed in supporting opinions regarding both the applicable minority interest and lack of marketability discounts. Too often business appraisers would analyze in depth the aggregate net asset value of a limited partnership, only to then take discounts totaling perhaps 35% to 45% of such value based on general studies of marketplace data.


July 20, 2010

Insurance Expert Witnesses & Surplus Line Insurance Part 1

Insurance expert witnesses may opine on insurance customs, insurance practices, malpractice insurance, surplus insurance and more. Here the Surplus Line Association of Illinois answers the question: What is surplus line insurance?

In order to understand what surplus line insurance is, it is helpful first to understand a few things about the insurance marketplace and to understand what surplus line insurance is not.

The first player in the marketplace we'll discuss is the insurance company, sometimes referred to as an insurance carrier or insurer. The insurer is the company that actually writes the policy and accepts the risk that something will happen. They collect your premiums and those of other insureds and invest them. If a claim is made, they pay the claim from this pool of collected premiums.

Insurers are licensed on a state by state basis in the United States. Generally, an insurer must get a license in any state where it wants to write policies. Each state has a Department of Insurance (or similar regulatory body) that regulates these insurers. The regulation takes many forms and varies from state to state, but it can basically be divided into two general areas. First, the regulators monitor the finances and market conduct of the insurers to see that they are financially sound and using fair and honest business practices. Second, they regulate or approve the insurer's policy forms (the actual content of the policies) or the insurer's rates, or both. These insurers contribute to a state fund, called a guaranty fund, that is used to pay claims if any of these licensed insurers were to fail (go bankrupt).

The next player is the agent or broker (we'll collectively refer to them as producers). If you are an individual or company that needs insurance, the producer acts as the middleman between you and the insurer. The producer is also licensed and regulated by the state. When you tell the producer you need insurance, the producer must try to find you a policy from one of the insurers that is licensed to operate in your state. There are some cases, however, (generally less than 10% of policies nationwide) where the licensed insurers will not accept a risk because it does not meet their internally established guidelines. The risk may be too big, too unusual or substandard. In these cases, a specially licensed producer called a surplus line producer gets involved. Their special surplus line license allows them to procure a policy for you from an insurer that is not licensed in your state.

July 19, 2010

Forestry Expert Witness On Construction Sites Part 1

Forestry expert witness Russell E. Carlson, RCA, BCMA, Tree Tech Consulting, writes on Guidelines for Protection of Trees on Construction Sites:

To preserve certain mature trees within a construction site some precautions must be taken to assure that neither the trunk, limbs nor root system of the tree are excessively damaged. The root system of a tree is the most vital and the most delicate part of the plant, and the most easily damaged.

The root system extends far from the trunk, often beyond the drip-line of the tree. The fine absorbing roots, those that collect water and nourishment for the tree, are located primarily within the top eight to twelve inches of the soil. (See Figure 1) The roots and the soil in this surface layer must be protected from injury.

Any encroachment, disturbance, or compaction of the soil around the tree will damage or destroy the fine absorbing roots. Injury caused by cutting, crushing, suffocation, poisoning, or moisture stress by inundation or dehydration can result in the death of the tree. Injuries caused during construction projects may not be finally apparent for many years after the completion of the project, but can ultimately kill the tree.

The following guidelines are minimum standards recommended for the preservation of trees. These guidelines should be incorporated in construction contracts, and the details made available to all parties involved with work on the site, including equipment operators. Other guidelines and protective measures may also be appropriate, in addition tho those listed below.

July 18, 2010

Entertainment Expert Witness Speaks Out on Obscenity Trial

Entertainment and media expert witness Constance Penley, whose testimony was disallowed by the Santa Barbara judge in the John Stagliano obscenity trial, spoke out on Thursday about porn, obscenity and Stagliano himself. Penley says with every technological advance, there’s a greater democratization of sexual explicit expression through film, video, photography and the Internet, allowing more people access to sexual explicit material.

The pornography expert says many people don’t think it’s important to define pornography. She says they think they already know what pornography means, which is not just sexually explicit expression, but that it is obscene, has no 1st Amendment protection and therefore can be banned. Penley teaches film and media at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Read more:xbiznewswire.com.

July 17, 2010

Expert Witness On Hostile Opposing Counsel Part 1

In Hostile Opposing Counsel Expert Communications.com writes:

I have been doing expert witness work for 25 years. Attorneys basically have two tactics. They can either attack your opinions or attack you personally. If the whole deposition is about attacking you personally, you know you have won! If you the attorney could attack your objective opinions, he would certainly do so. If he refrains from attacking your objective opinions, he knows you are completely accurate. Therefore, since he can't directly dispute your opinions, he can only attempt to discredit you and therefore, by implication, your opinions.

July 17, 2010

What Is An Insurance Expert Witness? Part 2

What Is an Insurance Expert Witness?

The insurance expert witness can explain the processes behind the actions of an insurance company or agent, and can talk about industry standards of behavior and ethics. The insurance expert witness can also provide information about how coverage works, conditions under which coverage may be denied, and the appeals process in place for asking for reconsideration of insurance decisions. All of this information can be used to support one side or the other.

Like other witnesses, an insurance expert witness can be cross examined by opposing counsel. If the testimony has been especially effective, the opposing lawyer may attempt to undermine the credibility of the witness, or to shoot holes in the testimony. For example, the lawyer might remind the jury that the witness is expressing opinions, rather than stating facts, or might call the character of the witness into question. Opposing counsel may also ask about how much compensation the witness received, as juries may read a high compensation as a sign that the witness was “bought”.

From wiseGeek.com.

July 16, 2010

Forensic Accounting Expert Witness On Fair Market Value Part 3

In THE REAL ESTATE CLIENT: VALUATION SERVES IMPORTANT MASTERS IN LITIGATION CASES, forensic accounting expert witness Richard M. Squar writes on fair market value:

Having determined the aggregate net asset value of the limited partnership interest, various factors need to be considered in arriving at fair market value of the interest. These factors include the cash flow characteristics inside the partnership, the anticipation of future cash flow and ability to make distributions to partners, the economic circumstances regarding the assets and mortgages on the properties, the terms of the partnership agreement, and consideration of any special items that may effect the potential for profit or risk of loss.

