December 31, 2010

Forensic Engineering Expert Witnesses Part 1

In The Role Of The Forensic Engineer, forensic engineering expert witness Philip J. O'Keefe, PE, MLE, writes:

Forensic engineers are much like scientific detectives. They are called on to conduct investigations and determine the causes of accidents, fires, equipment failures, safety system malfunctions, and structural collapses. Milton F. Lunch, the former General Council for the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) sums it up very well:

“Forensic engineering is the application of the art and science of engineering in the jurisprudence system, requiring the services of legally qualified professional engineers. Forensic engineering may include investigation of the physical causes of accidents and other sources of claims and litigation, preparing of engineering reports, testimony at hearings and trials in administrative or judicial proceedings, and the rendition of advisory opinions to assist the resolution of disputes affecting life or property.”

Read more: engineeringexpertwitnessblog.

December 30, 2010

Disability Insurance Expert Witnesses Part 2

Disability insurance expert witnesses may write reports and opine on managed care, HMOs, and insurance claims. Medical expert Richard N. Podell, M.D., M.P.H. explains that for someone with fibromyalgia, it's a difficult step to apply for disability and upsetting if an insurance company representative appears not to believe that they are actually very ill. He says the patient can improve their fibromyalgia disability claim by imagining themselves in the medical insurance examiner's place.

Medical Expert Witness Issue #3:

With fibromyalgia, when you physically push through your limits the expected flare-up of symptoms might not occur right away. Often the flare-up is delayed for hours or even a day. This pattern of fibromyalgia disability is very different from that of most other illnesses. Insurance industry representatives and indeed many physicians-- don't yet understand this very basic fact.

Consider the Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE), the insurance industry's standard “test”. A physical or occupational therapist observes a claimant's ability to bend, crawl, push, and pull things during a single session of two hours or so. That's fine if the key problems are muscle weakness or stiff joints, where the symptom flare-up occurs quickly. But it misses the point for fibromyalgia, since the expected flare-up often does not occur. Current FCE protocols make no provision for follow-up; so these delayed reactions are missed.


Read more: drpodell.org.

December 29, 2010

Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Report Part 2

In How to Write a Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Report, attorney Vivian Pearson explains:

Your medical malpractice expert witness report should be targeted to your attorney's specifications. Before you begin to prepare your report, know what he or she is expecting in terms or length, formatting, font, and amount of details to include. To ensure that you meet your attorney's guidelines and ensure you are paid on time, give your attorney a draft of the report to review before you put it in final form.

3. Describe the education and experience that makes you qualified to be an expert witness in the case. You will need to begin your report by discussing what degrees you hold, how long you have been working in the medical field, and for how many cases you have served as an expert witness.

4. Provide a description of your knowledge of the case. Discuss whether you obtained your information on the case through third-party documentation or whether you interviewed the doctors or patient in person.

Read more: How to Write a Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Report | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_5166512_write-malpractice-expert-witness-report.html#ixzz18tpA0v3S

December 28, 2010

Telecommunications Expert Witness On Fiber Optic Case

In David and Goliath: Silverton and Qwest Battle Over Fiber Optic Line telluridewatch.com reports:

“Qwest was paid to build an information superhighway to Silverton, and they barely widened the existing mule trail.” So said San Juan County Administrator Willie Tookey on June 30 of this year, when Silverton and San Juan County filed a complaint with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission against Denver-based Qwest Communications.

Silverton’s technical expert was Corey Bryndal, who owns a Durango-based company that installs fiber-optic systems, most recently for the cities of Durango, Bayfield and Cortez. Bryndal testified that the 7 megabits of download speed Silverton has available might have been considered fast 10 years ago, but that international standards are many times that now.

Read more: telluridewatch.com.

December 27, 2010

Expert Witness Federal Rules

JDSupra writes: Litigation Advisory - Changes to Federal Rules Regarding Expert Witness Discovery:

A major revision to Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing expert witness discovery went into effect on December 1, 2010. As a result of these changes, Rule 26 no longer allows full discovery of draft expert reports or broad disclosure of communications between attorneys and expert witnesses, as had been the case since 1993. Instead, draft expert reports and communications between counsel and expert witnesses are now protected by the work-product doctrine. While prohibiting discovery of draft expert reports and significantly limiting discovery of Attorney-Expert communications, Rule 26 continues to require full disclosure of the expert’s opinions and the facts or data used to support them.

Read more: JPSupra.com. Contributor: Mintz Levin

December 26, 2010

Engineering Expert Witnesses & Eminent Domain Case

The Ledger.com writes: It should have been a simple eminent domain case. The city of Lakeland, FL, pays two residents for property it needed for townhouses and condominiums. Instead, the case has dragged on for nearly five years, cost the city $168,000 in lawyer's fees and led to major problems for two holdouts. At issue in August was who would pay the fees for engineering expert witnesses and land planners. Mark Miller, the lawyer for the city, agreed to pay for the three witnesses used before the attempt to settle in 2007.

Read more: theledger.com.

