Strategies for Litigators to Make the Most of Their Expert Witnesses: Part III: How Attorneys Can Best Prepare Their Experts for Trial

Commercial Litigation

Introduction

Part I of this series discussed the different kind of witnesses who can testify in court and more importantly, and how to anticipate opposing counsel’s objections and best prepare.

Part II noted mechanisms attorneys can avail themselves of, to most-successfully train their expert witnesses before a case goes to trial.

This Part involves strategies that attorneys should be aware of, based upon empirical and sociological data, to help coach their witnesses and make their experts’ testimony appear to be as qualified and outstanding as the experts truly are.


Strategies for Litigators to make the Most of Their Expert Witnesses: Part II: Pre-Trial Strategies for Attorneys to Best Prepare Experts

Commercial Litigation

Introduction

Part I of this series discussed the different kind of witnesses who can testify in court and more importantly, the importance of understanding how placing an expert in the right category can assist attorneys in anticipating and avoiding opposing counsels’ potential objections to various aspects of expert testimony, but also understanding how to plan ahead, thereby making use of the Federal Rules of Evidence and other mechanisms for make the best possible use of expert witnesses.


Case Study: Airline’s Industry Expert Cleared for Take-off in Suit with Passengers

Airport

District Judge Miranda M. Du in Nevada recently heard arguments on a motion to exclude the testimony of Defendant’s airline industry expert witness.

The plaintiffs were nine passengers (“the Nine”) who traveled on a flight from Vancouver to Las Vegas in 2003.  The Nine alleged that the flight captain and two flight attendants accused them of criminal interference with an air crew.  The flight was diverted to Reno, and the Nine were removed from the plane.


Strategies for Litigators to Make the Most of Their Expert Witnesses: Part I: Pre-Trial Strategies: What Kind of Expert Are You Working With?

commercial litigation expert witness in court

Introduction

Every attorney who has tried a case and retained expert witnesses realizes the value of expert testimony, but do all litigators truly understand the best ways to strategically utilize their experts and therefore, maximize their prospects for success?  This article investigates some common ambiguities and approaches for attorneys with respect to expert witness testimony and, based upon several psychological studies and statistical analyses of jury behavior, offers strategic advice to litigators, allowing them to deploy their experts in the most valuable manner possible.  To assist in comprehending both the basis and content of the proposed strategies in this article, several instances of expert testimony, involving the most effective ways to prepare for cases and use experts, will be discussed.2


Trade Secret Experts Not So Top Secret

Trade secrets

The White House recently announced its “Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets” (February 2013).  At 131-pages, it’s packed full of information from a lesser-known agency, the Defense Security Service, which builds on industry reports to develop analytical assessments of threats to U.S. information and technology.


Trademark Infringement Experts: The Benefit of Due Diligence in Consultation and Litigation

trademark-infringement-expert-Trademark-word-cloud-concept

The interpretive nature of trademark related litigation as it correlates to issues such as public perception, confusion, dilution, and deception, can be highly problematic when attempting to prove or disprove the existence of a trademark infringement. Pursuant to 15 U.S.C 1127, commonly known as the Lanham Act, the term “trademark” is defined to include “any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof—

(1) used by a person, or

(2) which a person has a bona fide intention to use in commerce and applies to register on the principal register established by this chapter,

to identify and distinguish his or her goods including a unique product, from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods, even if the source is unknown.”


Independent Experts in Oil and Gas Mergers and Acquisitions: Defusing the Factors That Can Inflame Litigation

Oil and gas fields

Mergers and acquisitions are a hot topic in the oil and gas industry at present.  This article sets out some of the human factors that can affect a business decision about a proposed merger or acquisition and the ways that use of an outside expert during the merger process can favorably affect potential litigation over the transaction.  Specifically, this article analyzes the interaction of psychological factors at play within the framework of objective factors in a dynamic field such as oil and gas in Texas.


Patent Litigation Trends in California: Patent Infringement Expert Witnesses, Damages & the Nash Bargaining Theory

Patents expert witness stamp

Patent litigation is on the rise, and the number of patent infringement suits before the courts is at an all-time high.   See “2012 Patent Litigation Study,” PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), 2012.  However, many attorneys and litigants are unaware of what the current trends are with respect to damages, if a party prevails in patent litigation.  Patent infringement experts are critical to this process, so it is important to understand recent changes in judicial findings, regarding expert testimony and measuring damages.


