Articles by Expert Witnesses
PBGC Issues Dire Forecast on Growing Deficit of Multi-Employer Plans and Suspects Its Own Solvency is at Risk
The state of the country’s multi-employer pension plans (MEP) is at a crucial tipping point, with the pension benefits of more than 10 percent of MEP participants in peril. That was the grim warning recently issued by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) as a result of findings in its annual FY 2013 Projections Report (formerly known as the “Exposure Report”).
There are many things fire leadership does right but there are times the department simply goes sideways due to some glaring leadership errors either incidental or intentional on the part of the Fire Chief and the remainder of the departments leadership team responsible for the direction, management and leadership of the fire service organization.
Provided by: Bob Lawson, AIF®, CFE®, RFC®, LUTCF®
You have a right to know if your brokerage firm is serious about focusing their time and money on security measures, because the problem is only becoming greater each day. Here is a list of tough questions that you should ask your brokerage firm about their cyber security. If they don't have a good answer, maybe it is time to look for a new broker, because who cares more about your money than you? Nobody!
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) recently announced amendments to existing regulations placed on multi-employer plans.
Aggressive enforcement of tax rules for American expatriates and their families has prompted some middle-income earners to renounce their U.S. citizenship rather than risk sizable taxes and penalties. WSJ's Liam Pleven reports on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero.
In association with general cost cutting measures over recent years, many companies have pressured their vendors to reduce fees. This downward pressure has extended to the accounting firms hired to provide independent audit opinions, resulting in a significant drop in audit fees. According to Audit Analytics, audit fees in 2012 were $472 per $1 million of revenue, the lowest amount since 2004. The question is whether audit quality has been sacrificed in order to achieve these reductions.
State and local governments could face several negative consequences—including tax increases, public service reductions and credit rating downgrades—unless a “trend gap” based on socioeconomic and other fundamental factors is closed, according to a recent paper published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston titled “Walking a Tightrope: Are U.S. State and Local Governments on a Fiscally Sustainable Path?”
How Hartford Life and Other Insurance Companies Tricked their Agents and Got People in Trouble with the IRS
Agents from Hartford and other insurance companies were shown ways to sell large life insurance policies. This “Welfare Benefit Trust 419 plan or 412i plan should be shown to their profitable small business owners as a cure for paying too much taxes.
Smartphones continue to grow in popularity and are now as powerful and functional as many computers. As mobile cybersecurity continues to grow, it is important to protect your smartphone just like you protect your computer. Mobile security tips can help you reduce the risk of exposure to mobile security threats.
Although multiple employer pension plans (MEPP) have been around for decades, many employers have left them largely untapped. Diverse viewpoints between the IRS and Department of Labor (DOL), both of which have regulatory control over these plans, have created a divide. Many—especially small and midsize businesses—are discouraged because of greater costs compared to larger companies, in addition to feeling a general lack of guidance and confusion in administering MEPPs.
The Eastern District of Texas is well known for its intense patent activity and already provides early disclosure of infringement and invalidity contentions to facilitate faster resolution of these cases. The Court has now taken similar action by providing an option for accelerated damage discovery, including requiring a two week turnaround between defendant’s production of potentially infringing sales data and plaintiff’s good faith estimate of damages.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
Provided by: Segal Commercial Properties
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” 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.
Provided by: Brian Crowley, M.D.
Psychiatrists are asked to participate in the security clearance process in either of two ways.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
Provided by: James Partridge Consulting, LLC
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: