September 30, 2013

Oil & Gas Expert Witnesses & New EPA Standards

Oil and gas expert witnesses may consult on oil and gas pumps, fracking, petrochemical manufacturing, pipelines, crude oil, and the petroleum industry, as well as related topics. On September 24, 2013, the EPA published final amendments to sections of its 2012 New Source Performance Standard regarding storage vessels used in the production, processing, transmission, and storage of oil and natural gas. On EnergyLegalBlog.com, attorneys at Bracewell & Giuliani write
"These amendments specifically modify the regulations applicable to storage tanks with a potential to emit six or more tons per year of volatile organic compounds."

September 28, 2013

Property Insurance Expert Witnesses & Flood Insurance

Property insurance expert witnesses may consult on home insurance, property claims, fire insurance, flood insurance, and earthquake insurance. In the news, flood insurance rates are scheduled to go up sharply on October 1, 2013 as part of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. BW 2012 will require the NFIP to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, make the program more financially stable, and change how the Flood Insurance Rate Map updates impact policyholders.

FEMA offers Q&A re: BW 12 at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/31873?id=7266

September 27, 2013

Civil Engineering Expert Witnesses & The Leo Frigo Bridge

Civil engineering expert witnesses may consult on bridges, sewers, flood control, and earthwork. This week the Leo Frigo Bridge in Wisconsin was closed indefinitely due to a section that is sagging by an estimated two feet. The bridge was built in 1980 and last inspected in August 2012. The Federal Highway Administration has sent a team to aid in the investigation.

greenbaygazette.com offers a link to a DataMine: Search for 'structurally deficient' bridges in the state: Use this tool to look up the bridges in your community that have been identified as "structurally deficient," meaning that the deck, substructure and/or superstructure requires attention for issues such as potholes or rusting trusses.

September 26, 2013

Cross Examination of Legal Nurse Consultant Expert Witnesses Part 2

Legal nurse consultant expert witnesses may testify on general nursing, surgical nursing, palliative care, and medical record review, as well as related issues. In “Nurse experts: Are YOU prepared for cross-examination?” by Juris Educational Resource Knowledge guest blogger Lori Combs RN, LNC, writes that "Extensive preparation is needed to ensure the expert is well versed with the case and is prepared for the dreaded cross-examination."

According to Jim McElhaney (2011), a Litigation Columnist at the ABA Journal, there are eight ways to cross-examine a witness, both expert and lay[1]. First stated is that opposing counsel (OC) is going to try and make the witness their witness. They will try to get them to speak on their clients behalf instead of going at them head on in a defense attack. This occurs when the OC switches the questioning around so that you, as the LNC witness, will be talking about their client in a manner that is more beneficial to their issues.

More: http://www.thejerklnc.com/blog/?p=1673

September 24, 2013

Adoptions Expert Witness & High Profile Adoption Case

Adoptions expert witnesses may assist with disputes involving adoptive parents, child support obligations, custody, and more. In a high profile adoption case, 4-year-old Veronica was returned to her adoptive parents Matt and Melanie Capobianco after living with her biological father for 18 months. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that although Dusten Brown invoked the Indian Child Welfare Act to gain custody of Veronica, he had to return her to her adoptive parents.

September 23, 2013

Business Expert Witnesses & Hudson News Lawsuit

Business expert witnesses will testify in Samantha Perelman’s lawsuit against her uncle James Cohen over the Hudson News business legacy. Perelman, daughter of billionaire Revlon chairman Ronald Perelman, claims that Cohen used undue influence to transfer sizable portions of the Hudson News business from his father, Robert Cohen, to himself and changed his will so that Perelman was entitled to little inheritance.

Hudson News began as a newspaper and magazine wholesale business and grew to a retail chain of newsstands in airports and train stations.

September 22, 2013

Construction Site Expert Witness On Becoming An Expert

In The Straight Truth, The Life Of An Expert Witness, construction site expert witness William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

So, why would you want to become an expert witness?

After all, the work can be very tedious and demanding. It can require the expenditure of long hours for two, three, or even four weeks at a time.