Product Liability, “State of the Art” Design, and What Should Be Expected of Experts

design-gears-blueprint-product-liability

On both a national scale and in California courts, product liability cases increasingly require the use of expert witness testimony on both sides, to determine whether a specific manufacturer should incur liability in court for an alleged product defect.  A product liability expert witness can be the key in such cases, because many jurors’ most probing inquiry in such cases often and inaccurately revolves around the issue of whether the product conforms to the standards of a particular industry.  The actual legal standard for product liability cases dealing with negligence is whether or not the product was “state of the art” at the time it was manufactured.


Going to Credibility and Weight – Not to Admissibility

expert-witness-credibility-testimony

It’s an important distinction to master:  whether the testimony of the expert witness goes to a credibility determination to be made by the trier of fact or whether the testimony of the expert witness may be inadmissible as per a ruling from the bench.

Trial attorneys tend to be well prepared.  Trial is a serious matter, generally conducted with advance notice.  And a combination of factors, including the attorney’s own reputation, generally creates a suitable level of advance preparation.  The corollary of this observation tends to be that the witness offered as an expert gets qualified and the testimony elicited on direct examination tends to get admitted.


Sociological Analysis on Juror Impact of Expert Testimony in Awarding Damages

Predatory Lenders expert flashing out money

Often times, the considerations in jury deliberations are unrelated liability or fault, and may focus on the fixed amounts, perceived as adequate compensation, to each juror. Some jurors may have preconceived notions that attorneys ask for more than is required to adequately compensate an injured party. Some jurors may consider factors such as attorney’s fees, taxable portions of award amounts, or the Plaintiff’s Insurance, to provide a framework for arriving at an award amount. Whatever factors a juror utilizes to reduce or supplement an award amount, this perception of a base award amount must first be established.


What to Make of the Expert Witness C.V.

'C.V.' or curriculum vitae

How many times do we hear the advice to limit one’s resume to one page?  But when it comes to written credentials, when does the resume become a “curriculum vitae” and do any page limits apply?

The general rule of thumb on resumes is that once a person begins publishing, lecturing, and training others, the resume changes structure into the “curriculum vitae.”  The “CV” can be thought of as a bibliography of one’s career.


Why California Courts May Exclude Expert Testimony and How to Prevent This

class certification expert

In California, nearly every type of civil litigation involves the use of expert witnesses and their testimony.  However, the trial judge, as gatekeeper, can and often does preclude certain expert testimony from being considered evidence in a case.  The clear dilemma for legal practitioners and litigants is to ensure that the expert testimony they utilize will not be excluded but will, instead, be considered reliable and persuasive to judges and juries.


Hiring the Right Forensic Accounting Expert Witness

accounting expert witness work desk

Attorneys, judges, and forensic accountants view the expert witness from different perspectives. Attorneys’ hire expert witnesses to arrive at favorable conclusions for the case, and to rebut the opposing expert. Judges will rely on the experts’ knowledge and give more weight to their conclusions, when the judge cannot reach one without such assistance.


Expert Witnesses in Medical Malpractice Litigation: Challenges, Trends, and Strategies to Obtain the Best Testimony

medical-malpractice expert witness x-ray

Since at least the late 19th century, the legal and medical professions have attempted to grapple with how to utilize paid expert witnesses in a manner most conducive to the interests of litigants and justice.  Medical expert testimony differs from other types of expert testimony in that medical experts typically do not use as many objective criteria as other types of experts.  Unlike an actuary, for example, who can point to a specific formula used to assess the amount of damages due to an individual, medical experts are limited, to an extent, in making such objective assessments of when the “standard of care” has been neglected.


Tips on Expert Witness Discovery

Gavel on paper

Is there anything worse than the feeling when you receive the demand for expert witness information during litigation?  Even if the demand is appropriately crafted to comply with applicable rules of discovery, you have tactical decisions to make.

