January 31, 2013

Failure Analysis Expert Witness On Fire Hazard

In FIRE LOSS FROM IMPROPER HALOGEN FLOODLIGHT INSTALLATION, failure analysis expert witness Charles C. Roberts writes:

Halogen floodlights have been used in both residential and industrial applications for years. They are characterized by high light intensity on task and high heat dissipation....

Most manufacturers of halogen flood lamps warn about the fire hazards of insufficient clearance between the fixture and combustible materials. Ignoring these recommendations can precipitate a significant fire loss as illustrated by this field expedient.

Read more: http://www.croberts.com/flood.htm.

January 30, 2013

Computer Security Expert Witness On Incident Handling

In Incident Handling: When the Breach Occurs, computer security expert witness C. Matthew Curtin of Interhack Corporation writes:
Reputation is made or broken not on whether an incident takes place, but how well the incident is handled. Thus every security program includes a component on incident handling. Effectively handling adverse events requires planning and practice, paving the way for sound execution. In preparation, there are four questions every CIO needs to answer.

Full article: http://web.interhack.com/publications/incident-handling-cio

January 29, 2013

AIEWE Expert Witness Bootcamp

The American Institute for Expert Witness Education’s Expert Witness Bootcamp is an intensive three-day clinic designed to develop and enhance the testifying and communication skills of professionals who serve as expert witnesses in the courtroom in a variety of industries including accounting, financial and valuation, marital dissolution, fraud investigation, medical, high technology, fire and others.

The AIEWE Bootcamp is not a program where attendees work on simulated case studies, but incorporates the attendee’s actual work product and engagements that are used to tailor and personalize the training.

Read more: http://www.nacva.com/CTI/CTIExpertWitnessBootcamp.asp

January 28, 2013

Education & Schools Expert Witnesses

Education and schools expert witnesses may testify on school funding, school districts, and education administration. In the news, Shirley Beaulieu, chief financial officer at the Texas Education Agency, testified before state District Judge John Dietz that Texas’ public schools are $1 billion short. Stanford University education expert Eric Hanushek testified for Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education and said funding is not so much the issue as "lack of efficiency."

January 27, 2013

Legal Fees Expert Witness On "Petition For Reasonable Attorneys Fees"

In W.D. Penn. Court reduces “Petition for Reasonable Attorneys Fees” to make requested hourly rates consistent with prevailing market rates for routine discovery disputes, rather than “overall trial victories.”, legal fees expert witness James King writes:

In Sandvik Intellectual Prop. AB v. Kennametal Inc., 02:10-CV-000654, 2013 WL 141193 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 11, 2013), the prevailing party in a discovery suit sought reimbursement for 264.20 hours which resulted in counsel fees of $98,384.01 for time expended by its attorneys as a direct result of Sandvik's lengthy pattern of discovery delay, obfuscation, and misconduct. The District Court granted the petition for fees, but reduced it by 20% on the basis that the fee request cited prevailing market rates for attorneys performing “trial” litigation work as opposed to “discovery” litigation work. In support of its fee request, the Pittsburgh law firm Kilpatrick Townsend submitted to the court the published rates of Pittsburgh firms Reed Smith and K & L Gates. The Court reached its result as follows:

While the Court is fully cognizant of the vast experience and expertise of the Kilpatrick Townsend firm in the area of intellectual property, the Court cannot justify the rates advanced by Kilpatrick Townsend for this discovery dispute irrespective of its comparison to the published rates of Reed Smith and K & L Gates. Therefore, the Court will reduce the hourly rates sought by Kennametal across the board by twenty percent (20%), which the Court finds to be reasonable and fair and much more in line within the general billing rates of the Pittsburgh legal community for a discovery dispute.
Sandvik Intellectual Prop. AB v. Kennametal Inc., supra, at *6.

January 26, 2013

SEAK Annual Expert Witness Conference

SEAK, Inc. will present its 22nd Annual National Expert Witness Conference April 27-28 in Rosemont, Illinois. SEAK writes:

Experts from all disciplines and with all levels of experience will benefit from multi-disciplinary advanced techniques. Nationally recognized presenters will discuss all aspects of expert witness testimony, ethics, and trial techniques. Conference participants will be presented with practical suggestions for succeeding as expert witnesses. This highly-acclaimed two-day program will include intensive breakout sessions.

