September 30, 2010

Property Management Expert Witnesses On California Landlord Tenant Bills Part 1

Property management experts at The Lightner Property Group write:

Currently, there are a number of bills which have passed both the Senate and the Assembly which are of interest to landlords and tenants in California. The first of our three bills, AB 1800 (Hagman-Ma), is a response to the numerous scams that have arisen out of the on-line rental market and the increasing number of owners renting their own units through on-line listing services.

The scam is a simple one. A scam artist advertises a housing rental on the Internet, often on Craig’s List. Often they have lifted the information from another site on the Internet, replacing only one important piece of information - the contact telephone number or email address. The deal is often too good to be true and generates a significant amount of interest and often a sense of urgency to act on the part of unsuspecting prospective renter, so as to not miss out on the “great deal”.

The scam works for regular long-terms rentals, as well as shorter vacation rentals; and it works for regular long-terms leases, as well as sub-leases. In the end, it appears to be most successful in the case of vacation rentals, which means that the San Francisco market is particularly vulnerable. The scammer convinces the interested party to place a deposit or to pre-pay rent on the unit and obtains the money up front from the prospective renter. Sadly the scammer has nothing to do with the rental and is accepting the money under false pretenses. In the end, the unsuspecting tenant loses their money and has no rights to the rental, if there was a rental. AB1800 (Hagman and Ma) is intended to enhance protections for the unsuspecting tenant from scams such as this by increasing the penalty.

September 29, 2010

Law Enforcement Expert Witness On The Most Credible Witness Part 2

Law enforcement expert witness, attorney, and former police chief Andy Hall writes:

An Expert Witness is someone who the court recognizes as an authority on a specific topic. In order to be accepted as an expert witness, the court will require the expert to present his/her qualifications under oath so that the judge and jury can determine how much weight should be placed on the expert’s testimony.

An Expert Witness is essential in Litigation arising from these types of issues:

1. -Monell Liability
2. -Police policy, procedure, and professional conduct
3. -Use of force
4. -Detention and Arrest
5. -Interview and Interrogation
6. -Investigative policy and practice
7. -Training policy and Training management, and adequacy
8. -Police pursuit driving
9. -Reasonableness of off-duty police conduct
10. -Department policy, practices and procedures

September 28, 2010

The Role Of The Expert Witness

In What are the qualifications to be an expert witness?, David Goodwyne writes:

What an exactly is an expert witness? An expert witness, as the name suggests, is an individual who is a person whose opinion can be relied upon in respect of an issue or fact that is relevant to the scope of his expertise. Not anyone can be an expert witness as this person is usually an individual with the right level of training, education and experience so that he is deemed an "expert". Just being "competent" or "good" at your job doesn't necessarily qualify you to become an expert.

An expert witness' role is crucial in a trial when there is, for example circumstantial evidence or issues that cannot be directly proven. Hence, the evidence of the expert witness is important because it will help convince the judge or jury of the case theory that the attorney intends to potray. Common examples of expert witneses include forensic scientists (eg: to explain things like estimated cause of death in the event this is cannot be directly and obviously ascertained), psychiatrists or psychologists (eg: to explain a defendant's state of mind, particularly in cases where insanity or diminished responsibility is claimed as a defence), and engineers (to explain technical concepts in the event this is a core issue of a trial).

Read more: helium.com.

September 27, 2010

Fire Expert Witness & Texas Arson Investigation

Members of a Texas state panel reviewing the quality of a 1991 arson investigation that helped send a Corsicana man to his execution went back to the drawing board last week, refusing to approve a draft report that cleared the investigators of professional negligence. In a session of the Texas Forensic Science Commission that was marked by curt exchanges, commissioners voted unanimously to meet Nov. 19 and quiz experts who thus far have provided only written testimony.

The case stems from a Christmas season fire at the Corsicana home of Cameron Todd Willingham, in which his three young daughters died. Willingham, 36, was convicted of capital murder in the case and executed in February 2004. He claimed his innocence to the end. No experts have yet testified before the commission. An October 2009 appearance by Baltimore fire expert witness Craig Beyler, hired by the commission to review state and local fire probes, was canceled by Chairman John Bradley shortly after he was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry.

Read more: chron.com.

September 26, 2010

Ink Differentiation Expert Witness On Ink & Paper Examinations

In Nondestructive Ink and Paper Examinations, ink differentiation expert witness Ronald N. Norris writes:

The forensic examination of documents involves more than just the identification of handwriting and hand printing. Frequently, questions concerning the differentiation of inks, obliterated writings where it is important to determine what is being covered up by the overwriting, and paper examinations are necessary. To conduct these examinations, special techniques involving light of different wavelengths, cyan/green and ultraviolet, in conjunction with special filters and a digital camera, are frequently employed instead of using destructive techniques. This paper is an attempt to explain how this is accomplished.

In any type of forensic examination of documents, a conservative assessment of the observable evidence present on and in the documents is absolutely essential. The cardinal rule, the evidence in the documents may not provide the basis for a definitive answer in every case or examination. The techniques described in this paper have their limitations. The results must always be reported that include the limitations.

September 25, 2010

The Role Of The Expert Witness Part 2

In What are the qualifications to be an expert witness?, David Goodwyne writes:

What are the qualifications required to be an expert witness? There is no hard and fast rule or one size fits all standard checklist which a potential expert must achieve in order to be selected or qualified as an expert witness. Here are just some of the basic guidelines:-

(a) Education background - Ideally, the expert witness should have the relevant academic qualifications from a recognised university. For example, it would be of little use if a forensic "expert" apparently got an online degree from a non-existant university. There have been instances where "experts" of this nature have been ripped to shreds - in fact, there was a recent case where the attorney managed to demonstrate that even his dog could have obtained the degree (and with higher marks!).

The education background of the expert has to be similarly impressive. If he only has a diploma in an unrelated field, then frankly, he is not going to be impressive or a worthwhile expert.

September 24, 2010

Law Enforcement Expert Witness On The Most Credible Witness Part 1

Law enforcement expert witness, attorney, and former police chief Andy Hall writes:

An Expert Witness is someone who the court recognizes as an authority on a specific topic. In order to be accepted as an expert witness, the court will require the expert to present his/her qualifications under oath so that the judge and jury can determine how much weight should be placed on the expert’s testimony.

