Articles by Expert Witnesses
Expert Analysis of the Silicon Valley Bank Situation
Renowned Worldwide Banking and Financial Expert Witness and former Governmental Banking Regulator and consultant to many Banking Regulators, Don Coker* examines some important nuances of the various financial problems that have arisen, what went wrong, where mistakes were made, and forms of litigation that will likely follow in the 2023 round of troubled bank problems. Mr. Coker has served in several positions as an interim manager of insolvent financial institutions for governmental banking regulators. In addition he has served as a consultant to over 120 banks, the IRS, eighty of the country's largest law firms, and hundreds of others. His consulting work has included work in sixty-eight countries for clients in forty-four countries. He has authored one banking book and 115 articles, and has been interviewed or quoted in over fifty publications and radio and television stations. *Disclaimer: Don Coker is an Expert Witness and not a lawyer, and does not offer legal advice.
Jury Awards Pool Party Alcohol Injury $5.6 Million
Provided by: Dram Shop Experts
According to the Complaint, the Defendant, Retreat at Gainesville, LLC, hosted a St. Patrick’s Day pool party and provided free alcohol at the Retreat on March 17, 2017. Promotional materials for the event encouraged attendees to bring their own beer and did not mention any age restrictions. Upon arriving at the pool party, no one asked Massey for identification. Although underage, retreat employees welcomed him to the party by encouraging him to consume beer from unmanned kegs around the pool.
Train Derailment, Toxic Exposure, Psychiatric Responses
On February 3, 2023, a freight train derailed near the Ohio/Pennsylvania state line. Release of toxic chemicals into the air, and a subsequent fire broke out. Evacuation and shelter-in-place orders were issued. The impact on the community and first responders is addressed here. It would not be surprising to see a class action or multi-plaintiff lawsuit brought at some point. The article is for plaintiff and defense attorneys. --Source, AP News reporting on Feb. 4, 2023 
The Impact of Video Redaction on Law Enforcement
Provided by: Focal Forensics
This article discuses the burden of video redaction on law enforcement agencies. We dive into what video redaction is, software considerations and video redaction services. We believe that by providing this information, a better understanding to the potential benefits and challenges of video redaction can be understood by law enforcement, school districts, transportation departments, private organizations and more.
Disputed Confession: Expert Evaluations
This article describes the conceptual background, and best practices, of the evaluation of disputed confession by forensic psychology expert witnesses.
Child Witness Credibility: Expert Witness Evaluations
This article reviews best practices for conducting forensic psychological evaluations related to child witness credibility.
Construction Work Zone Traffic Control - MUTCD
Provided by: Construction Risk Management, Inc.
Traffic crashes in construction work zones can be particularly challenging since they may involve the plans and placement of construction traffic control devices.
Oral Agreement v. Written Agreement… That Is the Question
Provided by: Kathryn Arnold
The film business has often been notoriously known as a handshake business ¬— deals done at upscale bars, a few ideas written on a napkin, all while clinking overpriced martinis. That being said, the film industry is a high-risk business with millions of dollars at stake. An oral agreement becomes precarious when disagreements arise. Can an oral agreement obligate someone to invest, and/or are they enforceable in a court of law?
Independent Medical Examination What You Need to Know About a “Psych” IME
An IME usually includes a face-to-face or video examination. Both are discussed here. This article is to help understand the psychiatric IME. A medico-legal IME is very different from a clinical exam. The clinical exam is performed to treat a patient and establishes doctor-patient confidentiality. In a lawsuit, however, the IME is used to evaluate an examinee, usually a plaintiff or defendant, and provide a medico-legal opinion. There is no doctor-patient relationship and confidentiality is limited.
Multi-Plaintiffs and Toxic Tort Cases
Each plaintiff’s damages are assessed separately and damages are distinct and different. In multi-plaintiff cases, it would be advisable to retain an expert witness who has experience with such cases.
Reacting to the Increase of Construction Injuries/Deaths
Provided by: Construction Risk Management, Inc.
Recent increases in the frequency of construction "accidents" all over the world have stirred questions of what must be done to reduce these events and stop the increase.
Combustible Dust: How to Safely Handle It
Provided by: The Engineers Collaborative
Combustible dusts pose a deflagration or other fire hazard when suspended in air. Deflagrations can lead to explosions. Combustible dusts are often either organic or metal dusts that are finely ground into very small particles. Types of dusts include, but are not limited to: metal dust, such as aluminum and magnesium; wood dust; plastic dust; biosolids; organic dust, such as sugar, and paper. Some industries that handle combustible dusts include: agriculture, chemicals, textiles, forest and furniture products, wastewater treatment, metal processing, paper products, pharmaceuticals, and recycling operations (metal, paper, and plastic).
