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Pension Risk Transfer Review for 2019

Pension plan sponsors in the U.S. continued to pursue a strategy known as “pension risk transfer” in 2019. According to the Secure Retirement Institute (formerly LIMRA SRI), 2019 year-to-date pension buy-out sales totaled $16.7 billion through the third quarter, which is a 4% increase over 2018.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Evaluating Trauma in Personal Injury Litigation

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychological conditions that’s reported by plaintiffs in personal injury cases.

Future Damages Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act

A Summary Judgment ruling in Steves and Sons, Inc. v. JELD-WEN, Inc. heard in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2018, provides guidance to trade secret owners seeking damages under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”). The Court ruled that trade-secret damages may include anticipated future use of the trade secret under the DTSA if the anticipated future use is non-speculative and based on solid evidence.

Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity: Evaluating Criminal Responsibility at The Time of the Offense

What does it mean when a defendant pleads, Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI)? You’ve probably heard the term “insanity” thrown around but most people don’t know the legal criteria for an NGRI plea. “Insanity” is a legal term rather than a medical or mental health term. In order to understand how criminal responsibility is evaluated, you have to have an understanding of the legal criteria of NGRI. The goal of this blog post is to provide an overview of the laws regarding insanity and how we evaluate individuals to determine if they are not guilty by reason of insanity.

Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity vs. Incompetent to Stand Trial: What’s the Difference Between Them?

The terms insanity and competency are two legal terms that come up often in the criminal justice system. Most people get the two terms mixed up and don’t know the differences between them.

Competency to Stand Trial: An Overview of the Legal Guidelines for Evaluating Competency

If you’ve watched enough Law and Order, you’ve probably heard the term “Incompetent to Stand Trial (IST)” or competency to stand trial. We get a lot of questions from attorneys asking us if their clients are competent to stand trial. The rules and laws surrounding competency to stand trial can be confusing and difficult to understand. The goal of this blog post is to provide an overview of the laws regarding competency to stand trial and how we evaluate individuals to determine if they are competent.

Electronic ERISA Notifications Proposed by DOL

Retirement plan administrators will be able to electronically deliver certain disclosure documents to plan participants under new rules proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) on October 22, 2019. The proposal is expected to save an estimated $2.4 billion of net costs over the next 10 years for ERISA-covered retirement plans through reduced mailing, printing, and material expenses.

Neuropsychological Evaluation of Traumatic Brain Injury in Personal Injury Cases: The Definitive Guide

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is getting more attention than ever before. Media outlets have done a great job at highlighting the impact of TBI and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) on football players. This extra attention and research are great news for anyone that’s experienced a TBI.

Personal Injury Evaluations: The 5 Step Model We Use to Determine Causation and Damages

Personal injury evaluations have become common place in personal injury and worker’s compensation litigation. We get a lot of requests from personal injury attorneys to complete psychological or neuropsychological evaluations for their personal injury cases. Psychological and neuropsychological damages (e.g. traumatic brain injury) in personal injury cases can be more complicated to evaluate than physical health-related damages. We wrote this article to help answer the common questions that come up in these cases. The goal of this article is to: 1. Explain how we would complete a psychological or neuropsychological evaluation in a personal injury case. 2. Discuss the potential problems that attorneys need to be aware of when retaining an expert to complete a personal injury evaluation.

Assessing Civil Competency: What Are the Mental Capacity Standards in Civil Litigation?

Civil competency is an area that gets significantly less attention than competency in criminal proceedings. It’s definitely not a topic that you are going to see on Law & Order anytime soon. We regularly get questions about civil competency and the mental capacity standards in civil litigation. While the standards for competency civil litigation have some things in common with the standards for competency in criminal proceedings, they have their own unique set of legal standards. In this article we’re going to talk about the California rules and regulations in various civil competency proceedings and how an expert assesses for competency in these cases.

State-Level Responses to the ERISA Church Plan Exemption

In 2017, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Advocated Health Care Network v. Stapleton that the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) did not apply to church-affiliated hospitals and assumedly other church-affiliated organizations.

Residential Seating Not Safe Enough for Commercial Hospitality Use

Important points to consider when evaluating seating for a high use restaurant, hotel, casino, timeshare resort, university or cruise line environment.

State Pension Plans Struggle to Recover from the Great Recession

Research from The PEW Charitable Trusts (PEW) has evaluated what policies and factors could be inhibiting certain states from reducing their public pension system funding gaps.

TCPA Compliance: A Checklist

Provided by: Context Corporation
In this article, the author explains the basics of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)--in particular the Automatic Telephone Dialing System (ATDS) element of the statute. He illustrates the risks associated with the use of "dialers" to communicate via voice or text and provides a detailed checklist of Dos and Don'ts. This is a purely objective checklist that applies equally to Plaintiffs and Defendants.

Do You Need an Expert Witness Board-Certified in Both Brain Injury Medicine and Forensic Psychiatry?