December 25, 2010

Insurance Expert On Federal Health Care Law

From The Journal Gazette: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted this spring promised sweeping changes, but many local public and private employers are exempting themselves from some of its most stringent rules. Many of the public employers couldn’t offer specific provisions they wanted to avoid, but the uncertainty created by the law has led many to seek the exemption, according to a local insurance expert.

Denny Wright, president of IntraHealth Solutions and past president of the Indiana State Association of Health Underwriters, said the law has caused uncertainty for businesses. His company is a third-party administrator of health insurance for other businesses.

Read more: journalgazette.net.

December 24, 2010

Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Report Part 1

In How to Write a Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Report, attorney Vivian Pearson explains:

Your medical malpractice expert witness report should be targeted to your attorney's specifications. Before you begin to prepare your report, know what he or she is expecting in terms or length, formatting, font, and amount of details to include. To ensure that you meet your attorney's guidelines and ensure you are paid on time, give your attorney a draft of the report to review before you put it in final form.

1. Ask the attorney you are working for to help you define the scope of your report. Most jurisdictions have written rules that define what you may include in your medical malpractice expert witness report. Before you begin to work on the report, get a written set of guidelines.

2. Understand the purpose of your report. To write an effective report, make sure you have a clear understand of what the attorney hopes to accomplish with your report and make you are prepared to discuss all of the issues relevant to the case.


Read more: How to Write a Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Report | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_5166512_write-malpractice-expert-witness-report.html#ixzz18tp5aILC

December 23, 2010

Disability Insurance Expert Witnesses Part 1

Disability insurance expert witnesses may write reports and opine on managed care, HMOs, and insurance claims. Medical expert Richard N. Podell, M.D., M.P.H. explains that for someone with fibromyalgia, it's a difficult step to apply for disability and upsetting if an insurance company representative appears not to believe that they are actually very ill. He says the patient can improve their fibromyalgia disability claim by imagining themselves in the medical insurance examiner's place.

Medical Expert Witness Issue #1:

Your insurance company isn't allowed to assume that you are telling the truth just because you say so. Insurance companies have learned by hard experience with other forms of illness that a few individuals exaggerate their symptoms. Therefore, a disability insurance company has not only the right, but an obligation to satisfy themselves that the claims they pay are, in fact, valid.

Medical Expert Witness Issue #2:

Fibromyalgia pain is, by definition, subjective. No one can just look and tell for sure how you feel. In contrast, most illnesses that disability companies are used to display “objective” abnormalities that anyone can see.

People with bad backs have trouble bending; people with bad knees may limp. People with heart or lung disease can't walk very far. EKG or chest X-ray may show damage.

However, fibromyalgia disability is different. You may look fairly normal. So, how can the insurance agent know for sure that you’re truthful?


Read more: drpodell.org.

December 22, 2010

Media Analysis Expert Witnesses

Media analysis expert witnesses may write reports and testify on mass media and related topics. In What the #$%& is Social Marketing?!! Media Communications Association- International member Susan Solomon writes:

Relationships begin with conversations. With the advent of social marketing, technology has shifted the power away from editors, publishers and the establishment to the people.

According to a recent Edelman Trust Barometer survey, people are saying, “I can no longer rely on a single source of information. The omniscient, all-powerful, single source – whether it’s a news anchor, doctor, CEO or government is gone.” One of the most trusted sources of information is word of mouth, from friends and family. When you develop a social marketing strategy for your product or service, think of it as a conversation - not a campaign. This second of our 2-part series will cover the broad functions of MySpace, Twitter and You Tube, within the social marketing landscape.

Read more: mca-i.org.

December 21, 2010

Internet For Lawyers

Carole Levitt, J.D., M.L.S & Mark E. Rosch, teach continuing legal education nationwide and offer these titles to help you find more information on the internet than you thought possible.

The Cybersleuth's Guide to the Internet
Find Info Like a Pro, Volume 1
Google For Lawyers

The Internet's not just for sports scores and airline tickets. There's more legal information, news, company data and background information on individuals available for free or low-cost on the Internet than has ever been available before. While much of it may appear to be frivolous, these reference guides written by Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch lead you to the information that could make the difference between winning or malpractice.

See: http://www.netforlawyers.com/

December 20, 2010

Insurance Claims Expert Witnesses & Bad Faith Liability Part 3

Insurance claims expert witnesses may opine on insurance companies, bad faith, liability insurance, and related topics. In When Insurers Hide Behind their Experts in Texas, Sergio V. Leal, Esq. writes:

The Texas Supreme Court stated that an insurer’s reliance upon an expert’s report alone will not necessarily shield the insurer from liability if there is evidence that the report was not objectively prepared or the insurer’s reliance was unreasonable. Overturning an intermediate appellate court decision, the Texas Supreme Court found that there was evidence to support the jury’s finding that the insurer denied the claim in bad faith because there was evidence from which the jury could infer that HAAG’s reports were not objectively prepared, that the insurer was aware of HAAG’s lack of objectivity, and that the insurer’s reliance on the reports was merely pretextual.

Nicolau reaffirmed the long-established idea that insurance companies cannot expect their experts’ reports alone to shield them from bad faith liability.

