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 VI - January 2017
Editor's Thoughts

Happy New Year to ALL!!!

I hope everyone had a great holiday season.  With the festivities over, it is time to get back to our labor of love. 
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Over the past few months, I have received numerous comments regarding the content of OFI.  In addition, I have reviewed the data regarding what items my readers are linking to when they open the newsletter.  It turns out that the VAST majority of OFI readers click on the articles I find.  This is pleasing because the majority of my time putting together OFI goes into finding timely and interesting articles that help the users of Forensic Engineers (FE) and the FE's themselves.  It is amazing the number of articles I gather each month.  Please take the whole month to review all the articles.  You will learn something new.  I always do.  

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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.  The February edition of OFI will have any public information that can be shared.  

If you are reading this early in the month and you may be interested in attending, please go to the NAFE website at nafe.org.  If you want to talk about it, please call me (404.395.7441).     

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If you are not on the mailing list, please click on "Join the Mailing List" to automatically receive the monthly newsletter and timely updates.   If you feel you have received this email by mistake, please see the bottom where you can remove yourself from the mailing list.  

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

Sincerely,

Richard A. Rice, PE
In the News this Month...
Expert Opinions Without Data Make the Judge Mad and Speak Latin    
Far too often, experts opine on a subject without anything (data, previous experience, etc...) to back up the opinion.  One judge had enough.  "Dr. XXX's
testimony was more of the nature of ipse dixit, i.e., that it should be reliable merely because he is an expert. This is insufficient to satisfy Daubert.”

Recent Weather Events Bring Out the Scam Artists
Please tell your Insured's that hucksters and frauds could approach them after a storm; at a time when they are most vulnerable.  Unlicensed contractors, even unlicensed public adjusters will try and take advantage.  It would not hurt for the Insured's to ask for the resumes of the engineers you hoped to get.  Electrical engineers inspecting foundations?  I think NOT!!!  Please forward this article as much as you wish.  Click Here.

Become a Self-Taught Expert with a Few Easy Lessons 
Don't get me wrong.  Some of the best expert witnesses I have seen had no formal education past high school.  However, in this article, someone is claiming to be an expert in speed control systems because he has "studied" them.  He is not an engineer of any kind.  He has not worked for any automobile manufacture.  This "expert" was hired by a prosecutor wanting to send someone to prison.  What was the prosecution thinking?  Click Here.

Proof of Record Keeping is Important
A young child is killed when a gravestone topples onto the child.  Documents show that the city council was responsible for inspecting the gravestones.  However, a council employee never documented the inspections.  I have said many times:  "If it is not documented, the inspection never happened."  Click Here.

"Daubert Watch" in Florida
The Florida Supreme Court has heard arguments on which expert witness standard should be used.  No news, yet.  To catch up, Click Here.

An Expert Witness's Criminal Past Catches Up!!!
The Maricopa County, AZ chief toxicologist who helped put away Jodi Arias lied about his status as a convicted felon.  The Arias case, and hundreds of others, are most probably subject to retrial.  Is it just me or is government the worst at properly vetting new hires?  Click Here.

More on the OSHA New Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Standard for General Industry
These standards take effect this month.  Get current!!!  Click Here.

A Brake Case from Across the Pond
Many of the readers of OFI are brake experts.  Many attorneys and adjusters use brake experts.  Here is a brake case from England.  If anything, the jargon used by the experts is interesting.  Click Here.

Another Expert Sacked Because of No Foundation
Too many experts believe that their resume is enough to seize the day.  A Bio-mechanical expert learned the hard way that this is not so.  The judge in a medical device case said of the plaintiff's expert that his opinion “does not refer to any literature or give any explanation for why the implant design, and asymmetric loading generally, causes debonding and, in turn, loosening.”   Click Here.

So, You Want to Be an International Expert Witness?
This is a great article on expert witnesses for international arbitrations. Click Here.

More News on the Hot Tubbing of Expert Witnesses
  The hot tubbing of expert witnesses is becoming more common.  It will probably happen to each of us one day.  Click Here.

A Technical Expert That Cannot Do Simple Math
 WARNING!!!  This video is difficult to watch.  This is a depiction of a deposition of an accident reconstructionist.  The actors are portraying each person word for word from the deposition.  While I do not have the CV of the expert being deposed, I suspect that the higher education of the supposed expert was not engineering.  You have been warned.  Click Here.

The Judge Brought His Own Expert to the Party.  Be Careful!!!
You've spent lots of money and time preparing your expert.  You spent more of each trying to discredit the other sides expert.  You get to trial and find that the judge has brought his/her own expert.  What to do?  Click Here.

Consistency in Opinions is Key
An expert witness in a lethal injection execution case is in hot water because it was pointed out that his opinions on the drug used vary based on which side he is working for.  As southern writer and humorist Lewis Grizzard said, "If you don't lie, you don't have to remember what you said."  Click Here.

St. Louis, MO Considered "Hellhole" Because of Lax Expert Witness Standards
According to the American Tort Reform Association, the St. Louis, MO circuit court is the most unfair to defendants compared to other jurisdictions in the United States.  One of the reasons cited is that they do not use the Daubert standard to judge expert witness testimony.  Interesting stuff.  Click Here.

The NSPE Board of Ethical Review Responds to Super Storm Sandy Engineering Report Shenanigans
It appears that the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) Board of Ethical Review has taken great exception to those Administrative Functionaries that were arrogant enough to believe they could change the opinions of a licensed professional engineer.  To read the entire NSPE response, Click Here.

Coffee Talk:  Do You Have Something to Add?
Is there a Forensic Engineering topic you wish to write about?  Is there something bothering you so much that you feel the need to write about it?  Here is your opportunity to share your ideas with the hundreds (almost thousands) of OFI readers.  Please submit your article in Word format to mutual@bellsouth.net.

Assuming your article is germane, professional, and fit for family reading, the only changes made will be spelling and grammatical corrections.  The editor of OFI reserves the right to determine if any submission to OFI furthers the interests and knowledge of Forensic Engineers and the professionals who hire them.  Please call me if you have questions about your article.  I look forward to seeing your work.

Did you know...?
This is big.  This is real big.   It seems that  Chuck Detling of ExactSource in Atlanta, GA has put together the requirements of each state in the United States regarding the judicial admissibility of expert witness testimony.  Much of his work involves the licensing requirements of engineers.  I have reviewed his work.  I was impressed with the amount of detail.  The requirements of Mississippi and Alabama listed in his presentation are dead on correct.  The licensing requirements in Texas are a little off because of recent Texas legislation.  Regardless, Mr. Detling cites the cases in each state regarding the licensure requirements of expert witnesses.  Each Forensic Engineer, Attorney, and Adjuster should save this link to their computers for future reference.   To read the complete listing, Click Here .  Warning!!!  Just because the courts allow you to be an expert without an engineering license does not mean the state boards will like it.  Go carefully.  Many state boards are taking a while to understand the United States Constitution. 
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

Click Here for Notable (Media Reported) Cases

Click Here for Engineering Subjects Addressed
 
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. 


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     Thank you.  Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year. !!!