There are two discounts applied to the aggregate net asset value in a business valuation in an attempt to quantify the above considerations: The minority interest discount (or discount for lack of control) and the marketability discount. Both lack of control and lack of marketability are inherent in limited partnership interests.

July 15, 2010

The Value Of A Construction Expert Witness Part 2

In The Value of a Construction Expert Witness, William Gulya, Jr., construction expert witness and President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

The evidence and documentation involved in construction cases are numerous and varied, including building contracts, correspondence, emails, liens, claims, and a wide variety of notices. The expert witness should be able to analyze fact evidence, prepare a clear and concise expert report and other documentation, and handle himself in depositions and in court. Some cases require presentations using charts, models, photographs, and other such materials, which a competent expert should be able to prepare. In addition, an experienced expert witness who has handled similar cases in the past should have an in-depth knowledge of the legal regulations to which he or she must adhere.

It is the responsibility of the expert witness to advise the attorney based on the facts and circumstances of the case and provide a written report, which includes opinions and conclusions supported by the facts, evidence, OSHA regulations, best practices and industry standards. Experienced expert witnesses have an understanding of what could prove to be problematic or positive in the long run and advise their attorney client accordingly.

An experienced construction expert witness can make the difference between winning and losing a case.


July 14, 2010

Subpoenas Expert Witnesses

Subpoenas expert witnesses may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers has established the Standards, Best Practices and The Policy Manual. Although applicable only to members of this association, the Policy Manual is also published for public awareness and use. Here the association addresses The Role of Notary Public in a Process Service Office:

A Notary Public, whether employed in a process serving business, or not, must adhere to the state laws regarding Notary Publics within the jurisdiction where he or she has been commissioned. These duties and obligations transcend other duties that may be assigned by an employer.

Content
A proof or affidavit of service must accurately state the date, time, place, and manner of service, and any additional information that would reflect how delivery of process or other legal document was made to a person or entity served. When required, a proof or affidavit of service should also reflect the description or relationship of that person to the person or entity served, and the military status of the person served.

Record of Event
A separate, permanent record should be maintained by the process server, or by the employer on his or her behalf, and must be available for inspection by the process server, court, or the person requesting service.

July 14, 2010

Judicial Summons Expert Witnesses

A judicial summons expert witness may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers has established the Standards, Best Practices and The Policy Manual. Although applicable only to members of this association, the Policy Manual is also published for public awareness and use.

These guidelines address three important aspects of proofs or affidavits of service: content, signature(s) and record keeping. They are designed to ensure that the proofs or affidavits of service be completed and signed by the person making service. The traditional and fundamental components of proving service must be maintained. The process server must attest to the facts under penalty of perjury, or by sworn affidavit, and personally sign, or, where permitted by law, cause his or her signature to be affixed electronically to, the proof or affidavit of service.

It is not proper for a proof of service to be signed before completion, or signed in blank to be completed later. It is not permissible to sign the process server’s name to a proof of service on his or her behalf.

A written permanent record of the service should be maintained, and made available upon request. Although a process server’s declaration is made based upon personal knowledge, a business may proffer evidence of service under Federal Rules of Evidence Sec. 807, or state equivalent. A business record, offered in lieu of a personal declaration of the server, when the server is unavailable, does not violate the hearsay rule if it is supported with a declaration of the custodian of the record. Making a record of the service based upon a writing made in the regular course of business does not violate these Best Practices, nor the NAPPS Code of Ethics.

July 14, 2010

Jurat Expert Witnesses

Jurat expert witnesses may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers has established the Standards, Best Practices and The Policy Manual. Although applicable only to members of this association, the Policy Manual is also published for public awareness and use. Here the association explains the jurat:

Jurat
A jurat is a certificate by the person before whom a writing was sworn and is designed to compel truthfulness on the part of the signer. The jurat is completed during the execution of an affidavit and is generally written at the foot of an affidavit stating when, where, and before whom such affidavit was sworn. Before executing a jurat, a Notary Public must be satisfied as to the identity of the signor, and the voluntary nature of that person’s signature. The signing of the affidavit, and the execution of the jurat, is required by all states to be done at the same time in the physical presence of each other.

The jurat initiates a legal process that could eventually result in criminal conviction and punishment if the signor is later found to have lied.

July 14, 2010

Affidavits of Service Expert Witnesses

Affidavits of service expert witnesses may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers has established the Standards, Best Practices and The Policy Manual. Although applicable only to members of this association, the Policy Manual is also published for public awareness and use.

PROOFS AND AFFIDAVITS OF SERVICE

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.

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.

Signatures
An Affidavit or Proof of Service may be signed using a variety of methods. Wet ink, an electronic signature (signature image), or a digital electronic signature with third party verification and date stamping are all valid. No matter what the method of signature, such signature should always be effected by the person who actually performed the actions being attested to. Designating another person to cause the server's signature to be affixed to an Affidavit or Proof of Service is specifically not condoned.

Notary Public
A Notary Public is a person commissioned by a particular state jurisdiction to perform a variety of notarial acts. Among these, the Notary Public is vested with the authority to administer oaths, and execute jurats.

July 14, 2010

Interstate Motor Carrier Operations Expert Witnesses & Safety Standards Part 3

Interstate motor carrier operations expert witnesses may testify on qualifications of truck drivers and federal motor vehicle safety standards. The American Trucking Associations website writes that Safety Advocates See ‘Green’ Benefits in Lowering Speeds:

Why wait until 2014 for national truck fuel economy standards when we can take strides today to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions? Steve Owings, President and co-founder of Road Safe America said in a June 28 editorial published in The Hill.

“Fuel savings can be achieved and pollution reduced immediately if you order speed governors already installed on big trucks to be set at 65 mph,” Owings said.“Excessive speed is the largest single factor in reduced fuel mileage.”