First on the list of discovery response concerns is whether you have retained an expert witness.  You may be in the uncomfortable position of heading into the discovery stage of litigation with only preliminary work undertaken in your selection process.  Do you ask for an extension to respond or do you timely acknowledge you have not retained an expert but will update when you do?


Using Expert Witnesses and Testimony in Civil Trials: Ensuring That Your Experts Are the Best You Can Get

law

Since the early 1990s, expert witness testimony has been on the rise and, as more experts have testified in civil cases, more challenges to their qualifications have ensued.  Here, we explain two concepts concerning expert witnesses and testimony: (1) what the standard for a “qualified” expert is, and (2) how to best ensure that, when using expert testimony, you get the most qualified person possible.


Finding The Right Medical Malpractice Expert Witness

Legal Malpractice dictionary definition

Medical malpractice cases can involve claims for significant injury with corresponding demands for significant damages.  It is an area of law that predictably requires the testimony of an expert witness.

Just how closely do you need to tie your expert witness to the allegations at hand?


Taking to Heart an Expert’s Change of Mind

expert-witness-Man-reading-a-book

When to hire an expert witness is a strategic decision trial attorneys take seriously.  In some states in certain types of lawsuits, an expert witness must provide an opinion before a case can even be filed.  In other cases and jurisdictions, it can come down to the wire of a court order to exchange expert witness reports.  It can even be done during trial where a rebuttal is needed.


Becoming an Expert in Hiring an Expert

becoming-an-expert-in-hiring-an-expert-forensisgroup

Regardless of the area of law, if you plan to present an expert witness for testimony, you need to think about expert witness trial testimony before and during expert witness selection, as well as early on in your working relationship.  Here are four tips for you to consider in this regard.


Construction Delays: Who Is Qualified to Offer Expert Opinion

construction-delay-expert-witnesses-forensisgroup

A large portion of litigation claims arising from construction projects stems from delays in the work schedule.  This sounds simple enough, but the actual cause of the delay can be quite complicated and confusing.  Was it the weather, lack of materials, safety issues, labor strife, or was it something else?  Was the delay foreseeable and preventable?


Creative Use of Experts in the Preparation of Corporate Governance Cases: Part 2

creative-use-of-experts-in-the-preparation-of-corporate-governance-cases-forensisgroup

Part 2:  Fiduciary Duty Experts

By Donna C Kline, Attorney at Law

The conceptual and moral nature of corporate governance and corporate negligence litigation

The elements and nature of corporate governance litigation are well known to all commercial litigators, but a brief review of the conceptual structure of corporate governance places the role of experts in perspective.  In particular, it shows how an expert on fiduciary duty can help counsel formulate the story of the case.


Creative Use of Experts in the Preparation of Corporate Governance Cases

creative-use-of-experts-in-the-preparation-of-corporate-governance-cases-forensisgroup

Part 1:  Industry Experts

By Donna C Kline, Attorney at Law

Early, creative, and well-focused use of consulting experts in corporate governance litigation can help the lawyers assemble the four key components of a successful trial.  Although a corporate governance case may involve sophisticated business concepts and complex technical or financial facts, the case still must be presented in a persuasive manner to a jury of ordinary persons who have only a few days to gain an appropriate understanding of those concepts and facts.  To persuade the jury to return a favorable verdict, the facts must be presented in a manner that dovetails with the legal instructions that the judge will give and that resonates with the jury’s moral sense of the case.   This article describes the vital role that an industry expert and a fiduciary duty expert can play in trial preparation.


Testing the Limits of Discovery of Non-testifying Experts

testing-the-limits-of-discovery-of-non-testifying-experts-forensisgroup

In a recent patent infringement case from the District Court for the North District of Illinois, Judge Amy St. Eve granted Plaintiff Sloan Valve Company’s (Sloan) motion for a protective order.  The order barred the Defendants, Zurn Industries, Inc. and Zurn Industries, LLC (Zurn) from deposing a Sloan attorney on the plaintiff’s patent infringement contentions.  Zurn was creative in its use of the Rules of Civil Procedure, but those efforts did not convince the judge who ruled against them.


