Articles Posted in Expert Witness News

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.

Carnival rides expert witnesses may consult on carnival ride maintenance, amusement park safety, and carnival ride accidents. A ride new to the North Carolina State Fair malfunctioned Thursday night and injured five people. The Vortex began running as riders were exiting the carnival ride and some people were thrown to the ground. North Carolina Labor Department ride inspection chief Tom Chambers says his department is reviewing a safety switch that malfunctioned earlier in the week. Mechanical equipment and the operation of the ride will be investigated.

Accident reconstruction expert witnesses may advise regarding collision analysis, crash worthiness, traffic accident reconstruction, and injury reconstruction issues. Middlesex County, NJ, authorities are investigating a fatal automobile accident that has been classified as a suicide-homicide. A 15 year old driver crossed over into oncoming traffic and killed two passengers in a second car. An eye witness said the driver was speeding and authorities report a lack of skid marks which indicate he did not try to stop.

Child psychology expert witness Dr. Bruce D. Perry spoke October 7, 2013, at the annual conference of the Stanislaus County (CA) Family and Domestic Violence Council. Dr. Perry is the Senior Fellow of The Child Trauma Academy in Houston and an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago. He spoke on the psychological effects of violence on children and said counselors who work with abused children need to understand that violence changes how the brain develops and functions.

Dr. Perry has served as a consultant and/or expert witness on the Oklahoma City bombing, the Waco siege, the YFZ Ranch custody cases, and the Columbine High School massacre.

A Los Angeles jury reached a decision that AEG Live was not responsible for Michael Jackson’s death. Jackson’s family was seeking $1.5B in economic damages during the five month lawsuit. AEG Live’s finance expert witness estimated that Michael Jackson would have earned $21M if he had completed a worldwide tour and a Las Vegas show. AEG’s lead attorney Marvin S. Putman is a partner in O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s Century City office and a member of the Business Trial and Litigation Practice. He described Michael Jackson as making “some bad choices.” “It was Mr. Jackson, not AEG Live, that chose Conrad Murray.”

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.

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.

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.