SEAK has trained well over 20,000 expert witnesses, physicians, lawyers and nurses nationwide, and is located on Cape Cod, MA. More info: http://store.seak.com/22nd-annual-national-expert-witness-conference-april-27-28-2013/

January 25, 2013

Aircraft Design Expert Witnesses & 787 Groundings

Aircraft design expert witnesses may report on the airline industry, aviation accident analysis, aviation safety, the aircraft industry and associated matters. In the news, Boeing 787 Dreamliners are grounded around the globe for safety checks. Aviation experts say that fires on two 787 aircraft were likely caused by lithium-ion batteries receiving too much voltage too quickly. Dr. Jay Whitacre, Associate Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, states "Other batteries don't go this wrong when you treat them this badly.” Professor Whitacre has worked on developing a materials system for energy storage technologies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was a member of the Mars Science Laboratory development team.

January 24, 2013

Disabled Access Expert Witnesses & ADA Deadline

Disabled access expert witnesses may report on accessibility standards, the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS), and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA pool lift deadline of January 31, 2013, is fast approaching. ADA.gov offers QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: ACCESSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR EXISTING SWIMMING POOLS AT HOTELS AND OTHER PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS including:

What is the effective compliance date of the ADA standards for accessible pools?
What does the ADA require for accessibility of pools?

January 23, 2013

Judge Testifying As An Expert Witness

In Elected Judge May Complete Expert Witness Testimony, Michael S. Frisch, Ethics Counsel Georgetown Law Center writes:

The Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee has a recent opinion on the ethics of a judge testifying as an expert when retained prior to his election as a judge:

May a judge-elect testify as an expert on attorney’s fees at an evidentiary hearing which had commenced while he/she was a candidate for judge but had been continued to conclude his/her cross-examination after the date he/she was elected to the bench?


More: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2012/09/the-florida-judicial-ethics-advisory-committee-has-a-recent-opinion-on-the-ethics-of-a-judge-testidfying-as-an-expert-when-re-1.html

January 22, 2013

Legal Ethics Expert Witness On Ohio Law Requiring Expert Testimony

In Ohio Appellate Court finds expert testimony on legal malpractice required, legal ethics expert witness James King writes:
In a legal malpractice matter, an Ohio state appellate court affirmed a trial court ruling granting summary judgment to defendant attorneys on the basis that plaintiff failed to present expert testimony establishing that defendants failed to exercise “the knowledge, skill, and ability ordinarily possessed and exercised by members of the legal profession.” McWilliams v. Schumacher, 2013-Ohio-29, 2013 WL 118918 at *6. The court cited to Ohio law requiring expert testimony demonstrating the attorney’s breach of his standard of care, in all cases except where the breach of care was ‘obvious’:

“[I]t is well settled in Ohio that in order to prevail on a legal malpractice claim a plaintiff must demonstrate, through expert testimony, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the representation of the attorney failed to meet the prevailing standard of care, and that the failure proximately caused damage or loss to the client. Zafirau v. Yelsky, 8th Dist. No. 89860, 2008–Ohio–1936, ¶ 27. Further, “the Supreme Court made it clear that there must be a causal connection between the lawyer's failure to perform and the resulting damage or loss.” Jarrett v. Forbes, 8th Dist. No. 88867, 2007–Ohio–5072, ¶ 19, explaining Vahila v. Hall, 77 Ohio St.3d 421, 1997–Ohio–259, 674 N.E.2d 1164.

“Expert testimony is required to sustain a claim of legal malpractice, except where the alleged errors are so simple and obvious that it is not necessary for an expert's testimony to demonstrate the breach of the attorney's standard of care. Hirschberger v. Silverman, 80 Ohio App.3d 532, 538, 609 N.E.2d 1301 (6th Dist.1992); McInnis v. Hyatt Legal Clinics, 10 Ohio St .3d 112, 113, 461 N.E.2d 1295 (1984); Rice v. Johnson, 8th Dist. No. 63648, 1993 Ohio App. LEXIS 4109 (Aug. 26, 1993); Cross–Cireddu v. Rossi, 8th Dist. No. 77268, 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 5480 (Nov. 22, 2000).”

