January 31, 2011

Pesticides Expert Witnesses & Sulfuryl Fluoride

Pesticides expert witnesses may write reports and testify on pesticide contamination, insecticides, and pesticide products such as Sulfuryl Fluoride. The EPA has recently proposed rules regarding this pesticide.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has re-evaluated the current science on fluoride and is taking steps to begin a phased-down withdrawal of the pesticide sulfuryl fluoride, a pesticide that breaks down into fluoride and is commonly used in food storage and processing facilities. Sulfuryl fluoride is currently registered for the control of insect pests in stored grains, dried fruits, tree nuts, coffee and cocoa beans, and for use in food handling and processing facilities. Although sulfuryl fluoride residues in food contribute only a very small portion of total exposure to fluoride, when combined with other fluoride exposure pathways, including drinking water and toothpaste, EPA has concluded that the tolerance (legal residue limits on food) no longer meets the safety standard under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and the tolerances for sulfuryl fluoride should be withdrawn.

See http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/sulfuryl-fluoride/evaluations.html and Federal Register Volume 76, Number 12 January 19, 2011.

January 31, 2011

Liability Policies Expert Witnesses Part 1

Liability policies expert witnesses may testify regarding insurance loss claims, insurance policy coverage, liability policies, and related topics. In The Insurer’s Duty to Defend: A Quick Analysis, attorney Thomas H. Veitch, partner with the law firm of Langley & Banack, Inc. in San Antonio, writes:

The application of the “duty to defend” in liability policies has been a cause of controversy for many, many years. Consequently, there is now an abundance of case law dealing with a variety of issues involving the duty to defend. The case law provides some general guidelines for dealing with these issues. While the precise rules of law may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the guidelines are much the same. The following are some general rules applied by Texas courts and other jurisdictions following the “Eight Corners Analysis” regarding a duty to defend.

The insurer’s duty to defend is a contractual duty determined by the provisions of the insurance policy.

The eight-corners rule emanates from the fact that only two documents are considered relevant to the determination of the duty to defend, i.e., the policy and the pleadings.

Jurisdictions utilizing the eight-corners rule generally apply a liberal interpretation to the allegations in the petition and resolve any doubt as to the duty to defend in favor of the insured (but will not read facts into the pleadings).

January 30, 2011

Optimizing Your Use Of Banking Expert Witnesses part 3

In Optimizing Your Use of Banking and Financial Institution Experts, banking expert witness Michael F. Richards writes:

Early Involvement In The Case
There are a number of reasons why it is important to get an expert involved early in the case. As indicated above, there are numerous regulations, policies, and procedures that are required in banking. It happens far too often that I receive a call and the attorney says, “I have to designate an expert by a certain date” which is only a couple of weeks away or less. As we get into the discussion and I start asking about discovery and specific documents, we find that discovery did not cover all of the documents needed to evaluate the case and the deadline has passed to request the additional information. This is most prevalent when I represent clients against banks. I can understand the attorneys reasoning for waiting as long as possible to retain an expert, hoping the case will settle and save the cost of an expert, but if the case doesn’t settle, is it worth it? A good expert can tell you exactly where to look and what to ask for. Early involvement can help attorneys considerably in formulation of a complaint, discovery, counterclaim, or response to interrogatories. In cases I have been involved in, attorneys have amended their complaint to address items that were found, that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

January 29, 2011

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Preparing Expert Testimony Part 6

In Preparing and Presenting Expert Testimony, traffic engineer and accident reconstruction expert witness Lawrence Levine writes:

An old and established rule of thumb for attorneys is that the best prepared attorney wins and a good attorney never asks a question for which he does not already know the answer. It can be devastating to the expert’s reputation and to the lawyer’s case, should a topic be undiscovered prior to submission of expert opinions. It can also be devastating to a case for the expert to have a pre-formulated opinion; in other words, for the expert to start at the end (with his opinion), and then work backwards to uncover “how the accident must have happened.” This is faulty thinking. It is crucial to always approach a case with an open mind. Start with all the facts, including depositions and witness statements; see the site and allow the case to build itself naturally.

Normally expert opinions are required to be submitted and exchanged at least 30 days before trial, although this may vary. The submission is either in the form of an affidavit signed by the lawyer, an affidavit of opinions signed by the expert, or an Expert Witness Response signed by the lawyer. Never allow an attorney to prepare and submit an Expert Witness Response without a thorough review. It used to be the case that expert affidavits were the norm and the expert had to sign off on what was being said or prepare it themselves. This is no longer the case. Attorneys have been known to prepare Expert Witness Responses for cases in which they do not even have an expert – hoping to settle the case. Be on guard that this does not happen and report it, if it occurs, to the local Bar Association. On the whole, attorneys are very honest and, as officers of the court, do not engage in unsavory behavior such as this.

January 28, 2011

Medical Expert Witnesses Approved In Avandia Lawsuits

US District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has ruled that three plaintiffs' medical expert witnesses meet the Daubert standard for scientific validity in Avandia lawsuits currently before the court. Avandia lawsuits are numerous, with some 3,500 cases filed in California state courts, and 1,200 in Pennsylvania, with all but 250 of those having been settled with GlaxoSmithKline – the maker of the diabetes medication.

Read more: lawyersandsettlements.com.

January 27, 2011

Construction Site Expert Witness On Hiring An Expert Part 2

In Are You Waiting Too Long To Hire An Expert?, construction site expert witness William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

What an expert does not know can and likely will hurt your case. It is widely accepted knowledge that a good lawyer never asks a question to which they don't already know the answer; so it is with an expert. By withholding facts or materials that you think are not relevant or may not enhance your case, you run the risk of allowing your expert to be ambushed, surprised and/or embarrassed. Expert witness testimony is invaluable and can be summed up in one word -- credibility. You are better served by providing the expert everything.

The experienced and ethical expert is not interested in running up unnecessary bills to the client. They are concerned about having all the information, being kept informed about developments, and having access to the attorney or attorneys on the case. An open line of communication builds confidence for both the expert and the client and enables your expert to reach out to you with new ideas, discoveries and materials that provide for the best possible performance at depositions and trial. New technologies such as online meetings improve collaboration and reduce cost for travel.

January 26, 2011

Environmental Toxicology Expert On Tree Deaths Investigation

Pine trees were mysteriously dying, after being treated at Jacksonville's wastewater spray fields.
The Jacksonville Daily News reported the city had hired a group of experts to investigate. The city manager said 6% of the trees irrigated by wastewater were affected so far.

An environmental expert said wind, combined with the acidity of the wastewater and drought conditions, could be the cause, but the official cause of the tree deaths is still unknown.

Read more: wcti12.com.