Trends in Expert Testimony Requirements for Class Action Litigation

Trends-in-expert-testimony-requirements-for-class-action-litigation-forensisgroup

When the Supreme Court heard arguments in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend last week, there was a great deal of talk about the Daubert test for admissibility. Because the Court’s ruling could have enormous impact on how expert witnesses are evaluated for class action litigation, it is worth reviewing what really Daubert requires, especially as it relates to the landmark Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes case from last year.


The Water Below: Water Vapor and Concrete Slabs

By Expert No. 159616

Abstract

Poet Rupert Brooke once wrote that good shall come of water. He obviously never dealt with concrete. One of the lesser known yet more frustrating sources of water damage can occur on a concrete slab on grade. A concrete slab on grade is a flat area of concrete, poured directly on the earth or water membrane. This is where flooring – wood, carpet, tile, – is laid in residential construction.


Moisture Problems Plague Flooring from Concrete Slabs on Grade

Water or water vapor rising out of a concrete slab on grade can cause adhesion loss, warping, peeling and an unacceptable appearance of resilient floor coverings.  Beneath seamed, continuous flooring, moisture can also cause adhesive deterioration, ripping or separation of seams and air bubbles or efflorescence deposits.  Other harmful effects include damage to flat electrical cable systems, buckling of carpet or carpet tiles, odors, and fungi growth.


Tips to Survive Destructive Testing

By Expert No. 159616

Abstract

Destructive testing is much like exploratory surgery – intrusive, expensive, uncomfortable, inconvenient and the last resort for determining the cause of a problem.  Every effort should be made prior to destructive testing to evaluate the nature of the complaint.  And like surgery, the expert conducting the destructive testing should know what he is looking for and be prepared for whatever he may find.  This is because destructive testing, if not handled properly by attorneys and their experts, can accomplish little and may actually damage a plaintiff’s case.


Is it a good idea for engineering expert witnesses to “complete the loop”?

By Expert No. 319207

Abstract

As engineers, we like to think that we are doing some service to society by getting involved in lawsuits and helping to sort out engineering truth from engineering fiction.  We also like to think that, somewhere, somehow, for some reason, somebody is paying attention to our expert opinions and changing the way they do business to correct design, construction or operational flaws.  Then again, the lawsuit may settle without anyone learning from the mistakes.


Finding the Perfect Expert Witness: Why an Expert Must Wear Many Hats

Perfect-expert-witness

Attorneys looking for expert witnesses to solidify their positions need to consider several factors when choosing an expert. If an expert possesses certain skills while lacking others, he or she might hinder a case more than advance it. For example, you might find an extremely qualified expert who is respected in his field. However, if he is not a competent public speaker, it could be detrimental if the case goes to trial. An expert witness must be something of a Renaissance man (or woman), possessing a variety of attributes.


3 Typical Scenarios That Require Expert Witnesses

law

For every machine that breaks or heart that stops beating, there is someone who possesses the experience and training to answer why. In fact, for virtually any dispute brought to trial there exists someone who possesses that extra knowledge necessary to deliver a stronger—and hopefully winning—argument. In fact, certain situations demand expert testimony. At other times, expert testimony is necessary to offset an opposing legal team’s arguments. If, for example, you are the plaintiff in a case about corporate negligence and the defense hires a competent expert, showing up to trial without an expert of your own could be equivalent to bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Here are three typical scenarios that demand the use of an expert witness:


Patent Infringement: Expert Witnesses and the High Stakes Technology Space

Patent Infringement Patent Validity

Major companies are involved in various important technological patent litigation cases requiring highly specialized experts working along top Patent Prosecution and Patent Litigation attorneys. These cases often arise when brands are competing in the technology space. Since many technical products are built on the shoulders of previous technology and designs, the line between innovation and infringement can, at times, blur.


Real Estate Expert Witnesses Can Impact Land Use Cases

land-use-planning-zoning-forensisgroup

Land Use Planning refers to a branch of public policy having to do with the regulation of land to be used in an efficient way.  Land use planning has a view to ensure that land is used in a way that supports the physical, economic and social well-being of a community.


Three Causes of the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

residential real estate homes in a blue sky

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s recent lawsuit against S&P is the latest example of fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis. The mortgage crisis, one of the leading indicators of the U.S. financial crisis that began in 2007, was characterized by a marked increase in foreclosures and mortgage delinquencies. Subprime mortgages refer to mortgages that are risky and are considered to be of a lower quality than mortgages that are relatively secure. The increasing number of delinquencies led to a decline in mortgage-backed securities.


