May 31, 2011

Worker's Compensation Plans Expert Witnesses

Worker's compensation plans expert witnesses may opine on worker compensation, wage replacement and medical benefits for employees, and associated topics. BusinessInsurance.com reports In Brief:

Washington state legislators approved a workers compensation reform bill that its backers say will save the state's disability system $1.1 billion over the next four years. H.B. 2123 passed the Washington state House on a 69-26 vote and the Senate on a 35-12 vote last week, wrapping a three-week effort to revamp the state's system. Gov. Christine Gregoire is expected to sign the bill into law.

Read more: businessinsurance.com.

May 30, 2011

Insurance Regulations Expert Witnesses

Insurance regulations expert witnesses may may be relied upon to testify on insurance companies, insurance claims, property insurance, and more. Christian R. Cámara, Florida Insurance Project Director, Heartland Institute writes:

The editorial "Property-insurance reform package could harm consumers" (OrlandoSentinel.com, Feb. 5) is a reminder of an alarming fact: Despite five hurricane-free years, Florida's insurance market is still in shambles.

More than half the property insurers are losing money even without hurricanes, fewer insurance companies are competing, financial stability is reduced, and the state-owned property insurance company has grown to be the largest insurer in Florida.

The best solution to these issues requires a fundamental rethinking of government's role in insurance regulation. Government should not dictate insurance rates, but rather level the playing field by fighting fraud and ensuring that companies selling policies in Florida are able to pay customers' claims.

Read more: heartland.org.

May 29, 2011

Fuel Charges Expert Witnesses & Oil Traders Lawsuit

Fuel charges expert witnesses may opine on trucking transportation charges, fuel surcharges, and related topics. Transport Topics reports that U.S. commodities regulators have filed a civil lawsuit against two oil traders in Australia and California and three American and international firms over oil market manipulation in 2008, the record-high year for crude prices, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The suit says that in early 2008 the accused tried to hoard nearly two-thirds of available oil supplies, then abruptly dumped it and collected $50 million, the Times said in a front-page story.

Read more: ttnews.com.

May 28, 2011

Trucking Expert Witnesses & Emergency HOS Waiver

Trucking expert witnesses may write reports and testify on federal motor carrier safety regulations, truck maintenance, qualifications of truck drivers, and related topics. Transport Topics reports that The Missouri Department of Public Safety has suspended hours-of-service rules for motor carriers rushing to deliver relief supplies to the tornado-battered Joplin, Mo., area.

The emergency HOS waiver applies to truckers directly involved in relief or the delivery of essential services or supplies, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Read more: ttnews.com.

May 27, 2011

Industrial Psychology Expert Witness & Sexual Harassment

Industrial psychology expert witness Dr. Bob Rose of The Rose Porterfield Group writes that one example of Industrial Organizational Psychology case work is sexual harassment. One of his cases was a Fortune 100 company with a middle manager who was terminated for sexual harassment.

Industrial Psychologists (also “Industrial Organizational” or “IO Psychologists”) – those of us who work with the people aspects of work – know that these things really do happen and we know what to specifically look for.

Be proactive. Consult your general counsel or your attorney; don’t assume HR’s sophisticated procedures are being used in the field; and, make sure everyone in the company knows how serious termination is. Well-crafted policy, frequent training and an awareness of change brought about by technology (“textual harassment” is now an issue) can help prevent problems. And watch who puts what into a file.

May 26, 2011

Environmental Toxicology Expert Witness On Lead Toxicity Part 1

Environmental toxicology expert witness Richard Troast, PhD, Troast Environmental Consulting, explains lead toxicity and environmental exposures:

Environmental lead (Pb) and its toxic effects on adults and children have long been recognized. The US EPA has had a continuing goal to minimize exposures to lead to populations threatened by exposures to lead in the air, soil and paint. Lead exposures have been linked to neurological effects including IQ decrement in children and to systemic and reproductive toxicity in adults. Data continues to demonstrate that children are the most sensitive to the effects of lead and this sensitivity forms the basis of the EPA Superfund approach to remedial of cleanup environmental soil lead to levels that would insure a maximum blood lead concentration of 10ug/dl. Adult lead exposures, within the control of Superfund, are cleaned below the levels expected to affect adults by cleaning to the levels not expected to present health risks to children. The EPA has used two models to predict blood leads during its remedial efforts and has used blood lead as the biomarker of exposure. The children’s model is the Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic Model (IEUBK) and the adult exposures were calculated using the Adult Lead Model (ALM). Both of these were published by EPA after significant peer review.

