Articles Posted in Expert Witness News

In The New Frontier of Negative Rates and Banking, business expert witness Douglas E. Johnston writes:

How Are Other Financial Institutions Responding to Ultra Low and Negative Rates?

Eurofi, a European-based think tank chaired by former IMF Director Jacques de Larosiere which carries the support of ECB President Mario Draghi, has the stated goal of ‘fostering growth in a highly indebted EU environment.’ In remarks prepared for the April 23-25 Eurofi High-Level Seminar and delivered on behalf of the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements (often known as the central banks’ central bank), 20-year BIS veteran and Deputy General Manager Herve Hannoun recently addressed the growing phenomenon of negative interest rates among a ‘Who’s Who’ of central bankers, international banks, insurance companies, financial market makers, rating agencies and regulators. Eurofi’s many activities have included the pursuit of a possible new Capital Markets Union (CMU) under the recent leadership of Lord Hill of London. Among its initiatives, Eurofi is addressing the technological and regulatory framework for new growth-oriented lending and capital market mechanisms across Europe. Given the recent emergence of crowd-funding, P2P (Peer-to-Peer) financial activities, and promising new technology and delivery platforms, one possibility before Eurofi is to reconsider the traditional role of how commercial banks have functioned as intermediaries between depositors and business borrowers. With negative rates, the linkage between expanded business lending activity, increased monetary velocity and broad economic growth now appears clearly to be a higher priority for European central banks and regulators.

On June 4, 2015, the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA) will present the webinar Lawyers and Experts: Beware of Daubert, Robinson, and Kuhmo in 2015.

The presentation will be an in-depth review of motions to strike. Topics that will be covered include the following:

Motion to strike actual filing Expert’s affidavit in response to motion to strike Examples of over 25 actual motions to strike and subsequent rulings 2015 update on Daubert, Robinson and Kuhmo

In The New Frontier of Negative Rates and Banking, business expert witness Douglas E. Johnston writes:

While financial market observers in the US remain focused on the timing and magnitude of the Fed raising target interest rates over the months ahead, European bond markets have begun to experience just the opposite – the never-before-seen phenomenon of actual negative bond market interest rates. Since the Global Crisis of 2008, which saw both the Fed and foreign central bankers seeking both to calm markets and to encourage growth by reducing rates to the ‘zero bound,’ interest rates for bellwether German bonds and across Europe in late 2014 crossed into negative territory, and for the first time in world history. As noted recently by iconic market veteran Art Cashin, now Director of NYSE Floor Operations for UBS Financial Services, over 30% (approximately $2.2 Trillion) of the highest-rated sovereign debt in Europe now bears a stated negative interest rate. Over 70% of all German government bonds now carry negative stated rates, and there are indications these conditions may become even more wide-ranging and spill over to US markets. After more than six years of various central bank ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE) stimulus programs including scheduled open-market bond purchases, negative interest rates now clearly constitute the ‘new frontier’ of central bank monetary policy. Numerous other policy implications regarding negative rates are still unfolding in an uncharted scenario, which even the founder of modern monetary theory, John Maynard Keynes, did not foresee.

In an environment of ultra-low and negative rates, non-interest-bearing asset classes including commodities should become more attractive. Therefore, one major historical disincentive to buying oil and gold, for example, may have been removed. Stated differently, increasingly negative interest rates should be positive for commodities, because the imbedded math suggests that an investor is effectively paid to hold them, as compared to holding negative-rate financial instruments.

Slip, trip and fall expert witnesses may testify and provide reports regarding railings, barriers, slip and fall accidents, slippery conditions, stairs, and more. Architect and expert witness Randy Atlas is presenting the CEU program Slips, Trips, and Falls: The Architect’s Role in Mayhem on May 20th in Pembroke, Pines FL. Mr. Atlas is the President/Owner of Atlas Safety & Security Design. Sponsored by AIA Fort Lauderdale, the program description is as follows:

Have you ever been brought into a lawsuit as a result of a slip and fall at one of the building’s you designed? Randy Atlas, President and Owner of Atlas Safety & Security Design, will show you how to reduce the opportunity for mishaps in your designs in such areas as level changes and miscommunications in pedestrian path of travel. He will also go over the consequences of careless design with case studies of projects where mistakes led to litigation.