Remove Mugshots From Google Images
Provided by: Alex Adekola
Most people are aware that a criminal record can follow you around for the rest of your life if you don’t remove your mugshot from Google Images. What many don’t realize is that this includes your mugshot appearing in a Google search of your name. This can make it very difficult to move on from your past and live a normal, productive life.
Expert Opinions in Wire Transfer Scam Losses Add Support to an IRS Theft or Casualty Loss Tax Deduction Claim
Renowned Worldwide Banking and Financial Expert Witness Don Coker* examines some important nuances of some theft or casualty loss deductions, especially for sophisticated wire transfer scams involving large funds transfers often to bank accounts in foreign countries.
What is a Psychiatrist’s Medico-Legal Independent Medical Examination (IME)?
Provided by: Dr. Pia Quimson-Guevarra
What happens during a Psychiatric IME? What an attorney needs to know.
Mental Health Diversion: An Overview of the Legal Guidelines and Requirements
The criminal justice system in California has undergone several reforms over the past decade. As part of these reforms, there has been more emphasis on providing care and treatment to defendants with mental illness rather than incarcerating them in jail or prison. In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 215, which created a pre-trial diversion program for defendants with a mental disorder that has been accused of committing specific crimes. If they successfully complete treatment, the criminal charges will be dismissed and the record of the arrest will be sealed. The goal of this blog post is to provide an overview of the guidelines regarding mental health diversion (PC 1001.36) and how we evaluate individuals to determine if they meet the criteria for pre-trial diversion.
An Expert Opinion Can Help in an I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker Permanent Resident Status Response
Often when a non-U.S. citizen is applying for permanent resident status in the United States, especially if the applicant claims to be an Alien of Extraordinary Ability, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services section of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will send a Request for Evidence ("RFE") inquiry seeking additional information or clarification of previously submitted information that must be provided before an approval can be granted. These requests often involve information concerning what could best be characterized as the economic and professional ability and stability of the person applying for permanent resident status in the United States. Renowned Worldwide Banking and Financial Expert Witness and Consultant Don Coker examines some important nuances of responding to these RFEs and how they involve economic and financial evaluations that are similar to those one must pass successfully when seeking financing for a business or real estate assets.
The Mental Status Examination Is Not a Scientific Psychological Measure
Provided by: Williams Forensic Mental Health Services
The mental status examination is often discussed by expert witnesses in court as if it is an objective measure. It is not, and this use can confuse the trier of fact.
Public Pension Funding Levels Improve in Second Quarter 2021
The stock market's strong performance in the second quarter of 2021 helped the top 100 U.S. public pension plans improve their funding status, according to a report by the actuarial firm Milliman, Inc. This continues an upward trend in public pension funding levels that is now in its fifth quarter.
PBGC to Administer $94 Billion in Financial Assistance to Multiemployer Pension Plans
Multiemployer pension plans are back in the news following enactment of The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 on March 11, 2021. The Rescue Plan creates approximately $94 billion in funding for more than 200 eligible multiemployer pension plans that are severely underfunded. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced a new Special Financial Assistance (SFA) Program under ARP in an interim final rule released on July 9, 2021. This article addresses key features of the PBGC program.
Pension Reform Planned for Texas Retirement System
The Texas Governor recently signed into law a pension reform bill designed to improve the financial integrity of the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS), which manages benefits for employees and retirees of State of Texas agencies and some higher education institutions. There are three component funds through which benefits are accrued and paid. All three plans are single employer defined benefit pension plans.
Understanding Dementia and Medical-Legal Implications
Dementia encompasses degenerative disorders of the brain. It can be subtle and fluctuate in severity even from day to day. It can accompany genetic factors, or be associated with an injury or repeated injuries to the brain and head. It is serious and marked by symptoms that can impair making informed decisions or manage the most basic tasks we take for granted in living our daily lives.
Cell Tower Data Analysis Is Junk Science? You'Re Doing It Wrong.
Provided by: David Allen Burgess
Many of the calls I get from attorneys are requests for the analysis of cellphone records to determine the location of a phone at some given time. The analysis can provide useful information, but poor application of standards is threatening to ruin a valuable type of evidence.
TCPA Compliance in the Wake of Facebook v. Duguid
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on April 1, 2021 rendered its long-awaited decision in the matter of Facebook v Duguid, which undoubtedly was the single most anticipated in the realm of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Just in case you need to get up to speed, I provided a good deal of background and context on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in a previous article, TCPA: Facebook v Duguid. Subsequently, I raised the specter of continuing litigation in Facebook v Duguid: It Ain’t over Yet. Responsible call center operators (i.e., good actors) now must deal with life after this decision.