A properly qualified expert witness is essential, but it becomes especially crucial in the event of brain injuries where training and credentials are not all equal. For example, the event that causes Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Concussions might also lead to PTSD or emotional distress. A Forensic Psychiatrist is adequately qualified to address the PTSD or emotional distress, but may not have the depth of training necessary to evaluate TBI and its impact. These inter-relationships, or lack, are best understood and assessed by a qualified Expert Witness in both Psychiatry and Brain Injury Medicine. In addition, a Forensic Psychiatrist has additional experience with the medico-legal aspects of a case. Helping juries understand complex cross-over conditions may require an Expert with a unique background and credentials.

Small Business Employees Gain More Retirement Options

The Department of Labor, through the Employee Benefits Security Administration, issued a final rule on July 29, 2019 that expands retirement options for millions of workers employed by small businesses.

Understanding NCMEC CyberTipline Reports

Investigations into child pornography offenses often begin with the receipt of a CyberTipline Report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Both prosecutors and defense attorneys should be familiar with these reports and the information they can contain.

Winning Slip & Fall Cases in Restaurants

Do you want to win your slip, trip, and fall cases that take place in restaurants? Of course, you do. Did you know that slips, trips, and falls in the restaurant industry are completely different from slips, trips, and falls in any other industry? Here we will help you find out just how different they really are and give you some critical insider insight that will help you win these restaurant industry cases and may even inspire you to want to take on more restaurant industry matters to expand your legal practice.

Computer Forensics and Sentencing Criteria in Child Pornography Cases

In child pornography cases, attorneys often rely on computer forensic examiners to look for evidence that a suspect or defendant possessed or shared contraband material. The sentencing criteria in these cases can be complex so it is important that attorneys convey to the examiner what to look for and how to report it.

Multiemployer Pension Plans Subject to New PBGC Guidelines

Reporting and compliance requirements for certain multiemployer pension plans have been amended by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (“PBGC”), effective July 1, 2019.

Are Displays from Expert Witnesses Confusing to Jurors?

In some situations, displays that expert witnesses use may create confusion to jurors instead of providing clarification on an issue. The display interface can lead to misinterpretations and misunderstandings if the jurors are not as up to date on technology or how the display explains the material. Being aware of this information can help expert witnesses refrain from using confusing displays or use displays that increase juror understanding.

Hotel Room Barn-Style Doors: Dangerous by Design,Best Left on the Barn

Provided by: Michael Panish
Many hotels have elected to install barn style doors inside the hotel rooms. These doors are creating accidents to the hotel guests.

Does Privilege Apply to Expert Witness Research?

The aspect of lawyer and client privilege and what the expert can expect in a case may depend if he or she is a designated expert witness or a consultant only researching matters and helping the lawyer hire another expert witness. Keeping research non-discoverable is important in certain litigation claims or criminal investigations.

Research by Expert Witnesses - Is It Discoverable by the Opposing Party?

Litigation can protect an expert witness that acts either as a consultant or someone that works in the background of a case through research, reports and testing of evidence with the case materials. The research may remain confidential even with discovery rules depending on the specific situation and the information involved in this process.

Accountant Expert Witnesses - How Their Professional Rules Affect Their Testimony

Accountant expert witnesses have certain professional rules that apply to both work and testimony or reports involved in the cases or claims that these accountants will work with and in which may change what will occur. These professional rules affect how the expert works and what he or she will progress through with the evidence.

PBGC Seeks Approval of New Coverage Determination Form

ERISA plan sponsors or administrators may be required to use a new form and instructions for all types of future coverage determination requests, according to a notice published in the Federal Register on May 8, 2019 by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

How to Explain Yourself as an Expert Witness When Your Conclusion Is Not the One The Lawyer Wanted

Sometimes, the conclusion that the expert witness comes to in a case is not what the lawyer wants because it does not support the argument the lawyer is making or trying to convince the courtroom about with the details. When this occurs, the professional hired will need to explain why his or her conclusion is counter to the argument.

The Expert Witness’ Guide on Creating a Solid Retainer Agreement

When becoming part of a case, the expert witness will need a solid retainer agreement with specific provisions and stipulations about what pay to receive, what work is important for the case and which duties will reimburse the professional when he or she pays for them. This retainer agreement usually is the first step in a lawyer and expert relationship.

Lawyers, Expert Witnesses and Ethics-Beyond Mere Testimony

Lawyers and courts turn to expert witnesses to provide triers of fact with explanations of aspects of a case that are not commonly known. It is the subject matter expert’s education, experience, and skill in a particular area that will help the triers of fact to reach a well-informed conclusion/decision.

Key Provisions to Include in Your Expert Witness Retainer Agreement

The expert witness retainer agreement is something that both the lawyer and the professional hired to act as the expert witness in the trial will negotiate before any services rendered will require a more clear understanding of what the expert needs. With these retainer agreements, there are sections that explain each type of fee and details about how much the expert can expect.

Marketing Options for Expert Witnesses

When an expert witness wants to become part of more cases, he or she may need to consider marketing his or her experience and background to grab the attention of more lawyers that need professionals as part of various cases. There are several strategies that the expert can put into effect to increase the likelihood of hire.

Identifying a Person Using an IP Address

Cases such as copyright violations, computer hacking, and distribution of child pornography often involve using an individual's IP address to identify them. But, what is an IP address and how reliable are they at identifying individuals?