Because each side will normally present their own expert witnesses, this is where the term “Battle of the Experts” comes from. The most credible witness is usually the one who is:

1. -The most credentialed
2. -The most knowledgeable on the subject
3. -The most familiar with the material
4. -The most articulate and persuasive
5. -The most direct and candid

September 23, 2010

Forensic Accounting Expert Witness On Passive Activity Limitations

In Limited Liability does not mean Limited Deductions, forensic accounting expert witness Peter H. Burgher writes:

In a victory for taxpayers the Federal Tax Court has recently held that an LC member does not lose the ability to deduct operating losses due to “passive activity”. In Newell v. Commissioner the tax court looked beyond the fact that an LLC member has limitations on liability. The IRS had taken the position that being a member of an LLC per se meant that passive activity limitations applied. The taxpayer incurred losses while participating both as an investor and as a part-time manager of several business projects for a number of years. In general, IRC Section 469 disallows recognition of losses or related credits from trade or business activities in which taxpayers do not materially participate. Temporary Treasury Regulation ¶1.469-5T(c) (3) has several provisions that, among other things, has an exception to limited partnership interests for general managers. Otherwise, partners having fixed liabilities may be deemed to be passive.

In the instant case, the Tax Court found that while the taxpayer did have limited liability his managerial activities functioning as a general partner overcame the passive activity presumption. Passive activity losses can only be used against passive activity income, hence the potential for limitations on deductibility. We note the taxpayer here was only part-time in each of his business interests which fortunately for him did not undermine his managerial status. The IRS has not acquiesced gracefully in this arena. Recently, it issued a memo on another decision that held an LLC is not a limited partnership, but it has so far not given in on Newell. So beware, keep records, maintain proofs and be prepared for a fight unless you have plenty of passive income!

For more, see peterburgher.com/newsletter.

September 22, 2010

Trucking Industry Expert Witnesses & Trucking Accidents

Trucking industry expert witnesses may opine on federal motor carrier safety regulations, interstate motor carrier operations, and federal motor vehicle safety standards, as well as related issues. In Trucking Accidents on the Rise in Illinois: How You Can Be Safe, motor vehicle accident and personal injury attorneys at Salvi and Maher offer Safety Tips for Car and Truck Drivers.

Illinois motorists can improve safety on our roads by understanding simple guidelines that are meant to prevent serious Illinois truck accidents. The following are some basic tips to help ensure safety for all drivers:

- Be alert of blind spots around trucks. If you cannot see a truck's side mirrors, the driver cannot see you.
- Do not attempt to pass a truck on the right when it is beginning a right turn.
- Do not cut in front of a truck; trucks require much more distance to stop than cars.
- Give trucks more room in wet conditions or at high speeds.
- Get plenty of rest before long periods of driving.
- Slow down in work zones.
- Inspect and maintain your vehicle, especially the brakes.
- Avoid aggressive and distracted driving.
- Fasten your seatbelt.

September 21, 2010

Latex Expert Witnesses & Latex-Safe Emergency Care Part 4

Latex expert witnesses may opine on latex allergies, latex hypersensitivity, and related issues. In How Do I Prepare for Latex-Safe Emergency Care?, Gerri Rivers, EMT-1, Quad Cities Support Network Chairperson and member of the American Latex Allergy Association writes:

6. Arrange a face-t-face meeting with your local EMS director, EMS Commission and ED Director so they can know you and discuss your needs.

7. Before traveling, contact by phone and in writing the local ED Directors and EMS Directors at your destination. Determine if they are prepared to manage the latex allergic individual and provide them with your name, home address & phone number, temporary address & phone number, and the items listed in bold in Number 5.

For the latex allergic individual the idea of emergency medical care can be a frightening reality. If you continue to have difficulty in discussing your medical needs with EMS, contact your congressperson and local politicians. With these few tips, you can be prepared for emergency events.

Read more: AALA.

September 20, 2010

Variable Annuities Expert Witnesses & Sales Practice Part 2

Variable annuities expert witnesses may testify on retirement annuities, wraparound annuities, variable annuities, and more. In VARIABLE ANNUITIES: A PRIMER FOR CLAIMANTS' COUNSEL, John Duval Associates writes on annuities sales practices:

In conclusion, variable annuities are not completely devoid of beneficial features and are not unsuitable for everyone. Yet sales abuses abound, the features of variable annuities have often been misrepresented or not properly explained, and there usually are alternative choices for most investors with lower costs. If you are called upon to review a client matter involving possible misconduct in the sale of variable annuities, the following check lists might be helpful in determining whether the seller has engaged in sales abuses:

1. Age of purchasers. Above 70 is highly questionable.

2. Need for income. If the client’s original objective was for immediate income then the purchase of a variable annuity is definitely unsuitable.

3. Use of qualified funds. It is extremely difficult to justify the higher costs of variable annuities versus mutual funds when investment assets are already tax deferred, especially if income is needed soon via IRS 72-T.

4. High net worth purchasers? Variable annuities generally are not suitable.

5. “Bonus” contracts as a rationale for 1035 exchanges. The exchange is improper if it could result in surrender penalties, even if the bonus is greater than the penalty.

6. Performance “living” guarantees. These are really expensive and the access to the principal is denied if this option is actually exercised.

Read more: John Duval Associates.

September 19, 2010

JurisPro President Co-author of New ABA Book "Litigators on Experts"

Jim Robinson, attorney and President of JurisPro, Inc. has co-authored the new ABA book Litigators on Experts: Strategies for Managing Expert Witnesses from Retention through Trial. This book represents the collected wisdom of experienced litigators who provide a step-by-step guide to researching, retaining, and working with an expert witness. The book examines issues such as credibility and dependability of an expert, as well as expertise, respect within the relevant field, and appropriate degrees and certifications appropriate for an expert.

For more information, see ABA Bestsellers.

September 18, 2010

Forensic Accounting Expert Witness On Valuation Part 2

In THE REAL ESTATE CLIENT: VALUATION SERVES IMPORTANT MASTERS
IN LITIGATION CASES, forensic accounting expert witness Richard M. Squar, CPA, CVA, ABV, CFF, MBA-Taxation, writes:

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. In this article, it is assumed that fair market value is the appropriate standard of value with applicable discounts.

September 17, 2010

Public Contract Regulations Expert Witnesses

Public contract regulations expert witnesses may opine on public contract codes, public contract regulations, procurement contracts, and related issues. In Bid Protests on California Government and Public Works Contacts in California, attorney George W. Wolff of George W. Wolff & Associates writes:

Grounds for Bid Protests:

There typically are two general grounds for protesting a bid:
(1)The bidder is not a “responsible” contractor,
(2)The bid is not “responsive” to the Invitation for Bids or Instructions to Bidders, or the job specifications.

(1) A bidder’s “responsibility” may depend on whether it is properly licensed to do the work, has the experience required to do the work, or has subcontractors with the needed experience, or meets any special qualifications specified in the contract Documents as condition to the award of the contract.

When a challenge is made to a bidder’s responsibility, the public agency may be required by law to hold a public hearing on that part of the Bid Protest.

(2)A bid is “non-responsive”, for example, when the bid form is not completely filled out and signed, as required by the Instructions to Bidders, or where there are other errors or omissions on the Bid Forms.

