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Will Contest and Estate Planning Competency: The Role of a Forensic Psychiatrist

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

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

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.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Class Action Litigation: An Expert Witness's In-Depth Analysis and Comments

Provided by: Don Coker
Renowned Banking and Financial Expert Witness Don Coker lists some of the important nuances of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and explains how some details important in this class action litigation manage to get lost in the weeds. The Act was enacted in 2003 as a revision of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940, and has been modified numerous times since its initial enactment. For lawyers (of which I am not one), you can find the Act at 50 U.S.C. Sections 3901-4043. The Act applies to active duty military, and covers financial items such as credit card interest rates, residential leases and security deposits, mortgage interest rates and foreclosures, life and health insurance, financial contracts and respossessions, storage liens, and default judgments.

Expert Witness Assistance in Business Interruption Insurance Claims Litigation Due to COVID-19 Factors

Provided by: Don Coker
Renowned Nationwide Banking and Financial Expert Witness for Plaintiffs and Defendants Don Coker explains some of the important nuances of Business Interruption Claims for litigation involving COVID-19 factors, which vary a great deal from case to case. The issues are compounded by many policies being tailored to individual business's needs. Another layer of complexity is added by courts in the various states adding their own varying interpretations to important terms and features of Business Interruption Insurance policies.

The Ups & Downs of Parking Lot Control Arms

Provided by: Michael Panish
What every attorney needs to know about how they function, why they fail, and why someone was injured. Who is at fault, who is to blame, and what the industry standards are that affect the claim?

Expert Opinions on Variable-Rate Demand Obligation Litigation Over Collusion Allegations and Resulting Damages

Provided by: Don Coker
Renowned Banking, Financial, and Securities expert witness Don Coker - who has served as an Expert for eighteen municipalities, states, and other taxing authorities nationwide, 115 banks, and over 1,000 other clients including the Internal Revenue Service (seven times), and as a trustee of a governmental taxing authority, and a banker and trust department executive that has bought and sold bonds of all types - explains some background and important nuances of municipal bond Variable-Rate Demand Obligations (or Variable-Rate Demand Notes) for litigation.

Defective Gate Designs Cause Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

Provided by: Michael Panish
Gate injuries are often caused by improper design and fabrication. From the very inception of a new gate project, an improperly crafted gate is inherently the beginning of a future serious injury or even deadly claim. By Michael Panish

Automatic Gate Operators - The Relevance of UL 325 Standards

Provided by: Michael Panish
Michael Panish, Door & Gate Expert Witness outlines the relevance of UL 325 standards (Underwriters Laboratories) for automatic gate operators.

Magnetic Locks That Fall From Overhead - Why They Fall and Cause Injuries & Injury Case Examples

Provided by: Michael Panish
Injuries that result from falling magnetic lock components are common. Mike Panish, Door, Gate & Lock Expert Witness, outlines injury case examples and explains why these locks fall and cause injuries.

Elopement from Facilities - Common Elopement Cases & What Could Have Been Done to Prevent Elopement?

Provided by: Michael Panish
Legal expert, Michael Panish, explains and outlines anti elopement hardware and egress requirements for life safety of long-term care facilities, mental healthcare facilities, dementia wards, psychiatric facilities, and residential care facilities. He describes common elopement cases.

The Dark Side of Telemedicine

The sudden increase in demand for telemedicine services has created new opportunities for fraud and abuse.

Important Industry Standards in Financial Litigation Involving Renegotiating or Modifying a Credit Agreement

Provided by: Don Coker
Renowned Nationwide Banking and Financial Expert Witness Don Coker explains some of the important nuances of credit agreement renegotiation and modification that can become important issues in financial litigation over the status of lender claims on first-lien collateral.

How COVID-19 Is Changing Retirement Plan Savings

Retirement plan participants are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in several ways. Last month we wrote about how ERISA retirement plan sponsors are working to maintain compliance and fiduciary obligations while protecting the future security of plan assets. This month we look at how COVID is affecting pension plan participants.

Forward and Reverse Likelihood of Confusion

The courts recognize two types of confusion in trademark or trade dress cases: Forward Confusion and Reverse Confusion.

What Is Secondary Meaning? Can a Survey Help?

