February 27, 2013

Petroleum Engineering Expert Witness Testifies In BP Case

Petroleum engineering expert witness Robert Bea testified Thursday in the British Petroleum oil spill trial. The UC Berkeley engineering professor says BP failed to follow safety precautions which resulted in the death of eleven workers and a massive oil spill. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Judge Carl Joseph Barbier is presiding.

Read more: http://www.local15tv.com/default.aspx.

February 26, 2013

Power Your Practice with Free & Low Cost Research

Internet For Lawyers is presenting Investigative Internet Research for the Legal Professional at the Real Estate Institute on Tuesday Apr 2, 2013, UBS Tower, One North Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL. Learn how to:

Power Your Practice with Free & Low Cost Research
(Fastcase and Google Scholar) & Google "Cloud" Apps for Business
More info: http://www.netforlawyers.com/page/live-mcle

Since 1999, Internet For Lawyers has provided law firms, corporations, and local and state Bar Associations around the country with professional and entertaining turn-key CLE programs. The company focuses on delivering information about free investigative and background research resources available on the Internet.

February 25, 2013

Child Welfare Expert Witnesses

Dr. Monique Busch, PhD, ACSW, LCSW, of Performance Solutions Unlimited, LLC, writes on what it takes to consult as a child welfare expert witness.

Being an expert witness is so often more about being an expert consultant as matters are less likely to go to trial and more likely to settle or to be mediated. I have found as an expert in child welfare matters that some of the more helpful information that I have to contribute has to do with understanding day-to-day operations of the industry, functions of key players, checks and balances in the system, and the federal, as well as state laws that make state public child welfare agencies more alike than different.

Child welfare matters involve a great number of different professionals: public child welfare agency personnel; legal – juvenile courts, family courts, guardian ad litem, court appointed special advocate (CASA), attorneys, law enforcement; medical; mental health; and familial. I believe that being passionate about the subject matter in which one is an expert is important. These matters pull on the heart strings, and it is critically important to keep the child(ren) in the matter as the focal point.

Monique Busch, PhD, ACSW, LCSW is an Associate Professor and Field Director in the Department of Social Work at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, IN. Dr. Busch has direct practice experience in public child welfare as a child protective services worker, foster care certifier, family sex abuse treatment specialist, and runaway and homeless family / crisis therapist.

February 23, 2013

Insurance Expert Witness On Recurring Insurance Litigation Themes Part 1

In Property & Casualty Insurance Procurement & Litigation (Ten Recurring Themes Every Lawyer Should Know) insurance expert witness David L. Stegall, CPCU, ARM, ARe, RPA, of Risk Consulting & Expert Services writes on ten recurring themes that often lead to litigation. Attorneys either dealing in insurance procurement litigation issues or with clients who purchase insurance may want to consider these ten themes:

Theme 1 of 10

There are important differences between an insurance agent, an insurance broker, a wholesale broker and a Managing General Agent (MGA). An insurance agent is an authorized representative of an insurance company by contract and represents the insurance company to the buyer. An insurance broker is not an authorized representative of an insurance company, rather, the representative of the buyer to an insurance company. Both agents and brokers may be paid a commission by an insurance company but the nuanced relationship can become very important, particularly in a retail situation versus a wholesale situation.

A wholesale broker is commonly considered an agent or brokers’ broker. A wholesale broker has little or no direct dealing with the end-buyer of an insurance policy and deals entirely with the retail agent or broker, splitting commissions with the retailer. An MGA is also a wholesaler but is an authorized representative of the insurance company and acts beyond that of an agent, providing the underwriting function of an insurance company that has subcontracted those functions of the insurance company to the MGA. An MGA can act as a retailer or a wholesaler but is generally considered a part of the wholesale marketing system.

The marketing distribution system for insurance can be confusing to those outside the business. There are basically three systems. The first is what is called the “American Agency System” – this is the local independent agent who is an authorized representative for a number of different insurance companies, but also include the larger regional, national and international broker firms such as Marsh, AON, Willis (to name the top three); all of these act as retailers and deal directly with buyers of insurance. The second is the “Direct Writer System,” which has come to dominate the personal lines insurance industry in America, but is a distribution system used by Liberty Mutual (the largest) in the commercial marketplace. Agents for Direct Writers are employees of the insurance company and cannot generally write coverage outside their own company’s products. The third is the wholesale market, which includes excess and surplus line carriers, wholesale brokers and MGAs.

Lesson #1: An in-depth understanding of the roles, relationships, responsibilities, and marketing distribution systems in-play is important in litigation dealing with insurance procurement issues.
Reoccurring Conclusion: Just like poor legal advice, poor understanding of insurance procurement issues can be very expensive for your client!