May 25, 2011

Psychology Expert Witness Testifies In NC Case

Psychology expert witness James H. Hilkey for accused murderer Shelton Mills told jurors that the shooting deaths of Cylvonnia Preddy Crowder and Robert Bizzell Jr. Aug. 26, 2007“ is not a ‘who-dunnit,’ crime, but a ‘why-dunnit’ crime.”

In Pitt County Superior Court, North Carolina, the psychologist described Mills’ personality as paranoid, avoidant, psychotic and probably schizophrenic. He also testified that Mills, who was last tested with an IQ of 71, has “mild mental retardation.” The state threshold for eligibility for the death penalty is 70.

Read more: reflector.com.

May 24, 2011

Insurance Expert On Homeowner Insurance Fraud

Florida's new homeowners insurance laws will combat fraud which has increased since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Insurance expert David Miller, CEO of Brightway Insurance and independent agency, said change is long overdue and that recently passed state insurance laws will reduce fraud. "We've seen a tremendous increase in fraud over the last few years," he said. "The law is meant to clamp down on ... (fraud) which does not help anyone."

Read more: firstcoastnews.com.

May 23, 2011

Tree Removal Expert Witnesses & Storm Clean Up Part 2

Tree removal expert witnesses may write reports and opine on tree pruning, the safety of nearby trees, and tree removal, among other topics. The Tree Care Industry Association reports that winter storms with high winds, ice and snow, put tremendous pressures on trees growing near houses or power lines. In their wake, property owners face the task of clearing trees and downed limbs. TCIA offers these safety tips to help avoid personal injury or damage to property during storm clean-up.
When deciding whether to try removing a tree yourself:

Consider the size and location of the tree. If it is more than 20 feet tall or you would have to leave the ground to take it down in pieces, call a professional. Even small trees bent under tension can be extremely hazardous.

Carefully inspect the tree and the surrounding area for anything – utility lines, structures, vehicles, shrubs – that might get hit or interfere with the tree felling or removal.

Examine the shape and lean of the tree. Inspect the trunk for decay, weak spots or hanging limbs, and for any metal or concrete in or around the tree. If so, the tree is unstable and extra precautions are needed while removing that tree.

Note the location of other people in the area. Children should not be left to wander anywhere near the drop zone.

Plan an escape route from the falling tree before cutting.

Do not use a chain saw for tree removal unless you have years of experience handling one. Even professional tree care personnel face risk of injury using chain saws. Tree removals are very unpredictable. Don’t take unnecessary chances!

May 22, 2011

Risk Assessment Expert Witness On Security Failures Part 10

In What the Defendant Can Do Wrong, risk assessment expert witness Ira Somerson, BCFE, CPP, CSC, writes on organizing security functions.

Reasons for Failure
Why do organizations persist in having incidents of violent crime? Why are their employees and business invitees exposed to serious security risks? Organizations usually look for quick fixes to problems that they believe are within their area of stewardship. Having never had any serious exposure to the art and science of security management, they are likely to feel that they have the ability to conserve and protect their assets (people, information, property and reputation) without expert support. Unfortunately, “security” is usually folded in with the image of the “rent-a-cop” at the entrance or “those things that you put on doors,” etc. It’s easier to keep it simple than to admit you are vulnerable or unaware of how to manage a problem. It may also require capital investment and/or operational outlays (this will serve as an excellent rationalization for doing nothing). As with most management problems, security is a complicated problem requiring knowledge of a significant body of knowledge. Security risks do not disappear simply by buying “things” and wish it will then go away. As with all business problems it requires data to arrive at a strategic plan.

May 21, 2011

Insurance Coverage Expert Witnesses

Insurance coverage expert witnesses may testify regarding insurance policy coverage and insurance loss claims. The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents reports on crop insurance questions following an intentional levee breach.

Homeowners whose property was flooded after the levee at Birds Point, Missouri, was breached by the Army Corps of Engineers on May 3 are questioning whether they will be able to collect on crop insurance claims. In his challenge to the Corps’ authority to release water into the floodway, Chris Koster, the Missouri attorney general, said that it was unclear whether insurers would compensate losses from the breach. Koster said that some insurers suggested that claims would not be paid since the flooding was not a natural disaster.

