February 28, 2011

Finance Expert Witness On Business Valuations Part 3

In Important Issues of Business Valuations For Attorneys and Their Clients finance expert witness Richard Teichner, CPA, CVA, CDFAJ, writes:
Certain Terms Applying to Valuations

To aid the attorney and client during the process of establishing a business value, the following is a summary of some of the terms that generally apply to valuations:

Approach - there are three general approaches for establishing values, of which, depending on the circumstances, one of them or a weighted average of more than one of them can be used:
Income Approach, whereby past or future income or cash flowstreams are applied to a capitalization rate or discount rate.

Market Approach, whereby values or sales of comparable businesses, or interests in comparable businesses, are the bases for value for the subject business.

Asset Approach (or asset-based approach, adjusted net asset approach, and other variations on the term), whereby a value for each balance sheet item is determined (including intangibles which may or may not appear on the balance sheet) and then are added together (assets less liabilities).

February 27, 2011

Risk Management Expert Witness On Risk Assessment Part 2

In What the Defendant Can Do Wrong, security management and risk management expert witness Ira Somerson, BCFE, CPP, CSC, writes that "failing to preface your security plan with a risk assessment would violate standard security industry practices. If your risk assessment lacks sufficient qualitative (unscientific) or quantitative (scientific) analysis, it probably will be below a standard security industry practice."

Standard Security Practice

The variety and causes of security risks are considerable. For that reason, some formal process must precede any security program implementation. A security program’s design needs to be based upon deterring, detecting, delaying, denying, responding to, and/or recovering from reasonably foreseeable events. The fact that anomalous events do occur should not excuse or rationalize a property owner from not first performing adequate planning. It is inevitable that a property owner will fail to recognize every risk or that an event will not occur in spite of adequate planning. But the fact that an adequate process was not used to identify the levels of risk places a property owner’s security plan in a far more egregious posture. Failing to preface your security plan with a risk assessment would violate standard security industry practices (standard of care). If your risk assessment lacks sufficient qualitative (unscientific) or quantitative (scientific) analysis, it probably will be below a standard security industry practice.

February 26, 2011

Engineering Expert On Christchurch Quake

A building engineering expert says the devastating Christchurch quake was "pretty much a bullseye." Professor John Wilson, chair of the Australian earthquake loading standard and deputy dean of engineering at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, said the quake struck right at the heart of Christchurch.

"It was so close to Christchurch that we weren't surprised to see significant damage, at that close range the level of shaking is quite severe." The magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck at 12.51pm, and strong aftershocks have shaken the city since."We expected the older buildings with unreinforced masonry to suffer -- their masonry is heavy, brittle and vulnerable to earthquake shaking," Prof Wilson said.

Read more: www.voxy.co.nz

February 25, 2011

Medical Expert On Thyroid Cancer

Medical expert witnesses may consult regarding different specialty areas of medicine including surgery, anesthesiology, independent medical exams (IMEs), cancer treatment, and related topics. A medical expert at the Weill Cornell Medical College recently published an article weighing the pros and cons of using radioactive iodine ablation after partial or total thyroidectomies. Stanley Goldsmith, director of the school's Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, wrote in the journal Seminars in Nuclear Medicine that an individual approach should be taken when using the treatment, since different patients often have radically different symptoms.

In particular, Goldsmith said that low-risk patients - those who do not have an advanced form of thyroid cancer - may not require post-operative ablation at all, or only in low doses at most. That being said, he added that defining "low risk" can be problematic. Ablation with radioactive iodine involves taking one or a series of pills containing iodine-131, a radioactive isotope of the element.

Read more: endocrineweb.com.

February 24, 2011

Insurance Expert Witnesses

Insurance expert witnesses may opine on HMOs, property insurance, insurance regulations, and related topics. Don Brown, an authority in Florida's property insurance market debate writes:

Florida hasn't seen a hurricane in five years, but over that time the public has seen insurance companies filing bankruptcy, going insolvent, and leaving the state. The property insurance market has gotten so bad due to choking state regulation and suppressed rates that if a storm or fire destroys your home there's a risk your claim won't be paid.

There's also a rising tide of media reports covering the sinkhole threat facing Florida's homeowners. "Don't believe the rhetoric that we have a sinkhole crisis in Florida, because we don't. The more accurate assessment is we have a sinkhole claims crisis that has created a cottage industry that threatens Florida consumers," Brown said.

Read more: lehiacrecitizen.com.

February 23, 2011

Finance Expert Witness On Business Valuations Part 2

In Important Issues of Business Valuations For Attorneys and Their Clients finance expert witness Richard Teichner, CPA, CVA, CDFAJ, writes:

Depending on the reason for the valuation, there are various factors that need to be considered, some of which are contained in the descriptions of the terms listed below. If an independent business valuation expert is called upon to assist in establishing a value and/or opine to a value, he or she must have access to all relevant information to be able to determine which factors apply in the particular situation. The attorney and client need to allow and encourage open communication between themselves and the valuator. Too often the intentions of the parties are not apparent, understood or properly articulated, and the facts and circumstances surrounding the true purpose of the valuation are not adequately disclosed. Also, the valuator should know the identities of all the parties to, and affected by, the valuation. Certainly, the valuator has a responsibility to seek all information necessary to do a thorough job, but all other parties involved have to be willing to collaborate in the effort of providing whatever information they and the valuator may deem to be pertinent.

February 22, 2011

JurisPro Expert Witness Directory Celebrates 11th Year

JurisPro, Inc., the expert witness directory formed by a group of practicing attorneys, celebrates its 11th year. JurisPro, Inc. (www.JurisPro.com) is a professional marketing company that maintains a free online directory of over 1600 expert witnesses. At JurisPro, you can read the expert's CV, see their photo, learn their background, hear them speak, and contact them by phone, email, fax, or mail.

February 21, 2011

Liability Policies Expert Witnesses Part 5

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 duty to defend is distinct from and broader than the duty to indemnify.

Even though a duty to defend exists, there may be no duty to indemnify.

On the other hand, if there is no duty to defend, there will generally be no duty to indemnify.

An insurer’s duty to defend is triggered if the factual allegations and the pleadings potentially support a covered claim.

When the pleading does not state facts sufficient to clearly bring the case within or without coverage, a determination must be made as to whether or not the complaint is potentially within the coverage of the policy.