A bid may also be non-responsive if for example, it does not have pricing for all alternates, does not list subcontractors performing more than 0.5% of the job, or if it does not meet the stated goals for LBE, SBE, DBE or other goals of the public entity and /or does not show good faith efforts to meet such goals, etc.

September 17, 2010

Public Contract Codes Expert Witnesses

Public contract codes expert witnesses may opine on public contract codes, public contract regulations, and related issues. In Bid Protests on California Government and Public Works Contacts in California, attorney George W. Wolff of George W. Wolff & Associates writes:

Protest Deadlines:

The Time period to submit a Bid Protest after the bid opening, or to respond to a Bid Protest from another bidder are typically very, very, very short, after as little as 3-5 days after bid opening, or possibly even less!

Therefore, do not wait until the government formally awards the contract to another bidder, as that could well be too late.

If you are late, the government and the other bidder may argue that your protest should be rejected, as they have been prejudiced since the contract may have been signed and mobilization has begun.

If it is an important project for your company, attend the Bid Opening, and if you think you might want to protest, ask the public agency for a copy of their Tabulation of the Bids and a copy of the Bid(s) of the Bidder(s) you might want to protest, pursuant to the “California Public Records Act”, they are usually required by this Act to give you these documents.

September 17, 2010

Public Contracts Expert Witnesses

Public contracts expert witnesses may opine on public contract codes, public contract regulations, and related issues. In Bid Protests on California Government and Public Works Contacts in California, attorney George W. Wolff of George W. Wolff & Associates writes:

This Article describes general grounds for Bid Protests on City, County, Local Agency and State Government Public Contracts in the State of California and stresses the urgency to file a Bid Protest very, very quickly after bids are opened to avoid losing your rights to file a successful Bid Protest. Protest procedures vary so check the project manual, local statutes or ordinances on deadlines and procedures, and - immediately - consult a competent and experienced government contract attorney.

Bid Protests on Government Public Works Projects in the State of California

Due to the competitive nature of most Government and Public Works Contracts in the current economy, fierce competition between bidders is now commonplace, as are Bid Protests by other bidders to the award of the job to a lower – or higher – bidder.

Protest Procedures:

The means and manner for protesting a bid are typically set out in the Instruction to Bidders for Project, or in other Contract Documents.

In some instances, the procedures may be set forth in a local ordinance or statute, which state to which a protest must be submitted, what a protest must include, and when the protest must be submitted.

Before or immediately after you have submitted a bid, be sure to check these procedures, in case you need to make a bid protest, or in case you are required to respond to a protest from another bidder.

September 17, 2010

Mortgage Fraud Expert Witnesses & Massachusetts Case Part 3

Mortgage fraud expert witnesses may opine on occupancy fraud, income fraud, and appraisal fraud. Here, Rachel Dollar, attorney, Certified Mortgage Banker, and editor of Mortgage Fraud Blog, writes on Allen Seymour, 42, Oxford, MA, who was arraigned in Worcester Superior Court for his role in a complex scheme in which fraudulent documents were used to defraud homeowners and mortgage lenders in numerous real estate transactions.

Simultaneously, Seymour allegedly found individuals with good credit who were looking to begin investing in real estate. Many of these "investors" were allegedly told they would be helping homeowners in danger of foreclosure. Seymour allegedly told several investors that the purchase would only be temporary, and the homeowners would purchase the property back from them after Seymour repaired the homeowner's credit. Others were allegedly told that Seymour's company would repair and rehab the properties, and then sell them at a profit, to be shared by Seymour and the investors.

It is alleged that none of the proposals made to these "investors" matched the transactions presented to the homeowner. The investors were not told of the "lifetime leases" and "reverse mortgages" Seymour had allegedly promised to the homeowners.

Investigators discovered that nearly $3 million dollars in loans were obtained for these purchases. Loan documents indicate the lender believed the purchase price was far greater than the amount the homeowner was selling the property for, if in fact the homeowner knew they were selling the property at all.


Read more: mortgagefraudblog.com
September 16, 2010

Construction Site Expert Witness On Retaining An Expert Part 3

In Four things an attorney should know about retaining an expert witness, construction site expert witness William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

The decision to retain an expert witness is an important factor in any litigation. Strategic selection and communication with the expert can have a substantial impact on the case, from settlement options to court room testimony. The opposite is also true -- the wrong choice of an expert witness can result in poor or negative results. I have compiled four recommendations for attorneys from an expert witness perspective.

4. Do Not Withhold Information
What your expert witness does not know can and likely will hurt your case. Just as an accomplished attorney does not ask a question for which he or she does not already know the answer, withholding from the expert facts or materials that you think are not relevant is a recipe for disaster. In deposition or at trial your expert is likely to be surprised or embarrassed and could possibly lose all credibility with the judge and/or jury and his or her opinions and conclusions be regarded as insignificant.

A legitimate expert is not interested in reviewing data for the purposes of running up unnecessary bills for time. He or she is concerned about having all required information that may affect his or her opinions and conclusions. Allow the expert to determine whether a particular piece of information or evidence is relevant.

Therefore, ongoing communication is a critical component of the attorney-expert relationship. It is imperative the attorney continues an open dialogue and forwards new data or evidence to the expert witness as it may become available through the discovery process. One of the worst things that can happen after an expert has issued his or her expert report or testified at deposition or in trial is for the expert to be trapped by opposing counsel and made to look incompetent and less than credible due to insufficient information.


September 15, 2010

Video Expert Witnesses

Video expert witnesses may write reports and testify on video capture, video conferencing, video security systems, and more. Need to learn more about video for your case? See the Digital Video Professionals Association. FAQs may be found here: http://www.dvpa.com/public/department55.cfm

September 15, 2010

Fatigue Limit Expert Witness On Driver Fatigue Part 2

In Driver Fatigue is the Number One Safety Issue in the Truck and Bus Industry, fatigue limit expert witness Dennis Wylie writes:

The causes of driver fatigue, fatigue-induced cognitive impairment, driver drowsiness, and the subjective experience of fatigue include:
excessive hours of work
inadequate hours of sleep
night time driving
irregular work-rest schedules

In 1995 the U.S. Department of Transportation sponsored a National Truck and Bus Safety Summit. The goal was to bring together representatives of the many organizations involved in motor carrier safety to prioritize the safety issues facing the industry. Groups of experts represented drivers, enforcement, shippers and carriers, researchers, highway safety, professional associations, safety management systems, government organizations, and manufacturers/suppliers. This comprehensive assembly came to the consensus that driver fatigue was the number one safety issue of the motor carrier community. Driver fatigue remains the leading safety issue.