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) supports President Obama’s call for improved fuel economy standards and agrees with Owings’ assessment. The ATA recognizes the benefits of speed governing in both the Sustainability and Safety Agendas. Like the ATA, Owings recommend enacting a national speed limit not to exceed 65 mph and govern speeds on trucks manufactured after 1992 at no more than 65 mph.

“Every mile per hour above 50 mph reduces fuel mileage by one-tenth of 1 percent,” Owings said. “If a truck’s speed drops from 75 mph down to 65 mph, studies show it is able to gain one mile per gallon, which may not seem like much to a small car, but to a truck that only gets six miles to the gallon, that is a very significant impact.”

According to ATA’s sustainability plan, a truck traveling at 75 mph consumes 27 percent more fuel than one going at 65 mph. Bringing speed limits for trucks down to 65 mph would save 2.8 billion gallons of diesel fuel in a decade and reduce CO2 emissions by 31.5 million tons - equal to a year's CO2 generated by 9 million Americans.

July 14, 2010

Process Service Expert Witnesses

Process service expert witnesses may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers has established the Standards, Best Practices and The Policy Manual. Although applicable only to members of this association, the Policy Manual is also published for public awareness and use.

SERVICE OF PROCESS

1. For purposes of these Best Practices, "Primary service" of process refers to the service of initial or other process intended to acquire jurisdiction over a person or property. "Secondary service" of process refers to the service of subsequent papers exchanged between the parties following service of initial process. These Best Practices refer to both Primary and Secondary service of process.

The word or phrase "effected" refers to the date that legal process is delivered, sent or transmitted to a party.

The word or phrase "completed" refers to the date that legal process is legally binding upon a party. This date may be the same as when legal process is personally delivered to a party, or when presumed by law to have been recieved by a party.

2. Service of process or other papers for the purpose of acquiring jurisdiction over a person or property should be performed by a disinterested third party.

3. The preferred and most effective method of service of process upon a party is in-person delivery of process to the named party.

4. When in-person service upon a named party cannot be effected, the next best method of service should be in-person delivery of process to a person authorized by court rule or statute to deliver process to on behalf of the named party. For example, this includes such person as "member of household," "person apparently in charge at a usual place of business," "person of suitable age and discretion," "parent," "guardian," "registered agent" and "statutory agent,".

5. When service cannot be effected as described in 3 and 4 above, the next best methods of service is alternate methods authorized by court rule or statute upon a demonstration of the fact that service cannot be effected by the methods in 3 and 4 above. This would include service by mail, posting, publication and electronic means. If service is authorized in a manner other than by in-person delivery, service should not be deemed completed until at least three days after service is effected, unless acknowledged by the recipient.

6. When service cannot be effected by any of the methods described above, the Court, upon a showing that service cannot be effected by any of these methods, may order service to be done in a manner reasonably calculated to provide actual notice to the party.


July 14, 2010

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Expert Witnesses & Safety Standards Part 2

Federal motor carrier safety regulations expert witnesses may opine on qualifications of truck drivers and federal motor vehicle safety standards. The American Trucking Associations website writes that Texting While Driving is Scientifically Dangerous

Driver behavior is the most common cause of all vehicle crashes. ATA’s safety agenda includes 11 policies focused on improving driver performance. In addition to policies that restrict the use of non-integrated technologies while the vehicle is in motion, ATA recommends:

· Uniform commercial drivers license testing standards;
· A CDL graduated licensing study;
· Additional parking facilities for trucks;
· Governing large truck speeds at 65 mph or less;
· A national maximum 65 mph speed limit for all vehicles;
· Strategies to increase the use of seat belts;
· A national car-truck driver behavior improvement program;
· Increased use of red light cameras and automated speed enforcement;
· Graduated licensing standards in all states for non-commercial teen drivers; and
· More stringent laws to reduce drinking and driving.

The trucking industry is dedicated to improving highway safety for all motorists. Over the last 5 years the number of large truck crash injuries per 100 million miles has dropped 25 percent and the truck-involved fatality rate has dropped 22 percent. The fatality rate has dropped 66 percent since the DOT began keeping those records in 1975 and is now at its historical low.

July 14, 2010

Trucking Expert Witnesses & Safety Standards Part 1

Trucking expert witnesses may opine on qualifications of truck drivers and federal motor vehicle safety standards. The American Trucking Associations website writes that Texting While Driving is Scientifically Dangerous

All driving distractions carry some risk, but text messaging while driving is the most dangerous because it involves all three basic types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive, Robert Petrancosta, Vice President for Safety of Con-way Freight said in a June 30 USA Today editorial.

“As the National Safety Council has argued, the human brain cannot multitask,” Petrancosta said. “Sure the human brain can juggle tasks very rapidly, but it can only perform one task at a time. A person who is texting while driving is overloading his brain, requiring divided attention.”

A 2009 study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute using long-haul truck drivers concluded that when motorists texted while driving, their collision risk was 23 times greater.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) supports the efforts of the 28 states and the District of Columbia that have banned texting by automobile drivers and will continue to work with affiliated state trucking associations and stakeholder groups to encourage the remaining states to also institute a ban.

July 14, 2010

Birthing Centers Expert Witness On Maternal Obesity Part 2

Birthing centers expert witness Susan Trezona, CNM, offers this article on her website:
Maternal Obesity Increases Risks

Mothers are considered overweight if their body-mass index, or BMI — a height-weight ratio — is between 25 and 30, and obese if their BMI is 30 or higher.

Overweight or obese women are two to three times as likely as normal-weight women to give birth to babies with either one or more serious defects, including the neural tube malformation known as spina bifida, omphalocele -- in which intestines or other abdominal organs protrude through the navel -- and malformations in the anal opening or urethra in boys, according to a study published in the August 2007 issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Also, overweight or obese women have higher rates of miscarriage, gestational diabetes and hypertension, stillbirths and delivery of small infants. Additionally, it’s more difficult to monitor a pregnancy in an overweight or obese mother and therefore, the costs are also greater, Dr. Katz says. He also notes that there is an increased risk for Cesarean births in women with obesity.