February 20, 2011

Finance Expert Witness On Business Valuations Part 1

In Important Issues of Business Valuations For Attorneys and Their Clients finance expert witness Richard Teichner, CPA, CVA, CDFAJ, writes:

Attorneys often need to help their clients establish values for businesses or business interests. This article discusses some of the issues which need to be addressed before attempting to arrive at business values. Some examples of situations in which business values may need to be established, particularly in connection with the practice of law, are:
♦ Drafting or assistance with implementing buy-sell provisions in
agreements between and among shareholders, partners and limited
liability company members.
♦ Business acquisitions and mergers.
♦ Litigation matters where a measurement of economic damages is
the diminution in the value of a business.
♦ Bankruptcy matters, such as when determinations need to be made
as to whether to keep operating a business and/or sell it, or liquidate
it.
♦ Marital dissolution proceedings.
♦ Condemnation proceedings.
♦ Gifting for estate planning purposes.
♦ Establishing values of a decedent’s estate.

February 19, 2011

Optimizing Your Use Of Banking Expert Witnesses part 5

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

Three Critical Expert Questions
After the expert has had a chance to review the documents and reconstruct what happened there are three distinct questions the retained attorney should ask their expert.
1) The most obvious is, what did you find that was done wrong?
2) What wasn’t found in the documents that should have been there?
3) What gives you concern (heart-burn) about the case after reviewing the documents?
Question number 2 is important because with the entire bank regulatory requirements, if the bank didn’t perform certain tasks as required by regulation, these items will not show up in discovery. Question number 3 is important because it gives you a heads up as to potential problem areas with the case. It shouldn’t matter who the expert represents, their opinions are determined by the facts of the case. If the expert discovers items that are detrimental to the client they represent, it is better to be aware of those in advance, and not be embarrassed or surprised at trial. If opposing council has done a good job in hiring their expert, assume the detrimental and questionable information will be discovered.

February 18, 2011

Construction Site Expert Witness On Hiring An Expert Part 5

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

Provide the expert with enough advance notice that you require his or her services. A well- rationalized, logical opinion and conclusion must take into account a large number of factors. I have worked on many of the cases where, on simply reviewing and reflecting back on the facts and evidence, I realized and discovered additional evidence, which solidified and confirmed my opinions and conclusions.

Finally, there is the all important expert report. A logical, detailed, well-structured and well- written report can promote settlement. On the other hand, a hurried expert analysis is frequently flawed, inconsistent and poorly written, allowing an opposing attorney to have a field day questioning as to inaccuracies and conflicting statements and challenging the credibility of the expert. Allowing the expert sufficient time to make sure his or her thoughts are clear and all the pertinent facts along with opinion, conclusions and supporting evidence are presented in an easy to read and understandable fashion is essential.

Experts must be objective. The expert’s goal is to search for facts, expose the truth and provide opinion and conclusion based on them. Selecting the right expert for your needs is not always easy. The diligent, experienced trial counsel will engage and retain the expert early in the litigation process, which pays invaluable dividends.

William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company for more than 35 years, specializes in excavation & construction site preparation – earthwork and grading, water mains, sewer installation, trenching, containment, underground utilities, dike repair, heavy equipment rentals.

February 17, 2011

Public Storage Security Expert Witnesses Part 2

Public storage security experts may opine on self-storage managers, public storage vandalism, miniwarehouse break-ins and related topics. In Preventing Crime and Acts of Terrorism in Self-Storage: Using Products and Services Approved for the SAFETY ActJason Benedict, Iveda Solutions writes:

Many storage operators claim their facilities are secure, but their measures often appear meager to trespassers, criminals and vandals looking to commit their next crime. Commonly used tools have their weaknesses: gate codes can be observed or distributed, alarms can experience false positives, video cameras are rarely monitored around the clock, and even well-lit perimeters and fences have their fallacies, such as missing links and broken light bulbs....

Third-Party Video Surveillance

This is one of the most impactful ways of catching criminals in the act while protecting against loss or property damage. The advancement of high-speed, broadband technology allows real-time surveillance through the Internet or “cloud computing,” at low cost of ownership. It allows third-party security providers to watch network-enabled cameras from a remote location without being seen or heard by trespassers.

Read more: storagesolutionsblog.com.

February 16, 2011

Lawsuit Funding Expert Witnesses

Lawsuit funding expert witnesses may opine on litigation finance, litigation financial options and attorneys fees, among other topics. Here, attorney Julian Strauss answers the question: What is lawsuit funding?

If you are like most people, you probably did not know lawsuit funding existed until you found yourself in a situation where you needed it. So what is lawsuit funding? It is a cash advance against the expected settlement of a lawsuit. In other words, it is an advance on the settlement of a case that has NOT yet settled. This not to be confused with the purchase of future payments from a case that has already settled. These future payments are known as a "structured settlement". Lawsuit funding are advances on cases that have yet to settle. These advances are sometimes also called a "lawsuit loan" or "pre-settlement lawsuit funding".

Read more: chflawsuitfunding.com.

February 16, 2011

Litigation Finance Expert Witnesses

Litigation finance expert witnesses may opine on litigation financial options and attorneys fees, among other topics. Litigation funding is a practice in which individuals who are plaintiffs in lawsuits receive money from firms and individuals who take a lien on the proceeds of a personal injury suit in return for ready cash.
In A Fee Limitation Rule for Litigation Finance, Michael B. Abramowicz of The George Washington University School of Law writes:

It should be possible...to improve the incentives of litigation finance companies by enacting rules that will affect their financial return. Indeed, those who are critical of litigation finance on the ground that it can spur frivolous litigation should recognize that in fact, litigation finance presents an opportunity. Because litigation finance companies will necessarily perform some screening on the quality of lawsuits they fund, we can devise rules that will tend to improve the incentives of companies to support lawsuits they truly believe are meritorious while rejecting nonmeritorious ones. There exist a variety of existing mechanisms operating directly on litigants that seek to achieve similar effects. These mechanisms include sanctions for frivolous suits7 and fee-shifting rules.8 It is not straightforward to design such mechanisms to produce optimal incentives even for liquid, risk-neutral plaintiffs,9 however, and it may be particularly difficult for such mechanisms to optimize the incentives of plaintiffs who might not have the funds to pay sanctions or for opponents’ legal expenses. A requirement that plaintiffs put up a bond may arbitrarily screen out good cases if the plaintiffs have no access to litigation finance. It may be easier to design mechanisms that affect the returns of the lenders, so that their screening will be closely aligned with the social interest. This Essay’s project is to describe such a mechanism, along with a number of variations, and to identify its advantages relative to alternatives.