The concept of secondary meaning is straightforward in intellectual property matters. A secondary meaning survey typically seeks to assess whether a “significant” or “substantial part” of the customer class associates a trademark or trade dress with a single source.

Manual for Complex Litigation - Surveys

§11.493 Sampling/Opinion Surveys Statistical methods can often estimate, to specified levels of accuracy, the characteristics of a “population” or “universe” of events, transactions, attitudes, or opinions by observing those characteristics in a relatively small segment, or sample, of the population.

IP Lanham Act Survey Rules

The following factors courts often consider when determining the admissibility of a Lanham Act survey, to guide its surveys and reports. Specifically, whether the:

Hiring a Survey Expert Witness?

Not all survey expert witnesses are equal. Below are five key questions to ask before signing the letter of agreement. A valid and reliable survey can make all the difference to your case.

Leverage Your Expert Witness

Experts can help throughout your entire case. Your expert witness can help in many ways, provided they have the right expertise and experience. Experts may be counted on by attorneys throughout the case process: Trial Strategy, Discovery, Depositions, Pre-Trial Preparation, and Trial.

Likelihood of Trademark Confusion Factors

Each of the 13 federal courts of appeal have their own test for evaluating whether a likelihood of confusion exists between two trademarks. Although the tests are not identical, most of them are substantially similar and use many of the same factors. And the factors are non-exclusive.

Is a Trademark Infringement Survey Really Necessary?

Is a Trademark Infringement Survey Really Necessary? Yes, according to the John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law. "Courts have continually utilized surveys to show evidence of secondary meaning, generieness, dilution, and functionality in trademark litigation." - The John Marshall Review of Intellectual Property Law, Robert Thornberg.

Investment Advice Fiduciary Redefined by U.S. Dept. of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") recently announced its new approach for determining an Investment Advice Fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") and the Internal Revenue Code ("the Code"). This new approach, announced on June 29, 2020, follows a 2018 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that vacated the Department's 2016 fiduciary rule and its exemptions.

Alcohol-Induced Blackout: How Does Alcohol Impact Memory?

Alcohol-induced blackout is a topic that comes up often in the criminal justice system. It’s not unusual for defendants to have no memory of their behaviors while they were under the influence of alcohol. A common question that arises is “How could have a defendant committed a crime but have no recollection of their actions?” While it’s entirely possible for the defendant to lie about what they do or don’t remember, it’s also possible that they genuinely can’t remember what they did. The goal of this article is to discuss how alcohol can impact memory and explain why a defendant can’t recall events while they were under the influence of alcohol due to an alcohol-induced blackout.

Excessive Fee ERISA Litigation Update

Retirement plan sponsors are coming under increased litigation risk as the number of "excessive fee" cases spreads to smaller funds.

Erisa Reportable Events for Active Participant Reductions

As coronavirus-related workforce reductions increase, employers should be mindful of their reporting obligations to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

A Muslim American Reflects on the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment to yhe U.S. Constitution

Provided by: Abed Awad, Esq.
As America marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that guaranteed women the right to vote– in practice it was primarily reserved for white women, we reflect on gender-equitable principles essential to freedom and democracy.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Defined Benefit Plan Litigation

“Courts sometimes make standing law more complicated than it needs to be,” writes Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh in the Supreme Court’s June 1, 2020 decision on Thole et. al. v. U.S. Bank N.A. et. al.

COVID-19: CARES Act Provisions for Retirement Plan Sponsors and Participants

As employers struggle with the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are looking into the possibility of suspending contributions to employee retirement plans that they manage. At the same time, employees who are struggling to make ends meet may be looking into making withdrawals or taking loans from their retirement accounts.

Biomechanical Evaluation of Motorcycle Helmets: Protection Against Head and Brain Injuries

Motorcycle accident victims worldwide account for more than 340,000 fatalities annually, with the Unites States ranking 8th highest in number of motorcycle accident deaths, largely due to non-mandatory motorcycle helmet requirements for adults in a number of States. Seventy-five percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve head and brain injury, with rotational forces acting on the brain the primary cause of mortality. Current motorcycle helmets are reasonably effective at reducing head injuries associated with blunt impact. However, the mechanism of traumatic brain injury is biomechanically very different from that associated with focal head injury. This study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of current motorcycle helmets at reducing the risk of traumatic brain injuries.

