December 31, 2013

Forensic Science Expert Witness & New Haven Trial

Former doctor Lishan Wang has asked that forensic science expert witness Dr. Henry C. Lee defend him in his New Haven, CT, murder trial. Wang is charged in the 2010 death of Yale University physician Dr. Vajinder Toor.

Dr. Lee is founder of the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, Chief Emeritus of the Connecticut State Police, and founder and professor of the Forensic Science Program at the University of New Haven Dr. Lee testified on bloodstain pattern analysis in the O.J. Simpson trial.

December 30, 2013

Computer Forensics Expert Witness On Hacking Part 3

In I've Been Hacked! What Do I Do Now?, computer forensics expert witness Steven G. Burgess, Burgess Consulting and Forensics, writes:

What are some signs that could indicate that you have been hacked?

New programs have been installed on your computer – ones you didn’t install (although some software – especially free software – sneaks various programs and “helpful” browser tool bars past you).

New documents (that you have not written or downloaded) appear on your computer..

Documents disappear from your computer (although it’s not hard to accidentally delete or move files around without noticing).

Programs pop open that you didn’t click on (although there are other, innocent reasons this could happen).

You get odd pop-up messages that don’t seem to come from a program you are using.

Your passwords have changed (and not because you just forgot them, as I sometimes do).

Your security program(s) has been uninstalled or deactivated.

The computer is doing things by itself – the mouse moves and clicks on things without any action by you, for instance.

You find information about yourself on the Web that should only be known to you.

There’s a note displayed on your desktop – your screen – that you didn’t put there.

Read more: Burgess Consulting and Forensics

December 28, 2013

Neurology Expert Witnesses & Concussions

Neurology expert witnesses may consult on closed head injuries, dementia, epilepsy, headache, memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, head trauma, and related neurological conditions. Private MD Labs reported on a new study this week regarding a possible link between multiple concussions and plaque buildup associated with Alzheimer's disease. The American Academy of Neurology published the research results of Dr. Michelle Mielke and her team of scientists work with older adults in Olmsted County, MN.

One of the biggest perils of concussions is second impact syndrome; a new concussion is received before the first one has healed. Concussions have been prevalent in sports news. In 2011 interviews about head injuries, The AP reported 23 of 44 NFL players said they would try to conceal a possible concussion rather than drop out of a game.

December 27, 2013

Use Of Force Expert Witness Testfiies In Defense Of CA Police Officers

Police Corporal Stephen Rubio testified in the case against two former Fullerton, CA, police officers in the 2011 death of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man. Officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli are accused of beating Thomas with a Taser gun, resulting in his death. The use of force expert witness testified that the officers were working within the police department's policies and the use of force was consistent with police training. Rubio is a use of force trainer for the Fullerton Police Department.

December 26, 2013

Mortgages Expert Witness On Hard Money Lending Part 1

Mortgages expert witness Joffrey G. Long will moderate a special session on title insurance as part of the January 30-31 educational program presented by the California Mortgage Association in Universal City, CA. In Securing a mortgage expert witness: Types of real property lawsuits, Mr. Long writes:

There are many types of lawsuits involving loans secured by real property; they often fall into one of six general themes:

1) The sub-prime (or other institutional type loan) borrower lawsuit: Here, the owner(s) of a dwelling, (usually their residence) obtained a refinance loan or loans, (or loan to purchase a property) and later determined they didn’t understand, couldn’t afford, or were otherwise unhappy with the loan terms or some part of the process.

Cases often involve loans taken out in 2007 or before, when “sub-prime” loans with easier qualification standards were widely available, often in much larger loan amounts due in part to the higher property values of that era.

Typical allegations in these cases are that the originator of the loan (who may have been a loan broker / arranger, or the actual lender who loaned the funds) misrepresented the terms of the loan to the borrower, failed to properly qualify the borrower for the loan, breached a fiduciary duty, engaged in and unfair practice or predatory lending, or in some other way behaved so as to cause or contribute to the borrower’s loss.