Read more: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/searlecenter/papers/Abramowicz_Finance_Final.pdf

February 16, 2011

Rescue Equipment Expert Witness & Chilean Rescue

Rescue equipment expert witnesses may consult on issues involving boating accidents, rescue techniques and methods, and rescue equipment. Brandon Fisher, whose company was integral to the rescue of 33 Chilean miners in the fall, was a featured speaker in the University of Pittsburgh's Center for National Preparedness Seminar Series last week. Fisher is founder and president of Center Rock Inc. of Berlin. PA. The company's low-profile drill was used to bore through rock quickly to rescue the Chilean miners weeks before most experts thought possible. His firm led drilling operations for the Quecreek mine rescue in Somerset in July 2002.

Read more: Mine rescue expert to speak at Pitt - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_721658.html#ixzz1E4mhXnQU

February 16, 2011

Liability Policies Expert Witnesses Part 4

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 duty to defend analysis focuses on the factual allegations in the pleadings rather than on the legal theories alleged in the pleadings. For example, a mere recitation that the insured was negligent is not determinative of negligence. The focus must be on facts supporting such a contention.

Summary
The foregoing are factors commonly relied upon and applied by the courts in a duty to defend analysis. Accordingly, consultants or claims people will want to consider these factors when determination of a duty to defend is at issue.

February 15, 2011

Computer Networking Expert Witnesses

Computer networking expert witnesses may opine on routing, WAN, computer networks, and related topics. In Avoid Hiring a Computer Expert Wit-less, R2Computing writes:
Hiring a computer expert can be a daunting task. Finding the right person to help build and support your case means trusting a stranger -- even when you don't understand exactly what they're talking about! Unfortunately, you can’t always tell whether an expert has what it takes just by looking at their resume or educational background.
Technology changes quickly and when choosing an expert there’s no substitute for a recent, relevant work record. Computer consultants can often serve as excellent expert witnesses.

Unfortunately there is no Bar Association in the computer world. So, anyone can claim to be a computer expert. Luckily there are a few ways to test their expertise. While college degrees will show a good general knowledge base, a better gauge of specific technical competency are industry certifications. Some vendors, including Microsoft, Cisco and Sun Microsystems, offer official certification programs for individuals and businesses. Certified experts may charge more, but a reputable certificate program gives you peace-of-mind -- you know that your potential expert knows his business.
Be sure your client tells you what technology is involved in your case. You will want to hire an expert that has a good, working knowledge of the specific product involved. Basically, don’t hire an expert with certifications from Cisco when the case revolves around Microsoft technology. As the technology gets more complicated you may be required to hire multiple experts; one for each product involved.

February 15, 2011

Rescue Expert Witness On Risk Management

Rescue expert witnesses may write reports and opine on rescue operations, search and rescue, water rescue, and related topics. In Risk Management: Compatibility Issues, Gerald M. Dworkin, Lifesaving Resources Inc., writes:

I’ve always advocated the need for aquatics facilities to collaborate and coordinate lifeguard and water rescue training and emergency operations with community fire, rescue, emergency medical services (EMS) and law enforcement agencies. This includes combined emergency response drills. Such training gives lifeguards a better understanding of what’s expected of them before and after the arrival of responding professional rescue services personnel and equipment.

It also allows public safety and rescue agencies to evaluate the operations and capabilities of lifeguards, as well as their EMS and rescue equipment. And it lets first responders assess the facility’s rescue and safety equipment. This ensures that it’s compatible within the communitywide EMS system, and that the equipment also is state-of-the-art and appropriate for its intended use.

Read more: www.lifesaving.com.

February 15, 2011

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Preparing Expert Testimony Part 9

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

Gathering of Information 4. The entire history of the location involved including, but not limited to, the road history, original plans, reconstruction plans, maintenance history and traffic control history. He or she must be familiar with the accident history. (Note: the expert must make his own determination regarding accidents based upon accident report data, not Federal-funded summaries and reports by others. That may be excluded as evidence by Federal law. Also, the courts will generally only accept as example/reference accidents which are similar to the one at issue during trial to substantiate an opinion. Although work done at a site or changes made AFTER an accident are normally not admissible, in some instances the information contained in post accident documents can be used to show a pre-existing condition.) Consult the attorney regarding any post accident repairs or work done and its effect on the case. The expert must know the relevant state and standards in effect or used at the time of each road history event, plan or construction document, and installation of a sign or other traffic control device.

February 14, 2011

WAN Expert Witnesses & Computer Forensics

Wide Area Network (WAN) expert witnesses may opine on computer networks, routing, WAN, and related topics. Here, The Digital Forensic Group answers the question What is Computer Forensics?

Computer forensics, also known as digital forensics, is the practice of identifying, collecting, preserving and analyzing legal evidence from digital media such as computer hard disk drives. Since digital evidence is both fragile and volatile, it requires the attention of a certified specialist to ensure that materials of evidentiary value are effectively isolated and extracted in a scientific manner to withstand the scrutiny of the legal system. The goal of computer forensics is to explain the current state of a digital artifact. These can include a computer system, storage medium (such as a hard disk or CD-ROM), an electronic document (e.g. an email message or JPEG image) or even a sequence of packets moving over a computer network.

February 14, 2011

Fatigue Limit Expert Witnesses & Schedule Optimization

Fatigue limit expert witnesses may write reports on driver fatigue, asleep at the wheel, drowsiness, and related topics. The Circadian Newsletter describes the issues involved in shiftworkers and schedule optimization.

Every plant is unique as are its shiftworkers. You can only achieve the best shift schedule through a logical, systematic search for what is optimal for your business efficiency and for the needs of your shiftworkers.

At numerous 24-hour operations, shiftworkers and management are laboring with antiquated or poorly designed shift schedules. These lead to:

* Production problems
* Poor morale
* Health and safety concerns
* Worker fatigue
* Absenteeism
* High turnover

If this is your situation, you:

* Have trouble attracting or keeping shiftworkers because of challenging shift schedules
* Have high absenteeism, turnover and accident rates
* Have low morale because work/life balance is so difficult
* Have trouble meeting production or operational requirements
* Have higly fatigued employees due to their shift schedules

Read more: circadian.com.

February 14, 2011

Insurance Claims Expert Witnesses & Auto Insurance Fraud Part 2

Insurance claims expert witnesses may opine on insurance policy interpretation, insurance fraud, and related topics. In 8 Great Ways to Get Busted for Auto Insurance Fraud, Insurance.com writes:

Insurance fraud is becoming more frequent as people look for "creative" ways to make money in the struggling economy. Insurance companies find that people file more claims in a down economy, often for smaller amounts. And, fraud is an increasing problem. With so many claims for car insurance companies to process, it may seem like a fraudulent claim can slip through unnoticed. Not so.