McWilliams v. Schumacher, supra. In McWilliams, the plaintiff alleged that his former attorneys breached their duties by excluding him from settlement negotiations and handling the matter in a manner that did not meet professional standards. The appellate court upheld a trial court determination that, under these facts, the alleged act of malpractice was not obvious and required expert testimony to substantiate that malpractice had occurred.

January 21, 2013

Pesticides Expert Witnesses & Benomyl

Pesticides expert witnesses may report on pesticide products, pesticide regulations, and pesticide contamination. Recent research is showing a strong link between pesticides and Parkinson's disease among farm workers and those who live near croplands. PsychCentral.com reports that UCLA neurologists have discovered a link between Parkinson's and the pesticide benomyl with effects ten years after it was banned.

Pesticides paraquat, maneb and ziram have also been tied to increases in Parkinson’s not just among farm workers but in those who simply lived or worked near fields where the pesticides were utilized.

January 20, 2013

Environmental Toxicology Expert Witnesses & Black Carbon

Environmental toxicology expert witnesses may report on pollutants, black carbon and soot. The Journal of Geophysical Research has published a new study showing black carbon ranks #2 as a human contributor to climate change. Emissions from diesel engines and wood and coal fires create soot which contributes to hazardous air quality such as that seen in Beijing recently. Soot falls between carbon dioxide and methane in global warming caused by man.

The Journal of Geophysical Research is published by The American Geophysical Union, established in 1919, is a nonprofit corporation chartered under the laws of the District of Columbia. The Union is dedicated to the furtherance of the geophysical sciences through the individual efforts of its members and in cooperation with other national and international scientific organizations.

January 19, 2013

Medical Negligence Expert Witnesses

Medical negligence expert witnesses may consult on issues involving standards of medical care, healthcare providers malpractice, and medical malpractice litigation. In the news, PRWeb reports that medical malpractice is one of the causes of cerebral palsy. Medical malpractice attorney Dr. Bruce Fagel has tried cases where a child developed the disorder as a result of doctor malpractice or hospital malpractice. According to Dr. Fagel, “Cerebral palsy occurs as a result of abnormal brain development from damage to one or more areas of the brain, which usually happens during fetal development, but can also happen during birth, shortly after birth or within the first few years of life.” Dr. Fagel practiced emergency medicine for 10 years before becoming an attorney and he currently maintains his medical license in California.


January 18, 2013

Architecture Expert Witness On Construction Defects Part 2

In Help! My New House Is Falling Down, architect Peter Lattey writes that uncovering construction defects requires an expert to discover the cause of damage.

Next comes the slightly tricky part. As a good lawyer, you need to have a construction defect expert that you can call on to help assess the issues of the case. This needs to be an expert who understands the two main areas of dispute in construction defect cases; construction contracts and the technical aspects of construction. The design and construction contracts define who is responsible for all aspects of the project, who approves the work, who pays for what and so forth. There are standard contracts available but these are not always used, and when they are used they are often not adhered to. This is especially true in small projects such as single family homes but can also be true of large commercial projects.

Construction today is a complex business. Even a single family home can have 20 or 30 trades installing different systems. When the systems are installed incorrectly they can interact in unexpected ways to create problems. Then the problems will need to be sorted out. This is no game for an amateur.

But here is the conundrum for you. If you take the case you will need an expert but you don’t want to hire them until you have the case. Should this a problem for you? Not really. Call up your friendly building defect expert and ask him to take a walk around the site with you and the owner. An hour or two at the home should be enough to have a very good idea of what the issues are. This will also be a good opportunity to pick up those missing contracts, plans and other documents. If you decide to take the case, the expert can bill their time. If not, he can chalk it up to marketing as you do. If you and the expert have a relationship of trust, then he shouldn’t have a problem attending the initial site visit. If he doesn’t trust you enough to attend the site visit, then that is another issue that needs to be addressed in a different discussion.

Lattey, principal of Peter Lattey, Archtects, has served as an expert witness regarding construction defects, fire & explosion, building products defects, construction costs and construction scheduling.

More information: www.peterlattey.com

January 17, 2013

Securities Expert Witnesses & SEC Investigation

Securities expert witnesses may testify regarding securities regulation, securities fraud, the NASD, and associated matters. In the news, the SEC is investigating whether Ernst & Young, one of the largest professional service firms in the world, violated auditor rules by allowing its lobbying unit to work for audit clients.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.