January 25, 2011

Optimizing Your Use Of Banking Expert Witnesses Part 2

In Optimizing Your Use of Banking and Financial Institution Experts, banking expert witness Michael F. Richards writes:

Selecting the right expert is important, but also optimizing their use is just as important. Following are areas that should be considered and explored. I will not elaborate on each item, as there are numerous articles written with great detail, but highlight the areas I feel can be optimized.

Selecting The Right Expert
Focus on the background of the expert. Banking includes many specialized areas that include but are not limited to lending in the following areas; commercial credit, consumer credit, agricultural credit, mortgage lending, manufactured housing, factoring, construction lending, dealer financing, recreational vehicle financing, land development, participations, credit cards, and merchant credit. On the operational side of the bank they include but are not limited to the following areas; teller transactions, checking and savings products, ATM transactions, wire transfers, ACH transactions, processing of checks and deposits, and safe deposit boxes, just to name a few. Over the last several years numerous transactions have gone paperless. Many of the regional and larger financial institutions have special departments that only handle specific types of transactions. When I has hired by Crocker Bank back in the mid 70’s as an officer trainee, we spent a year in training going through all departments of the bank before we were ever allowed to handle customers without supervision. Most of the larger financial institutions had similar training programs. What you see today is much different. Many bank employees only have training in their department and are unaware of what goes on in other areas of the bank. Make sure the expert that is engaged has the background and experience for the specific areas that your case involves. Just because he/she was a banker, doesn’t mean they have the expertise your case requires.


January 24, 2011

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Preparing Expert Testimony Part 5

In Preparing and Presenting Expert Testimony, traffic engineer and accident reconstruction expert witness Lawrence Levine writes:

Enough cannot be said about this conflict between expert engineer and his employer (in the case of an agency) or the party to which he consults. The most valuable information an expert can give an attorney is first, to be absolutely and completely honest about all aspects of a case. It is very rare that there are not two sides to an issue. This is where the judge and jury come into play; they are the final arbiters. Their task is to determine which facts are to be accepted and which information is to be ignored, and the amount weight to be given to each expert’s opinion.

However, it is essential that the lawyer know and trust in his expert’s “unbiased” and “unlimited” view of the case. Agencies may try to save money by using in-house personnel as expert witnesses on cases, but this should be approached with great caution. After all, this same expert could have some involvement in the creation of the situation, and certainly has a stake in the outcome. This bias hurts the agency’s reputation or costs them funding resources. Also the expert employee who wishes to protect their employer may approach a case with tunnel vision and thereby limit the agency attorney’s view of the case, both good and bad. The reason why most agencies seek outside consultants is to ensure an unbiased view of the case.


January 23, 2011

Forensic Psychology Expert Witness On Brain Injuries

The murder trial of Chad Gurney resumed Wednesday at Cumberland County Superior Court. Gurney, 29, is charged in the killing of 18-year-old Zoe Sarnacki on May 25, 2009. He has waived his right to a jury and has pleaded not criminally responsible by reason of insanity.

Prosecutors claim Gurney was legally sane when he killed Sarnacki at his Cumberland Avenue apartment. Forensic psychiatry expert witness Dr. Harold Bursztajn of Harvard Medical School was called to the stand by the defense. The expert says Gurney suffered from mood and thought disorders, primarily caused by a 2005 van crash that injured his brain.

Read more: pressherald.com.

January 22, 2011

Auto Insurance Claims Expert Witnesses Part 3

Auto insurance claims expert witnesses may opine on policies, auto repairs, and injury claims. In Who is at Fault? Auto Insurance Claim Advice writes:
Learn How Insurance Companies Determine Fault

Who is at fault for the accident? How does a claim adjuster determine that you are at fault? While we are answering these questions, we can also ask, “How does a judge, an attorney, an arbitrator, or a jury determine that someone is at fault or “more” at fault than someone else?”

When determining fault, insurance companies and the legal community use the term “liability”. Liability really equates to fault when talking about car accidents. Liability in turn equates to negligence.

When insurance adjusters look at fault, they are really looking at the legal concept of negligence.

Negligence is a “tort”, which is defined as a civil wrong. When someone “wrongs” you (hits your car), then that someone committed a civil wrong against you. This means that you can take them to a civil court to seek remedies.

Why is this important? It is important because the Law of Torts is what rules the way insurance companies look at car accidents. The key thing to remember is that the tort of negligence LACKS a very important element - INTENT.

When dealing with car accidents, we are assuming that no one tried or intended the wreck. If the accident was caused by an intentional hit, the analysis would fall outside the realm of negligence. It would still be a civil wrong, but it would be called “An Intentional Tort”.

Assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespassing, false imprisonment, and conversion are all intentional torts. They can also fall within the realm of criminal law.

If you can show that the accident was intentional, the responsible person can go to jail for assault (criminal assault) and be sued in civil court for money damages (intentional tort of assault).

Most car accidents fall within in the tort of negligence. By law (United States Supreme Court decisions), in order to prove someone negligent there are certain elements that must show upon the preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).

January 21, 2011

Construction Site Expert Witness On Hiring An Expert Part 1

In Are You Waiting Too Long To Hire An Expert?, construction site expert witness William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

Once the need for an expert becomes inevitable through fact pattern or because your adversary has made the choice for you by their strategy to use an expert, you should retain and consult with your expert as soon as possible. The earlier the expert is involved in the case the faster they become thoroughly familiar with significant facts. This advantage will often expose elements of your case that you may not have considered initially. Your expert should be able to give you an objective and detailed analysis of both the strengths and vulnerabilities that may be faced, specific to the areas of his or her expertise.

Waiting to choose an expert until later in the process runs the risk of being unable to retain the best candidate for your particular litigation. The most frustrating situation you can put your expert witness in is with a request to review extensive materials in an unrealistic timeline and often where experts on the other side have been in place for some time and thus have a distinct advantage.

January 20, 2011

Construction Expert Witnesses & Cost Estimates

Construction expert witnesses may testify on construction management, construction standards of care, construction cost estimates, and more. Here, San Francisco construction expert says line-item billing can save money when remodeling:

Everyone knows that construction projects have a tendency to overrun their original estimates. Steven Donnelly, owner of San Francisco green builder House to Home, says that in these tough economic times it's more important than ever for people considering remodeling their homes to make sure that the quote they get will reflect what they actually have to pay. Finding a contractor who uses line-item billing is the best way to avoid having to shell out money for unexpected charges later on.

Construction projects can end up costing more than anticipated if the estimate doesn't properly itemize the costs. Homeowners should make sure they get a detailed proposal that accounts for all the costs, not just ballpark estimates.

