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Beware of Phantom Hacker Scams Targeting Seniors, Warns FBI

The FBI warned about a quickly growing nationwide scam specifically targeting older individuals, as 66% of victims are age 60 or over. These scams are known as "Phantom Hacker" schemes and are a new variation on a previously rampant form of tech support fraud. The threat actors will pose as tech support personnel, bank representatives, or government officials, quickly gaining the target's trust. Losses to this scam exceeded $542 million in the first half of 2023 alone.

How to Spot a Hacked Electronic Device - and What to Do About It

As a Digital Forensics company, we receive frequent inquiries from people who believe their devices have been hacked. In some cases, it becomes quickly apparent that the person reporting the hacking may be imagining some or all elements of it (especially when the FBI is claimed to be involved). However, that does not change the fact that there are 100% legitimate instances of hacking, and it is essential to be aware of the warning signs that someone may be accessing your devices without your knowledge. Here are some indicators that your electronics may have been compromised - and what to do about it:

Psychiatrist vs. Psychologist: What Is the Difference?

Provided by: Sanjay Adhia, MD
Is a Psychiatrist better than a Psychologist as an Expert Witness?

Forensic Evaluation in Cases of Filicide

Filicide is the act of a parent intentionally taking the life of their child. Although these types of crimes are relatively rare, they occur more often than most of us would like to think, with approximately 500 arrests for filicide annually. As upsetting as any child homicide is, perhaps more disturbing is the fact that a child is much more likely to be murdered by a parent or a stepparent than a stranger. This article provides a conceptual framework for understanding filicide and its application in forensic psychological evaluations.

Motorcycle Helmet Retention System Failures

Why are motorcycle helmets sometimes ejected from a rider's head during a crash?

Risk Management of Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Provided by: Cogent Experts, LLC
For those unfamiliar, BIM is a powerful, digital 3D modeling tool used to plan, design, engineer, collaborate and develop construction information for a given project. BIM can provide and optimize architecture, structural, construction, process, MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing) and civil design efforts prior to construction to minimize defects. BIM can also be used for project scheduling, tracking, costing and project maintenance tasks. Some common BIM packages include Navisworks, AutoCAD MEP, Revit, Autodesk BIM 360, Vectorworks and SmartPlant3D etc.

Compartment Syndrome: An Overlooked Surgical Emergency

A brief case review of acute compartment syndrome, a high-risk surgical condition. Delayed diagnosis often leads to permanent disability.

Pharmacy Dispensing Standards of Practice (and Reality)

Provided by: The Legal RXpert
Whether you represent a client injured by a dispensing error or a pharmacist accused of violating the standards of practice, here is a quick rundown of what often happens in the real-world pharmacy.

The Attention Button: A Deterrent for Sexual Misconduct During Massage Therapy

The latest statistics show that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men are sexually assaulted in the US every year. That translates to someone being assaulted every 68 seconds, or over 450,000 sexual assaults each year, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.* Sexual misconduct affects every profession, from politics and business to entertainment and health care.

Testamentary Capacity and Undue Influence

Understanding the relationship between testamentary capacity and undue influence in the law is essential in will contest litigation, especially since Courts often allow challenges to testamentary capacity and arguments of undue influence to proceed simultaneously. Common themes emerge. • Can a cognitively impaired person have intact testamentary capacity? • Can a person with intact testamentary capacity still be vulnerable to undue influence or lose free will? • How can a psychiatric expert retrospectively assess testamentary capacity and susceptibility to undue influence for the Court or Jury?

False Claims Act and The Safeway/Supervalue Case

A Supreme Court Case holds major implications for for the False Claims Act (FCA)

Burning Hot Coffee: a Warning for Drive-Thru Customers

Over the last ten years, the number of litigation matters and insurance claims pertaining to hot coffee and hot tea spills on customers coming through a drive-thru has skyrocketed. The statistics for these events are not tracked in any reliable way but look at legal dockets across the country and it is obvious that hot coffee and hot tea spills – especially through drive-thru as well as carry-out operations have become an industry hazard of world-class proportion.

5 Major Medicolegal Risks in the Telehealth Era

COVID-19 saw an explosion in the adoption of telemedicine across the country. While it is a great new option for patients to access medical care, stakeholders need to be aware of major medicolegal risks.

Another Health Crisis Is Looming

As the pandemic comes to an end, Americans are faced with another major health crisis.

Nursing Facilities and Pandemic-Related Legal Risks

Pandemic-related state and federal Provisions create new legal challenges for nursing facilities.

How to Handle Slips, Trips & Falls in a Restaurant or Bar

Are you a personal injury lawyer dealing with a case involving a slip, trip, or fall accident or injury at a restaurant or bar? I can help! As a Restaurant Expert Witness, I have more than 35+ years of experience in the industry and understand restaurant liability law.

Expert Analysis of the Silicon Valley Bank Situation

Provided by: Don Coker
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 [1]

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

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

Provided by: Sanjay Adhia, MD
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

Provided by: Sanjay Adhia, MD
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

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

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

Provided by: Don Coker
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)?

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

Provided by: Don Coker
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

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

Provided by: Sanjay Adhia, MD
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

Provided by: Context Corporation
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

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

Provided by: Context Corporation
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?

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

Provided by: Don Coker
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?

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.

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