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

December 19, 2010

Water Pollution Expert Witnesses

Water pollution expert witnesses may opine on soil contamination, sewers, sewage treatment, and related topics. On their website, Water & Environmental Technologies offers links to state and federal environmental agencies, organizations, and news.

See: http://www.wet-llc.com/links.html.

December 18, 2010

Wood Expert Witnesses & Avoiding Disputes #3

Wood expert witnesses may write reports and opine on lumber, plywood, saw mills, pressed wood products, and related topics. The Wood Shop Consultancy offers ways to avoid disputes in Wood: Avoiding the pitfalls - How a basic understanding of timber technology can help to avoid problems in use:

One other significant factor related to moisture content is the susceptibility of timber to decay. Wood destroying fungi, often responsible for timber decay in buildings and wooden structures, require timber to have a moisture content in excess of 22% for a prolonged period in order for them to become established and sustain their attack. However, a higher moisture content is one of the factors required by the fungi for optimum growth. For example, the true dry rot fungus, Serpula lacrymans, favours a moisture content of around 30-40%, while many of the wet rot fungi require a moisture content of around 50%.

Moisture content is of course just one factor when considering using timber. There is a wide range of industry standards and guidelines relating to timber specification to ensure that the correct timber is used in respect of durability, strength, appearance, movement characteristics etc.

Read more: thewoodshopconsultancy.

December 17, 2010

Emergency Communications Expert Witness On Public Safety Experts Part 2

In Public Safety Experts: No Longer “The Retired Cop,” emergency communications and 911 expert witness Charles D. Carter writes:

Just as in all other professions, emergency communications receives its fair share of lawsuits for negligence. Who will provide the attorney with the expertise to understand the “standard of care” within the emergency communications profession? Just as in other professions, experience as a member of the profession doesn’t qualify someone to educate the attorneys and a jury about the complexities of hiring, training, directives, quality controls, performance evaluations, and the phases of a 9-1-1 call and the potential for negligence within each phase. Nor will they be familiar with federal and state laws regulating 9-1-1.

The 9-1-1 litigation consultant should have experience working in an emergency communications center, training other employees, and managing the overall system. They should have experience in developing training programs, implementing those programs, and provide quality controls to ensure the programs are carried out by each individual as intended. They should be experienced in establishing hiring criteria and developing policies and procedures for emergency communications. The must be familiar with all federal and state laws that regulate 9-1-1 in their state. A bonus would to be a legislative consultant in 9-1-1 affairs.

December 17, 2010

Copyright Law Expert Witness In the Digital Age

In Understanding Copyright Issues in the Digital Age IP professor and copyright law expert witness Dr. E. Michael Harrington covers a broad range of topics relating to file sharing, copyright law, fair use, and the future of music. He gives a thorough explanation of what is considered fair use and what isn’t, and warns of the dangers of setting legal limitations on technology before it has had a chance to enter the marketplace. See: artistshousemusic.org.

December 16, 2010

Automotive Braking Expert Witnesses Part 2

Automotive braking expert witnesses may opine on brake failure, brake trouble, and related topics. In How well do you know your brakes? Peter D. duPre, iCARumba's Content Editor, gives tips that will help you stop safely and alert you to possible brake problems:

Brake warning light -- If the brake system warning light comes on while you are driving, it usually means you haven't released the parking brake fully or have lost hydraulic pressure in one or both of the brake circuits. Check the parking brake first and if the light is still on, get the vehicle to a brake specialist quickly. I recommend slowing down, pulling over to the side, calling a tow truck.

Mushy pedal or no pedal -- If the pedal feels mushy or falls to the floor, you've got a hydraulic problem that needs immediate attention. Don't drive the vehicle. Call a tow truck and get the vehicle to a brake specialist immediately.

Brake maintenance -- Except for occasionally having the brakes professionally serviced, brakes systems don't really need much attention from the consumer. All you really need to do is check the see-through brake fluid reservoir to make sure fluid is at the proper level and top up with the correct type of brake fluid as needed. Your owner's manual, car dealer, mechanic, or auto parts professional can tell you which type of fluid your vehicle uses.

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

December 15, 2010

Insurance Claims Expert Witnesses & Bad Faith Liability Part 2

Insurance claims expert witnesses may opine on insurance companies, bad faith, liability insurance, and related topics. In When Insurers Hide Behind their Experts in Texas, Sergio V. Leal, Esq. writes:

In State Farm Lloyds v. Nicolau, 951 S.W.2d 444 (Tex. 1997) a homeowner filed a lawsuit against its insurer for foundation and other structural damage that resulted from a plumbing leak that introduced water into the clay subsoil. The insurer retained an expert, HAAG Engineering¸ to conduct a study on the homeowner’s claim. It was established in Nicolau that the insurer hired HAAG Engineering with the belief that HAAG Engineering generally believed that leaks beneath a house would not cause foundation movement. As expected, the HAAG engineer concluded that there was no damage near the leak, but evidence showed that his investigation was not thorough because: (1) he did not isolate the leak; (2) he failed to determine the leak’s severity; and (3) he did not take any soil samples. The HAAG report concluded that the plumbing leak had not caused the damage, and the insurer denied the claim based on the HAAG report.