Just like the team on CSI uses advanced techniques to analyze evidence and figure out what happened, an insurance company's Special Investigations Unit or SIU—which often includes reps with law enforcement experience—conducts a thorough investigation to detect fraud. (Please note that Insurance.com reminds consumers that insurance fraud is illegal and a very bad idea.) Here are a few things fraudsters try to get away with—and why it's rare that they will:
2. "Spill" a little gasoline near the engine and report vandals torched your car.

OK, so hiding the car or arranging to have it stolen won't work, but if the evidence burns up, there's no way to figure out what happened, right? Wrong. Burn pattern analysis, computer simulations… it's not hard to spot fires that were intentionally set.
3. Visit the chiropractor as much as possible after a car accident.

(Especially if you're not really hurt. You'll get free adjustments, and maybe the doctor will cut you in on a little extra money if you ask nicely.) Every SIU has medical experts who can tell if your injuries aren't serious enough to need tons of medical attention. In addition, they keep track of doctors who repeatedly provide excessive treatment or attorneys who repeatedly recommend certain clinics.

Read more: insurance.com.

February 13, 2011

Affidavit Of Service Expert Witnesses Part 2

Affidavit of service expert witnesses may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers has established the Standards, Best Practices and The Policy Manual professional process servers.

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

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

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

Adopted by the Board November 21, 2009

February 13, 2011

Fatigue Expert Witnesses & Fatigued Workers

Fatigue expert witnesses may write reports on driver fatigue, asleep at the wheel, drowsiness, and related issues. The Circadian Newsletter describes the problems involved with fatigued employees.

Studies have clearly linked fatigue to increases in human error, accidents, injuries and poor performance. In fact, one study found that fatigued workers cost U.S. employers more than $136 billion per year in lost productivity. In addition, several studies have confirmed that fatigue impairment can produce a similar impairment as alcohol in terms of logical reasoning, concentration, information processing, judgment, hand-eye coordination, and reaction times. Quite simply, as people perform without sufficient rest, the likelihood of errors and accidents increases.

Read more: circadian.com.

February 12, 2011

Networking Expert Witnesses

Networking expert witnesses may opine on computer networks, routing, WAN, and related topics. In How to be a Digital Forensic Expert Witness, Stephen C. Schroeder, Seattle University School of Law and Seattle University Computer Dept. of Science and Software writes:

The prospect of becoming an expert witness in court can be a daunting one. The question and answer format in which you must testify can seem awkward and inefficient. Used to communicating with your IT security professional peers, you naturally use the technical terms, jargon and acronyms of the trade when describing your findings and recommendations. As part of the legal process, you must become a teacher, presenting your technical testimony in terms that laymen can understand - but without condescending.

While the general fact witness may testify only as to what he or she directly knows, an expert may present testimony using the powerful words, "in my opinion." Additionally, the expert may rely upon any information that is available, whether or not it has actually been admitted into evidence. In order to do so, however, you must be qualified by the trial court because of your skill, experience, training, or education.

While the general fact witness may testify only as to what he or she directly knows, an expert may present testimony using the powerful words, "in my opinion." Additionally, the expert may rely upon any information that is available, whether or not it has actually been admitted into evidence. In order to do so, however, you must be qualified by the trial court because of your skill, experience, training, or education.

Read more: computer.org.

February 12, 2011

Hydrologic Engineering Expert Witnesses & Pollutants

Hydrologic engineering expert witnesses may write reports on underground and surface waters including storm drains, water-related geologic hazards, environmental site assessments, and related topics.

Hydrologic engineers frequently work with environmental engineers in consulting firms that advise and help businesses and government agencies to comply with environmental policy, particularly with regard to groundwater decontamination and flood control. They also conduct research on sources of pollutants and make recommendations on how best to clean and preserve the environment.

Hydrologists utilize their observations of hydrologic processes to make predictions of the future behavior of hydrologic systems (i.e., water flow and water quality). These estimates are important for engineers and economists so that proper risk analysis can be performed to influence investment decisions in future infrastructure projects and to determine the yield reliability characteristics of water supply systems. These estimates also are key in designing dams for water supply or hydroelectric power generation and formulating operating rules for large dams that are part of systems that include agricultural, industrial, and residential demands.

Read more: maxizip.com.

February 12, 2011

Process Service Expert Witnesses Part 2

Process service expert witnesses may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers has established the Standards, Best Practices and The Policy Manual for professional process servers.

A Notary Public, whether employed in a process serving business, or not, must adhere to the state laws regarding Notary Publics within the jurisdiction where he or she has been commissioned. These duties and obligations transcend other duties that may be assigned by an employer.
Content
A proof or affidavit of service must accurately state the date, time, place, and manner of service, and any additional information that would reflect how delivery of process or other legal document was made to a person or entity served. When required, a proof or affidavit of service should also reflect the description or relationship of that person to the person or entity served, and the military status of the person served.

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

February 12, 2011

Public Storage Security Expert Witnesses

Public storage security experts may opine on self-storage managers, public storage vandalism, miniwarehouse break-ins and related topics. In Preventing Crime and Acts of Terrorism in Self-Storage: Using Products and Services Approved for the SAFETY ActJason Benedict, Iveda Solutions writes:

Theft, vandalism, graffiti, break-ins, employee safety, destruction of property, and lawsuits are all common concerns among self-storage owners and operators. Although there are many precautionary measures available and in use today, unlawful and criminal activity seems to lurk around every dark corner, pushing self-storage facilities to advance toward high-tech security.

In self-storage, security is progressing far beyond the traditional tools, gaining strength through products or services approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In fact, the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 (the SAFETY Act) even provides liability protection to promote the creation, deployment and use of anti-terrorism technology. Simply put, if your facility uses Act-approved products and services, you’re given some protection against liability in the event of malicious or criminal acts.

Read more: storagesolutionsblog.com.

February 12, 2011

Electrical Expert Witness On Preserving Physical Evidence

In PRESERVE THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE!, electrical expert witness Roger L. Boyell, writes:

As soon as you believe a legal action might be initiated, take pains to preserve whatever physical evidence may be relevant. Send in an investigator, take many photographs, expedite the discovery process. Alteration or disguise of potential physical evidence need not be on purpose. Damage gets repaired, defects are corrected during routine maintenance, new features and devices are incorporated in machinery, apparatus undergoes corrosion and decay. Copies are not always exact replicas. Computer records can be overwritten with no intent of spoliation.