David Stegall is the Principal Consultant at Risk Consulting & Expert. Mr. Stegall holds a B.A. in Communication from Auburn University and is a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter, an Associate in Risk Management and an Associate in Reinsurance, all awarded by The Institutes in Malvern. PA. He is also a Director of the Society of Risk Management Consultants.

February 21, 2013

Construction Expert Witness On 3D Program

Construction expert witness Paul Gogulski, BSCE, PE, of Gogulski & Associates, Inc., has teamed with other engineering experts in creating a program that allows project managers to see construction development through 3D video.

Gogulski believes that the program he developed with Keith Plemmons PhD, PE, PMP, and Benjamin Lamoreaux, PE, President of the Lamoreaux Group, will help set new standards in the construction industry by improving the accuracy of project reporting and minimizing risk.

Read more at prweb.com.

February 20, 2013

Expert Witness Marketing Consultant Rosalie Hamilton

At www.expertcommunications.com, expert witness marketing consultant Rosalie Hamilton asks: Do you want to know how to become an expert witness, or to get more clients and cases?

Ms. Hamilton is the leading authority on expert witness marketing and founder of Expert Communications. Her company provides customized marketing plans and consulting and coaching to individual experts and firms. Resources include training products, practice development, as well as one-on-one coaching on communication skills. From Rosalie:

Expert consultants are expert at their own professions; they are not expected to be experts at marketing.

February 19, 2013

Expert Witnesses In Fiduciary Duty Cases

In The Use of Expert Witnesses in Breach of Fiduciary Duty Cases, attorney Luke Lantta writes on allegations of undue influence and breach of fiduciary duty that arose in the trust case Sierra v. Williamson, W.D. Ky. Mr. Lantta discusses how the federal court qualifies experts in such cases.

Mr. Lantta is the founder and principal editor of BryanCaveFiduciaryLitigation.com, Bryan Cave's legal blog focused on litigation that affects corporate and individual fiduciaries.

February 18, 2013

Evaluating The School Safety Expert Witness Part 5

In EVALUATING AN EXPERT WITNESS FOR SCHOOL SAFETY CASES, school safety expert witness Michael Dorn writes:

Questions to Ask a Potential Expert Witness for School Safety Cases

Time and money spent up front to carefully evaluate an expert’s suitability for a particular case can save considerable time and money and prevent major problems down the road. Though attorneys and school safety experts are busy professionals, both should be prepared to take the time necessary to ensure the expert is a proper fit for the issues to be evaluated in the case.
An attorney should tactfully tell a prospective expert that as a professional, the attorney has an obligation to the client and the court to make sure any expert retained is likely to withstand the intense scrutiny of opposing counsel. For example, an attorney might say something like:

“I am seeking a properly qualified expert witness for an important case. An expert witness may be disqualified for a variety of reasons relating to her suitability to serve as an expert witness. Your disqualification in this case would be a major problem for both of us now and in the future. Because of my obligation to my client and the court, I have to screen an expert witness thoughtfully before I retain her. Would you mind if I ask you a few questions to determine if you are a good match for this case who can qualify as an expert witness even when aggressively challenged by opposing counsel?”

Mr. Dorn is Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center.

February 17, 2013

Securities Expert Witness On Due Diligence Part 1

In DUE DILIGENCE: SECURITIES APPLICATIONS AND
REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS, 2011
, securities expert witness Douglas J. Schulz writes:

INTRODUCTION
This article is to inform and assist the individual or entity who is
claiming that their securities professional and firm failed in their duty to conduct thorough, proper investigation and research, commonly known as “due diligence”. Investment professionals, regulators and lawyers often inappropriately use the term due diligence, which causes confusion in both the implementation of "due diligence" work and later in the attempt to ferret out the regulatory requirements under the rules relating to due diligence. The term "due diligence" has applications in numerous investment products and services. It is of the utmost importance that all practitioners fully understand
their obligations and liabilities as it relates to this investigative research guideline and rule.

Mr. Schulz has been in the securities business professionally for 33 years and has been hired over 1,100 times as a securities expert.

Read more: http://www.securitiesexpert.com/articles/documents/DueDiligencepublishedarticle.pdf

February 16, 2013

Florida Expert Witness Legislation

Florida HB 7015 put forward by the Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee and cosponsors Larry Metz and Matt Gaetz would update rules regarding expert witness testimony.