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

December 15, 2010

Call Center Industry Expert Witnesses

Call center industry expert witnesses may provide reports and opine concerning telemarketing, computer telephony integration, the call center industry, and related issues. The Telemarketing Connections Newsletter offers information of concern to the industry. Here are excerpts from the website:

Minnesota
In Minnesota, a federal court has ruled that a debt collector did not have express consent to place an automated call to a consumer based on purchase of that consumer’s debt. The FCC standard for express consent requires more and users of automated telephone dialing systems or prerecorded message campaigns need to comply with the FCC standards.

Ohio
An Ohio federal court has dismissed a private plaintiff’s claim against a telemarketer (Charvat v. NMP, LLC) holding that live telemarketing calls can only create one “violation” per call. The court ruled that automated calls were subject to the same limitation, i.e. one “violation” per automated call.

December 14, 2010

Spectroscopic Analysis Expert Witnesses

Spectroscopic analysis expert witnesses may write reports and opine on absorption spectroscopy, microwave spectroscopy, x-ray spectroscopy, and related topics. Here the American Society for Mass Spectrometry lists some of the uses for mass spectrometry:

* Detect and identify the use of steroids in athletes
* Monitor the breath of patients by anesthesiologists during surgery
* Determine the composition of molecular species found in space
* Determine whether honey is adulterated with corn syrup
* Locate oil deposits by measuring petroleum precursors in rock
* Monitor fermentation processes for the biotechnology industry
* Detect dioxins in contaminated fish
* Determine gene damage from environmental causes
* Establish the elemental composition of semiconductor materials
Read more: asms.org.

December 14, 2010

Business Income Claims Expert Witnesses Part 2

Business income claims expert witnesses may advise on issues involving loss of revenue, insurance fraud, and related issues. Here Bruce D. Smith, CPA and certified fraud examiner explains:
What is a Forensic Accounting?

To quantify a Business Income loss, an analysis of pre- and post-loss revenue, costs and operating expenses is required. A competent forensic accountant will provide an adjuster, policyholder, or legal counsel with his/her knowledge and experience in matters, including, but not limited to: technical aspects of accounting rules and procedures and other related data, familiarity with policy terms and conditions, and establishment of accounting and document control procedures to ensure inclusion of all relevant data into the claim calculation.

The above-mentioned services will result in an expeditious compilation of a Business Income claim that properly indemnifies the policyholder for its Business Income loss in accordance with its coverage(s). Some specific examples of how the forensic accountant can assist:

* Requesting the relevant books and records needed to support a Business Income claim.
* Using his/her general knowledge of coverage to properly analyze, indentify and segregate revenues, costs and expenses to coincide with coverage and facilitate the expeditious preparation of the claim. Please note, a forensic accountant does not provide coverage interpretation, as this is the responsibility of an adjuster and or legal counsel.
* Providing an avenue for communication between the “two sides” on technical accounting and related matters that may be beyond the understanding of the adjuster and or legal counsel.
* Preparing a Business Income analysis, which coincides with the language of the policy coverage and that indemnifies the policyholder for its covered loss in an expeditious manner.

Conclusion

A forensic accountant serves as a resource of technical knowledge in accounting related matters that an adjuster or legal counsel may not feel comfortable with. The early inclusion of a forensic accountant into the team of claim professionals will go a long way in assuring that the policyholder is being properly indemnified for its covered loss under the terms of the policy coverage.

Read more: http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/tags/association-of-certified-fraud/

December 14, 2010

Mass Media Expert Witnesses

Mass media expert witnesses may opine on newspapers, TV, magazines, and related topics. Here Robert Cox, President of the Media Bloggers Association writes:

Despite the recent financial market meltdowns, the winners coming out of the era were those that embraced the new technology, the new economics and freed themselves from the old model -- often by setting up business that competed with themselves.... The only way in which traditional reporters can be more efficient than alternatives forms of media available over the internet is (1) breaking their own news stories and (2) providing analysis that only they are qualified to provide. This means more investigative reporting and more hyper-local news and more expert analysis. As Chris Matthews likes to say on this TV Show, "Tell me something I don't know".

Newspapers should dispense with reporting that duplicates what is already available on the internet and focus on unique news and information product.


Read more: mediabloggers.org.

December 14, 2010

Telemarketing Expert Witnesses

Telemarketing expert witnesses may provide reports and opine concerning call center agents, computer telephony integration, the call center industry, and related issues. The Telemarketing Connections Newsletter discusses issues of concern to the industry. In the October / November 2010 issue, the newsletter addresses a Telephone Consumer Protection Act violation:

The Federal Communications Commission has issued a notice of apparent liability for forfeiture against Presidential Who’s Who, Inc. alleging at least 73 unsolicited advertisements using facsimile machines were sent in violation of the TCPA. The FCC found liability in the amount of $345,000. The sender of the faxes claimed that they were not advertisements. The FCC found that despite the sender’s claim that the faxes were merely a request for information for people to include their information to the publication free of charge, the faxes in question were a pretext to advertise a commercial product or service. The notice of apparent liability is an important discussion of offers of “free” services (and presumably other regulators) will consider them to be marketing calls if part of a campaign to later sell goods or services.