It’s unclear why the public is still ill-informed about the risks of overweight or obesity in pregnancy. But Dr. Katz is adamant about one thing: “Women who are obese in pregnancy don’t need to gain additional weight,” he says.

Dr. Katz says he thinks part of the lack of awareness may stem from the long-time emphasis on women gaining enough weight during pregnancy. “But now, we’ve gone over the line,” he says. “The pendulum has swung in the other direction.”

Dr. Katz encourages women considering pregnancy to consult with their physician about the risks involved in conceiving while overweight. He recommends losing weight, adopting a more nutritious diet, and taking a daily multivitamin containing at least 1 milligram of folic acid. He also advises obese women planning to get pregnant to stabilize their weight loss program at least one month or one menstrual cycle before conception.

July 14, 2010

Marketing Defense Expert Witnesses

Marketing defense expert witnesses may opine on competition and marketing strategy. The American Marketing Association Board of Directors defines marketing defense:

The strategic moves that attempt to minimize or deter threatening actions by existing or potential competitors. Strategic moves can deter all or some of the prospective challengers by making the profit prospects so unattractive and risky that market share gains are not worth pursuing. Deterrence strategies include the following: (1) signaling intentions to defend, (2) foreclosing avenues for attack by building barriers to entry or mobility, (3) increasing entry costs or investments, and (4) reducing market attractiveness by lowering prices. If challengers cannot be deterred, then the purpose of market defense is to contain challengers' moves and minimize the damage.

July 14, 2010

Licensed Midwives Expert Witness Re: Maternal Obesity Part 1

Licensed midwives expert witness Susan Trezona, CNM, offers this article on her website:
Maternal Obesity Increases Risks

By now, most of us are aware of the obesity epidemic in America. Obesity among both genders and all age groups is growing. In the early 1960s, 13% of Americans were classified as obese. By 2000, the number had skyrocketed to more than 30%. Today, almost 67 million Americans — or two-thirds of the population — are considered overweight while one in three is obese.

While being significantly overweight or obese presents numerous health risks for all ages, it poses special problems for pregnant women. Being overweight or obese at the time of conception can lead to a high-risk pregnancy for the mother and serious complications — from stillbirth to multiple birth defects — for the baby, according to Dr. Vern Katz, a perinatologist at the Center for Genetics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Women’s Care.

The risk factors of being obese and pregnant, says Dr. Katz, are actually greater than those of smoking while pregnant, conceiving at an advanced age or being underweight. Yet, although half of all women of childbearing age are overweight or obese, the public is still uninformed about the problems the condition can cause to both mothers and their babies.

July 14, 2010

Marketing Research Expert Witnesses

Marketing research expert witnesses may opine on market studies and marketing research. The American Marketing Association Board of Directors offers the following definitions:

Marketing:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved October 2007)

Marketing Research:

Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information--information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications. (Approved October 2004)

July 14, 2010

Midwifery Expert Witness On Diet

The website of midwifery expert witness Susan Trezona, CNM, offers this information:

Cutting Fat May Prevent Ovarian Cancer
Ivanhoe Newswire

If there weren’t already enough reasons to eat healthy, there may one more for women to add to their list. New research reveals a low fat diet may help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in post-menopausal women.

Previous research revealed a healthy diet could reduce the risk of breast cancer and colorectal cancer in postmenopausal women. Now researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle have found the same correlation between a healthy diet and preventing ovarian cancer.

Nearly 50,000 postmenopausal women were studied. One group of about 20,000 women was randomly assigned to the diet modification group. This group was to reduce fat intake by 20%, eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables and six servings of whole grains a day. The remaining 30,000 women were not to modify their diet at all.

Researchers followed participants for an average of eight years. During the first four years, the risk for ovarian cancer was similar between the two groups. In the following four years, women in the diet modification group had a lower risk of ovarian cancer. The women who saw the greatest risk reduction were those with the highest fat intake before the study.

July 14, 2010

Gynecological Care Expert Witness On Osteoporosis

The website of gynecological care expert witness Susan Trezona, CNM, offers this information regarding Boning Up On Osteoporosis:

Among the health issues facing menopausal women is osteoporosis, or progressive thinning of the bones. More than 10 million Americans have osteoporosis. Half of the women over the age of 50 will have a bone fracture due to osteoporosis during their lives.

Those at greatest risk for osteoporosis are women who:

* Have a family history of the disease
* Had early onset of menopause
* Have a small body frame or fair complexion
* Have a history of smoking or alcohol use


Fortunately, osteoporosis can be prevented. A diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D and regular weight-bearing exercise are the best ways to prevent bone loss. Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, soda and caffeine only in moderation are also important preventive measures.

Because it’s a “silent disease,” osteoporosis can develop undetected for decades. For many women, losing height or breaking a bone easily is often the first sign of osteoporosis. That’s why early detection is vital. A bone mineral density test screens for osteoporosis and is non-invasive and relatively inexpensive. Based on the initial results, follow-up tests may be necessary, and in all cases, bone density should be re-checked every few years. Paula Jewett, MD, of the Menopause Center of Oregon, recommends that all women have a baseline measurement of bone density as they approach menopause.

While there’s no cure for osteoporosis, several medications are used to slow or stop bone loss, increase bone density and reduce risk of fracture. If you have osteoporosis, or if you’re at increased risk, talk with your physician to find out what medication and course of treatment are right for you.

More information is available at www.osteo.org.

July 13, 2010

Translation Experts & Standards For Translations Part 1

Translation expert witnesses may opine on document translation and medical interpreting. Here, the American Translators Association explains that translation is not a commodity and offers standards for buying a non-commodity.

Translation not a commodity. If it were, it would be enough to say: “You need a translation? Go out and ask several translation service providers how much they charge per word and choose the lowest figure.” End of story. But it’s not like that. For example, you’ll obviously need to specify which language you want your text translated into (e.g. French or German or Japanese). And just as color and price are not the only factors in buying a car, you’ll want to consider other criteria here, too.