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

January 19, 2011

Optimizing Your Use Of Banking Expert Witnesses Part 1

In Optimizing Your Use of Banking and Financial Institution Experts, banking expert witness Michael F. Richards writes:

The past year and a half I have been working as a Banking Expert Witness and have notices some areas where banking experts are not optimized. Since my expertise is in banking, I will limit my discussion to that area. Banking and Financial Institution are a heavily regulated industry with many different regulatory agencies overseeing the day-to-day operations. Some of these regulators, depending on the type of bank charter, include but are not limited to the following:

FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation)
Federal Reserve System
OCC (Office of Comptroller of Currency)
State Departments of Financial Institutions
Office of Thrift Supervision
US Department of the Treasury
US Securities and Exchange Commission

In addition to the above, banks have external auditors, internal auditors, internal credit review, external credit review, compliance departments, and a host of other officer and board committees. The list of policies and procedures are staggering and are always being reviewed and updated to keep up with the current regulatory changes.

January 18, 2011

Forensic Psychology Expert Witness On NY Prison System

Jerry Grodin, a licensed psychiatrist and former president of the New York State Psychiatric Association, is often called on as an expert witness in forensic psychology in the Capital District. “The system is unprepared to deal with mental illness,” the expert says. The problem is that even when people are found to be mentally unstable, it is often not until they have worked their way through the system for a while. “The system does not screen for people who have a mental condition (early enough).”

Jill Daniels, spokesperson for the New York State Office of Mental Health says "there are close to 8,000 people in New York state who are receiving (mental health) treatment in state prisons.”

Read more: thesaratogian.

January 17, 2011

Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Report Part 4

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.
7. Disclose your fees. In some jurisdictions, you may be asked to disclose pay or other compensation you received in exchange for your report.

8. Sign and date the report. You will need to sign your name and certify that all of the information listed in your medical malpractice expert witness report is accurate to the best of your knowledge. You may be required to execute your signature in the presence of a notary public.

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#ixzz18ttAuscQ

January 16, 2011

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Preparing Expert Testimony Part 4

In Preparing and Presenting Expert Testimony, traffic engineer and accident reconstruction expert witness Lawrence Levine writes:

The conflict between the lawyer and the expert is quite obvious. The lawyer is committed to his client to do whatever he or she must, within the boundaries of the law, to win or get the best settlement for the case. When representing the plaintiff, he or she takes a great gamble that they may not receive any payment, even for expenses, should the case be lost or fail to settle before or during trial. The expert, on the other hand, gets paid by the hour or per diem for court appearance, regardless of the outcome.

For all the above reasons, it is essential for the consulting expert witness to have a Retainer Agreement which so states his fee schedule and the limitations of his involvement in the case. The attorney is asked to submit a retainer to the engineer before work is commenced to insure that this basis of understanding is documented and not misinterpreted.


January 16, 2011

Space Planning Expert Witnesses & Interior Design

Space planning expert witnesses may write reports on residential designs, architectural interiors and related topices. At Whole Building Design Guide.org, Frances Mazarella, ASID, LEED AP, GSA defines interior design:

Interior design concerns itself with more than just the visual or ambient enhancement of an interior space; it seeks to optimize and harmonize the uses to which the built environment will be put. Thus, in the words of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is "practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style." Interior design is a practice that responds to changes in the economy, organization, technology, demographics, and business goals of an organization.

Read more wbdg.org.

January 15, 2011

Interior Design Expert Witnesses & Green Retrofits

Interior design expert witnesses may testify on space planning, green retrofits, commercial designs, and related topics. Here, Building and Design Construction writes on the holistic approach critical to green retrofits:

To make a retrofit of an old building truly sustainable, you’ve got to address all systems and aspects of the structure. That’s the lesson taken from the OXFAM Canada headquarters project in Ottawa. The 1950s-era building was given a green makeover on a tight budget—C$100/ s.f. (http://dcnonl.com/article/id42268 )

Retrofits are often limited to single items such as boilers, insulation or lighting. But Rodney Wilts, a partner with design consultants BuildGreen Solutions, says “an aggregate, holistic approach produces more meaningful results.” It seems that this strategy will pay off for OXFAM. BuildGreen expects utility bills to be about half of what they would have been without the retrofit.

Read more: bdcnetwork.com.

January 15, 2011

Auto Insurance Claims Expert Witnesses Part 2

Auto insurance claims expert witnesses may opine on policies, auto repairs, and injury claims. In How to Read an Auto Policy, Auto Insurance Claim Advice asks: Do you know where your auto insurance policy is?

Okay, even if you know where your auto policy is located, do you have time to read it thoroughly? Probably not.

I know this because before I was "into" insurance, my policy and all other junk mail from my insurance company went into one drawer labeled "auto insurance stuff."

This was not the best way to organize my paperwork. It was not until I started to deal with auto claims that I realized the real importance of these documents.

This is why it might seem strange for you at first to see a full section entirely about "how to read your auto policy".

I am not assuming (or even implying) that you cannot read your policy or that you need a manual on how to do this.

I simply believe this section is important as it helps you:

* Understand why your policy should be readily available;
* Read through it so you know what the insurance adjuster is quoting for you;
* Understand what is covered and what is excluded;
* Understand the promise of coverage (the insurance agreement) the insurance company is bound by.

Reading a policy takes time since it does not read like a normal book (i.e. a policy can "jump" from page 1 to 18, and back to 5).

You need to know exactly what you are doing to be able to "put all the pieces together".

Read more: autoinsuranceclaimadvice.com.

January 14, 2011

Corrosion Expert Witnesses

Corrosion expert witnesses may write reports and opine on galvanic corrosion, pitting corrosion, corrosion fatigue, and more. The Corrosion Technology Laboratory at the NASA Kennedy Space Center defines corrosion fatigue:

Corrosion fatigue is a special case of stress corrosion caused by the combined effects of cyclic stress and corrosion. No metal is immune from some reduction of its resistance to cyclic stressing if the metal is in a corrosive environment. Damage from corrosion fatigue is greater than the sum of the damage from both cyclic stresses and corrosion. Control of corrosion fatigue can be accomplished by either lowering the cyclic stresses or by corrosion control.

For more, corrosion.ksc.nasa.gov.

January 14, 2011

Natural Therapies Expert Witnesses

Alternative medicine expert witnesses may opine on herbal medicine, homeopathy, holistic medicine, and related topics. In his 2001 book, Over Dose: The Case Against the Drug Companies, Dr. Jay S. Cohen warned about the risks of the new, best-selling anti-inflammatory drugs such as Celebrex. A couple years later, Vioxx and Bextra were withdrawn from the market because of serious side effects, Celebrex was reduced to a third tier drug. Dr. Cohen has published papers on how to use NSAID medications as safely as possible, and notes that there are natural non-drug alternatives that can reduce pain and inflammation.

Read more: medicationsense.com.