You will be under extreme pressure to meet deadlines from retaining counsel—and opposing counsel will look for, and seize upon, every opportunity to attack your credibility. While you are being deposed by opposing counsel, everything you have ever done will seemingly become fair game.

Your opinions will be questioned. Opposing counsel will attempt to pick you apart. Attorneys may even belittle you on the witness stand.

Throughout it all, you will have to remain calm, composed, and professional.

In light of everything I’ve mentioned, let me repeat the question—why would you want to become an expert witness?

The answer lies within each individual...

You may have years of extensive experience in a particular field.

You may have extensive education in a particular field or industry.

You may be looking for additional income.

You may be looking to retire, and seeking to put your experience to good use.

Read more: http://www.jurispro.com/WilliamGulyaJr. William Gulya, Jr., Middlesex Trenching Company, specializes in excavation & construction site preparation.

September 20, 2013

Forensic Pathology Expert Witness Presents CLE Program

Forensic pathology expert witness Dr. Judy Melinek is presenting a 3 hour course for Continuing Legal Education entitled "Science on Your Side: Forensic Experts in the Courtroom" for California attorneys on October 12, 2013 at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus. Dr. Melinek, a forensic pathologist who works for the Alameda Sheriff-Coroner, will speak on the interpretation of injuries in criminal and civil cases. She will be followed by lectures given by a forensic toxicologist and a forensic psychologist, who will speak on drug level interpretation and sex offender cases, respectively. The lectures will be of particular interest to criminal defense attorneys and wrongful death/personal injury attorneys.
Flyer: www.pathologyexpert.com/CLEFlyer.pdf

Dr. Melinek is a board-certified forensic pathologist who was recently re-appointed as an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF and is working with the Department of Pathology educating Pathology Residents and Fellows about neurotrauma. Her most recent publication is about being an ethical expert witness and was published by Academic Forensic Pathology. She has been qualified as an expert more than 100 times in both Federal and local courts.

September 19, 2013

International Trade Expert Witness On Quality Fade Part 2

In Quality Fade in China, international trade expert witness Rosemary Coates of Blue Silk Consulting writes:

Products manufactured or assembled in low cost countries, aren’t designed to break or poison anybody. In fact, typically when a new contract is signed and specs are given for initial production at a new supplier, importers of Chinese goods are thrilled. The vendor’s service levels are outstanding, the quality is above expectations and the future looks bright. Customers are pleased with the price of initial production, and they assume that it will last. New importers feel like they’ve hit a home run with low-cost country sourcing.

Don’t be fooled! The initial production runs are often not sustainable. Over time, degradation in quality is likely. For example, the label on your product becomes 10 percent smaller, your 100 ml product may actually be 99 ml, non-toxic paint you specify for toys may become fast-drying lead paint, the 5/8 inch seam may become 3/8 inch.

Read more: http://www.jurispro.com/RosemaryCoates

September 18, 2013

Livestock Expert Witnesses & Livestock Accidents

Livestock expert witnesses may advise regarding livestock accidents, farming, and livestock production. In livestock cases ranch owners have been found negligent when farm fencing was not properly maintained resulting in farm animals wandering onto a highway and causing an accident. Livestock accidents also include the deaths of farmers killed each year in cattle-related deaths after blunt force trauma to the head or chest. OSHA.com writes that "According to the National Safety Council, agriculture is the most hazardous industry in the nation."

In Use of Experts in Livestock Accident Cases, attorney Edward A. Smith writes that "livestock accidents are amongst the cases most commonly mishandled by inexperienced attorneys." Mr. Smith considers it "crucial that a lawyer handling these cases has the proper experts immediately available for use, including investigators, fencing experts and animal behaviorists."