Psychological Evaluations for Immigration Court: The 7 Cases When You Might Need an Evaluation

Immigration has become a hot button topic in the United States over the past several years. There are more and more people every year applying for various waivers and petitions in order to stay in the United States and build a better life for themselves and their families. There are dozens of different waivers and petitions that you can apply for. This whole process can be very confusing, overwhelming, and intimidating. We are not attorneys so we can’t go over all the different waivers and petitions in this article. We recommend you consult with an immigration attorney so they can represent you and help you through this process. For some waivers or petitions, your attorney might request a psychological evaluation in order to help build a stronger case.

Law Enforcement Fitness for Duty Evaluations: The Definitive Guide

Fitness for Duty Evaluations have become more common for public safety positions. Courts throughout the United States have ruled that due to the level of trust and power given to law enforcement officers, law enforcement agencies have a responsibility to ensure that officers are fit to perform their duties. When an employer has a reasonable belief that an employee has a psychological condition that impairs their ability to perform essential job functions or poses a direct safety threat, they can require the employee to undergo a fitness for duty evaluation.

Violence Risk Assessments: A Guide to Evaluating Violence Risk in Criminal Cases

Violence risk assessments are becoming more common in the criminal justice system. Forensic psychologists are conducting these evaluations on behalf of the court, defense attorneys, and probation and parole departments. Violence risk assessments are used in a variety of situations in criminal cases including pre-trial proceedings, mitigation, sentencing, and determining suitability for parole and probation. Despite the fact that violence risk assessments are more prevalent, there is still confusion regarding what a violence risk assessment is, how it can and should be used, and the benefits and limitations associated with a violence risk assessment.

Can Your Credit Score and Credit Reputation Be Recoverable Damages in a Divorce? Yes

Doug Minor, Is a Credit Scoring, Credit Reporting, Personal Finance and Mortgage Expert. He has served as a FCRA Credit Reporting, Credit Scoring, Mortgage and Damages expert witness in over 125 cases in both Federal and State Courts across the U.S.

Probability of Frontal Airbag Deployment in Vehicle Collisions

Accident reconstruction experts often determine the impact severity of a vehicular collision in their forensic investigations. A common collision severity index is Delta-v, or change in velocity of an object during a collision event. Airbag deployment thresholds can be a useful metric of collision severity in accident reconstruction applications. The National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) has provided a publicly-available database of real world motor vehicle collisions, including event data recorder (EDR) reports retrieved from airbag control modules. These reports typically indicate the airbag deployment status and the corresponding Delta-V of each recorded event.

Accident Reconstruction and Human Factors in Pedestrian Impacts

Accident reconstruction experts are retained to determine what happened in pedestrian collisions by analyzing the physical evidence. Understanding the relative positions between a vehicle and a pedestrian leading up to a collision can help parties determine liability. Experts take into account factors such as the vehicle shape, braking activity, geometry of pedestrian, impact configuration.

COVID-19 - The Residuals

The Random House Dictionary of the English Language defines residual as that which remains. This is not an article about the 300 million people worldwide who are not in workplaces or classrooms because of COVID-19. This is not an article about locked down cities, overwhelmed medical facilities, stock market declines, travel plans in tatters or cancelled conferences, sporting events, and concerts. This is an article that will attempt to calculate what the worldwide economic and higher education landscape will look like after the threat of COVID-19 has dissipated; what remains.

COVID -19 Will Accelerate the Decline in International Student Enrollment in the United States

“Dates of destiny are always on time.” - Anonymous “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Higher Education Opportunities After COVID-19

“The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

What Is the “New Normal” Post COVID-19?

I am consistently amazed by the resiliency of the human spirit I see in our County. As Americans, we all have a bit of that “Pioneering Spirit” that moved our for bearers to forge new pathways into the unknown. That resilient pioneering spirit is alive

Global Supply Chains in the Wake of Covid-19

To find guidance, we talked with Rosemary Coates, the Executive Director of the California-based Reshoring Institute, a non-profit that provides information, research, and support for companies trying to reshore their manufacturing and services back into the United States. (Full disclosure, Rosemary is also co-author of the supply chain treatise, Legal Blacksmith: How to Avoid and Defend Supply Chain Disputes, with SPB partner Sarah Rathke. She is also an expert witness and the President of Blue Silk Consulting.)

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