5 Ways to Stay Clear of Mortgage Modification Fraud

Mortgage Fraud stuff

An unfortunate side-effect of the foreclosure epidemic is a rise in mortgage modification fraud. As the housing market has plummeted, scam artists have been able to convince desperate homeowners to pay a fee in exchange for false promises of lowering their mortgage or monthly payments.


Product Liability: How Expert Witness Testimony Affected the McDonald’s Coffee Case

product-liability-mc-donald-coffee-spill-forensisgroup

Most people in the United States remember something about the Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants case. The case involved a woman, Stella Liebeck, who suffered third degree burns after spilling McDonald’s hot coffee on her pelvic region. The case became famous due to the fact that Ms. Liebeck was eventually awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages. The case, which sparked a national debate about tort reform, is one of the most famous examples of a product liability suit.


STANDARD OF CARE: What Standard, Who Cares?

By: Expert No. 164453 M.D. Abstract A hundred years ago, one man could master the cumulative medical knowledge of all humanity. Today, one man could spend a lifetime reading the new findings published in a single year. We doctors learn it ‘all’ in medical school. But, of course, that is not enough. We must keep … Continued


The Whistleblower and the RIA

By Expert No. 361382 CFP, CTFA, CDFA Abstract Most people are quite familiar with Broker-Dealers — wirehouses such as Morgan Stanley Smith Barney or Merrill Lynch. The broker-dealer is essentially a sales organization that charges clients either a transactional commission or utilizes a fee in lieu of commission platform. The minimal threshold of “suitability” is the … Continued


The Roles of Security Investment Management Experts

Event Security expert witness on duty

When most people think of the word security, they might think of an alarm system that protects their home or car. However, in the world of finance, a security refers to a negotiable financial instrument representing value. Securities are qualified as debt securities (such as bank notes or bonds), equity securities (such as common stocks and mutual funds) and derivative securities (such as hedge funds and futures). Securities were originally represented by certificates, but increasingly, they’ve come to be represented electronically.


Protecting Your Business with Professional Liability Insurance

Liability claims word cloud concept

When operating a business that provides services to consumers, there is often an inherent risk of something going wrong. It’s possible for consumers to get food poisoning from a restaurant or to injure themselves while swimming in a public pool that isn’t properly constructed. No matter how well-trained a staff, the risk of consumer harm does not tend to disappear completely. That’s where liability insurance comes in. General liability insurance can protect businesses against acts that cause damage to people’s health or property.


Should Web Hosts Protect the Intellectual Property on Their IPs?

intellectual property expert witness word cloud

In early March, Yahoo! filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Facebook. It’s spurring questions over whether or not patent law is too broad and if patent law needs to be reexamined. Patent law suits are becoming a standard part of the technology business these days. As more large websites go public, shareholders in IPOs have an interest in trying to make certain that they can be compensated for any unlawful uses of their intellectual property.


What Qualifies as Corporate Negligence?

corporate-negligence

Corporate negligence can often be difficult to establish. For a corporation to be declared negligent, it must be proven that a corporation or one of its employees did undue harm to a third party by breaching their responsibility.


Understanding the Industrial Engineering Industry

Industrial Engineering expert witness working on a rooftop

In order to find an engineering expert witness, it’s vital for attorneys to understand that the industrial engineering industry is multi-faceted. In addition to there being several types of industrial engineers, there are manifold career paths that might lead an engineer to expert qualification.


Legal Malpractice Is a Growing Field of Law

Legal Malpractice dictionary definition

Legal malpractice is a term that refers to breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty or negligence by an attorney that causes harm to a client. For an attorney’s negligence to be considered malpractice, an injured party must prove that the attorney’s actions exceed poor strategy. Rather, it must be established that the attorney’s actions resulted in errors that no reasonable attorney would make.


Pregnant Women Still Face Employment Discrimination in the Workplace

pregnant-women-still-face-employment-discrimination-in-workplace-forensisgroup

Three fourths of women now entering the workforce will become pregnant on the job. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was designed to prevent employment discrimination when it comes to any aspect of pregnancy, including hiring, firing, promotions, layoffs, fringe benefits or any other terms of employment.  However, due to a gap between anti-discrimination and disability law, many women still face termination due to their pregnancies.