September 15, 2010

Fatigue Expert Witness On Fatigue Accident Reconstruction Part 1

In Forensic Human Factors Analysis for Fatigue Accident Reconstruction, fatigue expert witness Dennis Wylie writes:

There is no breath analyzer or blood test that can reveal the presence of a critical level of fatigue in an accident-involved driver. However, a forensic driver fatigue expert can often conclude to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty whether fatigue was a cause of the accident, by doing a human factors accident reconstruction involving two important steps:

1. a forensic human factors analysis of the driver's work-rest history leading up to the accident, and
2. a forensic human factors analysis of each particular aspect of the driver's performance that may have been a cause of the accident.

September 15, 2010

Annuities Sales Methods Expert Witnesses & Living Performance Guarantee

Annuities sales methods expert witnesses may opine on tax deferred annuities, equity indexed annuities, and more. In VARIABLE ANNUITIES: A PRIMER FOR CLAIMANTS' COUNSEL, John Duval Associates writes on annuities sales practices:

The most eyebrow-raising feature to appear lately is the “living” performance guarantee or “guaranteed minimum income benefit.” Different carriers have different names for it, but the feature generally is described as providing a 6% per year minimum performance guarantee, regardless of actual performance. Customers are told they will receive that 6%, even if the account loses money, but can receive the actual value if that proves to be higher than the 6% guarantee. Talk about seductive–-this guarantee seems like a no-lose proposition. Unfortunately, not every broker makes clear that the feature requires the contract to be kept in force for a long time, usually 10 years, before it can be utilized. Furthermore, the client must annuitize the contract in order to get the guarantee. In other words, the customer must irrevocably transfer the principal to the carrier in exchange for payments (factored at a very low interest rate) during a selected optional period such as life or 10 years certain. Of course, if the client dies before the value of the funds has been paid out, the insurance carrier wins the mathematics game. And this feature adds an extra cost above the regular M&E fees, putting the total contract fees at around 3%, a staggering expense.

Read more: John Duval Associates.

September 14, 2010

Enterprise Risk Managment Expert Witnesses

Enterprise risk management expert witnesses may write reports and testify on enterprise risk management, financial risk management, and disaster risk management, as well as related issues. In Risk Management - 8 steps To Avoid Litigation, Mridu Bhattacharya, Jr. Project Manager in Online Promotions at SynapseIndia, writes that "Accidents, mistakes and misunderstandings can happen in any business. Some are settled amicably, others grow into full-blown disputes, and before you know it you could be facing a legal claim."

Eight steps to safeguard your business
#3 Checking work.
Freelancers are not required to be perfect. However, this does not relieve them from the obligation to check their work because this is one of the standard systems used to discover and correct errors. Errors, per se, are not evidence of malpractice, but failure to check the work product is.

#4 Communications with the client.
Many of the claims made by clients are not for serious damages but are based simply on discontent and dissatisfaction with the Freelancer. This is often brought on by the Freelancers own lack of consideration of the client. Seemingly minor things such as missing deadlines, lateness to meetings, unavailability by telephone, failure to return emails, and failure to keep the client informed at all times. With this background of discontent, a real problem such as exceeding the cost or time budgets will trigger an avalanche of serious legal problems. The best way to keep clients happy is to treat them with respect, keep them informed, and maintain a friendly relationship.

Read more:buzzle.com.

September 14, 2010

Risk Management Expert Witnesses

Risk management expert witnesses may write reports and testify on enterprise risk management, financial risk management, and disaster risk management, as well as related issues. In Risk Management - 8 steps To Avoid Litigation, Mridu Bhattacharya, Jr. Project Manager in Online Promotions at SynapseIndia, writes that "Accidents, mistakes and misunderstandings can happen in any business. Some are settled amicably, others grow into full-blown disputes, and before you know it you could be facing a legal claim."

Being sued is stressful, time-consuming and expensive. Even if you win the case the disruption to your business can outweigh any financial gains. A key objective for most businesses is to avoid being drawn into litigation in the first place and here we outline the steps freelancers can take to safeguard their business against litigation.

Eight steps to safeguard your business

1. Professional contract agreements.
No work should be done without a contract. Always have one in place that defines scope of services and terms of remuneration before you commence an assignment. Without an agreement the opportunities for misunderstanding and controversy are numerous.

2. Documentation and tracking changes.
A common source of dispute is when the client believes they have asked for a solution that does one thing only for the freelancer to deliver a solution that does another. Know who is responsible for when things go wrong. Meticulously document client requirements and be particularly vigilant when changes creep into a project - as it is easy to lose track of them. Make sure all changes are costed and signed off. These records will be of immense value in defending against legal claims.

Read more:buzzle.com.

September 14, 2010

Variable Annuities Expert Witnesses & Sales Practices

Variable annuities expert witnesses may testify on retirement annuities, wraparound annuities, variable annuities, and more. In VARIABLE ANNUITIES: A PRIMER FOR CLAIMANTS' COUNSEL, John Duval Associates writes on annuities sales practices:

Variable annuities are a notorious vehicle for abusive sales practices. The reason many brokers are prone to commit these abuses is that the combined commissions from the sale of a typical variable annuity are higher than commissions from almost any other product. Not only does the broker get a sales commission, but the broker-dealer also gets sales credits or “trailers” which in turn are partially passed on to the registered representative on a quarterly basis. These additional payments consist of a percentage of the asset base, usually .25% or higher. But since there is no front-load to variable annuities--100% of the principal goes into the contract--one might wonder where the insurer gets the money from which to pay these higher commissions. The answer is that the insurance carrier “fronts” the commission to the broker-dealer and recoups this money through the death benefit charge, known as the “mortality and expense risk” or “M&E.”

In order to ensure that the M&E will be in place long enough to compensate the insurer for the fronted commission expense, the insurer includes a contract feature called a Contingent Deferred Sales Charge or “CDSC.” (It is also known as an Early Surrender Charge). If, for carrier six or seven years to recover the commission and turn a profit. Thus, most variable annuities carry a longer surrender period. The owner must pay a penalty for premature withdrawals or surrendering the contract during this period. The penalty decreases each year until it disappears completely in the pre-specified year of ownership. Recently, variable annuities without surrender charges have begun to emerge, but most contracts still contain some form of penalty to impede immediate and unfettered liquidity

Read more: John Duval Associates.

September 14, 2010

Cybersquatting Expert Witnesses & Domain Names

Cybersquatting expert witnesses may opine on domain squatting, domain names, and cyberpiracy. Here, Las Vegas Trademark attorney Ryan Gile writes that in Zuffa, LLC v. theultimatefighter.com, UFC filed an In Rem Cybersquatting Action against the UltimateFighter.com.
Las Vegas-based Zuffa LLC (“Zuffa”), the company which owns the marks THE ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP and UFC in connection with mixed-martial arts competitions, filed an in rem lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for District of Nevada against the domain name theultimatefighter.com.