Read more: Telemarketing Connections Newsletter.

December 14, 2010

Wood Products Expert Witnesses & Avoiding Disputes #2

Wood products expert witnesses may write reports and opine on lumber, plywood, saw mills, pressed wood products, and related topics. The Wood Shop Consultancy offers ways to avoid disputes in Wood: Avoiding the pitfalls - How a basic understanding of timber technology can help to avoid problems in use:

One of the most important and yet least understood factors, is that of moisture content. Timber contains a large amount of water when it is freshly felled and it needs to be dried so that it can be used without excessive shrinkage and distortion. The amount of water in a piece of wood is referred to as its moisture content. This is expressed as a percentage of the dry weight of the piece, not of the total weight; hence it is possible to have moisture contents in excess of 100%.

The amount of water in wood rises and falls in response to changes in temperature and humidity, so it is not possible to prevent wood from expanding and contracting in service. However, this movement can be minimised by drying the wood to a level that it is likely to achieve in service, referred to as its equilibrium moisture content. As an example, indoor furniture would be expected to have a moisture content of around 8-10%, whilst external decking can be expected to attain an equilibrium of around 16% moisture content; this level would be subject to seasonal variations, becoming slightly higher in winter and lower in the summer.

Read more: thewoodshopconsultancy.

December 14, 2010

Sanitary Engineering Expert Witnesses

Sanitary engineering expert witnesses may write reports and opine on waste disposal, waste minimization, waste water, and related issues. In Understanding and Applying the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), EHSwire asks the question, what does the Federal PPA require?

Facilities must account for their use of toxic chemicals and, where feasible, reduce their use. Toxic pollution that cannot be reduced should be recycled, and pollution that cannot be recycled should be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.

EHS professionals must have a firm understanding of the processes that use toxic chemicals in order to reduce their use. Documenting these activities is an important step in PPA compliance and must include an accounting for the final disposal of toxic chemicals. Generally this is done using the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting Form R.

Read more: ehswire.com.

December 13, 2010

Waste Management Expert Witness On Mercury Limits

On his website, waste management expert witness David Gossman offers GCI's Tech Notes Library. Entries include:

Portland Cement 2010 NESHAP Final Rule - Mercury
On September 9, 2010, EPA published in the Federal Register new PC MACT regulations. Of the standards, the new mercury emission limits and monitoring requirements will be one of the most difficult to comply with.

December 13, 2010

Entertainment Expert Witnesses

Entertainment expert witnesses may opine on the motion picture and music industry, radio broadcasting, royalties, and more. On their website Resource Center, the Digital Media Association shares copyright and royalties links including the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearing on “The Performance Rights Act and Parity among Music Delivery Platforms testimony by the National Association of Broadcasters, members of the entertainment business community, and Ralph Oman, from the George Washington University Law School.
Read more: digmedia.org.

December 13, 2010

Infrared Spectroscopy Expert Witnesses

Infrared spectroscopy expert witnesses may advise regarding spectroscopic analysis, infrared spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy, and related topics. Here the American Society for Mass Spectrometry defines mass spectrometry:

Mass spectrometry is a powerful analytical technique that is used to identify unknown compounds, to quantify known compounds, and to elucidate the structure and chemical properties of molecules. Detection of compounds can be accomplished with very minute quantities (as little as 10-12g, 10-15 moles for a compound of mass 1000 Daltons). This means that compounds can be identified at very low concentrations (one part in 1012) in chemically complex mixtures. Mass spectrometry provides valuable information to a wide range of professionals: physicians, astronomers, and biologists, to name a few.

December 13, 2010

Semiconductors Expert Witnesses

Years ago, in a "clean room" inside Hughes Aircraft Company in Culver City, CA, I very carefully attached micro chips to semiconductor material to create prototypes for the integrated circuits used in the USAF's AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System). Today, semiconductors expert witness Ron Maltiel, RMG and Associates, offers the latest news regarding this technology: Semiconductor Circuit News. See maltiel-consulting.com.

December 13, 2010

Call Centers Expert Witnesses

Call center expert witnesses may provide reports and opine concerning telemarketing, computer telephony integration, the call center industry, and related issues. The Telemarketing Connections Newsletter offers information on timely issues of concern to the industry. The October / November 2010 issue discusses:

* The Federal Communications Commission has issued a notice of apparent liability for forfeiture against Presidential Who’s Who, Inc. alleging at least 73 unsolicited advertisements using facsimile machines were sent in violation of the TCPA.
* The FTC has announced the mailing of $5.7 million in reimbursement checks to consumers who were marketed an allegedly “free” trial membership in programs via telemarketing calls.
* The FTC has opened a business center at www.business.ftc.gov attempting to provide businesses compliance tools with regard to applicable FTC law.

Read more:Telemarketing Connections.