While “Institutional loans” made by banks, mortgage banking companies, or credit unions are referred to, this category of loan problems also impacts private money or non-institutional lenders, who are sometimes referred to as hard money lenders. (For the purpose of this article the term “private money,” or “private money lender” will be used for hard money or other types of non-institutional loans or lenders.)

Read more: Joffrey Long.

December 24, 2013

Art Appraisal Expert Witness Testifies In Farrah Fawcett Portrait Lawsuit

Art appraisal expert witness J. Lee Drexler testified in the case the University of Texas at Austin has brought against Ryan O'Neal. The University is seeking possession of a Farrah Fawcett portrait painted by Andy Warhol. Drexler is the president of Esquire Appraisals, Inc., and based her appraisal on pricing for other works by the artist. She told the jury that the portrait is worth approximately $12M. Appraisal experts may advise regarding fine art valuation, antiques, and collectables.

December 23, 2013

Environmental Expert Witness Testifies In Pipeline Case

Environmental expert witness Dr. Andrew Whelton, Professor at the University of South Alabama, testified for the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System case against Texas oil company Plains Southcap. The oil company has plans to build an interstate oil pipeline under a part of the Big Creek Lake watershed. Mobile, Alabama, circuit court Judge Robert Smith ruled in favor of the Texas oil company which gives the green light for the proposed oil pipeline to be constructed under a lake and reservoir that holds drinking water for a half a million people.

This decision bears scrutiny by environmentalists, as noted by the Mobile Tribune.

December 22, 2013

Wine Expert Testifies In New York Fraud Case

Wine expert witness Michael Egan testified in the New York fraud case against wine dealer Rudy Kurniawan. Egan, Director of Authenticity and Auctions at the Bordeaux Winebank, said that most of the wines at the home of Kurniawan were fakes and not rare vintages. Previous to this exposure, Kurniawan had been touted as one of a select few fine vintage wine collectors. Now he is facing jail if convicted of fraud. The alleged counterfeiter borrowed money against his collection and now owes a New York bank several million dollars.

At, Mr. Egan explains that the production of "fake bottles of the greatest Bordeaux has increased dramatically these last few years." Egan spent over 20 years for Sotheby's in London.

December 20, 2013

Emergency Medicine Expert Witness Testifies For Fullerton, CA, Police Officers

Emergency medicine expert witness Dr. Gary Vilke testified in the case against two former Fullerton, CA, police officers in the death of Kelly Thomas. Officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli are accused of beating Thomas into a comatose state resulting in his death. Vilke testified for the defense in the death of the homeless man saying that Thomas did not die of asphyxiation as Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas alleges.

Dr. Gary Vilke is a professor of clinical emergency medicine at UC San Diego and Chief of Staff for the UCSD Medical Center.

December 19, 2013

Forensic Psychology Expert Witness Testifies In Declination Hearing

Forensic psychology expert witness Dr. Nathan D. Henry testified in the declination hearing for a 15-year-old Moses Lake, WA, boy accused of shooting his parents. Dr. Henry described the young man's maturity and possible risk to society. The hearing will determine if the defendant will be tried as an adult or a minor. He told police that his parents had banned him from playing video games. He is charged with two counts of attempted murder.

Declination hearings are extremely important in these types of cases because penalties for serious offenses are significantly higher when the individual is tried in adult court.

December 17, 2013

Computer Forensics Expert Witness On Hacking Part 2

In I've Been Hacked! What Do I Do Now?, computer forensics expert witness Steven G. Burgess, Burgess Consulting and Forensics, writes:

It’s not really possible to be online and be 100% protected from hacking, but there are numerous measures you can take to make it not worth most anyone’s time. They include:

DO make sure that your Android is NOT rooted and that your iPhone is NOT jailbroken.

DON'T give any of your passwords to others.

DON'T use the same password for everything.