Of course, the date when the mark became distinctive is relevant because it is only cybersquatting if the domain name was confusingly similar to a mark that was distinctive on the date of registration. The domain name in dispute was purportedly registered by Anton Resnick with the registrar eNom on January 22, 2004 (long before Zuffa’s aforementioned trademark applications). The domain name http://www.theultimatefighter.com/ currently is redirected to a Yahoo page dedicated to mixed martial arts.

Read more: Ryan Gile.

September 14, 2010

Annuities Expert Witnesses & Financial Reform Bill

Annuities expert witnesses may testify on variable annuities, retirement annuities, wraparound annuities, and more. the National Association of Fixed Annuities includes this press release on their website:

NAFA Comments on Passage of Financial Reform Bill by Senate Milwaukee, WI (July 15, 2010) – Today’s passage of the Financial Regulations Bill by the U.S. Senate tops off the historic week for the fixed annuities industry that was kicked off on Monday, July 12, when the U.S. Appeals Court required that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Rule 151A be vacated. While the court’s ruling was good news the decision to vacate the Rule 151A does not preclude the SEC from re-proposing the Rule. The passing of the Financial Regulations Bill by the Senate will prevent the SEC from asserting jurisdiction over Fixed Indexed Annuities when the Harkin Amendment conditions are satisfied.

We are very pleased with these developments,” said Kim O’Brien, executive director of NAFA, “Fixed Indexed Annuities are insurance products that should be subject only to the oversight and regulation provided by state insurance departments. Fixed annuities play a vital role in helping consumers provide for their own financial well being in retirement. All stakeholders touched by fixed annuities – government, regulators, the industry, and consumers – share a common objective to protect consumers. This, along with a strict adherence to state regulations and our own code of ethics, should always be our primary focus as the association and its members continue to provide products and service to assist our customers with their retirement needs.”

September 14, 2010

Synthetic Latex Expert Witnesses & Latex-Safe Emergency Care Part 3

Synthetic latex expert witnesses may opine on latex allergies, latex hypersensitivity, and related issues. In How Do I Prepare for Latex-Safe Emergency Care?, Gerri Rivers, EMT-1, Quad Cities Support Network Chairperson and member of the American Latex Allergy Association writes:

5. Write individual letters introducing yourself and latex allergy to your State EMS Director (to locate that person try: www.co.rowan.nc.us/es/oems/memlist), local EMS Director, local hospital administrator, are Medical Society Director, local police chief and local fire chief. It should contain your name, home address and phone number, emergency treatment guidelines, information about any latex-safe EMS equipment that you need or have. A description of your usual signs/symptoms during a reaction is also useful. Include the phone number for A.L.E.R.T., Inc. and a NIOSH Alert. Also include a copy of a medical statement from your doctor indicating your condition, severity of your reaction and the importance of latex-safe treatment. The letter that you write to your local EMS director should be sent to all of the people on the list and your attorney, if you have one.

Read more: AALA.

September 14, 2010

Wood Products Expert Witnesses & Formaldehyde Standards Act

Wood products expert witnesses may write reports and testify on pressed wood products, wood manufacturing, building materials, and more. The International Wood Products Association includes this press release on its website:

The International Wood Products Association (IWPA) welcomes legislation to set a national standard for formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. “Our members are meeting and exceeding the emission regulations already in place in the state of California. They welcome a nationwide standard to provide uniformity and predictability to the marketplace,” said Brent McClendon, executive vice president of the International Wood Products Association.

The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act (S. 1660) passed the House of Representatives on June 23, 2010 and is now bound for President Obama’s desk. The legislation directs the Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate regulations on emissions, labeling, and third-party testing, among other provisions.

“Product safety is a clear priority for the wood products industry. Our members who import composite wood products have a long history of meeting voluntary U.S. industry product emission standards and currently meet the emission levels and third-party certification requirements as described in Senate Bill 1660,” said McClendon.

“Imports of composite wood products are valued by U.S. manufacturers for their unique physical properties that are not found in domestic woods, which is why these products are only constructed overseas. U.S. manufacturers and distributors are especially concerned that these products remain available to the marketplace.

September 14, 2010

Latex Allergy Expert Witnesses & Latex-Safe Emergency Care Part 2

Latex allergy expert witnesses may opine on latex allergies, latex hypersensitivity, and related issues. In How Do I Prepare for Latex-Safe Emergency Care?, Gerri Rivers, EMT-1, Quad Cities Support Network Chairperson and member of the American Latex Allergy Association writes:

3. "Flag" your address on your area 9-1-1 enhanced system (if available). They may resist, but you should insist! Call your local EMS, police or fire department for the correct number or person to talk to.

4. Discuss with your allergist any personal latex-safe medical supply needs. Your personal Advanced Life Support jump kit may include such things as ET tubes (which require a doctor's prescription), IV tubing, cardiac monitor electrodes and a bag-valve mask, non-latex tourniquet, and non-latex gloves in various sizes. You may not need all of these things, but better to have something and not need it than need something and not have a latex-free product. Make sure to notify you local EMS of what you have and where it is kept. Even if your local EMS has latex-safe supplies, other EMS away from home may not.

Read more: AALA.

September 14, 2010

Foreign Language Translation Expert Witnesses

Foreign language translation expert witnesses may opine on translations for depositions and legal proceedings, source languages, and more. In Florida to Require Certified Court Interpreters the American Translators Association writes:

Beginning July 1, courts throughout the state of Florida will be required to use state-certified interpreters. Interpreters will be required to pass an oral and written exam that measures their proficiency in English, foreign languages, courtroom procedures, and legal terminology. Continuing education courses also will be required. Previously, training and testing were voluntary. The new law will likely boost the demand for the state's interpreters, which already have seen their work increase as the population soars. In Brevard County, for example, there were 294 cases that called for interpreters in the county's 2004-2005 fiscal year, but that number nearly doubled to 547 cases in the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

Since July 2007, there have been requests for interpreters in about 400 cases, a pace that would set a new record. Although Spanish is the most requested language, other popular languages include Russian, Vietnamese, and Portuguese, says Earth Languages co-owner Julie Graybeal. Haitian Creole also is popular. Brevard County has a contract with an interpreter agency that draws from a pool of about 40 interpreters fluent in 27 languages. Judges may also use a telephone interpreting service when a live interpreter is not available on short notice. Brevard County interpreter Lea Collins says she uses newspapers, television, and the radio to keep up with Spanish and French slang, legal and medical terms, and cultural references.