The lesson is to promptly identify and preserve whatever evidence might later become useful for presentation in the forum: equipment, photographs, test results, written records, videotapes, lab samples. Physical evidence never improves its usefulness to litigation with the passage of time.

February 11, 2011

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Expert Witnesses

Federal motor carrier safety regulations expert witnesses may opine on the trucking industry,trucking and transportation rules and regulations, truck maintenance, and related topics. In Fatigue Study Provides Basis for 34-Hour Restart Proposal Oliver B. Patton writes for truckinginfo.com:

The 34-hour restart gives daytime drivers a chance to catch up on their rest, but it does not work as well for night drivers. In fact, it may even be detrimental to driver performance.

That's the conclusion of a study the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is using to justify its proposal that the restart include two periods of rest between midnight and 6 a.m. The proposal is a point of strong contention between the agency and the industry, which is arguing that the two-night requirement will force night drivers to take as much as 53 hours off, possibly away from home, and begin their shifts during morning rush hour when exposure to accident risk is higher.

The study, done for FMCSA by Hans Van Dongen and Gregory Belenky of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University, found that the effectiveness of the 34-hour restart depends on the timing of the driver's work schedule.

Read more: truckinginfo.com.

February 11, 2011

Liability Policies Expert Witnesses Part 3

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:

A duty to indemnify is based on whether the alleged facts are actually established; for example, a ruling of the court or the findings of the jury.

If an insurer owes a duty to defend any portion of the suit, the insurer is obligated to defend the entire suit.

Generally, facts outside of the pleadings (extrinsic evidence) are not deemed material to the court’s determination. This is the case even if such facts can be easily ascertained.

In making the determination of a duty to defend, the truth or falsity of the allegations in the pleadings are not a factor.

Likewise, what the parties know or believe to be the true facts is not a factor to be considered.

February 11, 2011

Insurance Expert Witnesses & Car Insurance Trends

Insurance expert witnesses may opine on insurance loss claims, insurance policy coverage, automobile insurance rates, and related topics. Here, Insurance.com writes on on 2011 car insurance trends including:

Mileage-based insurance

Companies will continue to offer discounts and incentives in 2011 - such as a premium refunds or diminishing deductibles to existing consumers who remain claim-free, says Ryan Hanley, an insurance broker with the Guilderland Agency in Albany, N.Y. "Pay as you drive" insurance policies are among the discount plans most likely to grow in popularity next year. These policies offer drivers a premium based primarily on the number of miles they drive each year. This can lead to big savings for people who drive relatively few miles.

"Pay as you drive" is a fairly new industry product, but mileage-based insurance is growing in states such as California and Texas. "I see more companies starting to collect mileage information and incorporating it into their insurance products," Hageli says. "It's the next big thing." Insurers offering these policies have different ways to determine how many miles consumers are driving. Some companies place a device in the policyholder's car. It collects driving information, and is then uploaded to the insurer, Hageli says.

Other providers review mileage readings from annual inspections to determine how many miles a policyholder has driven in a year. Although mileage-based insurance is increasing, it won't replace traditional insurance anytime soon, Hageli says. Other factors that go into figuring a policyholder's premium - such as age, gender and marital status - remain important, he says.

Read more: insurance.com.

February 10, 2011

Electrical Wiring Expert Witness & Physical Evidence Part 2

In PRESERVE THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE!, electrical wiring expert witness Roger L. Boyell, writes:

As soon as you believe a legal action might be initiated, take pains to preserve whatever physical evidence may be relevant. Send in an investigator, take many photographs, expedite the discovery process.

Any delay allows potential evidence to be altered or disguised, as in the following real-world examples.
(2) A private telephone system was allegedly miswired allowing an electrical surge to create an ear-damaging screech. Ultimately an inspection of the system revealed a like-new professional installation with no evidence of defective materials or workmanship. Afterward it was learned that the system supplier had provided maintenance services many times post-incident, but with no record of diagrams or work orders to reconstruct what was done. Too bad the inspection wasn’t conducted earlier.

February 10, 2011

Self Storage Expert Witnesses & Documentation

Self storage expert witnesses may opine on public storage, self storage facilities, and self storage buildings. Here, self storage expert Julie C. Farrar writes on due diligence in the industry:

Whether buying or selling; here’s a typical list of what to expect when “due diligence” is required. Generally, within 10 days after the effective date, the seller is expected to deliver to the buyer a number of documents. Stock up on toner; a lot of reports will be printed and copies made. Don’t have it? A typical purchase contract assumes non-disclosure indicates the item is “not in seller’s possession” or is “not readily available”. Of course, you can’t produce what you do not have.

Here’s a standard list of what’s required today:

· Rent Roll
· Copies of Leases
· Inventory of Business Personal Property
· Copies of current warranties and/or guaranties related to the property
· Copies of Insurance policies, including fire, hazard, liability, etc.
· Copies of all leasing or commission agreements relating to the property
· Copies of “as built” plans, specifications and a plat of the property
· Copies of all invoices for utilities and repairs incurred by seller in the 24-months prior to the effective date of the offer.

Read more: selfstorageguide.com.

February 10, 2011

Pesticide Products Expert Witnesses & EPA

Pesticide expert witnesses may write reports and testify on pesticide contamination, insecticides, and pesticide products. The EPA regulates the use of pesticides under the authority of two federal statutes: the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) provides the basis for regulation, sale, distribution and use of pesticides in the U.S. FIFRA authorizes EPA to review and register pesticides for specified uses. EPA also has the authority to suspend or cancel the registration of a pesticide if subsequent information shows that continued use would pose unreasonable risks. Some key elements of FIFRA include:

* is a product licensing statute; pesticide products must obtain an EPA registration before manufacture, transport, and sale
* registration based on a risk/benefit standard
* strong authority to require data--authority to issue Data Call-ins
* ability to regulate pesticide use through labeling, packaging, composition, and disposal
* emergency exemption authority--permits approval of unregistered uses of registered products on a time limited basis
* ability to suspend or cancel a product's registration: appeals process, adjudicatory functions, etc.