DO make sure that Administrator access on your computer is protected and accessible only to you (use a password).

DO disable Guest access on your computer.

DO disable remote logins

DO require a password to log onto your computer, phone or email.

DO check to see what ports on your computer are wide open do ne'er-do-wells at Gibson Reserach's ShieldsUp! site

Read more: Burgess Consulting and Forensics

December 16, 2013

Criminal Justice Expert Witness Testifies In Class Action Suit

Correctional facilities expert witnesses may consult on the criminal justice system, imprisonment, incarceration, correctional facilities standards of care, and more. Criminal justice expert witness Dr. Richard M. Hough, Sr. testified in the Southern Poverty Law Center class action lawsuit against Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and correctional healthcare contractor Corizon Connections. Hough testified that videos showed appropriate uses of force while the SPLC accuses Judd and Corizon Connections of unconstitutional jail conditions. Dr. Hough is a criminal justice instructor with the University of West Florida.

December 14, 2013

Railroad Accident Investigation Expert Witness & Metro-North Accident

Railroad accident investigation expert witnesses may testify on transportation technology, transportation safety, transportation engineering, and correlated issues. Following the catastrophic accident on the Maine & Atlantic Railway, the Federal Railroad Administration issued an Emergency Order outlining measures railroads are required to undertake within 30 days. The EO is a mandatory directive to the railroad, and failure to comply with its requirements will result in enforcement actions against the railroad or individuals who violate it.

The Federal Railroad Administration had already increased its oversight and enforcement of Metro-North’s rail lines following the May 2013 crash, including additional inspections of its lines and audits of Metro-North’s operations and compliance with federal regulations. FRA is also planning to conduct an extensive investigation of the carrier’s safety compliance with all regulated railroad safety disciplines.

December 12, 2013

Neurotoxicology Expert Witness Testifies On Cognition

Neurotoxicology expert witness Dr. Raymond Singer testified in the Angleton, TX, capital murder case of James Harris Jr. Harris has pled guilty in the stabbing death of two senior citizens. Dr. Singer testified that Harri's exposure to chemicals in his youth and in his career may have damaged his cognitive capabilities. On his website, Dr. Singer explains that toxic chemicals can damage the nervous system and brain without the individual knowing.

Neurotoxins target the nervous system and disrupt the signaling that allows neurons to communicate effectively.

December 11, 2013

Aviation Expert Witnesses & Asiana Investigation

Aviation expert witnesses may testify aircraft accident investigation, aircraft design, aviation safety, flight training, and related matters. Today the National Transportation Safety Board released information on the investigation into the Asiana Airlines flight 214 accident on July 6, 2013. The NTSB investigation shows that the pilot inadvertently disabled a speed-control system.

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman took questions from the media during the investigative hearing. Her briefing may be found here: in which she describes the timeline in the crash.

December 9, 2013

Transportation Safety Expert Witnesses & Federal Railroad Administration EO 29

Transportation safety expert witnesses may consult on transportation technology, railroad accident investigation, railroads, and more. On December 6th, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration issued Emergency Order 29 to Metro-North Commuter Railroad following the fatal Metro-North Railroad derailment in the Bronx, NY. to take specific, immediate steps to ensure its train crews do not exceed speed limitations.

EO 29 requires Metro-North to provide the FRA with a list of main track locations where there is a reduction of more than 20 mph in the maximum authorized passenger train speed by December 10, 2013. Further, Metro-North is ordered to identify appropriate modifications to its existing automatic train control system or other signal systems to enable adequate advance warning of and adherence to such speed restrictions. These modifications will help prevent another over-the-speed-limit event if a locomotive engineer fails to take actions to appropriately slow or stop a passenger train.

In the meantime, Metro-North is ordered to operate trains with two qualified train crew members in the controlling locomotive cab or passenger car control compartment at the locations where speed limits change by 20 mph or more until the signal work at these locations is complete. Additionally, the railroad must submit to the FRA for approval an Action Plan that ensures the safety of its operations for passengers and employees by December 31. The plan must contain target dates and milestones for implementing necessary signal system modifications.