December 12, 2010

Wood Expert Witnesses & Avoiding Disputes #1

Wood expert witnesses may write reports and opine on lumber, plywood, saw mills, pressed wood products, and related topics. The Wood Shop Consultancy offers ways to avoid disputes in Wood: Avoiding the pitfalls - How a basic understanding of timber technology can help to avoid problems in use:

The uses for timber are almost endless. Its excellent environmental credentials, and widespread feature in makeover programs and lifestyle magazines, architectural press etc. has lead to something of a renaissance for wood in recent years, a trend which seems set to continue. However, to make the most of the unique appeal of timber in our homes and buildings, we need to be aware of its natural characteristics which, if overlooked, can cause projects to fail and disputes to arise.

What’s there to know? As one of the oldest materials known to man, wood has provided us with fuel wood, pulp and paper, utensils, furniture and a first class, environmentally friendly building material. So, given our familiarity with timber, why is it that some attempts to use it can result in expensive litigation?

In some cases, it would seem that it is our very familiarity that is the problem. So often, our failure to specify the correct species, treatment and condition of the timber can result in problems later. Likewise, poor manufacture, installation or incorrect maintenance can also result in timber projects falling short of expectation. As a consequence, it is often not the timber itself that is at fault but the way in which it is used.

An understanding of some of the basic properties of timber will help to ensure that it is used correctly, whether it is for a multi-million pound building or a weekend DIY project.

Read more: thewoodshopconsultancy.

December 12, 2010

Media Expert Witnesses

Media expert witnesses may opine on the motion picture and music industry, radio broadcasting, royalties, and more. Here, the Digital Media Association addresses the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeiters Act (S. 3804).

Senate Anti-piracy Bill Provokes Battle Between Hollywood and Web Giants
Authored by Cecilia Kang on November 18, 2010 – Washington Post

The controversial legislation has attracted powerful supporters and detractors who have ramped up lobbying campaigns around the bill this week.

On one side, the music, movie and television industries have supported the bill, saying that counterfeiting of their products won't cease unless there are stronger sanctions in place. They say that existing rules have done little to curb counterfeiting and piracy.

On the other side, Internet networking engineers and privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation argue that the takedown of domain names could destabilize the structure of the Web.

They are joined in opposing the measure by companies such as eBay, Amazon.com, Bloomberg, Google and Wikipedia, who wrote Leahy on Monday, cautioning against provisions in the bill that they say would give federal law enforcement too much power to police infringing activity.

Read more: digmedia.org.

December 12, 2010

Copyright Law Expert On Music Industry

In An Introduction to Copyright Law and the Music Industry copyrights expert Maggie Lange, attorney and Professor of Music Business/Management at Berklee College of Music, discusses the US copyright code and how it applies to the music industry and recording artists. Topics covered include: the nuts and bolts of what copyright is; the five exclusive rights granted to copyright holders; how features like fair use and the compulsory mechanical license provision work; what “work for hire” means; what to fight for in your recording deal; and how to organize your band’s business to protect your individual and group rights.
See: artistshousemusic.com.

December 12, 2010

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Low Speed Impacts Part 2

In Accident Reconstruction of Low Speed Impacts, accident reconstruction and automotive engineering expert witness writes:

Even if high speed barrier crash tests could be validly generalized to low-speed crashes with moving cars, they cannot help predict the energy transferred in any one crash because vehicles differ considerably in their ability to absorb certain impacts without showing damage. In this case, that variability would apply to the damage to the bullet’s front bumper and target’s rear bumper.

One example of the variability between vehicles is that older vehicles generally have stronger bumpers and can absorb greater impacts while showing less damage than newer cars because newer cars are frequently equipped with bumpers where style dominates over function.

A second example of bumper variability is between individual cars regardless of vintage. Bumpers vary greatly a lot in terms of their components and performance, even among cars of similar size and style. In 1982 the federal government scaled back the impact test requirements from requiring bumpers to withstand all but minor cosmetic damage in a 5 mph. impact to requiring bumpers withstand all but minor cosmetic damage in a 2.5 mph impact. Thus, while crash tests are useful in extracting generalities about the biomechanical processes of a collision, they cannot reliably predict the energy transferred in a particular collision.


December 11, 2010

Spectroscopy Expert Witness Announcements

Spectroscopy expert witnesses may provide reports and testimony regarding absorption spectroscopy, microwave spectroscopy, and x-ray spectroscopy, as well as related issues. The 58th Annual Western Spectroscopy Association conference is coming up on January 19th - 21st, 2011, at the Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, CA. Read more: westernspectroscopy.org.

December 11, 2010

Copyright Infringement Expert Witnesses

In Composers as Expert Witnesses in Copyright Infringement Suits Erica Muhl, a Professor of Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, shares her experiences as a composer who is called upon to be an expert witness in copyright infringement suits involving suspected unlicensed use of a piece of music, and discusses why there are a handful of composers in the USA who are well suited to the task. See: artisthouseinterview.

December 11, 2010

Insurance Expert Witnesses & Breach of Duty

Insurance expert witnesses may write reports and testify on insurance regulations, insurance claims, and medical insurance. In Did You Know That An IME Provider Can Be Liable To The Insured? Vivian Persand, Esq. discusses how someone hired by the insurer in connection with the investigation of your client’s claim can also have obligations to your client. Specifically, a medical provider hired to conduct an Independent Medical Examination (“IME”) can be liable to an injured insured for breach of a duty. See In Ritchie v. Krasner, M.D., et al., 211 P.3d 1272 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2009).