Read more: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/laws.htm

February 10, 2011

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Preparing Expert Testimony Part 8

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

All too often an expert walks into court and it is discovered through questioning that he or she only saw the site the day before trial; that he or she only saw photographs provided by the attorney and did not see several others; or that he or she did not bring their notes to court. To a jury or a judge who is trying to determine the merits of a case as well as the reliability and truthfulness of the witness before them, any one of these questions can totally undermine the expert’s credibility. Once credibility is lost, generally the tryer of fact and jury members discounts the witness.

Gathering of Information
The investigating traffic engineer must determine exactly which aspects of the case are within his realm of responsibility if he is to be a fact witness. Fact witnesses generally are not asked for opinions. For the traffic engineer who will appear as an expert witness, opinions will be required. Therefore, it is expected that they will have familiarized themselves with the following:

1. Police measurements, photographs, investigation and reconstruction;
2. Any other investigation or reconstruction, measurements and photographs;
3. The issues of the case, including all the pleading documents and expert witness exchanges;

February 9, 2011

Insurance Claims Expert Witnesses & Auto Insurance Fraud Part 1

Insurance claims expert witnesses may opine on insurance policy interpretation, insurance fraud, and related topics. In 8 Great Ways to Get Busted for Auto Insurance Fraud, Insurance.com writes:

Insurance fraud is becoming more frequent as people look for "creative" ways to make money in the struggling economy. Insurance companies find that people file more claims in a down economy, often for smaller amounts. And, fraud is an increasing problem. With so many claims for car insurance companies to process, it may seem like a fraudulent claim can slip through unnoticed. Not so.

Just like the team on CSI uses advanced techniques to analyze evidence and figure out what happened, an insurance company's Special Investigations Unit or SIU—which often includes reps with law enforcement experience—conducts a thorough investigation to detect fraud. (Please note that Insurance.com reminds consumers that insurance fraud is illegal and a very bad idea.) Here are a few things fraudsters try to get away with—and why it's rare that they will:

1. Leave your car unlocked with the keys inside.

(When it disappears, pretend you don't know what happened and report it stolen.) The missed car payments are piling up and it's costing you way more than it's worth. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to worry about it anymore? A good SIU investigation includes a financial review to identify how far behind on your payments you are, the discovery of the fact that you're missing a set of keys, and, when the car is recovered, that there are no signs of forced entry.

Read more: insurance.com.

February 9, 2011

Affidavit Of Service Expert Witnesses

Affidavit of service expert witnesses may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers has established the Standards, Best Practices and The Policy Manual for professional process servers which includes this information:

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

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


February 9, 2011

Trucking Expert Witnesses & Maintenance Musts

Trucking expert witnesses may write reports and testify regarding federal motor carrier safety regulations, qualifications of truck drivers, federal motor vehicle safety standards, and truck maintenance, among other topics. In Maintenance Musts, Steve Sturgess, Executive Editor truckinginfo.com, writes:

Looking at peer fleet information using the CSA 2010 criteria, as many as 10 to15 percent of large fleets (with more than 500 power units) are at risk of intervention for maintenance-related violations, the study found. As fleet size gets smaller, the at-risk ranking gets bigger and bigger. In the one-to-five fleet size, one small fleet in four is potentially looking at FMCSA intervention for maintenance problems...

Rair President and CEO J.J. Singh says one solution is the correct and careful use of the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report that is filled out - or should be - every day by the truck driver. "The bigger fleets have a more proactive approach to maintenance and more rigorous processes to act on the DVIR," he says. "But even so, 10 to 15 percent of even those fleets are at risk of intervention. There is a need for training of drivers in the proper inspection and reporting on the DVIR, and then a robust process to correct in a timely manner any problems identified."

All too often, the DVIR is a case of "pencil whipping," to use Singh's term. Drivers sign off without calling out problems, and maintenance managers sign off without doing anything about the problems that may have been identified.

Read more: truckinginfo.com.

February 8, 2011

Hydrology and Groundwater Expert Witnesses

Hydrology and groundwater expert witnesses study the quantity, distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters to locate water and energy resources, predict water-related geologic hazards, and offer environmental site assessments.

Hydrologists can deduce the flow of underground water by characteristics, including permeability, of the soil and bedrock; by how water behaves near other sources of water, such as rivers and oceans; and through fluid flow models based on water movements on the Earth’s surface.

Hydrologists also study water pollution. They use their skills to determine the movement/extent of contamination from landfills, mine runoff, and other potentially contaminated sites to surface and subsurface water. Hydrologists employ sophisticated techniques and instruments, such as remote sensing technology, and numerical modeling to monitor the change in regional and global water cycles. Surface-water Hydrologists use sensitive stream-measuring devices to assess flow rates and the quality of water.

Read more: maxizip.com.

February 8, 2011

Public Storage Expert Witnesses & Tenants

Public storage expert witnesses may write reports and testify on mini-warehouses, storage warehouses, and self storage units. In Going Your Separate Ways: Evicting the Trouble-Maker Tenant, attorney William D. Farrar writes descirbes the cost in having a trouble making tenant:

As hard as tenants are to get in the first place, we truly dislike having to ask one to leave. However, the "cost" in having a trouble-making tenant stay will far exceed the rent they are paying. The "cost" in other tenants being unhappy, and leaving, negative publicity, and management time dealing with ongoing problems will add up! After all, you can quantify your loss from an empty unit- not so the problem tenant. Sometimes an empty unit is better than one with rented problems!

Read more: selfstorageguide.com.

February 8, 2011

Vinyl Products Expert Witnesses & PVC

Vinyl products expert witnesses may write reports on engineered composites, polymers, PVC, and related topics. In Health and safety - Phthalate plasticizers, PAS Systems International offers this information:
Many vinyl products contain additional chemicals to change the chemical consistency of the product. Some of these additional chemicals called additives can leach out of vinyl products. Plasticizers that must be added to make PVC flexible have been additives of particular concern.

Because soft PVC toys have been made for babies for years, there are concerns that these additives leach out of soft toys into the mouths of the children chewing on them. Phthalates mimic human hormones and also affect various life forms including fish and invertebrates adversely. Additionally, adult sex toys have been demonstrated to contain high concentrations of the additives.21 In January 2006, the European Union placed a ban on six types of phthalate softeners, including DEHP (diethylhexyl phthalate), used in toys. In the U.S. most companies have voluntarily stopped manufacturing PVC toys with DEHP.

Read more: Polyvinyl chloride.

February 7, 2011

Electrical Equipment Failure Expert Witness On Preserving Physical Evidence

In PRESERVE THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE!, electrical equipment failure expert witness Roger L. Boyell, writes:

As soon as you believe a legal action might be initiated, take pains to preserve whatever physical evidence may be relevant. Send in an investigator, take many photographs, expedite the discovery process.