January 14, 2011

Aternative Medicine Expert Witnesses

Alternative medicine expert witnesses may opine on herbal medicine, homeopathy, holistic medicine, and related topics. Dr. Jay Cohen writes: Did You Know?

Mainstream doctors receive almost all of their information about medications from the drug industry: 90,000 sales reps, pervasive advertising, drug company-conducted studies, package inserts and the PDR that are written by the drug industry, and drug industry-underwritten continuing medical education courses. No wonder mainstream doctors' methods are skewed toward prescription drugs.

Alternative medicine has its own problems with accurate information. On March 30, 2002, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported: "Many Websites Make False Health Claims: An international sweep of health related websites has uncovered more than a thousand sites that carry misleading information or make false claims."

Read more: medicationsense.com.

January 14, 2011

Runway Visual Range Expert Witnesses

Runway visual range expert witnesses may opine on low visibility, visibility problems, prevailing visibility, and related topics. Visibility may have been a contributing factor in Airblue’s flight ED 202 (Airbus A321, AP-BJB) which crashed in Margalla Hills, Islamabad on 28 July 2010 killing all 146 passengers and six crew aboard.

Human error coupled with poor visibility due to low clouds may have been the reasons for the crash. After braking off due to low clouds and low visibility, ED 202 lost visual contact of the runway and the crew may have become disoriented. Air traffic controllers reportedly lost contact with the flight crew during its attempt to land in dense fog and heavy monsoon rain. In this poor visibility the crew may have focused on 7th avenue as runway 12 and approached it for landing.

January 14, 2011

Insurance Expert Witnesses

Insurance expert witnesses may advise on issues involving insurance claims, insurance adjusters, property insurance, and related issues. Adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and insurance investigation experts may have experience working for property and casualty insurance companies, for whom they handle a wide variety of claims alleging property damage, liability, or bodily injury.

Their role is to investigate the claims, negotiate settlements, and authorize payments to claimants, all the while mindful not to violate the claimant's rights under Federal and State privacy laws. They must determine whether the customer's insurance policy covers the loss and how much of the loss should be paid to the claimant. Although many adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators have overlapping functions and may even perform the same job, the insurance industry generally assigns specific roles to each of these claims workers.

Adjusters and examiners investigate insurance claims, negotiate settlements, and authorize payments; appraisers assess the cost or value of an insured item; investigators deal with claims about which there is a question of liability and where fraud or criminal activity is suspected.


Read more: collegegrad.com.

January 14, 2011

Dance Club Security Expert Witness & The Business Security Test Part 4

In THE BUSINESS SECURITY TEST, nightclub security expert witness Robert A. Gardner, CPP, writes that "no business is totally immune from the threat of crime but a little prior planning and a few common sense precautions are all that is necessary to deter most criminals."

Windows

1. Are accessible windows protected by heavy screen or bars?

2. Are unused windows permanently sealed?

3. Are bars and screens securely mounted?

4. Are window locks designed or located so they cannot be defeated by merely breaking out the glass?

5. Is burglary resistant glazing used whenever possible?

6. Is valuable property removed from unprotected windows after hours?

Other Openings

1. Have skylights been protected by bars or polycarbonate glazing?

2. Are roof hatches securely locked?

3. Are ventilator shafts, air conditioning ducts and fan openings adequately protected with bars or wire mesh?

4. Do you check panic hardware regularly to insure that it is properly closed and in good working order?

5. If there are common attics, has some provision been made to prevent access through them?

January 13, 2011

Visibililty Expert Witness On Twilight Driving

Ever contemplate why driving at twilight is difficult? In Visibility of SMV Signs during Twilight, visibility expert witness Raymond L. Lee, Jr., Ph.D.,writes:

During the darker half of civil twilight, low levels of natural illumination make slow-moving-vehicle (SMV) signs less visible. Their visibility decreases then because drivers must rely more on luminance contrast than color contrast, and a SMV sign’s fluorescent orange actually reflects less luminance than does a white surface. Furthermore, about 10%-15% of drivers do not use their headlights during twilight’s darker half, and this behavior renders ineffective the red retroreflective edge of the SMV sign. My spectroradiometric measurements show that adding a white border (reflectance = 90%) to the SMV sign would make its contrast exceed the threshold contrast (and thus make the sign detectable) during more of twilight, even for unalerted drivers who do not use their headlights. This added margin of safety for farmers, farm workers, and motorists suggests a simple, but significant, improvement to current SMV sign design.

January 13, 2011

Franchisees Expert Witness On Illegal Franchises

In BUYING A FRANCHISE VERSUS STARTING AN INDEPENDENT BUSINESS, attorney and franchisees expert witness Kevin B. Murphy writes:

AVOID ILLEGAL DISGUISED FRANCHISES CALLED A LICENSE
An increasing number of unscrupulous companies that don't fly straight or play by the rules are selling licenses that are really disguised, illegal franchises. Instead of providing a comprehensive FDD Franchise Disclosure Document that meets stringent federal and state legal requirements, these companies go a different route. They present a "license agreement" or a distributor agreement" with no disclosures, no audited financial statements, no background of the principals, no investment requirement details, etc. The franchise versus license situation is one that I often consult on as a franchise expert, after clients have lost their life savings, retirement accounts, etc. investing in a license or distributorship that is an illegal disguised franchise. Don't go down this dangerous path.

Read more:ezinearticles.com.

January 13, 2011

Electric Utilities Expert Witnesses

Electric utilities expert witnesses may opine on high voltage lines, public utilities, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and more. In 2009 The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $4.5 billion to the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. These “Smart Grid” funds are to be used to develop a nationwide plan to modernize the electric grid, enhance security of U.S. energy infrastructure and ensure reliable electricity delivery to meet growing demand.

In 2010 The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) initiated a rulemaking (R.08.-12-009) to consider policies for California investor-owned electric utilities to develop a smarter electric grid in the state. The proceeding will consider setting policies, standards and protocols to guide the development of a smart grid system and facilitate integration of new technologies such as distributed generation, storage, demand-side technologies, and electric vehicles.

Read more: ferc.gov.

January 13, 2011

Nightclub Security Expert Witness & The Business Security Test Part 3

In THE BUSINESS SECURITY TEST, nightclub security expert witness Robert A. Gardner, CPP, writes that "no business is totally immune from the threat of crime but a little prior planning and a few common sense precautions are all that is necessary to deter most criminals."