December 8, 2013

Computer Forensics Expert Witness On Hacking Part 1

In I've Been Hacked! What Do I Do Now?, computer forensics expert witness Steven G. Burgess, Burgess Consulting and Forensics, writes:

It’s not really possible to be online and be 100% protected from hacking, but there are numerous measures you can take to make it not worth most anyone’s time. They include:

DO use effective passwords. A good guide is at the Perfect Passwords page at Gibson Research Corporation’s website.

DO secure your router – especially your wireless router. The manufacturer or your Internet Service Provider can help you with the best settings for your particular equipment.

DO keep your operating system and antivirus patches updated.

DON'T give out your Social Security number or use it as an ID. You usually only have to give it to your employer, your financial institution and government agencies.

DO disable your Guest account on your computer.

DON'T make your personal info public on social networks or elsewhere.

DON'T open email from people you don’t know.

DON'T click on links embedded in emails.

DON'T make online purchases from sites you don’t know well.

DO use a firewall (hardware and/or software).

Read more: Burgess Consulting and Forensics

December 6, 2013

Pulmonary Medicine Expert Witness On Benefits Of Medical Expert Part 1

In Why a Medical Expert Witness Can Make or Break a Case, pulmonary medicine expert witness Dr. John Penek, MD, FCCP, FAASM, writes:

Whether the court case is civil or criminal in nature, both plaintiffs and defendants can benefit from the use of a medical expert witness. This is especially true in an era where forensic technology is growing by leaps and bounds.

Just what can a medical experts offer in the realm of traditional jurisprudence?

Role of a Medical Expert Witness.

Just like an orthopedic surgeon can attest to damages done to the spine or back during a personal injury lawsuit where a hurt plaintiff is suing for monetary compensation, an an expert may be able to prove that the injury claimed by a money seeking plaintiff is being over blow in an effort to obtain ill gained reparations.

Because a medical expert can make or break a case in this regard, their importance cannot be understated.

Present unbiased view of events.

Most court trials involve two views of events that can be difficult to sort through and prove. Because the outcome can in some cases be literally be a matter of life and death, it pays to be able to separate fact from fiction.

Science itself is fairly irrefutable and with a few notable exceptions is rarely inaccurate. This is why medical science can then be employed to prove or disprove claims on both sides of the fence.

Dr. John Penek has 30 years experience in the practice of pulmonary diseases, sleep disorders and critical care medicine.

December 3, 2013

Carson Nash Funding, Inc. & Expert Witness Fees

In Expert Witness Fees Deferred Until Settlement of Case, Carson Nash Funding, Inc. explains how their company provides funding to expert witnesses that allows trial lawyers the ability to defer payment of expert witness expenses until their cases settle.

Expert witness expenses are one of the largest and most significant expenditures a trial attorney has to make. All case expenses are paid up front as the case progresses and trial lawyers are not compensated until the case settles.

Expert witness fees plus additional case expenses and practice overhead expenses create restricted budgets for trial lawyers and may limit their ability to accept new cases to expand their practice.

We provide funding to expert witnesses that allows trial lawyers the ability to defer payment of expert witness expenses until their cases settle. No up front costs or monthly payments are required.

Attorney Benefits

Pay expert witness fees when case settles

No high interest rate lines of credit

No collateralized debt using contingent cases

Contingent cases are not encumbered

No monthly principal or interest payments

Engage more expert witnesses for cases

Access to experienced. seasoned experts

Preserve operating capital to take on more cases

Increase marketing for new clients

Expert Witness Benefits

Offer attorneys deferred payment of fees

Increase client base

Increase case load

Increase revenue

Maximize profits

Increase market share

Maximize billable time

Carson Nash Funding has over 24 years of experience in providing an alternative funding source for individuals and companies receiving deferred payments which are not serviced by traditional financial institutions. Read more:

December 3, 2013

Child Abuse Expert Witness To Testify On Fatal Injuries

Child abuse expert witnesses are prepared to advise regarding child abuse and neglect, and the physical, emotional, or sexual mistreatment of children. A child abuse expert will testify this week in the Saline County, KS, case against Troy Love. Love is accused of first degree murder and child abuse in the death of Bre'Elle Jefferson. Defense attorney Roger Struble, of Blackwell, Blackwell and Struble, says the expert will show that the child's injuries were accidental.