More information here.

Zoloft MDL presiding Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, E.D. Pa., granted the plaintiffs motion to present a new pharmaceutical expert witness. Hundreds of Zoloft birth defect lawsuits have been filed. The antidepressant manufactured by Pfizer is tied to an increased risk of defects like persistent pulmonary hypertension in infants. Other serious side effects include seizures, heart defects, autism, and malformations of the skull or brain.

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania website: About MDL 2342.

This Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”) was created by Order of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL Panel”) on April 17, 2012. The typical case involves claims by a plaintiff from anywhere in the United States against defendant Pfizer, Inc., and may name other defendants as well.

Food safety expert witnesses may consult on food borne illnesses, food handling, restaurant industry standards, and food poisoning. This week Bidart Bros. expanded an apple recall to include all granny smith and galas shipped from its Shafter, Calif., facility after two strains of Listeria monocytogenes were confirmed in the apple processing plant. The bacteria are believed to be the same ones associated with the 2014 outbreak that killed seven people and sickened many more. The recall first targeted packaged caramel-coated apples but the recall has been broadened to all shipments of Bidart Bros. Granny Smith and Gala apples.

On 1/10/15 CDC.gov posted:

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections (listeriosis) linked to commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples. Listeria can cause a serious, life-threatening illness.

In Malpractice Premiums Drop for 6th Straight Year, oncology expert witness Dr. Judy L. Schmidt writes:

86% of Rates Decreased or Did Not Change

The MLM survey analyzes malpractice insurance rates charged by carriers in markets that range from entire states to single counties. The publication asks insurers to quote their standard rates for policies with limits of $1 million for an individual claim and $3 million in any given year for all claims. Rates published by MLM, effective as of July 1, are not necessarily what physicians pay, because insurers apply a variety of credits, debits, and other factors that raise or lower the dollar amount.

At the Safe Havens International website, school crisis preparedness expert witness Michael S. Dorn writes on school attack plots. Dorn is Executive Director of Safe Havens International, a non-profit school safety center.

School Attack

A Minnesota teen revealed to police the extent of his plans for a school attack. His plan was to “destroy everyone”. He planned on entering Waseca Junior and Senior High School, throwing Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs. When the SWAT team arrived, he planned on killing himself.

Pyramid scheme expert witness Dr. William W. Keep was in the news this week urging SEC chief Mary Jo White to intensify the investigation of Herbalife. The FTC recently closed pyramid scheme BurnLounge, the New York City online music store and Dr. Keep, business dean of the College of New Jersey, recommended that multilevel marketing companies submit their enforcement policies to regulators every five years. Herbalife is a global nutrition company founded in 1980. The company has over 7,400 employees worldwide, and its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange with net sales of $4.8 billion in 2013.

Herbalife.com commented on the recent ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in its decision in FTC v. BurnLounge, Inc. Herbalife issued the following statement:

Today’s decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the FTC v. BurnLounge, Inc. validates product consumption by participants as a legitimate measure of demand for multi-level marketing companies and rejects Bill Ackman’s fundamental thesis against Herbalife. This ruling from one of the country’s most influential courts is consistent with Herbalife’s position that the widespread demand Herbalife has demonstrated for its products, by members and non-members alike, confirms that it is a multi-level marketing company with proper business practices.

Explosions expert witnesses may consult regarding dust explosions, flammable materials, combustion, and associated matters. On Monday, an explosion at the International Nurtrition animal feed processing plant in Omaha caused part of the facility to collapse and sent more than ten employees to the hospital. OSHA writes:

The grain handling industry is a high hazard industry where workers can be exposed to numerous serious and life threatening hazards. These hazards include: fires and explosions from grain dust accumulation, suffocation from engulfment and entrapment in grain bins, falls from heights and crushing injuries and amputations from grain handling equipment.

Grain dust explosions are often severe, involving loss of life and substantial property damage. Over the last 35 years, there have been over 500 explosions in grain handling facilities across the United States, which have killed more than 180 people and injured more than 675.