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IRS to Finally Require Tax Preparer Registration, Continuing Education, and On-Site Visits

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
For the 2007 tax year, about 60% of the 143 million individual tax returns filed with the IRS were done by paid preparers. Tax preparer registration for these paid preparers has been considered for years.

Construction Lending Industry Standard Practices Applicable to Construction Loan Litigation

Provided by: Don Coker
The author, and experienced lender and expert witness, explains the industry standard process of how construction loans and acquisition and development loans are originated and administered.

Broker Price Opinion and Property Inspections Practices and Procedure for the Mortgage Industry

Provided by: Don Coker
The author explains some of the details of property inspections and Broker Price Opinions that are often misunderstood and become the subject of disputes between borrowers, mortgage lenders, and mortgage servicers.

Rumplestiltskin, LLP: The Dark Side of Fax

Provided by: Context Corporation
In this article, the author explains the basics of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and illustrates the risks of unsolicited fax solicitations with an example scenario. He briefly discusses preventions and defenses based on his considerable expertise in telecommunications and his experience as a consulting and testifying expert for the defense in TCPA cases.

Child Custody Evaluations and Psychological Testing – Valid and Invalid Expectations

Often, requests are made for psychological testing as part of the child custody evaluation (CCE) process, and too often, the results are disappointing. The root cause of this is two fold: lack of practicable and executable referral questions and findings that are presented in jargon-based, non-behavioral terms.

Can Coronary Artery Disease Be "Thin Sliced"?

In Malcolm Gladwell's best selling book, "blink," the author desrcibes the concept of "thin slicing," that is, using what appear to be seemingly innocuous, superficial characteristics and patterns in people and situations to make astonishing, profound and correct predictions. Can this same principle be applied to medicine and in particular heart disease?

Obama Administration Shows Phony Tarp Profit Through Tax Trick

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
Without any Congressional approval, the IRS quietly eased net operating loss (NOL) rules for companies that sold stock to the federal government under the TARP program. The new tax rule provides still further subsidies to non-government shareholders, while paying for the increased value entirely with foregone taxes that apply to other corporations.

Expert Witness - A Valuable Asset

Are attorneys overlooking a valuable asset? Many indeed are. As in any field of expertise, there are good and bad expert witnesses. A slogan I once read said, “The right attorney can make the difference.” So too can the right expert witness.

Fontan Ten Commandments Revisited and Revised

Choussat’s “Ten Commandments”, to describe the components of an ideal Fontan candidate, were first published in 1977. Despite the wisdom of these commandments, it is clear from a historical perspective that total compliance with all criteria does not necessarily portend excellent long-term survival. We believe it is time to modify the original commandments with the end-point being an improvement in survival. We suggest the following single commandment, “Thou Shalt Be Perfect”.

The Physician Assistant Expert Witness and Medico-legal Consultant: A Guide for Attorneys and Experts

Brief overview of PA scope of practice and supervising physician role and relationship. Recommendations for the use of PA experts to provide opinions on the standard of care.

The Argument for Aggressive Coiling of Aortopulmonary Collaterals in Single Ventricle Patients

Aortopulmonary collateral vessels are extremely common in single ventricle patients. We present the rationale that these vessels are not innocent bystanders and can lead to significant hemodynamic, neurohormonal and mechanical perturbations ultimately leading to ventricular dysfunction.

Top 2010 Legal Growth Areas Create Opportunities for Thought Leaders

“Follow the money” is a suitable adage for legal marketing when it comes to business development in the new decade. Industries like energy and health care are obvious recipients of funding inflows based on governmental policies and demographics. Ten top law practice areas with expected high growth rates in 2010 and beyond are outlined below. Attorneys who set themselves apart as thought leaders—through speaking, writing, and press coverage—will gain a competitive advantage.

Basic Characteristics and Life of Residential Mortgage Loans

In today’s real estate mortgage market, it is essential that the expert understand, be fully aware of, and cognizant of the entities involved and their roles in initiating, processing, underwriting and funding all types of prime and subprime residential mortgage loans including ones. In addition, the stages that a prime and subprime residential mortgage loans processes through during its “life” are also crucial. The following is a summary of these two areas.

IRS Needs Significant Additional Controls in Its Role as Disbursing Agent for Refundable Tax Credits

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
In two reports made public in December 2009, the IRS Inspector General concluded (i) the IRS ignored previous recommendations, causing significant refundable tax credits to be paid improperly, and (ii) by improperly issuing taxpayer identification numbers, the IRS allowed billions of dollars of fraudulent refundable credits.

Sharia Law Will Likely Be a Creditor Disaster in the Dubai Restructuring

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
Dubai announced that it would seek a six-month postponement of debt repayments. The announcement came as a shock initially, but has since been generally dismissed by the press. This situation provides insights regarding Islamic finance with which most in the West are unfamiliar.