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

December 10, 2010

Insurance Claims Expert Witnesses & Bad Faith Liability Part 1

Insurance claims expert witnesses may opine on insurance companies, bad faith, liability insurance, and related topics. In When Insurers Hide Behind their Experts in Texas,
Sergio V. Leal, Esq. writes:

One strategy insurance companies use to avoid bad faith liability is claiming that they reasonably relied on their experts’ reports to deny a claim. Texas law on bad faith states that an insurer breaches its duty of good faith when: (1) denies or delays payment of a claim for which liability is reasonably clear, and (2) the insurer knew or should have known that liability was reasonably clear. Therefore, insurance companies often argue that because their retained experts concluded that there was no valid insurance claim, liability was not reasonably clear and they should not be found liable for bad faith. Courts typically side with insurance companies on this issue, but sometimes the facts of a case require courts to doubt this argument, just as the Texas Supreme Court did in State Farm Lloyds v. Nicolau, 951 S.W.2d 444 (Tex. 1997).

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

December 9, 2010

Automotive Braking Expert Witnesses Part 1

Automotive braking expert witnesses may opine on brake failure, brake trouble, and related topics. In How well do you know your brakes? Peter D. duPre, iCARumba's Content Editor, gives tips that will help you stop safely and alert you to possible brake problems:

Pulsating pedal -- If the pedal pulsates under your foot as you come to a normal stop, such as at a traffic light, you've probably got warped front rotors and need to have them repaired. On vehicles equipped with ABS, you may notice a rapidly pulsating pedal under hard braking. This is normal and is the car's way of telling you that the ABS system is activated. But if you feel the pulsating during normal slow speed stops, get the brake system looked at by a professional as soon as possible.

Pulling to one side -- If the vehicle pulls to one side when the brakes are applied, you may have a sticking front caliper. This can be extremely dangerous during inclement weather driving conditions and should be fixed immediately. Sometimes, though, the pulling is caused by uneven tire pressures, so check the air pressure before deciding the brakes are bad.

Squealing and grinding -- Brakes aren't supposed to make noise as they operate. If you hear a grinding or squealing sound when the pedal is applied, it is time for new brake shoes or pads. Get it done right away. Postponing service is not only unsafe, it could raise the cost of repairs.

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

December 9, 2010

Collision Analysis Expert Witnesses

Collision analysis expert witnesses may opine on collision records, injury collisions, and related topics. On December 12, 2010, I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair, will present Steering And Suspension Damage Analysis. I-CAR is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to training the collision inter-industry. Formed by the collision repair industry in 1979, all I-CAR activities, programs, services, and resources focus on supporting the auto collision repair industry to achieve a high level of technical knowledge through access to training.

For Questions or Telephone Registration Call: Stephen J. Saunders, Phone: (951)698-8215
Dec 16, 2010, Allstate Insurance - Corona
1250 Corona Pointe Court (5th Floor)
Corona, CA 92879-1762
I-CAR Customer Care: 800.422.7872

December 9, 2010

Business Income Claims Expert Witnesses Part 1

Business income claims expert witnesses may advise on issues involving loss of revenue, insurance fraud, and related issues. Here Bruce D. Smith, CPA and certified fraud examiner explains:
What is a Forensic Accounting?

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) explains that, “Forensic accounting is the use of professional accounting skills in matters involving potential or actual civil litigation. The word “forensic” is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “used in or suitable to courts of law or public debate.” More simply put forensic accounting is litigation support involving accounting.

The Value of Forensic Accountants in a Business Interruption Claim

In today’s economic environment, everyone is looking for value. In my experience. I have found that the earlier the forensic accountant is involved in the claim process, the more value he/she typically provides. The value derived from the forensic accountant is his/her technical knowledge of accounting and familiarity with the claims process, which may result in a more expeditious resolution to the Business Income claim.

In simple terms, the purpose of Business Income coverage is to indemnify the insured for its net income or loss plus continuing operating expenses during a period of interruption (period of restoration), resulting from a covered loss. In addition, the insured may be covered for additional expenses (Extra Expense), which it incurred due to the loss incident.

Read more: http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/tags/association-of-certified-fraud/

December 9, 2010

Real Estate Expert Witness On The Almost Paperless Office Part 2

In How we created an almost paperless real estate expert office, real estate expert witness Merrie Turner Lightner writes on shared virtual work spaces:

The skeleton of our virtual workspace is Central Desktop. Case documents are uploaded just once and reside in a secure virtual library, hugely reducing paper waste and the time required to make repetitive paper copies. Email discussions are posted in this virtual workspace instead of being sent to individual mailboxes. A centralized location for files, discussions, databases and task lists allows Ms. Lightner's clients and experts to access critical data and information – 24x7 with only a web browser and internet connection.

Team members can even create and revise Word and Excel documents stored on the Central Desktop site, from directly within Microsoft Office. Users document and organize, link and reorganize their research. They can also create custom databases for storing information, and stream-lining the work flow of their business information documentation. Important too, Central Desktop provides a time ticket function for billing purposes, as well as a calendaring system that’s integrated with Microsoft Outlook. These are just a few of the available built-in tools for day-to-day usage. Because Central Desktop is very flexible, we can customize each client’s virtual workspace on a case-by-case basis.

