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 XXIII - June 2018
Editor's Thoughts
It is June and the construction season is in full swing. All over the United States, the entire northern hemisphere for that matter, are thousands of roadway, building, and industrial construction sites. With the increase in construction activity comes the increase in construction injuries. Falls on the construction site are the most common way construction workers are injured. Follow the fall protection protocols.

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FIU Pedestrian Bridge Collapse
I have been asked by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) to speak at their national conference in Las Vegas, NV on the Florida International University (FIU) pedestrian bridge collapse that occurred on March 15, 2018. My presentation will include a discussion on my forensic examination and findings on the Atlanta Botanical Garden pedestrian bridge collapse in 2008. My presentation will be July 19, 2018 at 3pm in Caesars Palace. For more information on the NSPE conference, Click Here.

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I came across an extremely interesting situation in Canada. Apparently, parties in a civil lawsuits are hiring expert witnesses for the SOLE purpose of critiquing the other side's expert. From this article we have the following:

"Civil litigators should carefully consider the utility of hiring an expert for the sole purpose of critiquing the opposing party’s expert. "

I have been asked numerous times to review (i.e. critique) the reports of other civil/structural engineering experts. Each time I tell the client that as long as the other expert does not have water running uphill (or other Laws of Physics violations), there is not much I can offer without a site visit and examining all the evidence. See the full article in the "In the News" section of this month's OFI.

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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...
OFI Editor in the News This Month!!!
Yours truly was contacted by the Charleston, SC Post and Courier newspaper after the westbound lanes of the James B. Edwards bridge in Charleston, SC were closed. I was asked to comment on the closure given that the bridge had been inspected weekly over a two year span, and that the broken post-tensioning cable that was recently found was in the same section as the one that started the weekly inspection to begin with. Click Here .

"My Expert Says Your Expert is Wrong!"
Many attorneys are hiring experts for the sole purpose of critiquing the other side's expert's report without onsite visits/interviews or evidence examination. Judges are not liking this. Click Here.

A Boom In Construction Brings More Workers Injuries
Based on my experience, it is my opinion that residential construction general contractors and sub-contractors are very lax at implementing construction site fall protections. Don't get me wrong. Commercial and industrial construction sites have their fair share of fall protection violations. However, small profit margins from residential construction projects makes cheating very attractive. Here is what happened in Nashville, TN during a recent residential construction boom.

Trying to Pass the Buck - The GC is Ultimately Liable
Here is another story about the construction boom in Nashville, TN. Apparently, the sub-contractors hired by the General Contractor (GC) are themselves hiring subs, who might also be hiring subs of subs. The GC's are using this situation to claim no liability when a worker at the bottom of the "food chain" is hurt. Standard contract language in American Institute of Architects AIA documents, and the standards promulgated by the Associated General Contractors of American make it plain that the GC is responsible for everyone on the job site.

When Engineers are Not Involved, People Die
Because an amusement ride in Ohio killed an 18 year old man due to excessive corrosion, the state of Ohio passed a law requiring licensed professional engineers (PE) to perform the maintenance inspections. Maybe if a PE had been involved in the design of a long troubled waterpark slide in Kansas, a 10 year old boy would not have been decapitated, either. Click Here for the story in Ohio. Click Here for the story in Kansas.

No Expert = Another Predictable Summary Judgement
A plaintiff slipped and fell on a set of stairs. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging defects in the stairs. The plaintiff does not provide an expert to establish what those defects were. The defendant files for summary judgement and wins. Shocking outcome. Click Here

Biomechanical Expert Witnesses in NY
This is a great article about what a Biomechanical Engineer does, their role as an expert witness, and the tactics adverse attorneys use to try and discredit them. Click Here.

Social Media's Effect on Subrogation Claims
Insurance Law Podcast is a series of timely claims and insurance issues for the insurance professional. Their latest installment discusses the use of social media to help with your subrogation claim. To sign up for their podcast, 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
(Phone): 404.395.7441

MEI has recently moved. The new address is:

Mutual Engineering, Inc. - MEI
13009 Panhandle Road
Hampton, GA 30228

Email:   mutual@bellsouth.net  
Website:   MutualEngineering.com

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      Thank you for Your Time and Your Trust!!!