September 17, 2013

Bus Accident Expert Witnesses & Ohio Crash

Bus accident expert witnesses may consult regarding transportation accidents, motor carriers, truck safety, and bus safety. On September 14, 2013, thirty people were injured when a Greyhound bus drove off the highway 25 miles north of Cincinnati and landed on its side. As of Sunday night The Ohio State Highway Patrol said there was no new information to release on the investigation. The firm of Fisher and Talwar note that "National bus crash statistics show almost 13,000 buses were involved in accidents in 2010. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 226 people died from bus accidents nationwide in 2010." The law firm lists those who may be held responsible for ... bus accident injuries here: http://www.ftpersonalinjurylawyers.com/bus-accident-attorneys-in-los-angeles.

FARS is a nationwide census providing NHTSA, Congress and the American public yearly data regarding fatal injuries suffered in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Data may be accesses here http://www.nhtsa.gov/FARS.

September 16, 2013

Weather Expert Witnesses & New Mexico Flooding

Weather and meteorology expert witnesses may opine on rain, severe storm analysis, snow, weather forecasting, and more. This week emergency officials say at least 1,000 people in Colorado are waiting to be rescued from flood waters.

Albuquerque National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Frazier commented on the flooding in central and northern New Mexico "As long as you get the right thunderstorm right over your area, I wouldn't be surprised if more records are broken as far as one-day rainfall totals because we still have that abundant moisture in the area." Flood waters have followed drought and caused flash floods. The Rio Grande and Pecos River have overflowed as well as nearby creeks.

September 15, 2013

Demonstrative Evidence Expert Witnesses

Demonstrative evidence expert witnesses may consult on courtroom exhibits, computer reconstruction, computer animation, forensic animation, and simulations. While demonstrative evidence is not real evidence, it illuminates the points being argued in court. In Litigation Tip: The Best Way to Get Demonstrative Evidence Admitted at Trial, attorney Morgan Smith defines demonstrative evidence and answers the question, Is Demonstrative Evidence Admissible? including "California law does not require demonstrative evidence to be exact, but only substantially similar and helpful to the jury. (See Andrews v. Barker Brothers Corp., 267 Cal. App.2d 530, 537.)"

Cogent Legal Blog, shares real-world advice about trial graphics, case presentations, legal tech and litigation strategy. "We blog to help attorneys make their case and manage their practice in the most effective and least stressful way possible. Who are we? Litigators like you."

September 14, 2013

Cross Examining Expert Witnesses

At ABAJournal.com, McElhaney on Litigation, Jim McElhaney writes: Enter Angus: His Initial Words of Wisdom Focus on Cross-Examining Expert Witnesses. McElhaney spent 25 years as a litigation columnist for the ABA Journal and in this article he discusses ways to cross examine an expert, including MAKE HIM YOUR WITNESS.

Read the article: abajournal.com

Jim McElhaney is the Baker and Hostetler Distinguished Scholar in Trial Practice at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland and the Joseph C. Hutcheson Distinguished Lecturer in Trial Advocacy at South Texas College of Law in Houston.

September 13, 2013

Mortgages Expert Witnesses & Mortgage Fraud Decrease

Mortgages expert witnesses may consult on mortgage loans, variable rate mortgages, reverse mortgages, conventional mortgages, and mortgage fraud, among other topics. In Is Mortgage Fraud Really Decreasing?, attorney and editor of Mortgage Fraud Blog Rachel Dollar comments on The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network analysis of Mortgage Fraud SAR Filings in 2012. While data shows 25% decine, Ms. Dollar notes that "suspicious activity is often only recognized and reported years after loan origination." FinCEN news release August 20, 2013:

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today released an analysis of Mortgage Fraud SAR Filings in Calendar Year 2012. FinCEN’s data on suspected mortgage fraud shows that reports declined 25 percent in 2012 (from 92,561 to 69,277) as compared to the previous year. The past three years of suspected mortgage fraud suspicious activity reports (SARs), if counted by the date they were received by FinCEN, accounted for approximately 46 percent of the past decade’s mortgage fraud SARs. However, suspicious activity is often only recognized and reported years after loan origination, after a review of origination documents is prompted by a loan default, repurchase demand, or other factors. As a result, many mortgage fraud SARs are filed much later than the date that the suspicious activity actually began. Thus in 2012, 57 percent of SARs received reported mortgage loan fraud (MLF) activities that started more than 5 years before the SAR was filed.