January 16, 2013

Pesticide Pollution Expert Witnesses & School Grounds

Pesticide pollution expert witnesses may write reports and testify regarding pesticide contamination, pesticide products, and pesticide regulations. In December, the public health and environmental non-profit, Toxics Action Center, released a report surveying pesticide use on public school grounds across the state of Maine. The report, “A Call for Safer School Grounds: A Survey of Pesticide Use on K-12 Public School Grounds in Maine,” is based on a survey of 209 Maine public schools and shows that 51% of schools surveyed spray pesticides, many of which have been linked to human health impacts, including kidney disease and links to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The report finds that the state’s Integrated Pest Management Policy (IPM) is inadequate in regulating pesticide application and informing the public on pesticide practices.

January 15, 2013

Medical Malpractice Expert Witnesses & Prescription Painkillers

Medical malpractice expert witnesses may consult on issues involving medical negligence, healthcare providers malpractice, and medical malpractice litigation. In the news, PRWeb reports that overdoses from prescription painkillers kill an estimated 15,000 people each year in the US. Patients taking painkillers over a prolonged time often do not realize they will become addicted. The increase of overdose deaths has become a medical malpractice issue. Statistics show that approximately 40% of medical malpractice trials involve wrongful death. Personal injury attorney Richard P. Console Jr. believes dispensing powerful narcotics without regard for patient safety is “dangerous and absolutely careless.” Console is the founding and managing partner of the Philadelphia firm Console & Hollawell P.C.


January 14, 2013

Aviation Expert Witnesses & Boeing 787 Review

Aviation expert witnesses may write reports and opine on aerospace engineering, aircraft design, and aircraft operations. After electrical problems on the Boeing 787, the FAA press release of 1/11/13 states:

In light of a series of recent events, the FAA will conduct a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly. The purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets the FAA’s high level of safety....

A team of FAA and Boeing engineers and inspectors will conduct this joint review, with an emphasis on the aircraft’s electrical power and distribution system. The review will also examine how the electrical and mechanical systems interact with each other.

January 13, 2013

Pharmacology Expert Witnesses

Pharmacology experts may consult on issues involving pharmaceutical medicine, pharmaceutical companies, and drug prescriptions. In the news, the lawsuit begun in 2007 against Purdue Pharma was moved from New York federal court back to Pike Circuit Court in eastern Kentucky. The state's Attorney General’s Office has charged Purdue Pharma with misleading consumers and health care providers on the addiction risk of OxyContin. Oxycontin has been blamed for hundreds of deaths as abuse of the painkiller has risen in the Appalachian region. Purdue Pharma L.P. is a privately held pharmaceutical company founded by physicians more than 60 years ago.

January 12, 2013

Transportation Expert Witnesses

Transportation engineering expert witnesses may opine on barges, canals, and cargo vehicles, as well as related issues. In the news this weekend, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that crews have been successful in removing bedrock along the Mississippi River to keep a channel in southern Illinois open. The worst U.S. drought in decades has made the river less navigable.

January 11, 2013

Forensic Psychology Expert Witness Testifies In Duncan Hearing

Forensic psychology expert witness Dr. Robert C. Engle testified Wednesday in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boise on the competency of convicted murderer Joseph Duncan. The hearing will determine whether Duncan was competent when he waived his right to appeal his death sentence in 2008. Duncan was sentenced to death for kidnapping and torturing two Idaho children before killing one of them. Dr. Engle has worked in hospitals, university counseling centers, children's clinics and his own private practice.

January 10, 2013

Pesticides Expert Witnesses & Highly Hazardous Pesticides

Pesticides expert witnesses may write reports and testify on pesticide contamination, insects, pesticide products, and pest control. On its website, The Pesticide Action Network North America offers a link to the PAN International list of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs), the pesticides of highest concern for human and environmental health.

See http://www.panna.org/.

January 9, 2013

Finance Expert Witnesses

Finance expert witnesses may report and testify on corporate finance, financial analysis, financial databases, and related matters. In the news, Dennis Kelleher, President and Chief Executive Officer of the financial reform group Better Markets, said it is absurd that AIG may sue taxpayers over the terms of its bailout. Kelleher, previously a litigation partner with the international law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, also said however, that a lawsuit uncovering details of the bailout "might be a great public service.”