Kansas 28th Judicial District information:

December 2, 2013

Transportation Expert Witnesses & NY Train Derailment

Transportation expert witnesses may provide expert witness testimony on transportation technology, transportation safety, railroad accident investigation, railroads, and more. In the news, The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team to investigate the Metro North passenger train accident in New York City. The train derailed in the Bronx, killing four.

NTSB Rail Safety Investigator Mike Flanigon will lead a team of specialists in track, signals, mechanical systems, operations, human performance, etc. The NTSB website offers statistics on transportation fatalities. In 2011, rail fatalities accounted for 759 of the total 34,434. The NTSB case decisions database may be found here:

December 1, 2013

Construction Site Expert Witness On Rule 702

In It Takes More Than Common Sense, construction site expert witness William Gulya, Jr., President & CEO, Middlesex Trenching Company, writes:

The primary purpose of expert witness testimony is to assist the trier of fact in understanding the evidence and/or determining a fact issue. A trial judge therefore has the duty and responsibility to ensure that an expert has specialized knowledge and their testimony will be applicable in assisting the trier of fact relevant to the case at hand.

The plaintiff in a recent Federal Maritime case alleged he tripped on a two-inch line on the vessel’s deck and sustained injuries. The plaintiff asserted an un-seaworthiness claim against defendant and sought damages for, among other things, lost earnings and impairment of his earning capacity.

The plaintiff’s legal counsel proposed a marine safety expert witness who was to opine that there was no safe access to the vessel, inadequate lighting in the boarding area, absence of a gangway, lack of supervision by the vessel’s crew, and failure to coil the line at issue as additional causes of plaintiff’s accident. The defendant sought to exclude the report and anticipated testimony of the plaintiff’s expert on the grounds that his opinions offered no specialized knowledge or assistance to the trier of fact.
The Court relied on the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Peters v. Five Star Marine, 898 F.2d 448, 450 (5th Cir.1990), which said a district court may properly exclude expert testimony if the subject matter that the proposed expert plans to discuss and the opinions he plans to express to the fact-finder are matters that a fact-finder can deal with competently based on common sense and knowledge of the world.

In this case, the plaintiff’s allegation that he suffered injuries after he tripped over a mooring line /rope on a vessel was indeed an issue that the Court was very capable of evaluating based on its common knowledge and experience. Therefore the marine safety expert’s report and testimony would be of no assistance to the fact-finder in understanding the evidence or determining a fact in issue, as required by Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, and hence would be excluded.

This was seemingly a blow to the plaintiff’s case. However, there was a twist. The plaintiff’s counsel argued that, using the same logic, the defendant’s expert should also be excluded under Rule 702 because defendant planned to use him to offer testimony on the same issues.

The Court ruled on this evidentiary issue sua sponte (a Latin term meaning "of one's own accord." It refers to when the court addresses an issue that has not been presented for consideration by the litigants). Thus the court denied both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s marine safety/ liability expert reports and precluded both experts from testifying at trial.

Rule 702 currently provides that "if scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise" (Lexis Nexis).

Was the court correct in their ruling? Could the facts simply be understood by the Court by means of common knowledge? You can decide. One thing is unquestionable -- an expert witness report and/or testimony must be considerable and significant in assisting the trier of fact and not simply based on common sense and or common knowledge.

Read more: William Gulya, Jr., Middlesex Trenching Company, specializes in excavation & construction site preparation.