September 14, 2010

Engineered Wood Expert Witnesses & Green Building

Engineered wood expert witnesses may opine on wood manufacturing, building materials, engineered wood, and more. In Green Building and Life Cycle Assessment, APA-The Engineered Wood Association writes:

What makes a building program green? The complexity of modern products makes it difficult to measure sustainability. In scientific circles, life cycle assessment (LCA) is emerging as the accepted way to determine the true environmental impact of any product. A measurement from "cradle to grave" of the product, including raw material extraction, manufacture, distribution, use, maintenance, and destruction, LCA examines pollution, human health, and energy efficiency over the lifespan of the product. This eliminates biased rankings that occur in an evaluation of a product based on one criterion. Because LCA examines the entire picture of a material's impact, it is an objective means to determine environmental impact and thus a focal point for accurately measuring green building attributes. Download the Wood Promotion Network's Wood and Green Building fact sheet, The Role of Life Cycle Assessment, for more information.

September 14, 2010

Medical Interpreting Expert Witnesses Part 2

Medical interpreting expert witnesses may opine on medical interpreting, source languages, sign language interpreting, and more. In Characteristics of Good Medical InterpretersAlex Uvarov, A&A Languages, LLC, writes:

A medical interpreter must show courtesy and respect toward all medical staff, ranging from doctors all the way to appointment schedulers. An interpreter should never giver their own opinion on a matter and should never disagree with a doctor or a nurse. If an interpreter needs to speak to a staff person and that person is busy then the interpreter needs to wait until that person is finished. Medical offices are sometimes stressful work environments; a good medical interpreter will show patience and understanding and not interrupt the work of medical staff.

September 13, 2010

Wood Products & Lumber Expert Witnesses & Engineered Wood

Wood products and lumber expert witnesses may opine on wood manufacturing, building materials, engineered wood, and more. In Environmental Facts and Green Building, APA-The Engineered Wood Association writes:

Wood, and more specifically engineered wood, is a renewable building material and is a good choice for the environment, for green building, and for long-term life cycle performance. With intensified interest in environmental impact and green building, it's important to consider the attributes that make wood a good choice for the environment. It's also important to understand how engineered wood products can be used to meet the emerging standards and requirements for green building.

The manufacture of wood products requires substantially less energy than the production of other building products such as steel and concrete. Wood product manufacture results in fewer greenhouse gas and other air-polluting emissions. And wood design compares favorably on the solid waste scale. Its environmental attributes make wood the natural choice for sustainable design.

September 13, 2010

Interpreters Expert Witnesses Part 1

Interpreters expert witnesses may opine on medical interpreting, source languages, sign language interpreting, and more. In Characteristics of Good Medical InterpretersAlex Uvarov, A&A Languages, LLC, writes:

Medical interpretation is an important subset of the field of interpretation that requires the interpreter to possess certain important characteristics. A good medical interpreter must have a strong medical vocabulary. The interpreter must know how to translate basic medical terms such as asthma and x-ray and also advanced, highly specialized terms such as nuclear stress test and sickle cell anemia.

One aspect of medical interpretation that can be difficult to handle is dealing with emergency situations. Sometimes a patient that an interpreter works with on a regular basis will have an emergency appointment and that interpreter will be called upon to go help the patient as soon as possible. In these situations the interpreter should make an effort to go to this emergency appointment, for the sake of maintaining continuity with this patient. In case the interpreter cannot make this emergency appointment the interpreter should follow up the next day to find out the nature of the emergency.

September 13, 2010

Medical Illustration Expert Witnesses & MDE

Medical illustration expert witnesses may opine on medical exhibits, medical graphs, medical charts, and more. Here, the Doe Report, a library of medical-legal graphics writes on MED:

Medical Demonstrative Evidence, or MDE, including medical illustrations, animations, anatomical models and computer presentations, helps attorneys and their expert witnesses communicate medical information, clearly and concisely, to a lay or professional audience.

At every step of a personal injury or medical malpractice case, it falls on someone to explain details of human anatomy, physiology, trauma and/or surgery. Some attorneys say: "That's what I pay my medical expert for," or "I know enough about my client's medical condition to explain it to a judge or a jury." However, no matter how good you or your medical expert are at talking about medical issues, using a visual aid during your presentation will increase your persuasiveness and ability to educate your audience.

Read more: thedoereport.com.

September 13, 2010

Latex Expert Witnesses & Latex-Safe Emergency Care Part 1

Latex expert witnesses may opine on latex allergies, latex hypersensitivity, and related issues. In How Do I Prepare for Latex-Safe Emergency Care?, Gerri Rivers, EMT-1, Quad Cities Support Network Chairperson and member of the American Latex Allergy Association writes:

Latex allergy has proven itself to be a frustrating and potentially disabling and career-ending condition. Once a person has been diagnosed, they must then educate themselves and others about latex allergy. It is important that a latex allergic individual, be treated by knowledgeable personnel in a latex-safe manner.

Many latex allergic individuals are not sure how to prepare themselves, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and hospitals to manage their needs. Those who attempt to inform EMS directors, hospital administrators or Emergency Department (ED) directors are often given the run-around, cold-shoulder and no help at all! The realization that few understand appropriate treatment guidelines can leave one feeling frustrated, angry, and scared.

Take control of your latex-safe emergency medical care needs by utilizing the following tips:

1. Get a Medic Alert bracelet or similar product and wear it at all times.

2. Place latex warning stickers on all outside doors at home, each vehicle you drive, entrance to other sites such as work site, child care. Make a portable sign for use while traveling.

Read more: AALA.

September 13, 2010

Identity Theft Expert Witness & ID Theft Prevention Part 1

Identity theft expert witnesses may opine on the fraudulent use of personal information to open new credit accounts, take out loans in the victim's name, stealing money from financial accounts, and more. Here Steven Domenikos, CEO of IdentityTruth, writes on Top 10 Tips for ID Theft Prevention in 2010:

IdentityTruth’s statistics point to a continual year-to-year increase in identity theft-related crimes, indicating that as criminals get more savvy, identity theft becomes easier to perpetrate. The best bet is for consumers to remain informed on how different life events – from shopping and traveling to starting college and getting married – increase their risk for ID theft.

“ID theft is about much more than simple credit card fraud. What many consumers may not realize is that at different points in one’s life, we are all made more vulnerable to identity theft related crime,” said Steven Domenikos, CEO of IdentityTruth. “Taking some simple steps now and being extra-vigilant can help people from becoming victims of identity theft.”

Steven shares his list of “Top 10 Tips for 2010” to help consumers be more aware of their ID theft risk this year:

* When traveling: Know where your credit cards/debit cards are at all times – it’s easy to get distracted when on vacation and out of your usual routine! Double-check credit card receipts when traveling out of the country, as some receipts still print out the cardholder’s full name and credit card number. If you’re going to throw receipts in the trash, be sure to shred them.