Rachel Dollar, the editor of Mortgage Fraud Blog is an attorney and Certified Mortgage Banker who handles litigation for lending institutions and secondary market investors.

September 12, 2013

Construction Site Expert Witness On Hiring The Cream Of The Crop Part 1

In Finding the Cream of the Crop: Hiring an Expert Witness construction site expert witness William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

There are multiple ways to locate the expert you need, such as referral agencies, online and print directories, and searching by keyword on the Internet. When you find an expert who at first glance seems to be what you are looking for, contact them and delve deeper into his or her qualifications. The responsibility to verify that the expert is qualified and will meet your case needs is yours. Be sure to investigate the background of the expert, and ask for references. Once you have located several names by any of the above methods and have performed your due diligence, how do you decide which expert is really what you are looking for, the right one for you and your particular case?

Interviewing the Expert
It is practically impossible to meet every potential expert personally, so most interviews are conducted over the telephone. Initiate your conversation by disclosing the names of the key players such as your client’s name, the names of your adversary and their client, your firm and contact information and the jurisdiction of the case. Describe the pertinent facts and circumstances of the case so the expert can check for conflicts of interest and advise if he or she feels the matter falls within their area of expertise.

Assuming the expert does not have a conflict of interest, believes he or she is qualified to opine and is available to be retained by you, there are important questions you should ask prior to retaining the expert, such as:

1. How long has the expert been in practice?
2. How many times has the expert been retained?
3. How many times has the expert testified in court and/or been deposed?
4. What percentage of testimony has been for the plaintiff/defense?
5. Has the expert ever been disqualified as an expert?
6. Does the expert maintain files on opposing experts?
7. Will the expert assist you in preparing what discovery items will be important to him or her?
8. Will the expert suggest deposition questions you need to ask?
9. Has the expert worked on a similar case to yours?
10. Has the expert published any articles or books?
11. If the field requires licensing does the expert have a current license?
12. Does the expert have a client list of references he or she can provide?

William Gulya, Jr., Middlesex Trenching Company, specializes in excavation & construction site preparation and is author of the book, “The Straight Truth: The Life of an Expert Witness.”

September 10, 2013

Psychology Expert Witness & Battered Woman Syndrome

Defense attorney Brent Eric Peck is again asking to use testimony from a psychology expert witness regarding battered woman syndrome in the case against Erin Everett. Everett is charged in Somerset County Court of Common Pleas, PA, with homicide in the death of her roommate Tory Minnick.

September 8, 2013

Neurosurgery Expert Witnesses & Fatal Brain Disease

Neurosurgery expert witnesses may opine on neurosurgeons, trauma neurosurgery, neurosurgery standard of care, and spinal surgery. In the news, The New Hampshire Department of Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health are investigating the use of contaminated surgical equipment which may have exposed patients to the fatal brain disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob. One patient has died and medical records on thirteen others are being researched. While most surgical equipment is sterilized by heat, the World Health Organization recommends the use of a chemical disinfectant for equipment that may have been exposed to the disease.

September 7, 2013

Drug Abuse Expert Witnesses & Synthetic Marijuana

Drug abuse expert witnesses may testify on testify on DUI, intoxication, chemical dependence, illicit drugs, and marijuana, as well as related issues. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is investigating the deaths of three people and the hospitalization of 75 others who may have smoked synthetic marijuana. Synthetic cannabis is a psychoactive drug made from natural herbs and then sprayed with synthetic chemicals. the product is marketed as "herbal incense" and "herbal smoking blends."

September 6, 2013

Criminalistics Expert Witness Testfiies In Phoenix Police Officer Case

Gunshot wound expert witness Dr. Vincent Dimaio testified in the Phoenix, AZ, trial of former police officer Richard Chrisman. Chrisman is charged with second degree murder in the death of Daniel Rodriguez. Dimaio testified for the defense describing the position of Rodriguez during the shooting and the fact that Rodreguez was high on meth.

