Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Articles by Expert Witnesses


How to Find a GPS Tracker in Your Car… if You Can

There have been some interesting stories about how GPS tracking systems needed to “see the sky”. And there have been plenty of idiots who have simply placed the tracker on the roof of the car. In that case finding the tracker is simple. In more sophisticated and therefore challenging locating exercises, it can take several hours for mechanics to find the device, especially when they are mounted behind the dashboard.
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U.S. Charges Eight in Hacking Scheme

Last week, the United States District Court of New Jersey filled charges against eight people, who allegedly hacked into many big name banks and stole upwards of $15,000,000.

Landscape Contracting Practices Resulting in Trip and Fall Litigation: Part 1-Irrigation

Landscape architects and contractors have distinct roles in the development of a successful landscape project. The design by the architect create a template that a landscape contractor adheres to in bidding and constructing the project. Landscape plans include specifications that dictate correct installation of products and materials. If a field construction worker deviates from a particular specification, their action may create a hazard that could result in an accident.

A Case Study: Guild Residual Calculations – Studio vs. Independent Film Finance Models

Provided by: Kathryn Arnold
While serving as an Expert for a production/distribution company who was being sued by one of the major guilds to pay outstanding royalties on a slate of pictures, the fundamental difference between the way Studios and Independent production/distribution companies finance and distribute films became very apparent.

Firefighter Disability - It May Not be What You See

What do you think of when you hear the word disability? Most likely the word disability creates an image of any number of conditions that are visible but disabilities are also those not visible

Managing the Risky Business of Company E-mail - Part 2

In part one of this article we discussed how employees generally do not consider e-mail as it relates to the company’s legal standing. As an owner/supervisor, it is left to you to consider and take great care in educating your employees in what should or shouldn’t be put in writing. In addition, it is also up to you to make your employees aware how the written word is conveyed when read.

Managing the Risky Business of Company E-mail Part 1

As an employer, Human Resources Director, or Risk Management Supervisor, ask yourself this question: “Do our employees think about the legal risk of sending communications over the internet?” If you are like the majority of companies, your answer would be, “It is highly improbable”. It is a very common problem amid the work place, for an employee to believe their electronic communications are transient, temporary and, once deleted, untraceable and therefore, harmless.

The Future Solvency of Multiemployer Benefit Plans

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”) used its partitioning authority recently for only the third time in its history to protect 350 former Hostess Brands employees from their distressed multiemployer pension plan—the Bakery and Sales Drivers Local 33. As a result of Hostess suspending its contributions to the pension, the funding level had plunged to 50 percent. The agency’s action was designed to preserve future pension payments to the pension’s members.

Who Supervises the Property Management Company on a Triple Net Lease?

Real Estate Litigation lawyers should be aware of their client’s Property Management Company and what their responsibilities are in a Triple Net Lease and hold them accountable.

Individual Account Balance Plans – The Class Action Environment

“Individual Account Balance Plans” are retirement plans where every participant has their own account consisting of their contributions, if any, and any contributions made by the employer. The participant’s account at retirement or separation consists of these contributions, plus/minus the investment performance and minus any expenses paid by the plan.

The Psychiatrist in the Security Clearance Process

Provided by: Brian Crowley, M.D.
Psychiatrists are asked to participate in the security clearance process in either of two ways.

Why You Should Stay Away from Section 79 Life Insurance Plans

I’ve had several calls lately from doctors who are being pitched Section 79 plans and are wondering if these plans are any good. The doctors are being told that Section 79 plans are the best wealth-building tool they can use to reduce their income taxes and create a tax-free retirement income.

Captive Insurance Arrangements Are on the IRS Radar

Internal Revenue Service scrutiny of captive insurance arrangements is increasing, and much of it is aimed at small captives utilizing the 831(b) tax election, say many in the captive industry.

Section 79 Scams and Captive Insurance History

When trying to understand how a product becomes a target of government scrutiny it helps to know its history. In the case of plans that fall under Internal Revenue Code Section 79, that history is complex.

Captive Insurance, Buyer Beware

Closely-Held Insurance Company structures, known as "CHICs", are sometimes used to purchase life insurance outside the estate of the business owner with what amounts to pre-tax dollars. This should not be the primary focus of the captive, but is something that can be done with a portion of the captive's accumulated assets.

Captive Insurance and Other Abusive Tax Shelters

Captive insurance arrangements that are funded with cash-value life insurance are the hot tax shelter for 2014. But serious questions exist whether they work as the promoter’s promise they will do.

Large IRS Fines for Participants in 419, 412i, Captive Insurance, Section 79 Plans

In a recent U.S. Tax Court case, some taxpayers suffered a double loss. The taxpayers, consisting of four couples, had purchased welfare benefit plans marketed by Benistar 419 Plan Services. Under the plan, Benistar provided pre-retirement life insurance to select employees of companies enrolled in the plan.