House Passes Important Regulatory Changes

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
The entire House of Representatives will soon consider the Investor Protection Act. We provide a summary of what it contains without the political sound bites that you have already heard (and hopefully dismissed).

401(k) Fee and Disclosure Litigation Gets a Boost

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
This month, a settlement occurred which (i) demonstrates that these cases have meaningful value and (ii) will likely provide a model for others. We review the settlement, and the primary employer-friendly case that encourages employers not to settle at all.

Upcoming Supreme Court Ruling Could Impact The Mutual Fund Industry … But Probably Will Not

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
Section 36(b) of the Investment Company Act establishes a fiduciary duty. Since a 1982 industry-favorable ruling, there has not been a single successful lawsuit against a mutual fund over management fees. The U.S. Supreme Court now is considering this issue. Mutual fund management fees may need to be reworked, or at least rigorously justified through analysis based on the costs of servicing the different classes of investors.

November 2009 Law Provides more Stimulus and Unemployment Spending

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
Under broad bipartisan support, Congress passed the Worker, Homeownership & Business Assistance Act. The authors provide details not covered in the surface-level reporting you may have already seen.

The Weakest Link

Provided by: Michael Levine
The mishandling of informants by unqualified law enforcement and covert agency personnel at the highest levels of management, has led to horrific tragedies, from the killing of innocent citizens and false arrests to the opening of the heart of America to terrorist actions.

When a Test is Not a Test: Tests Without Forensic Validity

Tests such as the Thematic Apperception Test, the House-Tree-Person (HTP), Human Figure Drawing (HFD) and the Draw-A-Person (DAP) “tests” are inappropriate for use in a forensic context.

Employment Records

During recent years I have been asked to prepare career employment and compensation reports by attorneys acting on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. Whilst carrying out these assignments, I have noticed in numerous cases that it has been a common feature for the plaintiff’s actual employment history and educational details to be incomplete.

Determining the Admissibility of Event Data Recorders for Traffic Accident Reconstruction in Illinois

The admissibility of information obtained from vehicle event data recorders (black boxes) has been challenged in many states. This article is intended to explain how EDR data was challenged in Illinois and ultimately accepted.

Bank Security Principles and Issues Important in Bank Robbery-Related Litigation

Provided by: Don Coker
Bank robberies are traumatic for those involved and sometimes lead to litigation. The author, an experienced nationwide banking expert witness, explains some of the nationwide industry standard policies, procedures, practices, and considerations in bank security, as well as measures that can be implemented to improve bank security, including the employment of security guards that can be utilized to reduce the chances of a bank robbery occurring in the first place.

Litigation Involving Bank Trust Departments, Wealth and Investment Management Nationwide Industry Standards

Provided by: Don Coker
Having faced just about every issue that can come up in the fields of bank trust departments, wealth management, and investment management involving estates, trusts, and probate, the author, renowned nationwide expert witness Don Coker, shares his insights on many of these recurring issues and nationwide industry standard practices and procedures.

Why We Need Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and How to Resurrect Them

Provided by: Don Coker
The author explains the difficult situation with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and how to restore them to their useful place in our financial funding system.

Considerations in Defending State Attorneys General Class Action Lawsuits Against Mortgage Lenders

Provided by: Don Coker
In response to the unusually high levels of delinquency rates and foreclosure rates for mortgage loans, including subprime mortgage loans, the attorneys general of several states have filed class-action lawsuits against some of the country’s higher profile mortgage lenders. However, the situation may not be as simple as the state attorneys general see it.

Juror Expectations: Successfully Utilizing Forensic Animation in Courtroom Proceedings

As our society becomes increasingly saturated with technology, jurors will expect the use of more complex and accurate visual aids in the courtroom. Jurors, especially of the younger generation, have come to count on visual media to augment their understanding of a topic.

Small Public Companies Will Get No Further Reprieve From Internal Control Reporting

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
After years containing numerous delays, an additional six-month delay was granted. However, the new deadline is for real.

Affluent Should Consider Roth Conversions

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
Starting in 2010, affluent taxpayers can convert assets from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. We review the various factors that should be addressed in making this decision. Many affluent taxpayers should take advantage of this in 2010.

California Service Firms Must Now Register With BOE, and File Annual Use Tax Returns

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
Practically every California law firm and every other service business will now be required to register with California’s Board of Equalization (BOE), and file a new annual tax return covering use tax obligations. The first reporting will cover the three years of 2009, 2008, and 2007. Unless you are one of the rare businesses that fully reported use tax previously, penalties and interest will also be due.

Two Recent Bankruptcy Cases Threaten Secured Lenders’ Position

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
Secured lenders should be concerned about two recent rulings in which the bankruptcy court used its discretion in performing its role as a court of equity. The cases (i) expand the definition of an “insider” to include a creditor with a “close relationship” to a debtor, and (ii) under what circumstances a lender can be equitably subordinated.

Defending Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Fair Credit Reporting Act Litigation

Provided by: Don Coker
Debtors pursued by companies that have purchased their delinquent debt often file a counter claim or other lawsuit against the owner of the debt.

Equine Appraisal: The Value of our Horses

I am frequently asked, “What is an Equine Appraisal?” There are many definitions of appraisals in general terms. The shortened version for equine appraisal purposes is as follows: “An appraisal is not a precise measurement, nor a guess. It is a relative estimate (opinion) of value based on supporting facts.” I always like to compare equine appraisal with real estate appraisals. The two are basically the same, with a few exceptions, of course.

The Latest Technology in Email Tracking and Notification

Provided by: SysArc, Inc.
You just sent a prospect or client an important email? Oh-Oh, what happens next?

Partial Profiles and Secondary Transfer of DNA

When an analyst is presented with an insufficient amount of DNA to obtain a full profile, should an individual be included in a mixture? Should we assume the remainder of the profile by resonable assumption or should we find further evidence/arguments. Secondary transfer of DNA is being studied due to potentially incarcerating the innocent.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor Status Receiving Increased Attention

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
The IRS announced a new audit initiative. In light of employers’ risk under both tax and employment laws, companies and their legal advisors should proactively review this area. We summarize the IRS and employment law rules for making these judgmental decisions.

Federal Circuit Reverses $350 Million Damage Verdict Not Supported by Proper Expert Testimony

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
The Plaintiff failed to put on a complete damages analysis, yet the jury (and trial court) allowed a huge award. The broader lesson involves the need to present a complete damages analysis at trial using an expert witness who is willing to say “no” when the client’s desired result is clearly ridiculous.

Financial Experts Improve Bankruptcy Litigation Results

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
Bankruptcy is largely a financial negotiation. The cost of getting expert appraisal and accounting assistance is a fraction of the “prize” that is being negotiated. We review the bankruptcy process and explain opportunities where financial expert help is necessary.

SEC Inspector General Report Shows Incompetence at Best and Fraudulent Cooperation at Worst

Provided by: Fulcrum Inquiry
The Madoff scandal is the largest financial fraud to have ever occurred. The Office of Inspector General recently issued a scandalous report entitled “Investigation of Failure of the SEC to Uncover Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme”.

The Basics of Film Finance

Provided by: Kathryn Arnold
Financing of film projects often requires an elaborate patchwork of investors, banks, soft money tax credits and in-kind services, and some companies specialize in financing specific stages of production. One of the overall themes of the industry that can at times make obtaining financing hard is the risks involved in making films, many of which may have very little tangible value at the end of the process.

The Entertainment Industry — Points to Consider When Evaluating a Case

Provided by: Kathryn Arnold
Of the thousands of screenplays written every year, only 450 to 500 of these are "lucky" enough to be made into motion pictures. Of those produced, less than half are released in theatres and of those remaining, only a portion are released directly to DVD.

Is There a Value in Viewing Your Loved One at a Funeral?

Provided by: Shun Newbern
The traditions of our cultures are changing. People are considering cremation and direct burials more than before. The open casket viewing has been apart of the death process for centuries and is slowly fading away. Professional embalming, restorative art and preservation can be accomplished with skill, as well as appreciated by families for that final farewell.

Embalming and the Standard of Care

Provided by: Shun Newbern
Handling a case that involves embalming of a decedent is difficult and challenging. Having a consultant or expert embalmer is the key to understanding the standard of care or any possible torts involved.

Citations and Your Credibility

Whether you have been an expert witness for years or are just starting out, accurate research, proper formatting of citations and clarity will make your written report accurate, impressive and, most of all, credible. As you gain more experience in utilizing proper techniques you will become more comfortable and confident.

Five Characteristics of Successful Family Law Practitioners

Provided by: Ferris Consulting
I have been coaching and working with family lawyers, mediators and collaborative practitioners across North America and Europe for the past 8 years and have observed the characteristics of highly successful practitioners . Here are the five characteristics that I’ve found that work for practitioners who have succeeded in building a family law practice.

Considerations in Defending Banking and Financial Class Action Lawsuits and Multi-District Litigation

Provided by: Don Coker
Important factors in banking and financial class action lawsuits alleging economic damages and credit damages.

Mortgage Banking and Mortgage Loan Servicing Industry Standard Practices and Procedures

Provided by: Don Coker
The author explains some of the industry standard practices and procedures in use in the mortgage banking and mortgage loan servicing industries.

Toxic Bank Asset Valuation Principles

Provided by: Don Coker
Sometimes, you just have to wonder what a loan officer and a loan committee were thinking when they approved and originated a particular loan. People that have the authority to approve loans have to have the courage to, as Nancy Reagan put it, “Just Say No,” when the answer fits the loan request.

In Print or On-Line? Where Should those Directory Dollars Go?

One of the questions that consistently comes up these days is how law practices should allocate or rather reallocate their advertising funds between print directories versus directories of the on-line variety.

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