Any delay allows potential evidence to be altered or disguised, as in the following real-world examples.
(1) A 240-volt coffee brewing machine is alleged to have shocked an employee resulting in permanent neural damage, most likely because the original installation failed to connect an electrical frame ground. After many months passed while preparing the case and filing suit, an examination of the machine now reveals the presence of a grounding conductor. Was it mounted originally, or installed during routine maintenance, or added because of the shock incident, or not installed until after notice of lawsuit? Timely documentation might have resolved whether the machine was grounded at the time of the incident.

February 7, 2011

Insurance Coverage Expert Witnesses & Liability Insurance

Insurance coverage expert witnesses may write reports and testify on insurance customs, insurance practices, liability policies, and more. Here, Insurance.com writes on liabilities issues when hosting a a party:

Whether you're driving to the big game, watching it in a bar or hosting a party, follow these tips to keep from dropping the ball on your insurance coverage. A big... issue can be liability if guests hurt themselves on your property or, worse, drink and drive. State laws vary, but even "states that don't impose liability in general can impose it if the host serves alcohol to a minor," says Kenneth Berman, an attorney with Berman, Sobin & Gross, LLP in Gaithersburg, Md. "Everyone should go into this knowing that they can be held responsible if a guest gets hurt or hurts someone else," he says.

According to Lisa Lobo, vice president and consumer insurance expert at The Hartford, "Liability insurance is part of every homeowners policy and would cover up to your limit, usually about $100,000 if someone slips and falls on an icy sidewalk or drowns in your hot tub. But liability insurance may not be enough. We recommend a personal umbrella policy to cover all of your assets and net worth in case of a lawsuit." Umbrella insurance policies offer additional liability coverage of $1 million or more and usually cost $200 or $300 annually.

Read more: insurance.com.

February 7, 2011

Process Service Expert Witnesses

Process service expert witnesses may opine regarding the process server's work product. The National Association of Professional Process Servers has established the Standards, Best Practices and The Policy Manual for professional process servers:

PROOFS AND AFFIDAVITS OF SERVICE

Preamble
These Best Practices are intended to recognize and establish guidelines for the proper preparation and execution of proofs or affidavits of service.

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

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

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

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

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

February 7, 2011

Engineered Composites Expert Witnesses & Baseball Bats

Engineered composites expert witnesses may opine on aerospace components, household products, sports equipment, and more. This week the Little League issued a moratorium on composite bats, which on many fields have replaced aluminum (and wood) as the preferred equipment for young players. "A ball could go farther and harder and some of these kids are small so it's a safety concern that we're looking at," said Greg Jones, a Palma Ceia Little League board member.

The bats are prized for their performance factor. Fans say the ball comes off the bat faster and goes farther, giving hitters more power to hit home runs and boost team scores. "It's carbon fiber, but there's also a resin in it that expands and it allows the barrel of the bat to flex, which gives it more pop," said Paul Borgeson, who has been selling the popular bats at Play it Again Sports.

Read more: tbo.com.

February 6, 2011

Truck Maintenance Expert Witnesses

Truck maintenance expert witnesses may write reports and testify regarding federal motor carrier safety regulations, qualifications of truck drivers, federal motor vehicle safety standards, and truck maintenance, among other topics. In Maintenance Musts, Steve Sturgess, Executive Editor truckinginfo.com, writes:

Vehicle maintenance is one of the top areas where fleets are at risk under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's new CSA 2010 program.

Carrier safety risk management firm Rair released a report comparing the safety methodology under the new Comprehensive Safety Analysis program to the older SafeStat records of more than 64,000 fleets. It showed fleets are most at risk from deficiencies in fatigued driving (hours of service violations), but next is vehicle maintenance.

According to Rair President and CEO J.J. Singh, "vehicle maintenance is the dark horse" among the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Im­prove­ment Categories, or BASICs.

Read more: truckinginfo.com.

February 6, 2011

Construction Site Expert Witness On Hiring An Expert Part 4

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

Another detrimental aspect of retaining the expert too late is retaining him or her after the discovery period is closed. A qualified expert can tell you exactly where to look for potentially damaging evidence on your adversary, which may support your position. What may not seem important or relevant may in fact be the smoking gun you are looking for. Attorneys know the law and are experts in the law. They often do not know the intricacies, nuances, and particulars of specific industries such as heavy or site-work construction methods, means and industry standards that apply to them.

An expert who knows the industry and the acronyms, lingo, and generic terms associated with that industry can be a valuable asset in preparing deposition questions for your adversary. Taking your expert to adversary depositions can be extremely helpful. Many times, the person being deposed will say something that to the attorney may sound logical and reasonable; however, the answer may have contained industry terminology that camouflages the truth. An expert who is thoroughly familiar with the vernacular of the trade can recommend questions exposing restrictive or misleading language. The ability to query cautiously worded answers can change the impression intended to be conveyed by your adversary.

February 5, 2011

Pesticide Products Expert Witness & EPA GHS

Pesticide products expert witnesses may write reports and testify on pesticide contamination, insecticides, and pesticide products. In The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs describes GHS:

The GHS establishes classification criteria for physical, health and environmental hazards, along with associated hazard communication elements, notably pictograms, signal words, and hazard statements for use on labels. It is based on harmonizing major existing systems for classifying and labeling of chemicals in transport and in the workplace, in pesticides, and in consumer products. A key guiding principle of the GHS harmonization effort was that harmonization should be accomplished without lowering the level of protection afforded by existing systems. It was also acknowledged that changes in all systems would be required to achieve a single, globally harmonized system.

February 5, 2011

Accident Reconstruction Expert Witness On Preparing Expert Testimony Part 7

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

Many times the lawyer for the defense will try to time his response to a pending case until after the plaintiff’s expert has submitted his opinions. This way he is sure to answer with specificity the claims that are being presented. As often, plaintiff attorneys will request that an expert not prepare a report until after a verbal opinion is rendered over the phone or in person. This is because all documents in an engineer’s file, done in preparation for a case, are discoverable at trial. This includes correspondence and e-mails. It is wise to verbally discuss with the attorney the need for a report, the due date, and the format in which to prepare it. This does not and should not create a bias on the part of the engineer.