Unpublished Authors and The Battle Against Copyright Infringement

Provided by: Kathryn Arnold
Copyright infringement is a hot topic in the entertainment industry and I have worked on my fair share of cases on this issue. Having testified for both Plaintiffs and Defendants, successful and not so successful writers, the published and the unpublished, the questions remain the same - don’t all authors deserve copyright protection?

Landscape Contractor Standard of Care During The Construction Process

In landscape construction, there is a significant diversity in project aesthetics, quality and success. Unfortunately, a C-27 California landscape contractor license is no guarantee of contractor competency. As a landscape consultant and landscape expert witness for defendant and plaintiff attorneys, Mr. Rappoport has consulted on numerous landscape construction defect cases, and while the types of cases vary, there is a pattern of contractor deficiencies common in each case.

Addressing The Seventh Circuit’s Concerns Regarding Consumer Surveys in Litigation

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
In the course of affirming the district court’s decision in Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., 2013 WL 6017396, Judge Posner went a step further. While upholding the injunction, he ended his assessment with some comments “for future reference” when it comes to consumer surveys offered to demonstrate consumer confusion in support of a trademark infringement claim

Life Insurance Industry Use of Captive Insurance/Reinsurance

In June 2013, the New York Department of Financial Services through its Superintendent, Benjamin M. Lawsky published the results of an examination they had conducted over the previous year, by the name “Shining a Light on Shadow Insurance: A Little-Known Loophole That Puts Insurance Policyholders and Taxpayers at Greater Risk”. The Lawsky Report does bring to light some potentially alarming results.

Merging Carbon Monoxide Life Safety with Energy Conservation Methods

Residential indoor air quality, historically, has not been a major concern because the envelope and window leakage provided inhabitants with sufficient outdoor air. Older residential buildings are sufficiently leaky such that infiltration alone can meet the minimum outdoor air requirements for residential ventilation.

Supreme Court to Hear ERISA Case on Moench Presumption of Prudence

Fifth Third Bank and its officers breached their fiduciary duties of prudence by offering the bank’s stock as an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) investment option, allege plaintiffs in a lawsuit that has been working its way through the courts. Fifth Third acted imprudently by doing so, according to the plaintiffs.

Detroit Retirees Ponder Future Pension Cuts in Wake of Judge’s Bankruptcy Ruling

Now that the City of Detroit has been given the green light to proceed with restructuring under the protections of Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that govern municipalities, potential large-scale cutbacks, including the pensions of city retirees and steep losses for unsecured creditors, are likely the order of the day.

Get The Courts Daubert Rationale On The Record

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
A recent ruling encourages any litigator sponsoring expert testimony to ensure that the Court memorializes its critique of the Court’s gatekeeping function of expert testimony. The ruling also reversed two inherently speculative damage claims claims that are not that uncommon.

This Can Happen to You

Several years ago at the advice of an accountant or investment advisor a client adopts a defined benefit plan for her business. She did so because she had been advised that under this type of plan she could contribute tax deductible contributions far greater than the limits permitted under a defined contribution plan. Each year she funds the maximum that the IRS permitted based on a report from her actuary. The plan investment returns have been very good.

Despite Trend Toward Pension Freezes, Fund Administrators Report Growing Confidence in Sustainability of Plans

Freezing traditional pension plans has been a popular strategy to reduce the unfunded liabilities and long-term debt associated with underfunded retirement benefit plans.

Landscape Contractor Standard of Care: The Pros and Cons of Using a Landscape Design-Build Contractor

Landscape architects are utilized to design, prepare plans, make submittals and obtain permits for commercial, sub-division and public works projects. Their plans and specifications are part of the contract documents provided from their client to landscape contractors for bidding purposes. The landscape contractor performs a plan "takeoff", documenting all of the quantities, specifications, notes, and details and then creates their pricing and proposal based on that information.

The Dilemma of Being a Woman Firefighter

Being a firefighter is dangerous and challenging. Being a woman firefighter is more challenging within the fire house environment that includes harassment, discrimination, assault and at times termination or constructive discharge.

Consideration of Cancer Related Symptoms

With the rise of diagnoses such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and various neurological degenerative disorders, the number of cancer related admissions to hospice organizations have fallen. However the symptom burden these patients experience remain high.

Landscape Contractors, Does Your Work Satisfy the Industry Standard of Care?

Do landscape contractors understand how the legal term “standard of care” applies to their profession? The legal implications of Not performing to the industry standard of care may have serious consequences

State Pension Reform Stymied by Court Opposition

Public pension reform continues to be a daunting task for advocates taking up the cause. That’s because, unlike in the private sector, the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) does not apply to the pensions of government employees. Instead, state authorities, local laws, and the courts determine how public sector retirement programs are managed.

