Omnia Forensis Ingenariae 
                 "All Things Forensic Engineering"

News and Views for the Forensic Engineer
and Their Legal/Insurance Clients

Richard A. Rice, PE - Editor
Edition V - December 2016
Editor's Thoughts

Merry Christmas to all of my friends, family, clients and colleagues.  Please enjoy this time of year.    
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Thank you for taking the time to read what I have prepared for you.  Forensic Engineers must be teachers at heart to be effective.  We teach our clients, and if need be, teach judges and juries.  That is what we do.  So please read each article knowing that the purpose of this newsletter is to help all of us be better practitioners in our respective professions.

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The National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) winter meeting is scheduled to take place in New Orleans, LA from January 13th - 15th, 2017.  Instead of a guest writer, this month's  edition of "Coffee Talk" provides an article I wrote a while back regarding forensic engineering credentials.  Specifically, I wrote about the importance of NAFE membership in the marketplace.  

Practicing Forensic Engineers are not the only people who attend the NAFE seminars.  Many are Associate Members who are not yet experienced enough for Board Certification.  Others are Affiliate Members who are not engineers but who are interested in Forensic Engineering and furthering the goals of NAFE (attorneys, adjusters, students, etc...).  The wealth of knowledge shared at NAFE events is incredible.  Please take advantage of this opportunity.  To learn more about NAFE, or to sign up for the upcoming NAFE seminar in New Orleans, LA, please Click Here for the NAFE website.  If you are on the fence regarding NAFE, please contact me.  My contact information is at the end of this newsletter.  By the way, the cost for the NAFE winter meeting is half off for first time attendees.  Call me.  

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From time to time, I am asked to review the reports produced by other forensic engineers.  The vast majority of these reports are found to be reasonable.  However, there are those that miss the mark.  As a result, insurance and private entities are forced into needless litigation that leads to predictable and excessive settlements.  Please read an article written about on such an event.  Click Here.

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Again, thank you.  If you have suggestions for OFI, please email me any time. 

Sincerely,

Richard A. Rice, PE
In the News this Month...
What is the "Workmanlike Manner" Definition in Contract Documents?"    
To see recent SCOTUS and other court decisions regarding this definition,

Long Awaited Updated OSHA Standards
For those of us who work construction incident cases, this is big news.  The OSHA standards regarding walking-working surfaces, scaffolds, ladders, stairs and ramps, etc...has not been changed since the 1990's.  To read more, Click Here.

Florida Supreme Court:  Expert Admissibility Debate Goes On 
Florida currently has an amended version of Daubert for the admissibility of expert witnesses.  This could change this month.  Click Here.

Expert Witness Fees Becoming an Issue in Flint, MI
So far the city of Flint, MI has spent over $78K on expert witness fees after the water contamination issue that erupted several months back.  Given the magnitude of this case, this money is only a drop in the bucket (pun intended).  Click Here.

Property Damage from Improper Maintenance
The good people at Erie Insurance have conducted a survey that shows where a small percentage of policy holders actually properly maintain their property.  Given the number of unchanged HVAC filters, trees in gutters, and other lack of maintenance I have seen over the years, this is not surprising.  I have seen many wood deck failure claims denied because of lack of gutter maintenance.  Interesting article.  Click Here.

SCOTUS Decision Prompting Ohio to Revamp Professional Boards
As part of the blow-back from the recent SCOTUS decision regarding "non-sovereign players" on state professional boards, the state of Ohio is abolishing some and consolidating several other professional boards.  While the professional engineering board is not mentioned, they must be nervous.  Click Here.

How to Use the Other Side's Expert
Sometimes the best testimony is from the other guy.  Click Here.

A Rose (i.e. Theory) By Any Other Name...
It appears that the Wisconsin courts are also rejecting the repackaging of the "each and every exposure" theory regarding asbestos exposure.  Click Here.

Frye is No Longer in Our Nation's Capital
This is a great article about how the Frye standard has been dropped, and now the Daubert standard regarding expert witness testimony is now the law in Washington, DC.  Click Here.

"I'm Not a Doctor, But I Play One on...The Witness Stand"
The consequences of stretching your expert witnesses credentials a little too far.   Click Here.