If the lawyer asks the expert to prepare an opinion based “solely” upon photographs, depositions, or a selected grouping of documents he or she supplies, it is in the expert’s best interest to maintain his or her reputation; to demand the right to seek out additional information if necessary, including site visits, testing or whatever is felt to be necessary in order to render an opinion on the matter. To do less would be a disservice to the client, the plaintiff, the agency and the court. It opens the expert to the potentially embarrassing question later “Why didn’t you do this or that?” or “Isn’t it accepted practice in the field of accident reconstruction and investigation to do this or that?” Just as the lawyer must prepare his case, the expert he is depending upon must be prepared and thoroughly know his subject and the case.

February 5, 2011

Liability Policies Expert Witnesses Part 2

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

The insured has the initial burden to establish that its claim falls within the scope of coverage provided by the insurance policy.

Thereafter, the burden shifts to the insurer to prove that the claim falls within a policy exclusion or a limitation of coverage.

If the insurer is successful in proving the applicability of an exclusion, the burden then shifts back to the insured to prove that an exception to the exclusion causes the claim to fall within coverage.

February 4, 2011

Optimizing Your Use Of Banking Expert Witnesses part 4

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

Reconstructive Documentation
This involves the reconstruction of what happened in the case after reviewing the documents. This is a tedious and time consuming process. In many lending cases, five to ten thousand documents are provided for review, spanning a five to ten year period, including many new loans, paid off loans, renewals, extensions, and modifications. This review, along with the depositions of the individuals involved, usually exposes the crux of the problem and why there is a law suit. Once an expert has gone through and reviewed these documents, they should have a feel for the culture of the bank; and personality, knowledge, and experience of the officers involved. This is a very critical area, especially in lending cases. The purpose of the loan, the documentation of the loan, and the actual performance of the loan are usually perceived differently by the parties involved.

February 3, 2011

Vinyl Chloride Polymers Expert Witnesses

Vinyl chloride polymers expert witnesses may opine on PVC products such as piping, construction materials, household items, and more. Here, R. Kayne describes issues surrounding PVC products:

Polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC or vinyl, is an inexpensive plastic so versatile it has become completely pervasive in modern society. However, its diversity and ubiquitousness is now in question, as it comes from a highly toxic production industry and potentially remains an environmental threat throughout all phases of its life. In addition to the toxic chemical processing required to make PVC, mounting research indicates a tendency for some PVC products to leech harmful chemicals, with a possible link to health risks and environmental contamination.

Additionally, polyvinyl chloride is not biodegradable, a fact that manufacturers promote as a plus, while environmentalists count it among many of polyvinyl chloride's drawbacks. They point to the ever-growing massive amounts of discarded PVC products and shrinking landfills, and the potential for long-term leeching that could lead to ground water contamination. Polyvinyl chloride should not be burned, as it can release harmful gas, and recycling is difficult because of the diverse additives used in various products.

Written by R. Kayne for wisegeek.com.

February 2, 2011

Trucking Industry Expert Witnesses & Onboard Recorders

Trucking industry expert witnesses may write reports and testify on federal motor carrier safety regulations, truck maintenance, trucking computer systems, and related issues. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing that all interstate trucks and buses be equipped with electronic onboard recorders to track driver hours. The rule would apply to all carriers now required to maintain Records of Duty Status (aka logbooks), which amounts to some 500,000 commercial carriers. The rule would not apply to short-haul interstate carriers that use timecards to document hours of service.

The agency at the same time is proposing to relieve interstate carriers from certain supporting documents requirements for hours of service compliance. Motor carriers will be given three years from the effective date of the final rule to comply with these requirements. The proposal can be found at http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-02093_PI.pdf. The agency will be accepting comments as soon as the proposal is published in the Federal Register.

Read more: truckinginfo.com.

February 2, 2011

Engineered Composites Expert Witnesses

Engineered composites expert witnesses may write reports on linear polymers, engineered composites, monomers, and related topics. On Friday, January 28, 2011 Composites Manufacturing Magazine announced the NIBS creation of an advanced materials database.

The National Institute of Building Sciences is overseeing the establishment of an Advanced Materials Database. Coordinated by the Advanced and High Performance Materials Council (AMC), it encourages the understanding and use of high-performance and advanced materials for construction. The database will provide detailed statistics and information, allow engineers, architects and scientists to readily compare different materials, provide a forum of communication between member organizations and prevent the duplication of effort. Beginning January 2011 the Database will accept submis­sions of new materials drawn from the Department of Homeland Security Infra­structure Protection and Disaster Management Division as well as contributing institutions.

Read more: compositesmanufacturingblog.com.

February 1, 2011

Trucking Expert Witnesses & MN District Court Ruling

Trucking expert witnesses may opine on federal motor carrier safety regulations, truck maintenance, trucking drug and alcohol regulations, qualifications of truck drivers, and more. In the news Monday, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Minnesota State Patrol's use of CVSA Level III inspections to determine fatigue violates truckers' Fourth Amendment rights.

Calling the decision "a major victory," Paul Cullen Sr., of The Cullen Law Firm representing the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, told Land Line Magazine that Minnesota's fatigue tests are beyond the scope of CVSA's Level III inspections, and before such a test could be conducted, officers must have "reasonable articulable suspicion."

In other words, the driver must exhibit or have shown clear signs that he or she was obviously fatigued. Minnesota have been using a check list of sorts that officers at roadside could consult to see if the certain activities, the driver's physical appearance or condition, or even the condition or appearance of the truck or cab interior might indicate a driver was tired of fighting fatigue.

Read more: truckinginfo.com.

February 1, 2011

Construction Site Expert Witness On Hiring An Expert Part 3

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

Today, more than at any other time, many cases are settled, won or lost based on the testimony of the expert witness. The real difference between an expert who will help make or break your case is the depth and range of the expert's experience within the industry involved in the litigation.

I am often asked in an initial interview "How many times have you testified at trial?" I have been involved in many cases. I am proud to say, however, that very few have gone to trial, but instead have been settled in my client's favor, commonly after submitting my expert report, supplementary expert report or rebuttal reports. The point is that the right expert is not necessarily the one who has gone to court the most. No expert can turn a case without warrant into a success, but the right expert can highlight the strong parts of your case with enough credibility to produce a beneficial outcome.

If you feel you have a marginal case, an expert can assist you in framing the issues and facts. A qualified expert will possess the industry experience to instantly spot where industry standards and practices have been violated and can explain why these departures are important for your case. The expert has likely also seen and participated in similar cases so he can translate evidence into causation. You may lose this very valuable assistance if an expert is retained late in the process.