Doors

1. Have you secured all unused doors?

2. Is glass in back doors and concealed or secluded locations protected by bars or heavy screen?

3. Are all doors designed so that the lock release cannot be reached by breaking out glass or light-weight panels?

4. Do exposed hinges have non-removable pins?

5. Is a good quality deadbolt lock used whenever possible?

6. Is the lock designed or the door frame constructed so that the door cannot be forced open by spreading the frame?

7. Is the bolt protected so that it cannot be cut?

8. Is the outside lock cylinder protected from twisting or prying?

9. Is the lock a cylinder type with at least a five pin tumbler?

10. Are keys issued only to persons who actually need them?

11. Are doors with panic hardware properly secured after hours?

12. Are padlocks locked in place when the door is unlocked?

13. Are hasps made of hardened steel with non-removable screws?

January 13, 2011

Media Expert Witnesses & Optical Disc Theft

Media expert witnesses may opine on film, content theft, royalties, motion picture distribution, copyright for movies, and more. In Types of Content Theft, the Motion Picture Association of America writes:

OPTICAL DISC THEFT
Optical disc theft — also known as "bootlegging" — is the illegal manufacturing, sale and/or distribution of movies in hard copy or disc format. Bootleggers sometimes have elaborate operations where they replicate DVDs and then distribute them to vendors who sell them illegally on the streets. There is strong evidence that many of these operations are run by the same organized crime networks that traffic in drugs and human beings. Others may have small operations in their homes and even in their places of work. These illegal goods can be sold anywhere: on websites, online auction sites, via e-mail, by street vendors and in flea markets around the world.

Read more: mpaa.org.Types of Content Theft

January 12, 2011

Utilities Expert Witness On the Hazards of Electricity

Utilities expert witness John P. Nelson writes "There are many hazards associated with the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity."

The following is a list of a few of those hazards:
• Contact with energized parts
• Electrical arc flashes
• Auto accidents involving power poles
• Drowning in water associated with hydroelectric
plants.
• Illness and deaths from the gases emitted from
coal and oil fired generation plants.
• Auto accidents involving trains transporting coal to
electric generating stations.
The risks associated with these hazards are minimized with good, sound engineering, construction and maintenance practices. The benefits of safely using electricity far out weigh the risks involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. Rather than
outlawing the use of electricity due to its inherent hazards, engineering standards and designs have been developed to minimize the hazards and to mitigate the problems to a level
of acceptable risk.

January 12, 2011

Franchise Disputes Expert Witness & Franchise Attorneys

In BUYING A FRANCHISE VERSUS STARTING AN INDEPENDENT BUSINESS, attorney and franchise disputes expert witness Kevin B. Murphy writes:

A CHANCE TO GET RICH, BUT ALSO A CHANGE TO GET STUNG
Just as franchising represents a chance to get rich, it's also a chance to get stung. Everyone knows the big blue-chip names like McDonalds, KFC, Radio Shack, etc. But they're the exception and not the rule. Many lawyers owner wannabes sign on with far smaller, lesser-known or unknown names that may not have a clue about helping operators make money.
Regrettably too many over-eager, first-time buyers leap into buying a franchise without using a franchise attorney who understands the in's and out's of relationships, the viability of the industry or company under consideration, and the long-term legal consequences of the contract they are signing.

Read more:ezinearticles.com.

January 12, 2011

Media Piracy Expert Witnesses & Illegal P2P

Media piracy expert witnesses may opine on film, content theft, royalties, motion picture distribution, copyright for movies, and more. In Types of Content Theft, the Motion Picture Association of America writes:

PEER-TO-PEER (P2P) THEFT
A peer-to-peer (P2P) network is a system that enables Internet users through the exchange of digital files among individual computers or "peers" to (1) make files (including movies and music) stored on their computer available for copying by other users; (2) search for files stored on other users’ computers; and (3) transfer exact copies of files from one computer to another. P2P technology itself is not illegal and may be useful for many legal purposes, but people often use the technology to illegally exchange copyrighted material on the Internet. While people may believe their files are being exchanged among only a few "friends," these files can be accessed by millions of people around the world who are part of the same P2P network.

If you download movies using illegal peer-to-peer sites, you are often also distributing illegal content, as the default setting of most P2P networks ensures that individuals downloading files from the network are simultaneously uploading files and thus distributing illegal copies of works to other peers in the group, who in turn distribute the files to yet others.

By uploading and downloading copyrighted material on P2P networks you are not only violating the law, you are also potentially exposing your computer and private information to strangers. By allowing strangers to access files on your computer, other sensitive information, such as bank records, social security numbers and pictures, could also become accessible and put you and your family at risk of identity theft or worse. This activity also exposes your computer to harmful viruses, spyware, and annoying pop-ups (adware).

Read more: mpaa.org.

January 12, 2011

Reverse Engineering Expert Witnesses Part 2

The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law clinics, answers the question, What stages are involved in the reverse engineering process?

The second stage, disassembly or decompilation of the original product, is the most time-consuming aspect of the project. In this stage, reverse engineers attempt to construct a characterization of the system by accumulating all of the technical data and instructions of how the product works.

In the third stage of reverse engineering, reverse engineers try to verify that the data generated by disassembly or decompilation is an accurate reconstruction the original system. Engineers verify the accuracy and validity of their designs by testing the system, creating prototypes, and experimenting with the results.

The final stage of the reverse engineering process is the introduction of a new product into the marketplace. These new products are often innovations of the original product with competitive designs, features, or capabilities. These products may also be adaptations of the original product for use with other integrated systems, such as different platforms of computer operating systems.

Often different groups of engineers perform each step separately, using only documents to exchange the information learned at each step. This is to prevent duplication of the original technology, which may violate copyright. By contrast, reverse engineering creates a different implementation with the same functionality.

Read more: chillingeffects.org.

January 11, 2011

Franchising Expert Witness On The Franchise Industry

In BUYING A FRANCHISE VERSUS STARTING AN INDEPENDENT BUSINESS, attorney and franchising expert witness Kevin B. Murphy writes:

As a franchise attorney who has owned and operated a successful franchise, I can say buying a franchise represents a different approach to starting a business. Millions of people dream about owning their own business. Having the independence that being your own boss brings, the security that no one can fire you, hopefully enjoying a good income - and for the most successful - the accumulation of wealth and prosperity.

Unfortunately, the cards are stacked against a new small business making it big - or making it at all. An endless stream of problems makes competition from large, sophisticated chains just too intense. Most new start-ups end as failures.

Buying a franchise business opportunity may help level the playing field. The U.S. Department of Commerce claims a opportunity is "...the best chance to compete with giant companies that dominate the marketplace." Some statistics are impressive: it is said over 40% of all U.S. retail sales are through franchised establishments. Giants like McDonalds, KFC, 7-Eleven, H&R Block and Radio Shack are familiar, household FDD names that people think about, and franchises are available in a wide range of industries.

Read more:ezinearticles.com.