Read more: pianet.com.

May 20, 2011

Environmental Toxicology Expert Witness On Crude Oil Part 3

In Toxicity of Crude Oil and It's Vapors environmental toxicology expert witness Dr. Richard Parent writes:

Some of the immediate symptoms resulting from exposure to crude oil would include difficulty breathing, nausea, headaches, dizziness in relatively healthy people, but those with conditions such as COPD, allergies, and asthma would be affected even more and their health problems significantly exacerbated. Effects presenting at a later time could result in long-term effects on the respiratory, immune, nervous, and reproductive systems and may even result in birth defects and cancers. Endocrine disruption, DNA damage, damage to the developing fetus, blood disorders, and mutations have all been shown to result from exposure to the components of crude oil.

In conclusion, crude oil is a highly toxic mixture of carcinogens, neurotoxins, respiratory irritants, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, and mutagens. Its toxic effects can be both acute and chronic resulting in a number of immediate symptoms and significant long-term effects including reproductive problems and cancer. Exposure to crude can be through the air as a result of volatilization of some of its components, through direct contact by dermal penetration, and orally through the ingestion of contaminated food.

Read more: consultox.com.

May 19, 2011

Insurance Expert Witnesses & Comparison Websites

Insurance expert witnesses may testify on homeowner's insurance, auto insurance claims, and related topics. Recently, price comparison websites have come under fire for misleading people about the best deals available. The websites promise a ‘one-stop shop’ for products that include insurance, utilities, loans and broadband deals. But there can be wide discrepancies in prices between sites.

Some have commercial ties or are owned by companies whose products tend to come out cheaper on that particular website. Moneysupermarket’s insurance expert, Peter Harrison, admitted the website had exclusive deals with some companies. ‘That way we can get customers great deals,’ he added. For example, in the UK, the insurance company Admiral owns Confused.com.

Read more: metro.co.uk.


May 18, 2011

Environmental Toxicology Expert Witness On Crude Oil Part 2

In Toxicity of Crude Oil and It's Vapors environmental toxicology expert witness Dr. Richard Parent writes:

Also contained in crude oil are several polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, many of which are also classified as known human carcinogens. These materials mostly have very limited volatility, but they can penetrate human and animal skin resulting in significant exposure to those contacting the crude oil. They can adhere also to airborne dust particles and be inhaled. These polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PNAs) tend to concentrate in fatty tissue and are slowly released into the body producing a long-term exposure scenario. Animals and aquatic life exposed to crude also would be expected to concentrate these PNAs in fatty tissue which could later be consumed by humans resulting in additional exposure to polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. The use of dispersants exacerbates this problem and, in my opinion, significantly increases the toxicity of crude oil and its components to marine life. This could easily be tested using standard toxicological protocols, but, to my knowledge, this has not been done.

Read more: consultox.com.

May 17, 2011

Trucking Expert Witnesses & Proposed Hours of Service Rule

Trucking expert witnesses may write reports and testify on trucking and transportation rules and regulations, including federal motor carrier safety regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reopened its hours-of-service proposed rule to public comments in order to allow review of four new studies.

FMCSA did not immediately say how long it would extend the comment period, but the agency is under a court-ordered deadline to post a final rule by July 26. The previous HOS comment period ended March 4. The four studies are related to driver fatigue, FMCSA said in a statement Friday. The agency posted links to the studies on its website.

American Trucking Associations, which has challenged the proposed rule, said that because of “serious questions about the research and data used by FMCSA to justify its proposed changes to the regulations, the agency may have determined it could not move forward with development of a final rule."

Read more: ttnews.com.

May 16, 2011

Risk Management Expert Witness On Risk Assessment Part 9

In What the Defendant Can Do Wrong, security management and risk management expert witness Ira Somerson, BCFE, CPP, CSC, writes on organizing security functions.