7 Ways That Workers’ Compensation Expert Witnesses Can Provide Support

workers-compensation-expert-witnesses-forensisgroup

Workers compensation expert witnesses possess specialized knowledge that can allow them to deliver credible analysis both prior to and during litigation. Since workers compensation trials can involve complicated technical issues, it can pay to retain a witness who is familiar with the particulars of your trial. Whether the trial involves insurance premiums, audits, code disputes or experience modification factors, experts can help you understand complex issues and minimize the impact of opposition experts.


SECB Calls for National Structural Engineering Certification

structural engineering

Structural engineering as a discipline is becoming increasingly complex. However, there are currently only 10 U.S. states that require any form of specific certification for structural engineers.

According to Jon Schmidt, Associate Structural Engineer and Director of Antiterrorism Services at Burns & McDonnell and Chair of the Editorial Board of STRUCTURE Magazine, “In today’s world of complex structures and 3D modeling, structural engineering is a partnership among architects, contractors and engineering firms. The structural engineer must be able to offer insightful and pragmatic suggestions, and doing that requires strong technical knowledge, depth of experience and problem-solving abilities that have been well-honed over time.”


How to Interview an Engineering Expert Witness

engineering expert witness equipment

Engineering experts can offer vital litigation support and can help sway a judge and jury in your client’s favor based on the strong and objective technical analysis of the issues of your case. However, when you are considering retaining an engineering expert witness, it is paramount that you ascertain, not only his experience testifying as an engineering expert, but also his experience that is relevant to your specific case.


New York Expert Witness Cites the Importance of Consulting with Expert Witnesses

new-york-expert-witnesses-forensisgroup

Dr. Donald M. May, Ph.D., a director in the Litigation and Corporate Financial Advisory Services Group at New York-based accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP, has released a statement citing the importance of including expert witnesses as consultants in preparation for litigation.

“In most cases, a law firm will bring in an expert witness near the end of the litigation process to report and testify.” Says Donald M. May, “But that’s not the most cost-effective way to use an expert.”


3 Effective Approaches to Expert Witness Business Valuation

close-up-business-handshakes-expert-witness-business

Business valuation can be one of the most challenging aspects of commercial litigation. Forensic accountants are often hired as expert witnesses in order to give their expert opinion as to the value of a particular business. There are many factors that go into calculating the value of a business. When approaching business valuation, expert witnesses can take one of three distinct approaches, each with their own methodologies.


Construction Experts Help Expose Falsifications in Bay Bridge Structural Testing

Construction, Building Trades, and Architectural Disciplines and Expertise

Following a recent Sacramento Bee investigation, Caltrans fired two employees implicated in an assortment of problems involving tests conducted on the Bay Bridge and other structures throughout California.

The Bee reported that Duane Wiles, a technician who was responsible for testing bridge foundations and his supervisor, Brian Liebitch, were involved in at least three confirmed falsifications. The report also revealed several errors committed by Wiles that have called the validity of his testing methods into question, raising concern about several California structures.


What Attorneys Should Look for When Reviewing Expert Valuation Reports

expert-valuation-report-attorney-forensisgroup

One of the key duties of a forensic accountant is to provide business valuation reports. As the name implies, valuation reports estimate the value of a business. These reports are used by litigators for a variety of legal purposes including evaluating various partners’ share of ownership in facilitating buy-sell agreements, mergers and acquisitions.

Valuation reports can be a powerful tool in the courtroom, but litigators need to ensure that their experts have correctly prepared the valuation reports. There are several common errors that have been observed in valuation reports. Litigators should ensure that the purpose of the valuation has been clearly defined by the report. It is also essential that an overview of the company’s background, market, industry and competitors has been prepared.


Language Barrier Is Detrimental to Safety in the Construction Industry

Two-workers-on-a-construction-site-construciton-expert-language-barrier-in-construction-industry-forensisgroup

Effective communication is important to safety in any work environment. In the construction industry, a lack of communication can cause property damage, injuries and even deaths. It’s no secret that there are many non-English speakers employed in the construction industry. According to construction expert Paul Gogulski, speaking English is necessary to avoiding hazards on construction sites.