How to Avoid Massage Client Injuries
Provided by: Benjamin Institute
Few things are worse than asking a returning client how they feel after a session and having them reply: “I don’t know what you did, but my pain is much, much worse.” Every therapist I know sincerely wants to help their clients feel better, whether the treatment is geared toward relaxation or a specific injury or pain. Unfortunately, in my work as an expert witness, I have seen many cases of well-meaning therapists who have seriously injured their clients.
Proactive SMS and a Claim of Distracted Driving
Provided by: David Allen Burgess
From time to time, an attorney will request cellphone activity records from a mobile operator, and those records will show some text messages to and from strange numbers. There is a good chance that the person who uses the phone never sent or saw these messages. And if this happens in the middle of a legal case where cellphone activity is an issue, the resulting confusion can be a source of doubt and error.
Facebook v. Duguid: It Ain't Over Yet
The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in the matter of Facebook v Duguid has been perhaps the single most anticipated in the realm of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), at least in the last decade or so, and all over a punctuation mark—a comma, to be exact. I’m not an attorney with a TCPA focus—actually, I’m not an attorney of any sort—but I know a bunch of them, have been retained by more than a few, and read a lot of their opinions, arguments and musings. Not particularly surprising to those of us who work in the TCPA domain or are impacted by it, the published articles, blogs and such are mostly, if not all, written by attorneys in the defendants’ bar. I reckon those in the plaintiffs’ bar like to keep their opinions, musings and strategies to themselves until the litigation process begins. I provided some TCPA background and context in a previous article, TCPA: Facebook v Duguid, but will repeat some of that here to refresh your memory.
State Sponsored Retirement Plans Continue to Expand
Several states are taking the lead from California, Oregon and Illinois by offering state-sponsored retirement plans that encourage or require private sector employers to participate.
From Columbine to Aurora to Boulder: Why?
Provided by: Dr. Richard J. Stride, Psy.D., MBA, LMHC
From studies and news after Columbine: “Attackers were as likely to be rich as poor. They are from all ethnic and racial backgrounds (though three-fourths were white). They had intact and broken families, good and bad report cards. A few felt isolated but just as many had a lot of friends. Most were suicidal, but only a few had been diagnosed with mental disorders.” -U.S. Secret Service Study
Medico-Legal Risks & Appropriate Documentation in Medical Records
While electronic medical records have made it easier for healthcare professionals (& lawyers) to review daily progress notes, certain functionality can lead inadvertently to poor care. This is especially given the "cut and paste" functionality that is prevalent in this system.
Expert Analysis of Important Financial and Insurance Issues in the Ever Given Suez Canal Blockage Litigation
Renowned Worldwide Banking and Financial Expert Witness Don Coker examines some important nuances of the litigation that will certainly follow the recent catastrophic Suez Canal blockage. Coverages including cargo insurance, protection and indemnity, business interruption, contingent business interruption, loss of hire, blocking and trapping, and parametric coverage are all issues that certainly will be a part of expert witnesses' damages analyses as insurance claims and litigation go forward.
What Is Computer Hacking?
Provided by: Trace Digital Forensics, LLC
With the recent Van Buren decision, the Supreme Court limited the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and brought it more in line with what security experts would understand to be "hacking". But, what does that mean?
VAWA Evaluations: 7 Common Questions Applicants Have About VAWA Evaluations and Petitions
There are several immigration waivers and petitions that individuals can apply for in order to become legal permanent residents in the United States. We have a detailed blog post that goes over the seven immigration cases where you might need a psychological evaluation. One of the most common petitions falls under the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA). VAWA allows a battered immigrant spouse, child, or parent of either gender to file an immigration petition without their abuser’s knowledge. If approved, a VAWA petition lets the applicant work in the United States and become a legal permanent resident (a green card holder). Although the petition includes “women” in the title, men are also able to apply for a petition under this law. The goal of this blog post is to discuss this law in more detail, answer the most common questions we are asked regarding VAWA evaluations, and explain how a VAWA evaluation can help your case.