Better Markets is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes the public interest in financial reform in the domestic and global capital and commodity markets.

January 8, 2013

Architecture Expert Witness On Disabled Access Lawsuits

On the Joelson Vail Associates LLC website, architecture expert witness Paul Joelson writes on the em>Top Violations in Disabled-access lawsuits.

Signs missing, wrong or incomplete. Example: A sign says that anyone parking illegally in accessible parking spots will be towed, but fails to name the towing company or provide a phone number.

Site barriers. Examples: A walkway has obstructions such as cracks or fire hydrants, making it difficult for a wheelchair to pass through. A parking lot lacks a defined path from the disabled parking to a sidewalk.

Parking stalls or aisles. Examples: A parking stall isn’t striped properly or an aisle is too narrow.

Curb ramps. Example: There is a curb ramp going up from the accessible parking spot to the sidewalk, but no ramp allowing a person in a wheelchair to get from the sidewalk to the store entryway.

January 7, 2013

Guidelines For The Expert Witness Part 4

In Guidelines For The Expert Witness, Judge Timothy T. Daley, Family and Youth Court Judge
Province of Nova Scotia, offers trial preparation guidelines including:

When testimony is finished, clarify status as witness.

It is the judge who permits the witness to leave the stand by excusing the witness. This means the witness is free to stay in the court or leave. The witness may however, be required to remain for further testimony or return as the court instructs. If the latter occurs and the witness has other matters to attend, the witness may explain this to the court and ask for another time to attend. The court may or may not grant the request.

Read more at: http://www.lectlaw.com

January 6, 2013

Cardiology Expert Witnesses

Cardiology expert witnesses may provide reports concerning cardiologists, cardiovascular disease, and cardiac surgery. In the news, EMH Regional Medical Center, has agreed to pay $3.9M to settle accusations that it billed Medicare for unnecessary PCIs (Percutaneous coronary intervention, commonly known as coronary angioplasty). The DOJ accused the hospital and doctors of performing angioplasties and stent placement procedures on patients who did not need them. On its website EMH in Elyria, OH, advertises it "is one of America's 100 Best Hospitals for Coronary Intervention and Cardiac Care!"

January 4, 2013

Pesticides Expert Witnesses

Pesticides expert witnesses may write reports and testify on pesticide contamination, insects, pesticide products, and pest control. On its website, The International HCH & Pesticides Association offers the title:

Obsolete (lethal) Pesticides, a ticking time bomb and why we have to act now.
Authors: John Vijgen, Director of the International HCH & Pesticides Association (IHPA)

Christian Egenhofer, Senior Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels (CEPS)

Publisher: Tauw Group bv, The Netherlands (on behave of IHPA, c/o Elmevej 14, DK-2840 Holte)

ISBN-13: 978-90-76098-10-4

January 2, 2013

Guidelines For The Expert Witness Part 3

In Guidelines For The Expert Witness, Judge Timothy T. Daley, Family and Youth Court Judge
Province of Nova Scotia, offers trial preparation guidelines including:

Accept the unfamiliarity of testifying rules.

The main objections raised by counsel to expert testimony arise because of hearsay and a proper foundation for the opinions expressed. Objections may be to the question asked or the answer given. When an objection is raised, the witness should refrain from speaking until the court instructs otherwise. The witness should not attempt to justify comments unless asked to do so. The witness is not to respond to an objection, argue about comment or whether or not the evidence should be heard. After an objection is raised, the court rules on the objection and instructs counsel how to proceed.

Read more at: http://www.lectlaw.com

January 1, 2013

Propietary Knowledge Expert Witnesses

Proprietary knowledge expert witnesses may testify on trade secrets, confidential information, patents, software , and related matters. On December 21, 2012, the Hewlett-Packard Company petitioned the Travis County District Court (TX), to take depositions from former HP executives Gregg Hansen and Todd MacKenzie. Grounds for the petition state:

On November 30, 2012, eighteen employees working in HP's Global Information Technology (IT) organization in Austin, Texas, including Hansen and MacKenzie, resigned en masse and without notice (collectively, "departed employees").

HP is investigating potential claims against executives and members of four teams within HP's IT organization which moved to GM. At issue is HP confidential and proprietary information.

District court clerk: http://www.co.travis.tx.us/district_clerk/