Delineation in Construction

By Expert No. 53885 Abstract One small construction task could place your company in financial and legal distress. This one task I am speaking of is delineation. You could be the best general contractor, and have placed hundreds of miles of asphalt roadways and the forgetfulness of missing an edge line or centerline could put … Continued


Do You Really Know What “As Is” Is?

By: Expert No. 56901 B.A., M.B.A. Abstract Most standard real estate contracts for existing construction sales, now have a clause included, which states that the property is sold “as is” or “in present condition.” In questioning both buyers, sellers, and real estate sales agents, it is apparent that there exists some confusion regarding this term. When … Continued


Don’t Let Contractors Be Wimps

By: Expert No. 169205 Abstract Trusting contractors often complete additional work without written approval and then don’t get paid for it. They know they are required to get change orders signed and approved prior to doing the work…but, why don’t they? Introduction Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Contractor Change Order Excuses: #1: … Continued


Profitable Employment Practices Help Employers Reduce Litigation and Increase Productivity

By Expert No. 173185, Esq. Abstract Unfortunately, employing people today is a risky and complicated business. Yet despite the serious risks, without contributions from a skilled and dedicated workforce, no business can succeed. Employers of all sizes and types have adopted and benefited from six employment-related, profitable “best employment practices” to solve this apparent dilemma. … Continued


The War on Lead

war-on-lead

By: Expert No. 9027, Ph.D., P.E , Mechanical Engineer Abstract Billions of dollars from property owners, businesses and tax payer funds have been wasted in the last two decades chasing a problem that simply does not exist. The scientific community needs to continually educate homeowners, landlords, tenants, our legislators and the Real- Estate Industry that … Continued


A Note on Head Acceleration During Low Speed Rear-End Collisions

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By: Expert No. 43224, Ph.D., and Sylvian Poncet Abstract This paper presents a simple relationship between a vehicle’s acceleration and the occupant’s head acceleration during low speed rear-end collisions. Only experimental data obtained from tests performed on human volunteers, is used to establish the relationship. It was found that the head acceleration, on the average, is … Continued


More Hype Than Hope

By: Expert No. 28193, Ph.D. How conservation evaporates ethanol’s benefits for cars The sharp increase in crude oil prices during the past year created an urgent need to search for alternative sources of transportation fuels. Ethanol emerged as the primary candidate to replace a part of the gasoline pool used for transportation. Ethanol can be … Continued


Three Rules for Forensic Real Estate Damage Valuation: Deductive, Adductive, or Reductive Rule? (analysis)

By: Expert No. 96877 and Expert No. 47300 Forensic Valuation: What Is It? Forensic real estate valuation is the application of economic principles and methodologies to answer questions of fact as to whether real estate values have suffered a permanent damage. Forensic real estate valuation contrasts with the prevailing valuation theory in the real estate … Continued


Construction Delay Analysis Methods

By: Expert No. 51241 Construction projects often suffer from delays due to a wide variety of reasons, which can have severe financial impact on the project. As a result, delay claims may be filed. The analysis of the delay impact with the causes and effects of the delaying activities is one of the most complicated … Continued


No Construction Claims — Guaranteed!!

By Expert No. 9103 & Troy Vernon Sutton We have all learned that the three most important aspects of real estate are Location, Location, Location! In construction, the three most important aspects to successful resolution of issues are Documentation, Documentation, Documentation! We were recently asked about methods for minimizing construction claims. The project managers were … Continued


The Peculiar Construction Industry!