* When shopping: Be careful when using ATMs: only use ATMs with monitoring cameras, such as those in bank lobbies. Avoid kiosk ATMs, those freestanding units often do not have cameras and are statistically more likely to be infected by skimmers (electronic devices that allow thieves to record account and PIN numbers). "Shoulder Surfing" can also be a problem at crowded stores, so don’t be afraid to question someone that is standing too close. When making purchases online, look for a familiar logo that indicates that the site is deemed secure.

Read more: benzina.com.

September 12, 2010

Internet Expert Witness & SEO

Internet expert witness Peter Kent is the author of Search Engine Optimization For Dummies, 3rd Edition. His book answers the questions: "Why do some sites pop to the top when you search? How do you make yours one of them?"

You create sites that make search engines happy — that’s what search engine optimization is all about. Search Engine Optimization For Dummies has been the leading resource on how to make that happen, and this third edition is completely updated to cover the newest changes, standards, tips, and tricks.

This handy guide shows you how to get more visitors by getting more visibility for your Web site. Find out which search engines matter most, what they look for (and what they hate,) how to get your site included in the best indexes and directories, and the most effective ways to spend your advertising dollars.

Read more: http://www.jurispro.com/PeterKent.

September 12, 2010

Mortgage Fraud Expert Witnesses & Massachusetts Case Part 2

Mortgage fraud expert witnesses may opine on occupancy fraud, income fraud, and appraisal fraud. Here, Rachel Dollar, attorney, Certified Mortgage Banker, and editor of Mortgage Fraud Blog, writes on Allen Seymour, 42, Oxford, MA, who was arraigned in Worcester Superior Court for his role in a complex scheme in which fraudulent documents were used to defraud homeowners and mortgage lenders in numerous real estate transactions.

The second phase of the investigation focused on 14 real estate transactions in the Worcester County area. Massachusetts State Police and financial investigators assigned to the Attorney General's Office have uncovered a scheme, allegedly organized by Allen Seymour, whereby Seymour was able to transform apparent equity in distressed properties into cash.

According to authorities, Seymour targeted properties in danger of foreclosure. He allegedly personally approached the owners of these properties and presented a variety of rescue options. For those homeowners who merely wished to sell their property to avoid foreclosure, Seymour allegedly offered to purchase the property for the amount owed to the foreclosing lenders. For the several homeowners who wanted to remain in their homes, Seymour allegedly presented rescue plans which ranged from "lifetime leases" and "reverse mortgages" to a simple refinance. Allegedly, some of these homeowners were told they would need to transfer title of the property to an "investor," and some were not. Seymour allegedly had some homeowners sign innocuous documents to begin the process. These innocuous pages were then discarded and substituted with pages purporting to grant Power of Attorney from the homeowner to Jason Passell.

Read more: mortgagefraudblog.com.

September 11, 2010

Construction Site Expert Witness On Retaining An Expert Part 2

In Four things an attorney should know about retaining an expert witness, construction site expert witness William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

The decision to retain an expert witness is an important factor in any litigation. Strategic selection and communication with the expert can have a substantial impact on the case, from settlement options to court room testimony. The opposite is also true -- the wrong choice of an expert witness can result in poor or negative results. I have compiled four recommendations for attorneys from an expert witness perspective.

2. Interview the Expert
Interview the expert yourself; do not delegate this task. You understand your client and your case better than any of your assistants or paralegals. It is crucial that you hire an expert with whom you can work skillfully. You must have a clear understanding of the expert’s qualifications, ethics, communication skills, persuasiveness and personality. After all, it is you who will need to ensure your client that the expert witness on their case will conduct himself in a manner that you, the judge and the jury respect.

3. Exercise Caution in Your Selection
Be skeptical of the expert who claims expertise in too broad an area. Make sure your expert has first-hand knowledge related to the issues in your case. Familiarize yourself with industry terms and language and listen for them during the interview.
Be wary of retaining the intellectual who has no practical application of his expertise in the real world. There is no substitute for experience.


September 10, 2010

Trucking Industry Expert Witnesses & Illinois Highway Safety Part 2

Trucking industry expert witnesses may opine on federal motor carrier safety regulations, interstate motor carrier operations, and federal motor vehicle safety standards, as well as related issues. Here, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that the number of large trucks involved in crashes where at least one person needed immediate medical attention or a vehicle had to be towed away because of "disabling damage" has decreased nationally in the years since 2005. However, the number of those types of crashes has risen in the state of Illinois.

While crashes involving trucks do not constitute the majority of accidents that occur on Illinois roads, the speed and relative size of trucks are more likely to cause serious and life-threatening injuries when involved in an accident, such as:
- Spinal cord injury
- Nerve damage
- Fractures, dislocations and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage, especially to the kidneys, liver and lungs
- Traumatic brain injury

September 9, 2010

Trucking Expert Witnesses & Illinois Highway Safety Part 1

Trucking expert witnesses may opine on federal motor carrier safety regulations, interstate motor carrier operations, and federal motor vehicle safety standards, as well as related issues. Here, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that the number of large trucks involved in crashes where at least one person needed immediate medical attention or a vehicle had to be towed away because of "disabling damage" has decreased nationally in the years since 2005. However, the number of those types of crashes has risen in the state of Illinois.

With more than 8,000 serious crashes in the state in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, highway safety is a concern for Illinois drivers. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that, in 2008, 94,021 people were injured and 1,043 people died in accidents.

Semi-trucks or tractor-trailer crashes are a particular concern because of the increased potential for serious and catastrophic injuries. In 2008 there were 14,632 crashes involving trucks in Illinois. Fatal truck accidents accounted for 10.5 percent of all fatal crashes in the state, with 115 deaths resulting from trucking accidents.

September 8, 2010

Insurance Expert Witness On Court Decisions

In Insurexpert's Blog, insurance expert witness David H. Paige, Esq, writes that court decisions interpret and supplement the legal standards created by statute and by common law.

When determining the value of a court decision as precedent for future liability of insurance agents and brokers, it is important to keep in mind that courts have a specific function in our legal system: to fill in the “gaps” by applying a combination of statutory law, regulations and prior court decisions to the facts before them. When legislatures do not make law on a particular subject, it is the courts’ obligation to draw from prior court decisions and the custom and practice of the community to develop legal standards on its own. The tradition of court-made law, called “common law” was adapted from the British legal system, and works well in the country as well.

Individual court decisions are sometimes “result oriented” and do not identify a trend.

While it is sometimes tempting to draw a conclusion [either positive or negative] from a particular court decision, it is often the case that courts will feel the need to interpret the law in a manner that obtains a desired result for a plaintiff or to “punish” a defendant who the court believes has acted improperly. It is for this reason that a real “trend” in court decisions can only be accurately identified when a series of decisions begins to show a shift in the standards that create legal liability.