For example:
#1 The type of document being translated. Is your text a contract, a user manual, instructions for taking medicine, a sales brochure, a set of Web pages or a financial report?
#2 The subject-matter expertise needed by the person doing the translation. Someone who knows all about medical technology may not be up on accounting, sustainable development or plasma fusion.

July 13, 2010

Midwife Expert Witness On HRT

Midwife expert witness Susan Trezona, CNM, writes on the

Benefits and Risks of HRT

Known Benefits

* Effective treatment for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness
* Reduction of risk for bone loss and hip fractures, especially if HRT is begun at onset of menopausal symptoms.
* Reduction of risk for of colon cancer
* Reduction of risk for gum disease and tooth loss
* Reduction of risk for cataracts


Possible Benefits

* Reduction of risk for Alzheimerís disease, dementia and mood swings


Potential Risks

* Breast cancer
* Heart disease
* Stroke and blood clots

July 13, 2010

Forestry Expert Witness On Boundary Line Tree Disputes

Forestry expert witness Russell E. Carlson, RCA, BCMA, Tree Tech Consulting, writes on a residential boundary line tree dispute:

In general, boundary line trees are considered to be the property of both adjacent owners, and cannot be harmed without the consent of both. As to the tree on your mother’s property, the neighbor cannot cause direct harm by going on to her property.

The grey area is when the neighbor cuts roots. If he stays entirely on his property, he may have the right to do as he wishes. If he has a valid reason, such as building a pool or an addition to his house, and that causes injury, there may not be recourse. However, if his intent is to destroy the trees, and that can be documented and proven, the situation would probably be different. Again, this is very much dependent on the laws in your jurisdiction, and a lawyer is necessary to help sort it out.

One thing to encourage is mediation or arbitration. Mediation is simply a meeting of the interested parties, with a mediator to help facilitate the discussions. The mediator can be anyone the parties agree to, although there are specially trained mediators available. At least one well qualified arborist should be present to discuss the arboricultural issues. This is the best way to start, if the neighbors can agree to meet face to face to discuss it rationally.

Another optioin is to have an attorney send a letter to the neighbor advising against any action against the trees until some effort has been made to mediate or negotiate the problem. I suggest going light on any threats of legal action, but make it clear that that may be an option. You may need to do this quickly, if there is a chance he will go ahead without more warning.

The most important thing is to make contact soon, letting the neighbor know your opposition to harming the trees and asking for a meeting to discuss it. Next, contact a good lawyer, preferrably with some experience in tree law. There are referral services that can help you find one.

July 12, 2010

Interpreters Expert Witness & Case Dismissal

After a 2007 criminal case in Maryland was dismissed for lack of an interpreter and widely covered in the news media, The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters & Translators and The American Translators Association issued a joint statement:

In our organizations' view, this case is an unfortunate symbol of a systemic problem that affects our entire country, a problem for which we all share responsibility: the need for language professionals to be identified and readily available to serve our courts and justice partners.

We represent two national organizations, the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) and the American Translators Association (ATA), that have made great efforts to network with community and government entities to make them aware of our extensive networks of language professionals. On occasion our advocacy efforts have been successful but our overtures have also sometimes been dismissed.

When a language barrier exists and a person's liberty or a victim's life is at stake, it is always best to err on the side of caution by appointing a competent interpreter. When state or federal authorities are unprepared, uninformed or unwilling to find a way to resolve a language barrier, the courts are poorly served, defendants' rights are unprotected, victims are doubly victimized, and our justice system suffers.

Our organizations consist not only of certified and qualified interpreters and translators but also Ph.D. linguists, expert consultants, trainers and expert witnesses. These interpreter experts are available to help the justice entities develop policies and procedures for training bilinguals of less common languages in a relatively short period of time to adequately interpret court proceedings. The ability to comprehend a court proceeding is not an immigration issue or an English-only issue; it is a matter of fundamental fairness and due process.

July 12, 2010

Risk Management Expert Witnesses & Climate Change

In Climate Change Risk Management Lawsuits, Kai Alderson, Fasken Martineau, and Stephen Higgs, of Perkins Coie, write that public companies face exposure to legal liability for investor losses blamed on failure to anticipate or disclose climate change risks.

Plaintiffs have brought lawsuits alleging that a company's GHG emissions contributed to extreme weather events like Hurricane Katrina, which directly or indirectly resulted in property damage or bodily injury. Claimants rely on the common-law nuisance theory that the GHG emissions are a "public nuisance" causing property damage or injury. Companies whose operations emit large amounts of GHG, e.g., fossil-fuel-based energy companies, investor-owned utilities, power generators and large industrial facilities, may be particularly exposed to multiple large claims and may have to bear defense costs, including defense of potential class actions, even against claims that ultimately fail.

Some lower courts have dismissed such cases because plaintiffs lacked "standing" to sue or because their claims raised "political" questions unsuited to judicial resolution. However, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's dismissal of one such suit in Connecticut v. American Electric Power, finding it appropriate for district court consideration. It is possible more of these cases will be brought, particularly as long as no comprehensive federal climate change legislation exists.

Find Risk Management Expert Witnesses here.

For more, see IndustryWeek.com.

July 12, 2010

Insurance Claims Expert Witness On Insurance & Risk Management Terms

Insurance claims expert witness Tommy R. Michaels offers a glossary of Insurance and Risk Management Terms on his website. For example:

Abandonment
A clause in property insurance policies prohibiting the insured from abandoning damaged property to the insurer for repair or disposal. Arranging for repair or disposal is the insured's responsibility, unless the insurer elects otherwise.

Aabatement
The act or process of diminishing the presence of a pollutant (e.g., asbestos or lead) in either degree or intensity.

July 12, 2010

What Is An Insurance Expert Witness? Part 1

What Is an Insurance Expert Witness?
An insurance expert witness is someone with extensive experience in and knowledge of the insurance industry who is called to the witness stand to provide information about aspects of a case which involve insurance. Expert witnesses can be used to provide judge and jury with information which can be used to deepen understanding of the case and the underlying issues. Conventionally, when someone is called as an expert witness, the legal team which calls the witness provides compensation because the witness is providing professional expertise and assistance, rather than simply being asked to testify about the events surrounding the crime like a conventional witness.