The criminalistics expert witness previously testified in the George Zimmerman trial.

September 5, 2013

Forensic Accounting Expert Witness Testifies In AEG Lawsuit

Forensic accounting expert witness William R. Ackerman testified for AEG Live that Michael Jackson was approximately $500 million in debt when he died. In addition to the upkeep on his ranch, spending on art and travel, Jackson's biggest expense was $30 million in annual debt payments.

William Ackerman, Freeman & MIls, has over twenty years of experience as an auditor and consultant. His consulting experience includes lost earnings, associated with wrongful terminations, wrongful death and personal injury claims

September 3, 2013

Social Media Expert Witness On Social Networking Investigations Part 2

In Social Networking Research & Investigations, The Legal, Ethical & Evidentiary Issues, social media expert witness Richard B. Harer, V.P. Specialized Investigations, writes:

Examples of Investigative Use

Surveillance cases can benefit immensely by obtaining photos, habits, activities, and other pertinent information on the subject before initiating surveillance. Our firm was hired to conduct surveillance on a recent high profile personal injury case. We found through basic social media research that the subject was self-employed as a trainer at a local gym. His site provided his regular schedule and other upcoming outside training events that he was leading. Needless to say, the surveillance was extremely successful…thanks to the subject, and his social media activities.

Locating witnesses, insured, claimant, and others is another excellent use of social media sites. Our firm has tracked down many difficult and elusive individuals through their social media sites. Recently, we were able to serve subpoenas on several individuals by finding out where they were scheduled to play in a band at a local club.

Background information, character, habits, activities, financial information, and other useful information can also be obtained. In a recent case we investigated, an individual filed a disability claim with her employer, alleging that she was unable to type due to work-related continuous trauma to her wrists/hands. We found her on numerous social media sites, including Twitter, where she was posting (typing) dozens of “tweets” daily, as well as on other sites. In addition, she made numerous derogatory statements about disliking her job and her boss, which was further evidence of her motive for filing a work-related claim.

Identifying relationships/accomplices is also an excellent source of information on social media sites. We have investigated a number of suspected fraud cases, where we discovered that individuals who stated they did not know another party involved in their claim, were subsequently found to be “friends” on Facebook.

There are many other benefits of social media research and investigation, which is only limited by the researchers’ imagination…and time.

The following is a list of the ten most popular social media sites in the US (as of August 2011):

1. Facebook

2. Twitter

3. LinkedIn

4. MySpace

5. Ning

6. Google Plus+

7. Tagged

8. Orkut

9. hi5

10.myYearbook

A list of most social networking sites can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List of social networking websites

Read more: http://www.jurispro.com/RichardHarer

September 2, 2013

Cross Examination of Legal Nurse Consultant Expert Witnesses Part 1

Legal nurse consultant expert witnesses may testify on general nursing, surgical nursing, palliative care, and medical record review, as well as related issues. In “Nurse experts: Are YOU prepared for cross-examination?” by Juris Educational Resource Knowledge guest blogger Lori Combs RN, LNC, writes that "Extensive preparation is needed to ensure the expert is well versed with the case and is prepared for the dreaded cross-examination."

No matter how well prepared you are to testify as an expert, the cross-examination by the opposing counsel can be intimidating. There are many tricks and techniques the opposing side will utilize to try to discredit you and “poke you full of holes”, but if you can prepare yourself to think how they are going to cross-examine you, you can remain one step ahead and hold your ground.

More: http://www.thejerklnc.com/blog/?p=1673

September 1, 2013

Fingerprints Expert Witness Testifies Re: Physical EvidenceIn

Fingerprints expert witness Donald James Faggart Jr. testified in the Davidson County, N.C., murder trial of Phillip Scott Baker. Faggart is special agent in charge with the N.C. State Bureau Crime Laboratory in Greensboro and testified that he found no identifiable fingerprints on the weapon alleged to have killed Chadric Lee Newsome in July 2010. Baker has also been charged with a number of drug-related offenses.