Read more: thePaigeReport.

September 7, 2010

Mortgage Fraud Expert Witnesses & Massachusetts Case Part 1

Mortgage fraud expert witnesses may opine on occupancy fraud, income fraud, and appraisal fraud. Here, Rachel Dollar, attorney, Certified Mortgage Banker, and editor of Mortgage Fraud Blog, writes on the Massachusetts man arraigned for fraudulent mortgage transactions:
Allen Seymour, 42, Oxford, MA, was arraigned in Worcester Superior Court for his role in a complex scheme in which fraudulent documents were used to defraud homeowners and mortgage lenders in numerous real estate transactions involving distressed properties in the Worcester County, Massachusetts area.

Seymour is charged with Forgery (4 counts), Uttering (8 counts), Inducing a Lender to Part with Property (12 counts) and Larceny by False Pretenses. Massachusetts State Police have transported Seymour from federal prison in New Jersey to Massachusetts.

The charges are the result of the second phase of a two-year investigation stemming from a referral from the Massachusetts Division of Banks. The first phase of the investigation covered the alleged creation of fraudulent Verifications of Deposit, a document used to prove a borrower's assets to a lender. Phase I of the investigation led to indictments of five individuals, including mortgage broker Erik Tancun, on a variety of charges stemming from the alleged creation of these false documents.

Read more: mortgagefraudblog.com.

September 6, 2010

Construction Site Expert Witness On Retaining An Expert Part 1

In Four things an attorney should know about retaining an expert witness, construction site expert witness William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

The decision to retain an expert witness is an important factor in any litigation. Strategic selection and communication with the expert can have a substantial impact on the case, from settlement options to court room testimony. The opposite is also true -- the wrong choice of an expert witness can result in poor or negative results. I have compiled four recommendations for attorneys from an expert witness perspective.

1. Take Action Early
Many cases do not require an expert at all. However, once the use of an expert becomes foreseeable through fact evidence or because your adversary has declared he or she is utilizing an expert witness, you should retain and get your expert up to speed on the case as soon as possible.

Many attorneys wait too long. There is a distinct benefit to retaining an expert early in the case. The expert can advise on both the strengths and vulnerabilities you may be faced with specific to the area of his area of expertise, pointing out what you may not have considered.

If you wait to retain an expert until the last minute, you may not be able to retain the best candidate for your case. This is particularly true in specialties within an area of expertise. In these narrow disciplines attorneys have to act quickly in order to engage the best expert before opposing counsel has done so. Attorneys have also lost out on the best expert by waiting and then requesting a review of volumes of data and evidence in an unrealistic time frame, leaving the expert insufficient time to properly prepare, and he has to decline.

September 5, 2010

Rubber Expert Witnesses & Tire Maintenance

Rubber expert witnesses may opine on rubber consumer products, tires, and rubber piping. Experts at the Rubber Manufacturers Association released a study in June that shows millions of drivers around the country are failing to properly maintain their tires and are putting themselves at risk while wasting gas and money. The nationwide survey found that fifty-five percent of vehicles had at least one under inflated tire and only one in six vehicles had four properly inflated tires. RMA is the national trade association for tire makers who manufacture in the U.S. The group worked with several tire retailers to collect actual tire pressure measurements from more than 6,300 vehicles in more than 30 cities.

Proper Tire Inflation Saves Gas Properly inflated tires can improve fuel efficiency by 3.3 percent and save nine cents per gallon at the pump, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Approximately 1.2 billion gallons of fuel are wasted each year by U.S. motorists driving on under inflated tires.

Under Inflated Tires Pose Safety Risk
Under inflated tires also pose a safety risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that under inflated tires contribute to more than 600 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year.

Read more: rma.org.

September 3, 2010

Insurance Customs Expert Witness On Duty To Give Advice

In Insurexpert's Blog, insurance customs expert witness David H. Paige, Esq, writes on whether the insurance broker has a duty to suggest that the insured purchase additional insurance coverage.

A continuing issue that has reappeared for years is the question of whether an insurance broker has an obligation to speak out and suggest to an insured that he should be purchasing more or different insurance. The courts have split on this question in different jurisdictions. As a latest example, a California court found that the defendant insurance agent did not have a duty to volunteer that an insured should procure different or additional coverage. Instead, as is the trend in many jurisdictions, the court stated that a duty to advise on additional insurance only arises under very specific circumstances. In California, the court found an expanded duty to advise arises when only one of three conditions is first met: (1) when the agent misrepresents the nature, extent or scope of the coverage being offered or provided, (2) when there is a request or inquiry by the insured for a particular type or extent of coverage, or (3) when the agent assumes an additional duty by either express agreement or by holding himself out as having expertise in a given field of insurance being sought by the insured.

Read more: thePaigeReport.

September 2, 2010

Trucking Experts On SETA

In Environment, Highways to Benefit from ‘Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA) of 2010, ATA trucking experts write:

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) strongly supports the “Safe and Efficient Transportation ACT (SETA) of 2010, S. 3705, introduced Aug. 4 by U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.). The legislation will allow states to authorize the operation of more efficient commercial trucks, resulting in safer highways, cleaner air and less costly freight transportation. Identical legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 1799, currently has 54 co-sponsors.

The bill authorizes states to allow the operation of trucks on the Interstate Highway System with a gross weight of 97,000 pounds. Current law limits the weight of 5-axle trucks traveling on the Interstate System to 80,000 pounds. The legislation requires that trucks operating above 80,000 pounds must add a sixth axle to compensate for the extra weight. The extra axle adds additional braking capacity, preventing an increase in stopping distances, and prevents pavements from sustaining more damage.

Read more: www.truckline.com.

September 1, 2010

Insurance Expert Witnesses & Changing Carriers

Insurance expert witnesses may opine on insurance practices, insurance claims, and insurance coverage. Here, insurance experts from Anderson Kill Wood & Bender write:

Should I Stay or Should I Go?, Experts Offer Advice on Changing Carriers and/or Brokers
Every year as renewal day approaches, companies are faced with a difficult decision: do they renew with their incumbent insurance companies, or do they risk changing carriers to take advantage of lower rates, broader policy language or coverage add-ons? But the truth is, insurance carriers and brokers are helping businesses reach that decision every day of the year with their execution, their knowledge and their business practices.

With the soft market in insurance and the underlying economic unsteadiness of many carriers, there might never have been a time when so many companies are willing to question whether
it is time to change insurance carriers or brokers. Even decades-long relationships can be tested in times such as these. And what if the incumbent carrier is exiting the market or unwilling to renew for another reason? Policyholders must move cautiously and comprehensively to avoid a lapse or gap in coverage.

Read more: http://www.andersonkill.com.