When seeking an expert witness, lawyers look for people with reliability and experience, and if they can find an insurance expert witness with a proved track record in court, this is preferred. A good expert witness has years of experience in the industry, or is involved in the academic study of insurance and the insurance industry. Ideally, she or he has been published in multiple settings, and may have other credentials which can be used to establish credibility on the stand.

One reason to call an insurance expert witness is simply to have someone on the stand to explain the facts behind an insurance-related matter. The witness can explain how the industry works, and which regulations apply to the case. The witness may also be asked to offer a professional opinion on the situation. For example, if someone is contending that she or he was unfairly dropped from an insurance policy, the insurance expert witness can testify about the conditions under which people can be dropped, according to industry standards, and whether or not the person was fairly dropped, in the opinion of the witness.

From wiseGeek.com.

July 12, 2010

Marketing Expert On "Be A Better Expert"

In Be a Better Expert Witness, marketing expert Rosalie Hamilton asks "What proactive steps will you take to be a better and more in-demand expert consultant?

Developing your practice and becoming a more effective expert consultant requires that you perform an honest assessment of yourself and your practice. Based on what you determine to be areas that need improvement, steps to take could include: honing your skills at case review, opinion report writing, testifying in deposition and court, and marketing your practice.

If you are new to providing services to attorneys and have not read The Expert Witness Handbook by Dan Poynter, an expert witness, this book would be a good choice. It presents an overview, along with practical, time-tested advice and examples.

If you are more seasoned in this work, you need The A to Z Guide to Expert Witnessing. It is not as easy a read as Poynter's book but is truly comprehensive, a complete reference source for your practice, and a must-have for your library.

The most important book for an expert's skill set is Writing and Defending Your Expert Report. If your credentials qualify you for legal case consulting, then the next and most important line of attack is your opinion report, and your permission to testify and credibility in doing so depend upon your ability to produce an effective and defensible report.

Last, I wrote The Expert Witness Marketing Book as an outline for experts to use to professionally, safely, and successfully market their services. Whether they do their own marketing, have a marketing director, or use us as their marketing department, experts say they dog-ear the pages because they re-read it and refer back to it so often.

Read more: ExpertCommunications.com.

July 12, 2010

Marketing Strategy Expert On "Publicity Thru Writing"

In Publicity and Credibility Through Writing, marketing strategy expert Rosalie Hamilton writes:

When your expertise is publicized in articles and books, it does not look like advertising, it does not feel like advertising, but, delightfully, it works like advertising. Publicity is, in fact, the best promotional avenue after networking. Even better - it is usually free.

Appearing in publications as a writer confers credibility and authority upon the author. Your profession may even demand that you have peer-reviewed, published works. One tangible benefit from writing is that attorneys search the Internet for publications related to the subjects of their cases in order to find related, qualified expert witnesses. Being a published author can create additional publicity in the form of media interviews, book signings, and book reviews. While writing requires a tremendous effort, the benefits of being published definitely make the effort worthwhile.

Legal Periodicals

Many legal newspapers, magazines and journals will accept articles from non-attorneys on a subject that will benefit their readers.

Trade Journals

Being published engenders instant respect from your peers, who know how challenging it is to write anything of substance. If an attorney consults trade journals to find experts, you will stand out.

Mainstream Publications

Reporters and editors seek out experts to comment on current news items. They maintain a large card file of people who can provide a "sound bite" spontaneously for print or air. Even one successful contact could provide valuable public exposure and enhance your credibility as an expert in your field.

Opinion Pages, Letters to Editors, Book Reviews

Keep in mind that these reach the general consumer rather than targeting the legal community. They are, however, free forums and, in many cases, widely read.

Note:Remember to identify yourself and list your contact information on any writing you submit for publication.


— Excerpted from The Expert Witness Marketing Book
by Rosalie Hamilton. Read more: ExpertCommunications.com.Publicity and Credibility Through Writing

July 12, 2010

Trucking Industry Experts Fall Meeting

The Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations will hold its 2010 Fall Meeting and TMCSuperTech2010 National Technician Skills Competition Sept. 20 to 23 at the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, N.C. The meeting theme, Quality Control in Maintenance Operations, will be carried out through technical sessions covering management, training, product selection, regulations and the environment.

TMC, a technical council of American Trucking Associations, is North America's premier technical society for truck equipment technology and maintenance professionals. TMC features a diverse membership of equipment managers, service-dealers, owner-operators, industry suppliers and manufacturers, educators, academia and others that support the trucking industry. Trucking industry expert witnesses may be found here: experts.

For more, see ATA.com.

July 12, 2010

Australian Trucking Experts Visit ATA

American Trucking Associations trucking policy experts met with three members of the National Transport Commission Australia on July 1 to discuss commonalities and challenges the trucking industry faces in each country. Representatives of both delegations talked about the need for increased infrastructure funding and the obstacles to increasing taxes. Other presentation topics included fuel economy standards and higher productivity vehicles, as well as economic indicators that track the health of the trucking industry.

The Australian visitors included NTC Chief Executive Nick Dimopoulos, Chair Greg Martin, and head of engineering and productivity Jose Arredondo. SVP of Policy and Regulatory Affairs Dave Osiecki, VP of Security and Operations Martin Rojas, VP and Environmental Counsel Glen Kedzie, Director of Highway Operations Darrin Roth, and Economist Tavio Headley represented ATA.