Immigration Hardship Evaluations: 5 Questions Applicants Have About Hardship Evaluations & Waivers
If you are trying to get a visa or green card but are blocked due to inadmissibility, you can apply for an I-601 or I-601A waiver based on the extreme hardship that a qualified relative will experience if you are not admitted to the United States. Attorneys will often ask applicants (the qualifying relative) to meet with a psychologist for an immigration hardship evaluation. Immigration hardship evaluations document the various hardships the qualifying relative will face if you are deported or if they have to leave the country.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA): Facebook v. Duguid: Punctuation Matters
The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in the matter of Facebook v Duguid has been perhaps the single most anticipated in the realm of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), at least in the last decade or so, and all over a punctuation mark—a comma, to be exact. The legal battles over that comma are the stuff of legends and the implications of that decision are considerable, if not monumental. The decision leaves a lot of unanswered questions, however, and even raises a few in the mind of this consultant. I’ll explore those in another article at another time.
Minimizing Medicolegal Risk in the Covid and Post-Covid Era
Provided by: Vipul Kella, M.D., MBA. FACEP
The post-COVID could present new, unprecedented risks for healthcare providers.
The Status of Single Employer Pension Plans in 2021
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 ("ARPA"), signed into law on March 11, 2021, provides two significant funding relief measures for defined benefit single employer pension plans, as outlined below.
Multiemployer Pensions Get Relief in The American Rescue Plan
Financially distressed multiemployer pension plans are receiving $86 billion in financial assistance as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) enacted by Congress in March 2021.
Will Contest and Estate Planning Competency: The Role of a Forensic Psychiatrist
Provided by: Dr. Pia Quimson-Guevarra
During a Will contest, a forensic psychiatrist can provide valuable expertise by assessing testamentary capacity, or the testator’s ability to make his/her Will. If the testator lacked testamentary capacity, the Will could be invalidated. A Will is separate from other vehicles that individuals may use to distribute their estate on death, such as a Revocable Trust.
DMA Computes $300M Damages Resulting From Breach of Fiduciary Duty in Retirement Portfolio Accounts
Provided by: DMA Economics
One of the largest employee retirement funds in the country at the time with nearly $1b in assets under management. The fund managers were alleged to have violated their fiduciary duty to maintain proper diversification in the fund by allowing one particular security to make up more than 25% of fund value and up to over 40% of fund value by mid-2015 There were also allegations against the retirement fund managers of failure to prudently divest the security when accounting irregularities became publicly known in late 2015
First Ever Class Certification in “Natural” Mislabeling Mascara Matter
Provided by: DMA Economics
The issue Mascara falsely labeled as being natural Label claims “Natural” fibers on mascara are alleged and proven to be false Class action filed and DMA Economics is tasked with computing aggregate damages to the class who purchased the mascara at a premium because they believed it was natural.
Pooled Employer Plans Start to Enter Pension Market
Leaders in the pension and retirement industry are starting to offer “pooled employer plans” (PEP) to small and medium-sized businesses that want to offer pension benefits to employees. The PEP is a new type of multiple employer plan (MEP), which must be administered by a “pooled plan provider” (PPP).
Pooled Employer Plans Expand Pension Benefits for Small Businesses
The "Pooled Employer Plan" (PEP) is a new entrant in the pension and retirement industry. Unrelated small employers can now join with other businesses to offer defined contribution pension plans to employees who may not otherwise benefit from an employer-sponsored plan.
COVID-19 Issues for ERISA Retirement Plan Sponsors
Economic disruption in the first two quarters of 2020, combined with future business uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic, is prompting Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) retirement plan sponsors to review their pension plan management options.
Multiemployer Pension Program Risks Insolvency by 2026
The Multiemployer Insurance Program managed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PGGC) is projected to become insolvent by 2026, according to the PBGC’s recently released 2020 Annual Report.
Reverse SEO for Law Firms: How to Protect Yourself and Your Clients Against Negative Content
Provided by: Blue Ocean Global Technology
More than two-thirds of clients are willing to travel farther to reach an attorney that has a solid online reputation with excellent reviews and ratings, instead of visiting a lawyer closer to their home and more convenient to reach, but who has a poor online reputation.
Your Online Reputation: 7 Things CEOs Must Know
Provided by: Blue Ocean Global Technology
Why does your online reputation matter? Just as most people Google the name of a company prior to doing business with it, the same is done for the individuals we do business with.
Expert Witness Experience and Skills Count
Provided by: HSE Solutions, Inc.
A short expulse of my experience as an expert witness with a few personal notes.
Key Characteristics of a Successful HSE Manager
Provided by: HSE Solutions, Inc.
Listing of key characteristics of highly successful HSE Managers and practicioners.
Retiree Medical and Health Benefits Face Budget Cuts
Retiree medical benefits are increasingly at risk as cities, counties, states, and corporate benefit plan sponsors seek to reduce the financial stress imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.