Senior management of most organizations believe that a security function is purely a cost center and does not produce any “net present value” to their organization. For this reason, discovery and investigation will very likely reveal that security departments and/or functions are routinely downsized or eliminated exposing their organization to serious threats. Their objective is economy, but the very opposite will often occur. “The responsibilities of security directors are evolving from “locks, bolts, and badges” (Felson, 1988) and perimeter protection to a more sophisticated involvement in organizational management. Confronted with novel, complex security exposures and attendant risks, traditional security functions are becoming only a part of the larger overall responsibilities of security directors. Given this evolution, the motivating problem of this paper is: What is the best approach to managing the growing complexity of corporate security threats so as to provide minimal security losses, for a particular level of investment in security? This paper argues that to provide an optimum level of security service to the organization not only must the security department be repositioned within the modern corporate but that its management required the development of a new paradigm of organizing security functions. The approach taken here to developing such a paradigm focuses on demonstrating the weaknesses of a cost center management approach, which is considered representative of existing security management practices, and on advocating the strengths of moving toward a profit center management approach...”

May 16, 2011

Tree Expert Witnesses & Storm Clean Up Part 1

Tree expert witnesses may write reports and opine on tree pruning, the safety of nearby trees, and tree removal, among other topics. The Tree Care Industry Association reports that winter storms with high winds, ice and snow, put tremendous pressures on trees growing near houses or power lines. In their wake, property owners face the task of clearing trees and downed limbs. TCIA offers these safety tips to help avoid personal injury or damage to property during storm clean-up.

If a utility line is down: Do not approach. Assume any downed line is energized.

Call the utility company immediately.

Don’t touch a tree or anything touching the downed line. Make sure that nobody else, including children and pets, goes near it. Contact with energized lines can result in electrocution.

Read more: tcia.

May 16, 2011

Silicone Products Expert Witnesses

Silicone products expert witnesses may testify on sealants, intravenous tubes, microchips, paint, ultraviolet resistant sun lotion, and more. The Silicone Industry Association of Japan describes silicones as having "an exceptional breadth of chemical and physical qualities, making them the material of choice for industries ranging from aviation to textiles.

Silicones are astonishingly versatile because adding different molecules and compounds to the core molecular structure will enhance or modify the silicone properties. The result is a readily adaptable material that can be manufactured in more than 2,000 different forms such as solids, liquids, oils, greases, semi-viscous pastes, antifoams, impregnating agents, release agents, silicone rubber and more.

Read more: siaj.

May 16, 2011

Hospital Governance Expert Witnesses

Hospital governance expert witnesses may write reports and opine on hospital regulations, physician credentialing, hospital administration, and related topics. The MHA Health Careers Center describes the responsibilities of health care administrators and hospital governance professionals.

Health care administrators are often called on to maintain and develop professional standards, procedures, and policies for various institutional activities. They are also responsible for developing and expanding programs for scientific research, preventive medicine, medical and vocational rehabilitation, and community health and welfare. To be successful as a health care administrator, an individual needs to have good leadership and managerial skills. They should also be well organized, have good written and oral communication skills, and be attentive to detail.

Read more: mshealthcareers.com.

May 16, 2011

Arborist Expert Witnesses

Arborist expert witnesses may provide reports on certified arborists, diagnosis and treatment of tree diseases, and related topics.

Diagnosing tree problems requires a combination of knowledge, experience and keen observation. Most often it is not simply a case of identifying an insect or disease. Trees that die or decline usually are suffering from a combination of stress factors and insects or diseases are often secondary, attacking the weakened tree.

Read more: thearbordoc.com.

May 15, 2011

Health Care Administration Expert Witnessses

Health care administration expert witnesses may write reports and opine on hospital regulations, physician credentialing, hospital administration, and related topics. The MHA Health Careers Center describes the responsibilities of health care administrators.

Health care administrators, or health services administrators, have varying roles and functions depending on the size of the facility they oversee. Generally, health care administrators plan, coordinate, and supervise the functions of health care facilities and the staff that work there. There are two types of administrators, generalists and specialists. Generalists are individuals who are responsible for managing or helping to manage an entire facility. Specialists are individuals who are responsible for the efficient operations of a specific department such as policy analysis, finance, accounting, budgeting, human resources, or marketing.

Read more: mshealthcareers.com.

May 15, 2011

Marketing Research Expert Witnesses

Marketing research expert witnesses may write reports and testify on market studies, market defense, marketing channels, marketing effectiveness, and related topics. The American Marketing Association is the professional association for individuals and organizations who are leading the practice, teaching, and development of marketing worldwide. The AMA website offers a dictionary which includes the definition of Marketing Research:

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

Read more: marketingpower.com.