July 12, 2010

Pest Control Expert Witness On Termites

Pest control expert witness Allan Snyder; ACGIH, AIHA, SPCI, of AFC Forensic Consulting writes on the treatment and control of termites:
PREVENTION
• Building design may contribute to termite invasion.
• Keep all sub-structural wood at least 12 inches above the soil beneath the building.
• Identify and correct other structural deficiencies that attract or promote termite infestations.
• Stucco siding that reaches the ground promotes termite infestations.
• Keep attic and foundation areas well ventilated and dry.
• Use screening over attic vents and seal other openings, such as knotholes and cracks, to discourage the entry of winged drywood termites.
• Look for and remove tree stumps, stored lumber, untreated fence posts, and buried scrap wood near the structure that may attract termites.
• Construct sand barriers for subterranean termite control.
• Sand with particle sizes in the range of 10 to 16 mesh is used to replace soil around the foundation of a building and sometimes in the crawl space.
• Subterranean termites are unable to construct their tunnels through the sand and therefore cannot invade wooden structures resting on the foundation.
• Stainless steel screening may also be available soon as a physical barrier for subterranean termites.

July 11, 2010

Pesticides Expert Witness On Termites

Pesticides expert witness Allan Snyder; ACGIH, AIHA, SPCI, of AFC Forensic Consulting writes on the treatment and control of termites:

Treatment and control techniques vary depending on the species causing an infestation.
• Multiple colonies of the same species of termite or more than one species of termite can infest a building.
• Subterranean, and less frequently, dampwood termites can have nests at or near ground level, so control methods for these can be similar.
• Drywood termites nest above ground and require different treatment methods than dampwood and subterranean termites.

Control methods include:
• Excluding termites from the building by physical and chemical means
• Using mechanical and chemical methods to destroy existing colonies.

July 10, 2010

The Value Of A Construction Expert Witness Part 1

In The Value of a Construction Expert Witness, William Gulya, Jr., construction expert witness and President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

By its very nature, construction is unique in that construction projects, along with the laws governing construction, affect so many different kinds of parties -- project owners, developers, financial lenders, architects, engineers, planners, designers, contractors, sub-contractors, etc. Consequently, an attorney working in a construction legal dispute will most likely require the assistance and expertise of one or more construction expert witnesses.

Whether the case concerns a small-scale private residence or a huge industrial or commercial venture, the technical aspects associated with the project are best assessed, analyzed and opined upon by someone with extensive knowledge of construction and experience in the field, and many construction attorneys regard their expert witnesses as indispensable.

Construction disputes may arise from financial issues involved in the construction or because of defects, delays, differing conditions, or method and means; in fact, the list is seemingly endless. Another important area where expert witnesses are utilized is in cases of an accident at a construction site.

July 9, 2010

Forensic Accounting Expert Witness On Fair Market Value Part 2

In THE REAL ESTATE CLIENT: VALUATION SERVES IMPORTANT MASTERS IN LITIGATION CASES, forensic accounting expert witness Richard M. Squar writes on the net asset value method:

The value of the partnership before considerations of discounts is determined by the net asset value method. The aggregate net asset value of the entire limited partnership is established by individually appraising each underlying asset taking into consideration liabilities at the valuation date. Assets and liabilities in a typical real estate limited partnership include cash, rents receivable, real estate properties, accounts payable, accrued expenses such as interest due on mortgages, mortgages, and refundable security deposits. The client’s limited partnership interest percentage is applied to the aggregate net asset value to determine the value of the interest before consideration of discounts.

July 8, 2010

Products Liability Expert Witness On Building Codes Part 3

In A Square Peg in a Round Hole - Building Design v. Occupancy Use, products liability expert witness Robert L. Rowe, President of Pyrocop, Inc., writes:

Part 3

As you can see, this was a significant challenge for me as the building was not protected by a fire sprinkler system and the manner of storage was inappropriate for the building design. Without question, this was a distinct fire/life safety hazard that I could not allow to continue until the building was brought up to code. After contacting both the tenant and the property management company as well as spending hours upon hours reviewing the codes trying to come up with a reasonable solution to maintain a safe building and at the same time try to preserve their business, I just could not fit “a square peg in a round hole” without the landlord and tenant spending thousands of dollars to “make it work”.

Had both the prospective tenant, the property owner or the property management company had taken the extra step in familiarizing themselves with the limitations of the building or had taken the time to inquire about viable options for this type of building use, this unfortunate scenario may have been prevented.

July 7, 2010

Wrongful Death Expert Witness On Building Codes Part 2

wrongful death expert witness Robert L. Rowe, President of Pyrocop, Inc., writes:

Part 2

A 30,000 square foot, nonsprinklered, 1950’s era commercial building in an industrial area was sitting vacant for some time which was “bleeding” money by the hour. There were several prospective tenants who inquired but, for one reason or the other, the building was not the right fit. Finally, an import export company looked at the facility and without hesitation, signed a lease and moved in. Had it not been for the City’s business license inspection program, I would have never known that building was occupied or being used.

When I inspected the building I could not believe what I saw. Plastic products stored to the ceiling on unsecured racks with pallets on pallets of plastic wrapped product stored on the floor within the aisle spaces among the racks. It was nearly impossible to walk through the building to inspect as the building was loaded with product.


July 6, 2010

Fire Expert Witness On Building Codes Part 1

In A Square Peg in a Round Hole - Building Design v. Occupancy Use, fire expert witness Robert L. Rowe, President of Pyrocop, Inc., writes:

Part 1

During my tenure as Fire Marshal in the Los Angeles Area, I’ve encountered numerous challenges relating to fire and building code interpretations and application. Beyond popular belief, the responsibility of a fire code official does not stop at insuring the safety of the public and minimizing property loss.

In this difficult economic climate, bringing business into the City and keeping it there is what I refer to is the “third dimension” of responsibility that is required to be an effective component of city government. However, it is also important for investors, developers and property owners and property managers to have at the minimum, a basic understanding of how fire and building codes work to avoid unnecessary delays and headaches.

Part 2 will show example of how something as simple as a signed lease and a handshake turned into a financial disaster.

July 5, 2010

Health Insurance Expert Witness On U.S. Healthcare Part 5

In JRW Healthcare Article, health insurance expert witness Jon R. Wampler writes:

Finally, we need to establish our teaching and training hospitals as places where new physicians are trained in providing appropriate, cost-effective care. Patients could be assured that our very best in research and training universities are committed to the treatment of everyday patients, not just the rare or exceptional cases. This ‘cream of the crop’ mentality would guarantee treatment by the very best and brightest, who could provide, develop and create leading edge treatments to help serve the entire medical community.