The Effectiveness of Daubert Challenges
  The Daubert Era is over 20 years old.  This article is a great statistical analysis (i.e. large sample size) of the outcomes from Daubert Challenges.  The take-away from this article is that you now have something to help you deal with client expectations.  Click Here.

A Sinking Feeling in San Francisco
 The city of San Francisco, CA is suing the developer of a new luxury high-rise that is sinking into the ground.  Each is blaming the other as the cause of the problem.  Your Editor has not been retained on this case.  However, after reading some of the facts, it is interesting to think about the location of the "smoking gun" documents.  You forensic civil/structural/geotechnical types know what I mean.  What do you think?   Click Here.
Coffee Talk:  Forensic Engineering Credentials - Why NAFE Membership is Important
In anticipation of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) upcoming seminar in January 2017, now would be a good time to provide you with a refresher on the importance of NAFE membership to the Forensic Engineer, and the importance to the attorney or adjuster needing forensic engineering services.  Click Here for the article.
Did you know...?
As recently as 2013, the Mississippi State Supreme Court used the decisions of the South Carolina and New Mexico Supreme Courts to remove the requirement that a Professional Engineering license is needed to be named an expert witness. From one of the judges, we have:

"We refuse to endorse an interpretation of the professional engineer licensing statute which has the potential of either preventing out-of-state experts from testifying in South Carolina courts or imposing the unreasonable burden (emphasis added by the Editor) of getting licensed in this State simply to be permitted to provide forensic testimony."  A judge that gets it.  There is hope.

  To read the complete article, Click Here.
Expert Referrals
I have the privilege to work with many great forensic experts in the United States, Asia and Europe in the fields of Accident Reconstruction, Electrical Failures, Mechanical Failures just to name a few disciplines. Please allow me to refer to you one of these court tested experts for your next insurance claim or legal matter.  There is no charge to you.  I do not get a finders fee from anyone.  This is my way of helping you.  Plus, I can help my Forensic Engineering colleagues.  Please email me or call 404.395.7441. 

Note:   No warranties, expressed or implied, are made to the suitability of any expert referred to you.  Do your homework to make sure you have the right expert.
...about the Editor

Richard A. Rice, PE is President and Forensic Engineer for Mutual Engineering, Inc. - MEI.  Because of 30 years of continuous civil/structural design services, and his early and continued exposure to his friends and families many construction businesses, Mr. Rice is uniquely qualified to provide Civil/Structural Forensic Engineering services to the insurance, legal, and construction industries. Services include building design and construction, roadway design and construction, building inspection and code compliance, building/foundation collapse, construction site incidents, and other property loss subjects.  Mr. Rice is a licensed professional engineer in several states, and a Fellow and Board Certified Diplomate of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE).

Mr. Rice has written a novel and numerous technical articles published in professional journals for NAFE, the National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP), and the Georgia Defense Lawyer Association (GDLA).  Please call/email Mr. Rice or visit his company's webpage:

Richard A. Rice, PE - Civil/Structural Engineer
Mutual Engineering, Inc. - MEI
(Office):  770.210.6644
(Mobile):  404.395.7441
Email:   mutual@bellsouth.net 
Website:   MutualEngineering.com
 
Dr. Christine Jesup was a respected and loved obstetrician in the Low Country of South Carolina. Everything was good until tragedy struck. The ambulance carrying Dr. Jesup and her pregnant patient crashed on a defectively constructed road. Attorney Cephas Hampton, along with his forensic engineering expert, fight a corrupt road builder and an incredulous insurance company in an effort to help Dr. Jesup...to be made whole again.

 "...to be made whole again" is available now.  Please  Click Here for your copy. 


Amazon Book Reviews:

Anthony - "I really like this book, it's a forensic , court drama. They need to write a                    screen play and do a mini series."

Bruce W. - "Nice short read and very interesting. I really enjoyed it but I work in
                  this type of field and so it was familiar to me. The book provides
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                 Definitely worth the money - it is a bargain at that price!"

Dr. McMillian - "This book will grab your attention on the first page. It is a   
                             spellbinder and will keep you reading all night if you let it. I am
                             looking forward to the author's next book with great
                            anticipation."

Angela B. - "Interesting Read"
     Thank you!!!