By: Expert No. 8858, P.E. What a crazy business the construction industry is. Many contractors are, underneath it all, gamblers betting a lot of blue chips. The work is complicated, it is usually awarded to the lowest bidder who will use every means to reduce costs and increase profit. Each job is unique and the … Continued


Defective Fasteners Drive Structural Failures

By: Expert No. 43088, Ph.D., P.E. Abstract Many structural failures, from ladders to airframes, are caused by defective mechanically-fastened joints, resulting from either poor fastener manufacturing quality or improper installation. Many fastener specifications permit up to 4% defectives per batch, many of which may be missed by the installer. Fasteners installed out-of-grip and poor hole … Continued


Engineering Underground Pipeline Safety

By Expert No. 47246, P. E. (Retired/Inactive) Background And Statistics Petroleum Products Each day in the United States we use millions of gallons of crude oil to maintain our living and lifestyles. A 2004 study Economic Energy Report on oil production and consumption, has listed the amount of world’s daily production of oil at about … Continued


Conservation Easements, the Good, the Bad and the Greedy

By: Expert No. 47300, A.S.A. The basic concept is easy to grasp. This is a simple compound of conservation, as defined in the particular circumstance, and easement, a property right conveyed to a private conservation organization or government. The effect is similar to CC&Rs (codicils, covenants and restrictions) but applied to land after its original … Continued


Analysis of Computer Games for Violence Potential

By: Expert No. 41697, Psy.D. RNCS Suicide and Law Enforcement Conference Federal Bureau of Investigation Quantico, Virginia — September 20-25, 1999 When psychologists evaluate an individual, they use external data, such as school, military and hospital records, personal diaries, and drawings in addition to interviewing the person directly. In fact, there are several tests used … Continued


Excavation and Trenching Safety

By: Expert No. 8901, P.E., C.I.H., C.S.P. Excavation and trenching may present substantial risk of injury to person working in the excavation or adjacent to the edge. Safety guidelines have been developed through years of experience working with and in excavation. Many of these guidelines have been adopted by OSHA and have been made mandatory … Continued


Internal Corrosion of Plumbing

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By: Expert No. 8966, PE Among a homeowner’s more traumatic experiences, especially if the home is fairly new, ranks the telltale wet spot on the living room carpet (if the plumbing is in the slab), or the soggy bits of not-so-dry-wall (if the plumbing runs overhead.) An inspection is likely to reveal more than just … Continued


Investigating Concrete-Related Problems In Construction Defect Cases

Many investigations related to construction involve the use of concrete; and, frequently, it seems that the concrete is not performing as anticipated. Such problems often are related to cracking of the concrete, but cracking is usually only the most visible manifestation of a problem.

The adjacent figure shows crack patterns on concrete panels that are the results of field research performed in Southern California some years ago. This research showed that once concrete is placed directly on a polyethylene membrane, it will crack at a later age with almost no regard to subsequent effort to cure the concrete. This research was submitted as part of a condition survey that resulted in the settlement of a claim by the owner for remediation of the improperly installed material.


Is Mold Causing Your Indoor Air Quality Problem?

Is Mold Causing Your Indoor Air Quality Problem?

By: Expert No. 8901, PE, CIH, CSP, REA We have all seen molds on food or paper products (books, bathroom walls, etc.). These visible manifestations are only indicators of potential problem. The problem is actually not seen by the naked eye. It is the reproductive result of these indicators that is of concern. Molds and … Continued


Quality Control Deflects Construction Defects

By: Expert No. 27024, AIA Construction defects and subsequent litigation can stem from many different sources. During a construction project, quality is the most important aspect to concentrate on to mitigate defects. A primary contributor to quality is the level of craftsmanship that is employed and the quality of materials that are used as well … Continued


Shopping For A Car Or Truck? – Think Safety

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By: Expert No. 40237, P.E. Large Vs. Small Whether purchasing a new or used vehicle, safety should be considered along with utility, comfort, price and style. After the use or non-use of seat belts, the single most important factor in determining your chance of getting killed or seriously injured in an accident is your vehicle’s … Continued


The Effect of Winter Rains on the Stability of Slopes

By: Expert No. 42777, R.G., C.E.G. Although this winter has been relatively mild, last year’s devastating landslides such as Bluebird Canyon and the La Conchita resulted in millions of dollars of property damage and several deaths. These failures, and thousands of other smaller failures, have resulted in insurance claims and legal actions that will be … Continued


What is a Hazardous Material?

By: Expert No. 8901, P.E., C.I.H., C.S.P. Whether a material is hazardous depends on who you ask and why. Various governmental programs have different criteria on what constitutes a hazardous substance. Most lists of hazardous materials include substances with hazardous properties such as toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive. The Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection … Continued