State Hybrid Pension Plans Continue to Gain Popularity

The increasing indebtedness of state pension systems means that state budgets are facing significant pressure and tough financial decisions, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article titled, “New Jersey Needs a Pension Fix. Is This It?”

How to Explain the Role of the Expert Witness at an Initial Consultation

The initial consultation is when the prospective client is considering hiring the lawyer, but this phase may also require a better understanding of the expert witness that may need to become part of the proceedings in the courtroom and behind the scenes. The lawyer may need to introduce this professional later after the consultation completes.

Fidelity Investments Infrastructure Fee Draws Scrutiny

Fidelity Investments is the subject of a Department of Labor investigation regarding an annual “infrastructure fee” imposed on third-party firms that sell their own mutual funds on Fidelity’s FundsNetwork platform, according to a February 2019 article in The Wall Street Journal titled, “Government Probes Fidelity Over Obscure Mutual-Fund Fees.”

Attorneys Can Be Called to Be an Expert Witness

A lawyer usually can become an expert witness in legal matters, to remove confusion about laws and regulations in the case and to prevent further confusion about something specific or minute regarding laws in a local or city issue. The lawyer can explain various aspects of the matter and provide objective materials for better clarification of the situation.

Expert Witness's Concern for Their Reputation - Is It Getting in the Way of Your Case?

There are certain ways to keep an expert witness focused on the task of the case rather than seeking to protect or further his or her reputation when performing for the lawyer, and it is vital to employ these to safeguard the case. It is crucial to build a strong relationship with both professionals and to seek to further the progress of the case.

Can Expert Witnesses Reach a Legal Conclusion in Their Testimony?

The District courts have given a judgment about what the expert witness can accomplish when it comes to legal conclusions and what is possible within the testimony presented in the courtroom with the professional. It is important for the expert to abide by this decision and only explain what he or she has permission to state.

Typical Fees Included in an Expert Witness Fee Agreement

When retaining an expert witness for a case, the lawyer usually negotiates a contract between the two professionals with certain aspects of financial matters that will detail the fees involved and what the expert witness can expect in payment. There are particular sections of this agreement that detail the relationship and what services will allot which fees.

Your Expert Witness’ Testimony Differs from Deposition Testimony - What Do You Do?

The expert witness usually must provide similar or the same testimony during the trial as when he or she did during the deposition to ensure that the details are not different or contradictory. This is an important matter that the lawyer and expert may need to discuss before the trial takes place to prevent disqualification.

Ruplestiltskin, LLP: Volume II The Dark Side of “Dialers”

Provided by: Context Corporation
In this article, the author explains the basics of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)--in particular the Automatic Telephone Dialing System (ATDS) element of the statute. He illustrates the risks associated with the use of "dialers" to communicate via voice or text, with an example scenarios. 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.

What to Include in an Engagement Letter for an Expert Witness

The engagement letter with the expert witness is a layout of the scope that the lawyer and expert will have in the relationship for testimony and all other processes with the case. It is important to include certain terms and ensure that the expert witness is aware of his or her responsibilities both in and out of the courtroom.

Characteristics of the College and University and Student of the Future

Most colleges and universities in the United States and worldwide write and implement strategic enrollment plans every year.

Predictions for Higher Education in 2005 and Realities in Higher Education in 2019

I have often written about the folly of making predictions about the future of higher education in the United States and around the world. However, I recently came across this article and realized that the 25 predictions I made 14 years ago about the future of higher education have for the most part, become reality.

Deposition Testimony by Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses usually must have testimony that remains the same or they could face disqualification from the case and professional problems when others hear of these issues with testimony. Impeaching the witness from the case is important if testimony changes that could impact the case in a negative way to the point of loss.

Municipal Retiree Health Care Costs Significantly Underfunded

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently revised a 2017 issue brief titled “State Retiree Health Care Liabilities: An Update.” This 50-state survey of retiree healthcare liabilities reviews how prefunding policies and reducing benefits may help states effectively manage the increasing costs associated with “other post-employment benefits” (OPEB).

When to Share an Exposing Expert Witness’ Report

The expert witness report often must provide details about the revealing nature of the case and is part of the Federal Rules of discovery, civil procedure or criminal procedure. The legal team must share this information at certain times based on the type of case, and the mandatory disclosure of the report is necessary for both legal sides and arguments

Argumentative Expert Witnesses in Court - How to Get Them Back on Track

When the legal team hires an expert witness that is passionate about his or her subject, it is possible that an argument may break out in the courtroom or when engaging in the topic involved in the case. It is important to get this professional back on track and ensure that the testimony or information is in line with the case or claim in the courtroom.

Ethical Challenges for Expert Witnesses in Civil Litigation

Expert witnesses confront various ethical challenges when progressing through civil litigation no matter if the case is simple or has complex parts and processes to include presenting testimony and using procedures for testing. Success in these ethical challenges can ensure the professional is aware of how to navigate morals and expected mores of the city where the case occurs.

The Higher Education Bubble in the United States

Author makes the case for why higher education in the United States is not inelastic and why enrollments in the future face significant, and different, challenges from those in the past.

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