January 11, 2011

Movies Expert Witnesses & Camcorder Theft

Movies expert witnesses may opine on film, royalties, motion picture distribution, copyright for movies, and more. In Types of Content Theft, the Motion Picture Association of America writes:

CAMCORDER THEFT
Approximately ninety percent of newly released movies that are pirated can be traced to thieves who use a digital recording device in a movie theater to literally steal the image and/or sound off the screen. Camcorder theft is one of the biggest problems facing the film industry. All it takes is one camcorder copy to trigger the mass reproduction and distribution of millions of illegal Internet downloads and bootlegs in global street markets just hours after a film’s release and well before it becomes available for legal rental or purchase from legitimate suppliers. Studios and theater owners have significantly increased security and surveillance in theaters all over the world to thwart would-be camcorders. Since 2003, the major motion picture studios have employed technology such as watermarking films, which enables film companies to discern the source of a stolen film through forensic analysis and trace it back to the very theater in which it was recorded.

Read more: mpaa.org.

January 11, 2011

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Preparing Expert Testimony Part 3

In Preparing and Presenting Expert Testimony, traffic engineer and accident reconstruction expert witness Lawrence Levine writes:

How then can a Traffic Engineer best assist an attorney in either developing the basis for a suit to be filed by a plaintiff attorney or defending a case, which would be the province of government agency attorneys or outside defense counsel. Note that although the two groups of lawyers often overlap by handling both defense and plaintiff work, lawyers generally focus on one or the other. As such, each attorney has a different bias and therefore a different agenda.

Attorneys are ‘advocates.’ They are supposed to take sides, no matter how they might feel personally, to provide their client with the best representation. This is not the case for the Traffic Engineer who the lawyer chooses to use either as a fact witness or as his expert witness. The Traffic Engineer in either case is expected to be totally objective, have no bias, and state opinions they have developed “within a reasonable degree of engineering certainty.” Plaintiff lawyers are paid on a contingency, if they win. Experts are paid regardless.


January 10, 2011

Motion Picture Expert Witnesses & Copyright

Motion picture expert witnesses may opine on film, royalties, motion picture distribution, copyright for movies, and more. In Why We Care About Copyright, the Motion Picture Association of America writes:

Copyright laws protect the rights of people who create movies, TV shows, artwork and other products by providing the creator with exclusive rights to sell, license or otherwise use his or her creative work. In the case of movies and television, these laws help safeguard the creative works that support the livelihoods of the 2.4 million Americans who work as set painters, costume designers, make-up artists, writers, actors, directors and more. The MPAA works with governments around the world to pursue commonsense solutions that advance innovative consumer choices, while protecting the rights of all who make something of value with their minds, their passion and their unique creative vision.

The MPAA is a founding member of the Copyright Alliance, a broad coalition dedicated to the value of copyright as an agent for creativity, jobs and growth. Please explore these additional resources regarding copyright.

Read more: mpaa.org.

January 10, 2011

Auto Insurance Claims Expert Witnesses Part 1

Auto insurance claims expert witnesses may opine on policies, auto repairs, and injury claims. In How to Read an Auto Policy, Auto Insurance Claim Advice writes:

Your auto insurance policy is not one packet of information. It is made up of different separate sections (often times, different and separate documents). An insurance policy is composed of the following:

* Insurance Declarations Page;
* Actual Auto Insurance Policy (or policy jacket);
* Endorsements (if any of them exist);

These documents refer to each other so it is always good to have them available.
Most consumers do not read their auto insurance policy until they have an accident or a claim. By then, it could be too late.

I would be willing to bet that you never read your auto policy - at least not from beginning to end. After all, there are better things to do. Insurance can be one of those boring and obscure subjects.

It sure is a nice "bedtime reading."

In fact, most consumers do not even know where their policy is.

Read more: autoinsuranceclaimadvice.com.

January 9, 2011

Dance Club Security Expert Witness & The Business Security Test Part 2

In THE BUSINESS SECURITY TEST, dance club security expert witness Robert A. Gardner, CPP, writes that "no business is totally immune from the threat of crime but a little prior planning and a few common sense precautions are all that is necessary to deter most criminals."

Building Exterior

1. Are all vulnerable points adequately lighted?

2. Is shrubbery trimmed to provide for good visibility at all vulnerable points

3. Is all access to the roof eliminated or secured?

4. Have weeds and trash near your building been cleared away?

5. If a fence would improve your protection, do you have one?

6. Is your fence high enough and/or protected with barbed wire or tape?

7. Is your fence in good repair?

8. Are gates in good repair and locked properly?

9. Have you protected solid block walls and wooden fences that someone could climb and/or hide behind?

January 9, 2011

Quality Management Systems Expert Witnesses

In Medical Device Design Controls – Transfer, Changes, and History, quality management systems expert witness Philip J. O'Keefe, PE, MLE, discusses design transfer procedures:

Meant to ensure that medical device designs are correctly translated into production specifications for manufacturing, Design Transfer Procedures keep those directly involved with the manufacturing process in check. It is absolutely vital that those involved in manufacturing receive accurate and complete information...

A Design Transfer Procedure would ensure that a variety of mishaps do not occur during the transfer process. The procedure is typically overseen by the medical device company’s management. For example, a Design Transfer Procedure would lay out responsibilities of supervisors and managers to make sure the latest revision of electrical schematics, bills of materials, Gerber files, and quality testing procedures are received by the manufacturer of a device’s printed circuit boards. It’s important that the order is received in a timely manner so as not to hold up the manufacturing process. However, it’s much more important that the printed circuit board is made properly, the correct electrical components are placed on it in the correct orientation, and it is tested to make sure it doesn’t malfunction after assembly.

Read more: engineeringexpertwitnessblog.com.

January 9, 2011

Insurance Adjusters Expert Witnesses

Insurance expert witnesses may advise on issues involving insurance claims, insurance adjusters, property insurance, and related issues. The 2011 National Association of Independent Adjusters 74th Annual Conference is set for the Grand Marriott Resort Golf Club & Spa, Point Clear (Mobile), Al, May 8-11, 2011.

Programming will open with:
Deconstructing Chinese Drywall - presented by Haag Engineering

A session on CPLIC with Michael Hale, Harvey Lightstone and CPLIC Board Members

Contact http://www.naiia.com/.

January 9, 2011

Social Media Expert Witness & Courtney Love Defamation Lawsuit

Jessie Stricchiola, a San Francisco based social media expert witness, has been hired in the
upcoming defamation lawsuit trial between Courtney Love and fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir. The expert will testify on behalf of plaintiff Simorangkir and was tasked with studying how many people saw Love’s allegedly abusive torrent of spring 2009 tweets. She will also report on what kind of credibility is given to statements made on a casual forum like Twitter.

Read more: mediabistro.com.