December 8, 2010

Medical Insurance Expert Witnesses & Healthcare Vote

Medical insurance expert witnesses may provide testimony regarding managed care, HMOs, and related topics. Here, the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents reports:

The U.S. Senate fell six votes short on November 29 in a bid to repeal a provision of the healthcare law requiring businesses of all sizes, as well as governments and nonprofits, to file a 1099 form with the Internal Revenue Service reporting any purchases they make of goods or services of $600 or more in a tax year from any individual or business, including corporations.

Read more: National Association of Professional Insurance Agents.

December 7, 2010

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Low Speed Impacts Part 1

In Accident Reconstruction of Low Speed Impacts, accident reconstruction and automotive engineering expert witness writes:

Low speed impacts represent substantial number of accident-related claims and deserve attention of experts in the accident reconstruction field. Low speed impacts often occur at the intersections when a moving car rear-ends a stationary vehicle which has already stopped for a light or about to resume its motion after the light turned green. In auto accident reconstruction terms, the moving car (often the one that rear-ends the stationary vehicle) is called the “bullet” and the stationary vehicle is called the “target”.

Determining the amount of energy transferred from bullet vehicle to target vehicle in a real world crash has often been attempted by applying data compiled in crash testing. This is frequently problematic for a number of reasons. First, these crash tests are conducted with a vehicle and a fixed barrier, not with the moving vehicles. Second, these crash tests also cannot be applied to low-speed impacts because the crash testing is routinely performed at speeds exceeding 30 mph, making it impossible to extrapolate the crush values to lower speed collisions.

December 6, 2010

Insurance Expert On Health Insurance Premiums

Health insurance premiums next year are going up as much as 30 percent, even if the proposed federal pay freeze goes through. How do you pay for 2011 health costs on a 2010 salary?

Health insurance expert Walton Francis says you can save $1,000 to $2,000 next year by picking the best health plan during this year's open season which ends Dec. 13.

Read more: federalnewsradio.com.

December 5, 2010

Managed Care Expert Witnesses

Managed care expert witnesses may opine on liability insurance, HMOs, and related issues. The Physicians Insurers Association Research Department reviews data, issues, and policies concerning the medical professional liability insurance industry to produce helpful resources.

Semi-annually, the PIAA analyzes data captured by the PIAA Data Sharing Project to develop a national overview of claim trends, and to identify areas of practice most vulnerable to assertions about liability. The Association uses the data gleaned from those reports to compose relevant white papers and major studies. The PIAA also works with other associations and medical society groups in joint research projects aimed at improving the delivery of healthcare and reducing practitioner liability.

Read more: piaa.us.

December 4, 2010

Insurance Regulation Expert Witnesses

Insurance regulation expert witnesses may write reports and opine on insurance claims, insurance business customs and practices, and related topics. Here, the American Insurance Association defines SAP:

Statutory Accounting Principle (SAP): Those principles required by state insurance laws followed by an insurance company when submitting its financial statements to the various state insurance departments. Such principles differ from Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) in some important respects. For example, SAP requires that expenses must be recorded immediately and cannot be deferred to track with premiums as they are earned and taken into revenue.

December 3, 2010

Insurance Practices Expert Witnesses

Insurance practices expert witnesses may write reports and opine on insurance claims, insurance coverage, casualty insurance, and related topics. Here, the American Insurance Association defines casualty insurance:

Insurance primarily concerned with the legal liability for losses caused by injury to persons or damage to property of others. Also includes, among other coverages: automobile, workers' compensation, employers' liability, general liability, plate glass, theft and personal liability. It excludes life, fire and marine insurance.

December 2, 2010

Medical Malpractice Expert Witness On Dental Surgery Case

Was an oral surgeon at fault for the massive stroke his patient suffered after an 8-tooth extraction under local anesthesia at Philadelphia Veterans' Administration Medical Center in September 2007? A federal court will take up that question now that a judge has dismissed the U.S. government's motions to exclude the plaintiff's expert witnesses from testifying in the malpractice case. District Judge William Yohn denied the defendants' motions on Nov. 10, allowing the malpractice suit to proceed with the testimony from the plaintiff's medical malpractice expert witnesses.

Read more: outpatientsurgery.net.

December 1, 2010

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness Disputes Police Findings

A jury may decide who caused a serious injury crash on Deerfield Road last year after an accident reconstruction expert witness claimed a Lenawee County, MI, Sheriff’s Department investigation got it backwards.

A lawsuit over the crash that left 82-year-old Elmer Johnson near death was moved toward trial this week after a motion to dismiss it was rejected by Lenawee County Circuit Judge Margaret M.S. Noe. Defense attorneys argued a sheriff’s department report left no doubt that Johnson was at fault while attorney Courtney Morgan of Dearborn argued that expert opinion and physical evidence back up the Johnson claim that Joshua Gates, 27, was the one who ran the stop sign.

Read more: lenconnect.com.