May 15, 2011

Silicone Coating Expert Witnesses

Silicone coating expert witnesses may write reports and opine on products including nonstick cookware and nonstick bakeware. The Cookware Manufacturers Association warns that:

Nonstick coatings applied to noncommercial housewares for use in homes and restaurants to prepare, dispense, or serve foods are exempt from the Food and Drug Administration’s food additive regulation under what is commonly referred to as the “housewares exemption.” There is one exception: The FDA will take immediate action to protect the public’s health if the nonstick coating is found to adulterate food with unsafe substances.

Read more: cookware.org.

May 14, 2011

Health Administration Expert Witnesses

Health administration expert witnesses may write reports and opine on hospital regulations, physician credentialing, Certificates of Need, and more.

The Certificate of Need (CON) program is a regulatory process that requires certain health care providers to obtain state approval before offering certain new or expanded services. For example, a certificate of need would be required if a hospital wishes to establish a comprehensive medical rehabilitation program.

The CON process is intended to help ensure that new services proposed by health care providers are needed for quality patient care within a particular region or community.

Read more: ahca.

May 14, 2011

Marketing Expert Witnesses & Ad Views

Marketing expert witnesses may write reports and testify on market analysis, market barriers, market research, market share, and related topics. The American Marketing Association is the professional association for individuals and organizations who are leading the practice, teaching, and development of marketing worldwide. The AMA website offers a dictionary which includes the definition of the 21st century marketing term Ad Views (Impressions).

Number of times an ad banner is downloaded and presumably seen by visitors. If the same ad appears on multiple pages simultaneously, this statistic may understate the number of ad impressions, due to browser caching. Corresponds to net impressions in traditional media. There is currently no way of knowing if an ad was actually loaded. Most servers record an ad as served even if it was not. Source: Lazworld

Read more: marketingpower.com.

May 14, 2011

Architectural Interiors Expert Witness On Proving A Construction Defect

Architectural interiors expert witness Robert R. Tellez answers the question:

How is a construction defect proven in court?

Many defects are obvious and are called "patent". Other construction defects are not visible; these defects are called "latent." Construction defect claims often rely on the testimony of experts who specialize in specific areas of construction. Most experts need to investigate the defect by means of onsite investigations. For example a stucco consultant “expert witness” can perform a stucco crack investigation and work with a civil or structural engineer expert to determine the primary cause of the stucco crack. At RCG, our experts will evaluate the cause and make repair recommendations for each claim. This report will then go directly to the cost estimator.

May 13, 2011

Silcone Expert Witnesses & Silicone Formulations

Silicone expert witnesses may testify on issues relating to silicone and silicone polyester formulations. The Cookware Manufacturers Association says consumers buy more nonstick cookware than any other kind and describes the two major types of nonstick formulations:

Silicone and Silicone Polyester formulations.

These organic-resins are typically applied to bakeware almost exclusively. They are not designed or formulated to withstand the direct high heat that cookware endures on top of stoves. They are designed to release high sugar content baked goods easily and to be dishwasher safe. In general silicone nonstick finishes are less costly than fluoropolymer based finishes.

PTFE or Fluoropolymer formulations.

These nonstick coatings are almost exclusively found on cookware used on top of the stove. The active ingredient in the coating is a compound known as polytetrafluoroethylene, a waxy solid that is the most slippery substance yet discovered— more slippery than even wet ice. This compound is what gives fluoropolymer cookware finishes their ability to release foods.

Read more: cookware.org.

May 13, 2011

Truck Manufacturing Industry Expert Witnesses

Truck manufacturing industry expert witnesses may write reports and opine on on issues including federal motor carrier safety regulations, truck maintenance, and related topics. The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association which represents over 700 companies that manufacture and remanufacture motor vehicle parts writes:

Motor vehicle parts suppliers are the nation’s largest manufacturing sector, directly employing over 685,000 U.S. workers and contributing to over 3.2 million jobs across the country. MEMA’s aftermarket affiliate, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), exclusively represents the North American Aftermarket supplier industry and is recognized as one of the nation’s strongest and most prominent trade organizations with more than 100 years of experience. AASA’s sole mission is to help its members, the aftermarket suppliers, to be more profitable, innovative and competitive on a global scale.