January 8, 2011

Property Insurance Expert Witnesses

Property insurance expert witnesses may advise on issues involving insurance claims, insurance adjusters, property insurance, and related issues. In Chinese Drywall Claims Not Covered Under Homeowners Policies, plaintiff's attorney William F. "Chip" Merlin, Jr., writes that State Farm, USAA, Allstate, and Hartford are among other insurers that refused to pay their customers for losses stemming from damages caused by defective Chinese drywall:

The Chinese Drywall coverage litigation involving first party property insurance policies has been discussed in the past. Are Chinese Drywall Problems Covered Under Property Insurance Policies? discussed the complex issues involved and warned that these losses may not be covered. FC&S Says Ensuing Loss Coverage Applies to Chinese Drywall Claims and Chinese Drywall Claims May Be Covered Under Homeowners Policy--Favorable Developments in Louisiana gave hope to the policyholders suffering form this unexpected property loss. Unfortunately, a recent opinion, In re: Chinese Manufactured Drywall: Products Liability Litigation, issued December 16, 2010, did not rule in favor of the first party policyholders.

Read more: propertyinsurancelaw.com.

January 8, 2011

Nightclubs Expert Witnesses Part 2

Nightclubs expert witnesses may opine on bar security, lounge security, and night club security. Consumer's Guide to Nightclub Safety describes what should people do to ensure their own safety:
Do you know what the military does to ensure that teams achieve their aims? They establish rendezvous points. Pick a well defined area outside the nightclub to meet up with your friends. Then when there is an emergency, be sure to see them at your rendezvous point.

Do you know where the exits are? Before you enter a nightclub you should have an understanding of where the closest exit doors are. Are the exits distinctly marked and well lighted? If the exit paths are blocked, report the violation to management and leave the building if they do not listen to you. Then make sure to register a complaint with your local fire marshal.

Do you feel secure? Does the establishment look to be overcrowded? Do you see electric receptacles that seem like they have been incorrectly maintained? Are there safety systems implemented like sprinklers, security lights and smoke alarms? Does the venue participate in the Club Watch Community Connection patron protection and violence prevention initiative? Ask the nightclub management about your concerns. If you do not think you are safe in the building, don't stay inside the business.

Spending a few moments to learn about the principles we've covered here will allow you to know what you need to do if an unanticipated event happens.

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/small-business-articles/consumers-guide-to-nightclub-safety-832116.html#ixzz1APSKSoim
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

January 8, 2011

Insurance Claims Expert Witnesses

In Experienced Claims Adjusters May Make Better Insurance Claims Experts Than Attorneys, William F. "Chip" Merlin, Jr., Esq. writes:

Practicing law and practicing adjustment are two different things. Some attorneys arrogantly think they know more about insurance because they understand insurance law. They often have no clue what they are talking about or understand what is going on in the insurance claims office. One significant part of understanding insurance and insurance claims handling for attorneys, whether policyholder or insurance company counsel, is to understand the training, management and day to day activities of adjusters. Thinking that an attorney is skilled in insurance because he can read, write and understand insurance cases and statutes is akin to thinking that an attorney can be skilled in surgery because he can read, write and understand medical malpractice cases.

This point was emphasized again in a blog by Ronald D. Kent, Lawyer Cannot Testify as Expert in Bad Faith Case Where Lawyer’s Background Is Not Relevant To Issues in Case, where he noted a bad faith case Butler v. First Acceptance Insurance Co., 652 F. Supp. 2d 1264 (N.D. Ga. 2009)...

Read more: propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com.

January 8, 2011

Insurance Expert Witness On Duty To Defend Part 2

In The Insurer’s Duty to Defend: A Quick Analysis, attorney and insurance expert witness Thomas H. Veitch describes some general rules applied by Texas courts and other jurisdictions following the “Eight Corners Analysis” regarding a duty to defend.

The insurer’s duty to defend is a contractual duty determined by the provisions of the insurance policy.

The eight-corners rule emanates from the fact that only two documents are considered relevant to the determination of the duty to defend, i.e., the policy and the pleadings.

Jurisdictions utilizing the eight-corners rule generally apply a liberal interpretation to the allegations in the petition and resolve any doubt as to the duty to defend in favor of the insured (but will not read facts into the pleadings).

The issue whether a duty to defend exists is a question of law.

Read more: insuranceexpertnetwork.com.

January 8, 2011

Nightclub Security Expert Witness & The Business Security Test Part 1

In THE BUSINESS SECURITY TEST, nightclub security expert witness Robert A. Gardner, CPP, writes that "no business is totally immune from the threat of crime but a little prior planning and a few common sense precautions are all that is necessary to deter most criminals."

Use this test to conduct a survey of your business. Each "NO" answer indicates a weakness that could help a criminal. As you eliminate the "NO" answers, you improve your level of protection and reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Go through the list carefully and systematically. You will also want to look at the business during the night and on weekends. Those are times when you may be most vulnerable.

Remember, this checklist points out your weak areas. You are not fully protected until each of them is corrected. Of course complying with these suggestions won't guarantee that your business will never be the target of crime but it will improve odds in your favor.

This test is limited mainly to the physical security of your business. There are many other areas which also deserve your attention. A well rounded loss prevention program will also address internal security, customer theft, fraud, safety and fire prevention and emergency preparedness.

January 7, 2011

Reverse Engineering Expert Witnesses Part 1

The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law clinics, answers the question, What stages are involved in the reverse engineering process?

Answer: Since the reverse engineering process can be time-consuming and expensive, reverse engineers generally consider whether the financial risk of such an endeavor is preferable to purchasing or licensing the information from the original manufacturer, if possible.

In order to reverse engineer a product or component of a system, engineers and researchers generally follow the following four-stage process:

* Identifying the product or component which will be reverse engineered
* Observing or disassembling the information documenting how the original product works
* Implementing the technical data generated by reverse engineering in a replica or modified version of the original
* Creating a new product (and, perhaps, introducing it into the market)

In the first stage in the process, sometimes called "prescreening," reverse engineers determine the candidate product for their project. Potential candidates for such a project include singular items, parts, components, units, subassemblies, some of which may contain many smaller parts sold as a single entity.

Read more: chillingeffects.org.

January 7, 2011

Architecture Expert Witness On Turnover Condition Reports Part 3

In New or Existing Building Turnover to Condo Ownership, architecture expert witness David E. Chase writes that no matter how many units are involved, a future condominium association should consider both the physical and financial status of any new or existing complex before Turnover to assume full ownership.

Finally, the Report should identify any deviation from the "permitted" plans and specifications with the appropriate documentation including dated photographic files and a code check template. Also if there are corrective items, a dollar figure for corrective action, item by item, must be required in order that the association and developer can discuss the realities of reaching consensus to achieve Turnover objectives.

