Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Articles by Expert Witnesses

Standards for Scientific Evidence in the Courtroom

Provided by:
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?

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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.

Watch out because the IRS is watching 419 Plans

A business owner wants legitimate tax planning ideas. One solution sometimes offered today is a 419(e) plan (419 Welfare Benefit Plan). The local insurance agent or the company’s CPA who may have an insurance sales license, may suggest that the 419 Welfare Benefit Plan will provide shelter from taxes today, the costs of the plan are tax deductible and the plan will provide tax free benefits for the owner when he or she is ready to retire. The concept seems too good to be true.

Should You Close Your Foreign Bank Account

Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a fair world? Wouldn’t it be nice if the IRS gave the little guy a break? Unfortunately, that’s just not the way it is. The news is littered with casualties of the IRS’ aggressive stance on taxpayers who don’t come clean.

Preventing and Predicting Software License Disputes

Software licenses are critical enablers of entrepreneurship and product excellence. Yet they are also common sources of litigation between erstwhile partners. Licensing disputes arise when inartful drafting combines with the peculiarities of software and its distribution to complicate the computation of royalties. Good licensing practices are thus a critical aspect of business strategy. Understanding some common pitfalls of licensing can confer both offensive and defensive strategic benefits.

Could We Have This Debate Before It Is Too Late?

Is the use of fully insured group health insurance products as stop-loss coverage for group health plans going to remain a viable solution?

A Banker’s Perspective: Banks, Hedge Funds and New Distribution Platforms

Provided by: Kathryn Arnold
Adrian Ward is a smart, producer friendly banker who has been in the trenches of independent film financing for close to 20 years. Having started with the Lew Horwitz Organization, a stalwart in the indie film world of the 90’s, Adrian is now at Pacific Mercantile Bank. I sat down with Adrian to get a banker’s perspective on the industry landscape and where producers should be putting their energies.

New Municipal Pension Accounting Rules Draw Attention to Unfunded Liabilities

New accounting and financial reporting standards for U.S. state and local government pension and benefit funds start to take effect this month. Confusion is likely to ensue as taxpayers, plan participants, and even plan sponsors take a hard look at new numbers that more clearly identify funded or unfunded municipal pension liabilities.

Insurance Companies Are in Big Trouble and Most Do Not Know It

Many life insurance companies are using captive insurance to alter their books and look better. This could lead to another taxpayer bailout and insurance companies being taken over. This would put benefits in policies at risk for some policyholders.

Lead (Pb) Health Effects Literature Update, June 2013

Lead (Pb) has been recognized as toxic for centuries, yet we continue to learn more about lead toxicity and environmental issues. This expanding understanding of lead influences approaches to identifying at-risk populations and intervening to reduce exposure and risk.

The Cost of Employee Turnover

Business owners are acutely aware of the costs of employee turnover.

Neither Expert Nor Inventor Allowed to Opine On Reasonable Royalty Damages

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
A Delaware federal court recently closed the door on each of two possible paths to damages for Plaintiff in the matter of AVM Technologies, LLC v. Intel, Inc. (Civil Action No. 10-610-RGA).

Liability Driven Investing Gains Favor with Corporate Pension Plan Sponsors

Kraft Foods Group actively seeks to reduce pension plan funding volatility with a liability-driven investment (“LDI”) structure, according to a company release for the fourth quarter of 2012. Many other Fortune 500 pension plan sponsors, as well as some municipal plans, are following a similar risk management strategy.

If the IRS Contacts You...

Keep your mouth shut-take this advice seriously.

Corporate Owned (or Foundation/Trust) Accounts vs. Personal

If your primary reason for going offshore is for more secure, more private, safer and more varied banking and investment options then you may want to think again.

If You Have or Had Money Overseas You Better File for Amnesty ASAP

According to various reports the IRS is investigating the Israeli banks Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank for conspiring with individuals to enter into a loan scheme intended to evade taxes on funds brought to the U.S. from undisclosed foreign bank accounts.

401(K) Plan Participants Yawn over New Fee Disclosures

Long awaited 401(k) management fee disclosure mandates imposed last year by the U.S. Department of Labor to help workers understand the costs of retirement plan investment options appear to have had little impact so far.

There Is a Tree Service Standard of Care!

Certified arborist, registered consulting arborist, tree expert, tree service and landscape contractor, so many different consultants and contractors to choose from for tree care consultation and remedial work. How can you ensure your tree assets receive the state of are care they deserve? Certified arborists and tree care professionals adhere to the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) A300 tree and woody ornamental pruning standards.

Denied Life Insurance Claim Overturned

Provided by: Steve C. Burgess
Contestable life insurance claims are common and there are ways to navigate through an insurer's investigation process and get the claim paid. Here we discuss how we forced an insurer to pay a denied claim and improve their application in the process.

Guidance for Collecting Life Insurance Death Claims

Provided by: Steve C. Burgess
This article provides real life guidance on how to prepare for submitting a life insurance death claim and examples of what can cause a claim to be denied. Use these tips to ensure you will receive your life insurance death claim with as little hassel as possible.

How to Get Life Insurance Claims Paid

Provided by: Steve C. Burgess
Getting a life insurance claim paid can be a complex and lengthy process, but an understanding how the process works can assist in getting a delayed or denied claim paid.

Welfare Benefit Plans Funded with Permanent Life Insurance Are Abusive Tax Scams

Similarly, the IRS position on single employer welfare benefit plans invested in permanent life insurance where the employer deducts more than the term cost of insurance is that those plans are also abusive tax scams.