Ann Wilson, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, writes:

On behalf of this industry, I would like to express our opposition to L.D. 357 which repeals Maine’s requirement that all motor vehicles registered in the state undergo an annual safety inspection. MEMA and AASA members are well aware of the dangers of neglecting the replacement of vehicle safety components. L.D. 357 will compromise consumer safety by eliminating Maine’s program.

Read more: MEMA.com.

May 12, 2011

Residential Designs Expert Witness On Construction Defects

Residential designs expert witness Robert R. Tellez answers the question:

What are some of the most frequent types of construction defects?

The most common types of defects involved in litigation include:

* Mold
* Dry rot
* Roof leaks
* Wall leaks
* Stucco issues (click here for Stucco Testing Reports)
* Window leaks
* Balcony leaks
* Framing issues
* Water intrusion
* Faulty site drainage
* Waterproofing below and above grade
* Structural failure causing stucco cracks
* Structural failure causing drywall cracks
* Foundation cracks causing finish floor cracks

May 12, 2011

Dance Club Security Expert Witness On Credentials

Dance club security expert witness Bill Nesbitt is a Board Certified Protection Professional. On his website he answers the question:

Everyone claims to be a Security Consultant, especially since 9/11. How can I tell a fake from the real thing?

First look for a Security Consultant that is credentialed. The widest accepted credential is the "CPP" (Board Certified Protection Professional) designation which appears after the consultant's name. Second, the years of experience are also important criteria. There is no substitute for hands-on experience. The kind and nature of experience are also important considerations. For example, Healthcare Security requires intimate knowledge of that environment as well as the myriad of regulatory agencies that impinge on that industry.

May 11, 2011

Truck Maintenance Expert Witnesses & MEMA

Truck maintenance expert witnesses may write reports and opine on on issues including federal motor carrier safety regulations, truck inspections, and related topics. The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association writes:

In order to ensure that a motor vehicle functions safely, the vehicle and its safety systems and components must be properly maintained. Unfortunately, this regular and necessary maintenance is not always performed. In fact, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) estimated that $54 billion of vehicle maintenance was unperformed or underperformed in 2009 alone. Regular safety inspections help ensure that critical safety equipment on vehicles is functioning properly.

Recent studies conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Missouri State Highway Patrol demonstrate that effective state inspection programs save lives. For example, the Pennsylvania study estimated the state will have between 115 and 169 fewer fatal crashes each year because of the state’s annual vehicle inspection program. This corresponds to between 127 and 187 fewer fatalities annually. The Pennsylvania study went on to estimate that fatal accidents are 13 percent higher in states without vehicle safety inspection programs than in states with programs. In the United States, each state government is free to decide whether to require vehicle safety inspections, as well as to stipulate the specifics of the inspection program. Fewer than half of the states currently require vehicle inspections. Fourteen states have an annual safety inspection program in place, while three states require safety inspections once every two years. Two states require an inspection prior to the sale or transfer of a vehicle and one state requires an inspection when registering a vehicle from another state jurisdiction. This leaves 30 states and the District of Columbia without a safety inspection program.

Read more: mema.org.

May 10, 2011

Interior Design Expert Witness On Construction Defects

Interior design expert witness Robert R. Tellez answers the question:

What is a construction defect?

A construction defect can arise from a multiplicity of factors, such as workmanship or inferior materials. Common examples of housing and construction defects are water leakage from windows, faulty exterior envelope systems in a commercial or a residential home. A construction defect is a condition in your home or building that reduces the life expectancy of one or many different building components. Some defects are obvious such as water intrusion, but many are less obvious and do not become apparent until years after the home was built. A construction defect is any building imperfection or design fault that reduces the value of the building.

May 10, 2011

Department Of Transportation Expert Witnesses

Department of Transportation expert witnesses may write reports and testify on qualifications of truck drivers, and federal motor vehicle safety standards, as well as related issues. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2009, 3,619 individuals were killed and 74,652 were injured on our nation’s highways in accidents involving heavy-duty trucks and buses. In its 2006 Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), the DOT and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that more than 60 percent of these types of accidents were the result of rear-end collisions, side-swipe accidents, loss of control, and/or running off the road or out of the lane. Brake problems were factors in about 30 percent of crashes studied in the LTCCS. Motor vehicle parts manufacturers make commercially-available technologies to address these types of accident scenarios.

Read more: mema.org.

May 9, 2011

Taverns Expert Witness On Alcohol Service

Taverns expert witness Maj. Mark Willingham is a retired state police commander. On his website, Willingham describes alcohol service and use.

A key element of many alcohol related injuries and deaths is the difference between what an alcoholic beverage retailer should have done and what that retailer actually did in the service or use of beverage alcohol. Responsible retailing of alcohol (and other age restricted products) involves a combination of effective training, alcohol service policies and practices, and continual management involvement. Responsible retailing of alcohol will always be a work in progress.

May 8, 2011

Night Clubs Expert Witness On Security

Night clubs expert witness Bill Nesbitt is a Board Certified Protection Professional. On his website he answers the question:

Why is a security assessment (sometimes referred to as a security survey, vulnerability assessment, threat assessment, or security audit) so important?

Many security programs result from a series of reactions to perceived acute security breeches. Many of these kinds of programs resemble a patchwork quilt with no specific theme or mission. At some point, especially since 9/11, every business must establish a baseline from which to move forward into the future. There is a need to establish a foundational basis, at some point, for everything that is to follow. Those enterprises that fail to come to this conclusion usually have security programs that do not sufficiently produce adequate return on investment. A security assessment will allow the business to establish a foundation on which to build on for at least the next five years.

May 8, 2011

Trucking Expert Witnesses & Suppliers

Trucking expert witnesses may write reports and opine on on issues including federal motor carrier safety regulations, truck maintenance, and related topics. The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association writes:

Passenger cars share the road with commercial vehicles like medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which are used to move the vast majority of goods in the United States. Additionally, we depend on school and transit buses and emergency vehicles to operate in a safe and efficient manner. Heavy-duty suppliers provide the original equipment parts used to manufacture commercial vehicles and aftermarket replacement parts needed to maintain the vehicles in service and on the road. Heavy-duty suppliers are also responsible for developing most of the technologies that keep these vehicles safe.

Visit the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) website, part of the MEMA network, to learn more.

May 7, 2011

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Expert Witnesses

Federal motor vehicle safety standards expert witnesses may opine on the truck manufacturing industry, federal motor vehicle safety standards of truck drivers, and related topics. On their website, The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers offers a link to Follow your Wreck-less Checklist

1. Consciously make a decision each and every time you get behind the wheel to make all other activities, passengers and priorities secondary to driving.
2. Before you start your car:
1. Put on any accessories you may need, such as sunglasses or BluetoothTM ear pieces;
2. Adjust seats, head rests, vehicle controls and mirrors;
3. Fasten your seat belt;
4. Move all reading material away from easy reach;
5. Pre-load CDs or mp3 playlists and adjust volume level so your music does not mask the sounds of emergency sirens; and
6. Enter an address in the navigation system before you depart or review maps and written directions before you drive.
3. The AAOS, OTA and the Auto Alliance encourage all drivers to simply stop your vehicle — in a safe area — any time there is a distraction that needs your attention, such as retrieving items, having an involved discussion, reading, smoking, or disciplining a child.
4. Do not eat or drink while driving.
5. Keep your eyes on the road.
6. Driving is not the time to apply makeup, groom, polish your nails, or change clothing.

May 6, 2011

Environmental Toxicology Expert Witness On Crude Oil Part 1

In Toxicity of Crude Oil and It's Vapors environmental toxicology expert witness Dr. Richard Parent writes:

Crude oil is a complex mixture of chemicals, some volatile and some water soluble. One of the components of crude oil is hydrogen sulfide, a very potent neurotoxin. Although hydrogen sulfide is a gas, it has solubility in water. This characteristic in combination with other sulfides and lower aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, which are part of the crude oil, is what we smell when land and water become contaminated with crude oil. Hundreds of chemicals make up the crude including some straight chained hydrocarbons, branched hydrocarbons, aromatic compounds, and naphthenes, as well as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons.

One of the more insidious components of crude oil is benzene. Benzene is quite water soluble (1700 mg/l) and is a known human carcinogen producing various blood dyscrasias including aplastic anemia, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and leukemia. The toxicology of benzene is addressed in the Toxicology Litigation Support section on this website. One of the potential problems with benzene is that it is more soluble in the crude oil than it is in water. It can be released from the floating crude into the air over the water and also released from the crude on the shore by the baking sun. This presents only one of the potential health hazards for those living near a contaminated shoreline. Similarly, a host of additional low molecular weight hydrocarbons, aromatic compounds, and sulfur compounds can act in a similar fashion.