We need to redefine the role of public research universities to helping all Americans and all physicians find just what works and what doesn’t in the treatment of common illnesses. Let our research universities be at the forefront of establishing best practices and then let them lead by developing and implementing outcome-based medicine. Every public university that teaches and trains physicians would be called upon to look at local and regional methods of treatment and work closely with the medical community at large to find ways to be much better at prevention, provide effective treatments and realize data driven outcome results. We have the finest research universities in the world. Let’s use them as a tool to train our new physicians in being the best, most cost effective, efficient physicians that they can be.

These simple steps have the potential to save over $500 Billion annually of our current healthcare expenditures; a very good start to funding additional care for the uninsured.
This plan requires something from everyone; not just health professionals, not just trial lawyers, not just patients, not just government - - - but everyone. We can not delude ourselves into thinking that by simply cutting costs on the supply side without looking at the demand side we can ever be successful at healthcare reform.

Americans are generally satisfied with the healthcare they receive. We should focus our time and attention on improving those parts of the system that need repair. We should not be changing what works well for most Americans. Let us strive to fix what we have by taking more accountability for our own health, creating a new physician population, reforming our tort system, reinventing how insurance can be more portable/flexible and using public Universities to educate physicians using new decision making practices and exploring the possibilities of innovative treatments.

July 4, 2010

Forensic Accounting Expert Witness On Fair Market Value

In THE REAL ESTATE CLIENT: VALUATION SERVES IMPORTANT MASTERS IN LITIGATION CASES, forensic accounting expert witness Richard M. Squar writes on fair market value:

The most prevalent standard of value, fair market value, has commanded a great deal of attention in valuation literature and court cases adjudicating valuation issues. In its simplest form, fair market value is defined by numerous court cases and IRS Revenue Ruling 59-60 as “…the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller when the former is not under any compulsion to buy and the latter is not under any compulsion to sell, both parties having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts." Most business valuation opinions are made under the fair market value standard.

Fair value is a legally created standard of value that applies to certain specific transactions. In most states, fair value is the statutory standard of value applicable in cases of dissenting stockholders’ appraisal rights. It is also found in the dissolution statutes of those few states in which minority stockholders can trigger a corporate dissolution under certain circumstances, such as California Corporations Code Section 2000. The concept of fair value also appears in partnership dissolutions under minority oppression statutes in some states. It is critical that legal counsel work with the business valuation expert to determine the interpretation of fair value that is applicable, if at all, and one cannot assume that there is a definition that is clear and concise in all circumstances.

July 3, 2010

Managed Care Expert Witness On U.S. Healthcare Part 4

In JRW Healthcare Article, managed care expert witness Jon R. Wampler writes:

Fourth, we need to create a national risk pool for the insurance industry. Right now insurance companies do as much as they possibly can to minimize risk and control just who they insure. Financial incentives demand that health insurance companies behave just like auto insurance companies: find good risks with no pre-existing conditions and attempt to mediate that risk. By establishing a national risk pool (the FDIC would be an example to follow) we could make the following demands from the healthcare industry; guarantee issue to anyone, make health insurance portable (job to job, state to state), eliminate life-time limits and life-time maximums, and eliminate pre-existing conditions. By this simple step we create an industry where all patients can be managed by the law of large numbers.

July 2, 2010

Health Care Coverage Expert Witness On U.S. Healthcare Part 3

In JRW Healthcare Article, health care coverage expert witness Jon R. Wampler writes:

Tort reform is the next step to take in helping straighten out our healthcare system. Currently, about 10% of our total healthcare expenditures are a result of “defensive medicine”, testing just in case there is a lawsuit filed. This amounts to over $210 Billion annually. Sadly, our President and the Democratic Party as a whole are handcuffed by their support from trial lawyers. Tort reform will not be an easy task because Congress is made up in overwhelming numbers by attorneys; but could be made easier if advanced by one of their own, namely the President.

Patients must do their part as well. Physicians do make mistakes; but, we must not punish the entire system by making physicians order every test and every procedure just in order to prevent unhappy and litigious patients. We need to think long and hard about limits on damages, punitive damages and the ease of lawsuits. We need to let physicians get on with the business of providing adequate, appropriate care to their patients without having to resort to the type of practice we have now where everything must be ruled out just because of the risk of lawsuits.

July 1, 2010

Medical Insurance Expert Witness On U.S. Healthcare Part 2

In JRW Healthcare Article, medical insurance expert witness Jon R. Wampler writes:

Secondly, we need to drastically increase the number of Family Physicians, General Internists, and General Pediatricians. Our ratio of Family Practice physicians to specialists runs about 30/70. We need to reverse that percentage with Family Medicine restored to its traditional place of dignity and importance.

Only 2% of this year’s medical students have chosen Family Medicine as their specialty. If you think waiting for an appointment is bad now, just add 45 million more people to the mix to find out just what the word ugly means. As baby boomers age (78 million of us now out of 330 million), the need for Family Medicine is more urgent than ever.

If the government really wants to make an impact, let’s pay all medical school tuition for those who are willing to take up the practice of Family Medicine. As a further incentive, let’s reinvent reimbursement rates for these physicians and join the modern era by paying them for email consultations, consulting time spent with their patients and extra incentives for preventative medicine. These important physicians should also be incentivized to practice medicine in rural and urban settings through additional compensation. We have asked Family Medicine to do too much, with too little, for the last 30 years. Now is the time to get creative in educating the type of physicians who will be the lynch-pins in revolutionizing our current healthcare system.

We have all seen the graphs about increasing healthcare costs, growing faster than GDP. The reason is simple, the American people buy healthcare without using any of our own money. Out-of-pocket expenses for Americans now accounts for only 12% of all health spending, a percentage that has been falling for decades. We need to let consumers direct their own spending. Having additional family doctors would help this problem quickly.