Expert Testimony: Provides that witness qualified as expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in form of opinion as to facts at issue in case; requires courts to interpret & apply principles of expert testimony in conformity with specified U.S. Supreme Court decisions; subjects pure opinion testimony to such requirements; provides that facts or data that are otherwise inadmissible may not be disclosed to jury by proponent of opinion or inference unless court determines that probative value of facts or data in assisting jury to evaluate expert's opinion substantially outweighs prejudicial effect.

Effective Date: July 1, 2013
Last Event: Filed on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 6:52 PM

http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=50027

February 15, 2013

Asbestos Expert Witnesses

Asbestos expert witnesses may give opinions regarding asbestos abatement, asbestos exposure, and asbestos hazards. The Madison County Record recently reported that 2012 Madison County, IL, asbestos filings were up by 600 cases from 2011. The EPA website explains that most uses of asbestos are not banned. A few are banned under existing regulations. General information on asbestos may be found on the EPA website which answers questions including:

Where Can I Find Asbestos?

Because of its fiber strength and heat resistance asbestos has been used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. Asbestos has also been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings.


February 14, 2013

Ventilation Expert Witnesses & Carnival Cruise Ship

Ventilation expert witnesses may report and testify on HVAC control systems, air conditioning, climate control, and related matters. Tony Abate of AtmosAirTM Solutions says Carnival Triumph passengers are being exposed to health risks due to raw sewage leaks and lack of ventilation, as reported in the Daily News. Over 4000 passengers and crew have been stuck aboard the cruise ship since Sunday due to an engine room fire. Passengers describe the conditions as horrible while waiting to reach port in Mobile, AL, on Thursday evening.

February 14, 2013

Drug Abuse Expert Witnesses & Synthetic Drugs

Drug abuse expert witnesses may testify on chemical dependence, illicit drugs, substance abuse, and addiction. Synthetic drugs have been in the news recently. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says that while Ohio lawmakers have outlawed dangerous synthetic drugs, new compounds are being generated. On his website, DeWine offers answers to FAQ including Who normally abuses synthetic drugs?

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 60% of synthetic drug abuse cases reported to poison control centers nationwide involved users age 25 or younger. The drugs are gaining popularity in Ohio and across the country, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. In 2010 they received 2,906 calls regarding synthetic drugs. In 2011 that number rose to 6,959. As of September 10, the Association received 4,161 synthetic drug calls in 2012.

read more: http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/FAQ/All-Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx?tagid=362#FAQ591

February 10, 2013

Legal Nurse Consultant Expert Witnesses & Medical Mass Tort Cases Part 2

Legal nurse consultant expert witnesses may testify on palliative care, forensic nursing, medical record review, and legal nurse certification, as well as related issues. In 5 ways Legal Nurse Consultants Assist with Medical Mass Torts, Mednick Associates writes:
1

) Case Chronology: Once the medical records are retained, the process of summarizing and organizing the documents begins. Most lawyers and paralegals do not have the time nor training to pull apart the medical facts of a case, display them in a timeline and extract significant facts along the way. A well-created chronology will last the life of a case, be used at many different junctures and set up either the defense or prosecution to prove their case. It is a first and crucial step.

See: http://www.jurispro.com/MednickAssociates

February 9, 2013

Whitepaper On Mortgages Expert Witness

For attorneys considering the use of a mortgage litigation consultant, the white paper authored by Joffrey Long has information that may be useful in considering which type of mortgage expert witness may be suited for their particular case. A mortgage expert witness may also be referred to as a Mortgage Lending Expert Witness, Hard Money Expert Witness, or Usury Expert Witness.

The complete whitepaper is available for download at: http://mortgageexpertwitness.net/

Mr. Long has been a mortgage broker/lender in hard money and institutional lending since 1979, president of mortgage company, past president and current education chair and director for the California Mortgage Assn.

February 8, 2013

Ophthalmology Expert Witness Testifies In Case Against Performer

An ophthalmology expert testified in the manslaughter case against singer Randy Blythe. The heavy metal band vocalist is charged with pushing a fan off the stage in 2010. The 19 year old concert goer died of head injuries. The expert described the Lamb of God singer as vision impaired.

February 7, 2013

Livestock Expert Witnesses & Zacky Farms Bankruptcy

Livestock expert witnesses may advise regarding feed, farming, livestock production. and associated matters. In the news, Pitman Family Farms filed against Zacky Farms in the U.S. District Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento. Pitman says Zacky has rushed through the sale $1M of inventory before they are taken over by Pitman. Zacky is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings after high feed prices shut the company down. It is reported that Pitman does not plan to rehire Zacky’s workers. Pitman is based in Sanger, CA, east of Fresno, CA.