Section 79

For businesses with 10 or fewer employees, the law prohibits full medical underwriting of the policies that are issued ("group" underwriting is required, which is much more risky for an insurance company).

Conundrum of Public Safety

Public Safety is in crisis with fire stations closed, firefighters and police officers laid off and the demand for emergency services at an all time high. What does this mean to our citizens?

Patent Infringement Damages Under Fire

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner is one of the foremost legal scholars in the United States, particularly on economic matters. He has written numerous influential opinions and almost forty books on law and economics, teaches at the University of Chicago Law School, and is widely respected in the legal community. And two of his recent damage rulings will have a signification impact on the patent litigation process, or more specifically reduce it.

Corporate Pension Funding Gap Widens as Interest Rates Remain Low

The Federal Reserve Board’s effort to keep interest rates low is forcing Fortune 500 companies to dip into cash reserves for pension funding.

The Irrevocable Trust Cash Release Program

Through a special program, created by Money Watch Consultants Inc., called The Irrevocable Trust Cash Release Program, funds from the insured’s irrevocable trust can be released and made available to pay for long term care, in a facility or at home. And this care can even be provided by a family member.

CPAs Dabbling is Russian Roulette with 5 Bullets - Part 4

In Part 3: we addressed that having an advanced accounting degree is not the same suite of skills as full time practice in a niche, such as business valuation.

CPAs Dabbling is Russian Roulette with 5 Bullets - Part 3

In Part 2: we provided an illustration of what a prudent CPA firm did that outsourced work when it conflicted with their other practice services and the consequences of a CPA who had “followed the steps” in applying a discount, but was nevertheless penalized for dabbling because failed to support the proper level. We demonstrated what was not done and what should have occurred allowing the taxpayer to prevail.

CPAs Dabbling is Russian Roulette with 5 Bullets - Part 2

In Part 1, we addressed the woeful inadequacy of education and experience of the accounting professional who chooses to dabble in a niche sector to make a few thousand dollars and why the AICPA, IRS and the Courts have brought the hammer down and the knowing or unwitting practitioner learns s/he is facing penalties, sanctions, fines, lawsuits and no E&O coverage. Game over.

CPAs Dabbling Is Russian Roulette with 5 Bullets - Part 1

The AICPA has some straightforward opinions on CPAs who “dabble” in niche practice areas. In short, it brings ethical issues and subsequent penalties to bear. So, why do more than a few CPAs dabble in financial services, revenue sharing of insurance product, advise on equity transactions without FINRA/SEC approved licensing and, my favorite, business valuation? For the money. Why is it an ethical issue for the AICPA? Competency.

Confined Space Awareness

Michelle Copeland, Occupational Safety Resource Inc., March 12, 2013

Damp Buildings and Human Health: the Role of Microbial Compounds and Inflammation

Research studies have shown consistent associations between the presence of dampness and mold in buildings and respiratory symptoms in building occupants.

Are You Really Prepared for the Valuation Litigation Meat Grinder?

Received your ABV certification. Check. Or your CVA certification. Check. Pulling down an extra $20,000 to $50,000 for the firm. Check. Performing 2 to 4 formal reports annually. Check. And you now have five years under your belt with 20 or so reports completed and while you haven’t memorized AICPA’s SSVS-1, you know it addresses valuation standards applicable to CPAs. Check. Check.

PBGC Deficit on Multiemployer Plans Reaches $5.2 Billion

Underfunding of multiemployer pension plans is now at unprecedented levels, according to recent reports submitted to Congress by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”). As of fiscal year (FY) 2012, the PBGC multiemployer program held assets of $1.8 billion against liabilities of $7.0 billion for a net financial deficit of $5.2 billion.

IRS Attacks Business Owners, Accountants, Lawsuits over 412(i)/419 and Similar Insurance Based Plans

A 412(i) plan is a “defined benefit plan” – a retirement plan, a pension plan that claims to offer very large tax deductions. It is funded with annuity and life insurance products.

Underfunded U.S. Teacher Pension Liability Estimated at $393 Billion

Teacher pension systems are unsustainable, according to a new report issued by the National Council on Teacher Quality (“NCTQ”) titled, “No One Benefits: How Teacher Pension Systems are Failing Both Teachers and Taxpayers.”

Event Data Recorders: Proper Evidence Collection in Criminal, Insurance and Tort Liability Investigations

The use of Event Data Recorders (EDRs), also referred to as vehicle black boxes, in traffic accident reconstruction and vehicular fraud investigations has become increasingly common over the last few years. However, many law enforcement officers, insurance professionals and experts witnesses have failed to adopt a standardized set of practices toward preserving this crucial evidence. This article address the potential pitfalls of following sub-standard evidentiary practices.

Firefighters Failing a Medical/Physical Examination

Firefighters die from preventable diseases. Fire Departments must implement a comprehensive testing process to ensure your employees stay healthy and a program designed to return the firefighter back to work if there is the discovery of a possible disabling medical condition.

Firefighters Carrying Guns on the Job

Firefighters and EMS personnel are dying on the job, shot by their patients or others specifically targeting public safety officers. Will arming the firefighters or EMT's provide a greater level of protection for them, their fellow firefighters or the patients?

The Northern District Court of California Provides Useful ESI Guidelines

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
Electronic data comprises a large portion of discovery and provides efficiencies in searching and manipulating the data for further analysis. Establishing a protocol for retention of electronic information and e-discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) is a critical step toward ensuring that relevant data is preserved and ultimately produced.

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