Fatca, Fbar, Offshore Amnesty Large Fines Coming

Overseas banks are warning current and former U.S. clients that their names and information soon will be disclosed and that such disclosure will disallow the taxpayer’s entry into the IRSs amnesty program for undeclared offshore accounts.

Expert Thrown Out after Claiming Major Report “Typos” on Cross

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
A recently affirmed decision to grant judgment for the defendant as a matter of law highlights the importance of expert testimony that is consistent with previously-disclosed opinions presented in a Rule 26 report. In Rembrandt Vision Technologies, Inc. v. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., the expert’s testimony was struck because of critical discrepancies, leaving the plaintiff with no basis for claimed patent infringement.

Private Exchanges Emerge as Alternative to Corporate Employee Benefit Plans

Employers are reconsidering their role as primary provider of healthcare benefits to employees and their dependents as costs continue to climb and compliance related expenses associated with the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) add to the burden.

How to Qualify an Expert Witness

Provided by: HGExperts.com
The requirements for qualifying an expert witness are different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, in many jurisdictions an expert must be formally tendered as such and accepted by the court before being allowed to offer opinion testimony.

Evaluating and Instructing Expert Witnesses

Provided by: HGExperts.com
Dealing with an expert witness is a form of art. Experts’ involvement in litigation is becoming more widespread, while the standards for evaluating their testimony is as vague as ever. Experts need to understand what goes on in the courtroom, and this guide is designed as a brief overview of some concepts you should follow in order to adequately train your expert.

Guidelines for Expert Testimony in Medical Liability Cases

Provided by: HGExperts.com
Multiple medical professional organizations have developed guidelines for the proper conduct of their members when offering expert witness testimony. In every instance, the various professional organizations agree that regardless of the source of the request, such testimony ought to embody the relevant facts and the expert’s knowledge, experience, and best judgment regarding the case.

An Overview of the NASS Guidelines for Members Testifying as Expert Witnesses

Provided by: HGExperts.com
Are you an expert called to testify about spinal injuries? Whether offering your opinion in a medical malpractice case, a product liability dispute, of a personal injury matter, these guidelines will help to guide you through the process of offering your expert medical testimony. These guidelines are also based on the North American Spine Society Expert Witness Guidelines:

Standards for Scientific Evidence in the Courtroom

Provided by: HGExperts.com
Many legal cases are decided based on the available science. DNA and fingerprinting probably jump to mind first, but many other types of scientific evidence make their ways into courtrooms everyday. Understanding the standard necessary to have this evidence admitted and accepted by the court could mean the difference between a winning case and a frustrating outcome.

What Does it Mean to Be an Expert Witness?

Provided by: HGExperts.com
For those asked to testify as an expert witness, the title may be either flattering or a little scary. After all, what does it mean to be an expert? How do you become an expert? What sort of knowledge, experience, or other credentials does one need to be considered an expert for purposes of offering testimony in a legal proceeding?

IRS Code Section 79 Plans and Captive Insurance History

Insurance companies, agents, financial planners, and others have pushed abusive 419 and 412i plans for years. They claimed business owners could obtain large tax deductions. Insurance companies, agents and others earned very large life insurance commissions in the process.

If You Are Thinking that Your Foreign Bank Is not Located in Switzerland...

and is a tiny hole in the wall in the middle of nowhere so I am safe, think again. Taxpayer Options: Taxpayers that have willfully chosen to pass on entering the 2009 or 2011 voluntary disclosure programs both have the following options.

Have You Committed Income Tax Evasion Involving a Foreign Account

One of the most basic premises, but often the least understood by taxpayers, is that U.S. Citizens and Residents are taxed on their worldwide income.

Detroit Bankruptcy Focuses Attention on Pension Costs

Financially stressed cities across the country are watching carefully as Detroit comes to grips with its unsustainable pension and benefit costs.

Composing the Expert’s Report: Factors for Compliance with Federal Rule 26(a)(2)(B)

The recently amended Rule 26 is the result of a proposal made by the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure. Approved by Congress, it became effective on December 1, 2010.

SCOTUS Rulings On Same-Sex Marriages Create Tax Refund Opportunities

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
The decision in United States vs. Windsor (No. 12-301, June 26, 2013) by the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) creates important tax issues and opportunities. These include potential refunds for same-sex married couples and their employers for years not closed by the statute of limitations.

The Appraiser/Consultant Umbrella

Appraiser Tania Evans on the roles of an appraiser/consultant/researcher in the equine industry (2010).

Experts Offer Differing Opinions on the Future of Pensions

Josh Gotbaum, Director (CEO) of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), and Dallas Salisbury, President & CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, provided their perspectives on the future of pensions at the Wall Street Journal CFO Network Annual Meeting in June. They were asked to address whether there is a pension crisis in the United States and how organizations can handle increasing pension obligations.

There Is No Place to Hide from IRS Scrutiny

Some people considering an IRS voluntary disclosure of their foreign income and assets don’t do so because they fear prosecution.


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