February 6, 2013

Occupational Medicine Expert Witness Testified In Hip Implant Lawsuit

An occupational medicine expert witness has testified in the Los Angeles County Superior Court hip implant case against the DePuy Companies. DePuy provides orthopedics, spinal care, and sports medicine and is part of Johnson & Johnson. The expert described how the device failed due to the metal debris which sloughed off the implant. DePuy has recalled the metal-on-metal artificial hip implants and patients may have to undergo revision surgery within six years of their original hip surgery.

February 5, 2013

Accident Investigation Expert Witness On Evidence Collection Part 1

In Event Data Recorders: Proper Evidence Collection in Criminal, Insurance and Tort Liability Investigations, accident investigation expert witness Shawn Gyorke writes:

Over the last several years, the landscape of traffic accident reconstruction and insurance claims investigations has changed dramatically at the hands of technological advances such as event data recorders (vehicle black box technology). This technology has been challenged on numerous occasions and generally been found to be reliable and admissible under both Frye and Daubert paradigms ¹.

The requirement for law enforcement and private insurers to collect and consider this type of evidence in their investigations has not been clearly defined. Law enforcement, insurance investigators and litigators may need to heighten their efforts in the preservation of this critical evidence. A failure to properly memorialize this evidence may ultimately result in evidence spoliation claims by criminal defendants, as well as claims of bad faith by parties involved in civil litigation.

When a law enforcement officer reconstructs a collision with the intent of utilizing the results of the investigation for the furtherance of a criminal prosecution (beyond the scope of a traffic citation or other petty offense) then that officer should preserve any event data recorder (EDR) information. However, this obligation does not normally come at the hands of legislative rule. Only in extreme cases, could law enforcement professionals be statutorily required to preserve EDR data. In Illinois, officials investigating a reckless homicide (reckless use of a vehicle causing the death of another person) are required to “ preserve, subject to a continuous chain of custody, any physical evidence in their possession or control that is reasonably likely to contain forensic evidence” according to statute 725 ILCS Chapter 5/116-4 (a)2.


Shawn Gyorke is a Certified Accident Reconstructionist with education, training and experience in the investigation, reconstruction, and analysis of personal injury and fatal traffic crashes. His company is Crash Data Services, LLC.

February 4, 2013

Personal Watercraft Expert Witness On PWC Safety

In High-Speed Fun with High-Speed Defects, personal watercraft expert witness Dr. Craig Good, Collision Analysis, Inc., writes:

Personal watercraft are vessels operated by a person positioned on the craft. They are less than 4 m in length and use an internal combustion engine to power a water pump or jet as the vessel's primary source of propulsion. The jet exits the rear of the craft from a steerable nozzle....

In 1998, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a much-anticipated safety study of PWCs. This study found that they comprise only 7.4% of all registered recreational boats; yet, 51% of all boating accidents involved PWCs, and 41% of all boating injuries involved PWCs.

February 3, 2013

Legal Nurse Consultant Expert Witnesses & Medical Mass Tort Cases

Legal nurse consultant expert witnesses may testify on palliative care, forensic nursing, medical record review, and legal nurse certification, as well as related issues. In 5 ways Legal Nurse Consultants Assist with Medical Mass Torts, Mednick Associates writes:

Defending or prosecuting medical mass tort cases requires long term discipline, an array of research, and from an administrative standpoint, organization. Many law firms that handle these cases require, at the outset, a way to organize the vast array of case files and medical records.

See: http://www.jurispro.com/MednickAssociates

February 2, 2013

Pharmaceutical Companies Expert Witnesses

Pharmaceutical companies expert witnesses may consult on issues involving pharmaceutical medicine, drug prescriptions, and the pharmaceutical industry. In the news, plaintiff Laura A. Plumlee is suing Pfizer Inc. for consumer fraud after taking the prescription antidepressant Zoloft for three years. Plumlee and her attorney argue that Pfizer did not make known studies showing the drug is as useful as a placebo in the treatment of depression but instead advertized the drug as very effective. In her San Jose, CA, lawsuit, Plumlee is asking for patients to be reimbursed for the cost of the medication.

February 1, 2013

Legal Fees Expert Witness On Contingent Fee Award

In Amendment to contingency fee contract expanding scope of work and scope of compensation held enforceable, legal fees expert witness James King writes:

In Rowe v. Law Offices of Ben C. Brodhead, PC., 735 S.E.2d 39 (Ga. Ct. App. 2012), a Georgia state appellate court upheld a jury verdict awarding a law firm $160,000 pursuant to an amendment to its contingent fee contract with its client. The amendment expanded its work to additional matters beyond that originally contemplated by the parties.