May 5, 2011

Commercial Leasing Expert Witness On Building Appraisal Part 2

In Medical Office Building Appraisal, commerical leasing expert witness Orell Anderson, MAI, of Bell, Anderson & Sanders LLC, writes:

There are three main topics that relate to the appraisal of Medical Office Buildings 1) the unique characteristics that differentiate them from standard office buildings; 2) the effects of hospitals and hospital proximity on MOBs, and 3) the current medical and political climate, which may alter some of the fundamental aspects of MOB appraisals.

UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS OF MOBS
There are many unique characteristics that differentiate a MOB from a standard office
building. From an investor’s perspective, a well positioned and well-managed MOB represents a relatively secure investment opportunity, as there is always a demand for medical care. Of course, values of investment-grade properties vary, but within the Los Angeles area recent transactions of investment-grade MOB, have ranged from $120 per square foot to $220 per square not. This is significantly higher than standard office space, which often sells for less than $100 per square foot. Recent sales indicate sale prices ranging from approximately $2 million to over $12 million.

May 4, 2011

Health Care Expert Witnesses

Health care expert witnesses may advise regarding health care, health insurance claims, and related topics. The US Department of Labor writes:

Healthcare is a business and, like every business, it needs good management to keep the business running smoothly. Medical and health services managers, also referred to as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, plan, direct, coordinate, and supervise the delivery of healthcare. These workers are either specialists in charge of a specific clinical department or generalists who manage an entire facility or system.

The structure and financing of healthcare are changing rapidly. Future medical and health services managers must be prepared to deal with the integration of healthcare delivery systems, technological innovations, an increasingly complex regulatory environment, restructuring of work, and an increased focus on preventive care. They will be called on to improve efficiency in healthcare facilities and the quality of the care provided.

May 3, 2011

Armored Transport Expert Witness On Truck Crashes

In Root Causes of Truck Crashes, armored transport expert witness Jim McGuffey, CPP, writes:

Most attorneys representing clients in a truck crash and injury case hire an expert in accident reconstruction. While this is appropriate, the vast majority of these experts have not had full Profit and Loss (P&L) responsibility for managing trucking companies which is crucial in understanding what led to the crash.

Understanding the root cause of a truck crash requires more than understanding speed
of travel, weather conditions, traffic conditions and driver or roadway conditions. While
understanding these elements are essential to determine fault, there are several internal
documents that must be examined to determine whether the organization consciously
placed the lives of their employees and the public at risk. Examination of documents
such as training programs, fleet maintenance records and financial records also help to
determine whether a company puts profits ahead of safety.

May 2, 2011

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Expert Witness

At Consultox.com, carbon monoxide poisoning expert witness Dr. Richard Parent describes the poisonous gas and offers selected references on the subject.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is generated by incomplete combustion. Inside homes, it can be generated from improperly adjusted gas appliances, wood burning stoves, and furnaces. Carbon monoxide has an affinity for blood cells and prevents oxygenation of the blood resulting in difficulty breathing and stress on the cardiovascular system. Carbon monoxide can be lethal at high concentrations, but even at lower concentrations it can affect the brain and cardiovascular system leading to a condition referred to as anoxia. Breathing even low levels of carbon monoxide during pregnancy can lead to anoxia resulting in miscarriage or effects on the mental development of a child. Dr. Parent has addressed these issues in litigation and has developed pertinent references on the subject that are provided below....

Read more: consultox.com.

May 1, 2011

Document Examination Expert Witness FAQ Part 3

On his website, document examination expert witness Richard T. Picciochi answers the following question:

What is Certification?

Certification by the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners (ABFDE) identifies qualified scientists capable of providing forensic document services and promotes the advancement of the field through continuing education. In doing so, the Board aims to safeguard the public interest by ensuring that anyone who claims to be a specialist in forensic document examination does, in fact, possess the necessary skills and maintain their qualifications. ABFDE Diplomates are held to the highest level of professional and ethical conduct.

Certification by the ABFDE is recognized by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and is accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board.

Read more: accessforensisgroup.com.