Second, assuming that either a new condo project will have building component deficiencies or say a 15 year old rental apartment complex will most likely have some construction deterioration requiring repair and/or replacement due to past continued use, the developer must decide what to “fix”. Parking areas, landscaping areas, living units and common areas may need refreshing together with plumbing, air-conditioning and electrical system improvements and code updates.

Each State will have statutes and regulations to guide the financial reserve requirements for new or converted building condos. For example, Florida Statutes 718 , The “Condominium Act”, directs any new condo conversion process for the creation, sale and operation of all new and/or converted condominium projects. Prior to the developer’s filing of a “Declaration of Condominium”, an Architect or Engineer must be retained for the certification of a Disclosure of Condition. The purpose is essentially to establish a public document to enable potential buyers to rely on the general physical status of the building complex in question.

January 6, 2011

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Preparing Expert Testimony Part 2

In Preparing and Presenting Expert Testimony, traffic engineer and accident reconstruction expert witness Lawrence Levine writes:

While historically, individual accident investigation and reconstruction has been the venue of police agencies charged with enforcing the vehicle codes, traffic engineers can serve a vital role as expert witnesses in the determination of the causes of individual vehicle crashes. In doing so it is vital to have developed an understanding of such issues as Human Factors, Positive Guidance, Violation of Expectations, and Design/Construction and Maintenance in relation to the question of “Proximate Causes” of accidents.

Many traffic engineers attend Accident Investigation and Reconstruction classes along with police investigators, insurance company investigators, agency investigators, and practitioners and engineers of other disciplines to supplement their basic training in these arts. Such courses are offered by Northwestern University’s Traffic Institute, George Washington University, The Florida IPTM Institute of Police Traffic Management, as well as private offerings via professional institutes and organizations. These courses are offered many times to agencies on site and take three weeks for the basic reconstruction classes. Generally engineers are accepted by the courts as experts if they are licensed. Many police officers and engineers also are attending classes and taking the ACTAR (Accredited Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction) certification test in Accident Reconstruction. There is no mandated course or test in this field as yet. Many Professional organizations also offer in depth training, certification and field testing. Among these, most engineers are familiar with SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers), ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) and NAFE (National Academy of Forensic Engineers).

January 5, 2011

Forensic Engineering Expert Witnesses Part 2

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

Methods used in forensic engineering investigations, sometimes referred to as “root cause failure analysis,” can include reverse engineering, testing of exemplar components, review of documentary evidence, and examination of alleged failed components. Investigations are conducted in view of engineering principles, standard design practices, industry standards, and regulatory requirements.

In the course of a forensic investigation, it’s sometimes impossible to dissect components and devices without destroying any evidence that might be contained within. If destructive examination is unacceptable or impossible, non destructive techniques can be used effectively. Examples of non-destructive examination (NDE) techniques can include the use of a hand-held multimeter to check for electrical continuity or the use of x-ray equipment to reveal telltale signs of failure.

Ideally, a forensic engineer should be the one to document, collect, and preserve evidence from the scene of the disputed incident. The outcome of a forensic investigation can sometimes hinge on minute strands of wire or tiny fragments of a component. These small pieces of evidence can be easily overlooked, lost, or damaged by others before the forensic engineer even gets involved.

Read more: engineeringexpertwitnessblog.

January 4, 2011

Medical Malpractice Expert Witness Report Part 3

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.

5. Give an objective medical assessment of the situation. To ensure that your report is valuable, discuss the medical issues accurately and in-depth, but avoid using medical jargon or overly-technical language that the attorneys and other parties to the case may not understand.

6. Explain how the medical evidence backs up your opinion using specific information about the case. Make sure that you have concrete medical facts to back up conclusions you make about the legal ramifications of the malpractice action.


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#ixzz18tpHtrpV

January 3, 2011

Insurance Expert Witness On Duty To Defend Part 1

In The Insurer’s Duty to Defend: A Quick Analysis, attorney and insurance expert witness Thomas H. Veitch explains:

The application of the “duty to defend” in liability policies has been a cause of controversy for many, many years. Consequently, there is now an abundance of case law dealing with a variety of issues involving the duty to defend. The case law provides some general guidelines for dealing with these issues. While the precise rules of law may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the guidelines are much the same. The following are some general rules applied by Texas courts and other jurisdictions following the “Eight Corners Analysis” regarding a duty to defend.

Read more: insuranceexpertnetwork.com.

January 2, 2011

Architecture Expert Witness On Turnover Condition Reports Part 2

In New or Existing Building Turnover to Condo Ownership, architecture expert witness David E. Chase writes that no matter how many units are involved, a future condominium association should consider both the physical and financial status of any new or existing complex before Turnover to assume full ownership.

Actually, the Turnover Condition Report, covering the building common areas, site development improvements and individual units, should be carried out after the "punch list" and a Certificate of Occupancy but... before the association accepts full ownership of the complex.

A Turnover Condition Report ,prepared by an independent Architect and/or Engineer , should follow the professional standard of care commonly accepted for constructed improvements of this nature. The process begins with a walk-through and other visual observations together with an examination of the "permitted" building construction documents. Although not as exhaustive as a "punch list", this due diligence activity will result in a Turnover Condition Report offering a generalized compilation of line items for the association to accept or... developer to correct, before the association accepts full Turnover ownership.

Construction components which are in play may be the Roof, Structure, Fire Protection systems, Elevators, Heating & Cooling systems, Plumbing, Electrical, Swimming Pool, Seawalls, Pavement and Parking areas, Drainage systems and/or Irrigation.

January 1, 2011

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Preparing Expert Testimony Part 1

In Preparing and Presenting Expert Testimony, traffic engineer and accident reconstruction expert witness Lawrence Levine writes:

Case Preparation
As Traffic Engineers, our goal is to provide safe movement on highways and streets. However, all too often accidents occur resulting in injuries and property damage, from which lawsuits often arise. The lawsuit, which in this case would either be criminal or civil, is the basic manner in which money is distributed and justice served to the injured parties. In a criminal case (involuntary manslaughter, for instance) the question is “who dunnit?” and “was it intentional – was there a motive – why did they do it?” A civil case, however, involves the question of “what were the proximate cause(s) which enabled the injuries and damages to occur?” An example of a civil case would be if a party’s vehicle hits a signal pole which is unprotected and installed too close to the road, and thereby becomes injured. These are two fundamentally different issues. The Criminal case generally deals with investigating people, determining wrongdoings, and consequently assigning blame and doling out punishment accordingly. Traffic Engineers can become involved in criminal cases as Accident Reconstructionists or in determining if there was some sort of criminal malfeasance in the construction of a project which consequently failed and caused injury. However, generally traffic engineers are involved as experts in civil cases where the injured party seeks relief through monetary judgments.