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 VIII - March 2017
Editor's Thoughts

Happy St. Patrick's Day and Welcome to Spring!!!

Thank you for supporting Omnia Forensis Ingenariae.  Please let me know if you would like to see something added that would further the knowledge of all.  

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The first two articles are somewhat related.  The first article begins with, "We have long suspected that the reason some judges are hostile to Daubert is because application of the doctrine involves so much work."  

The second article ends with, "Daubert has grown to be a monster in the realm of civil litigation.  The decision was meant to ease restrictions regarding barriers to scientific evidence, but empirical studies have shown that the exact opposite has happened."

Both articles are long, but well worth the effort.  Besides, you have month to read everything.  Thank you.

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Many people provide volunteer services to organizations in our community.  It is a good thing to do.  In OFI this month, there is an article about a church volunteer who was injured while updating the church interior.  He sued the church.  Each had an expert regarding the duties of the church under OSHA. 

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The Florida Supreme Court has rejected Daubert.  See the article in the "Did you Know" section below.

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

Sincerely,

Richard A. Rice, PE

PS:  Past editions of OFI can be found at my company website.  Click Here and scroll down to the bottom of the page.  Thanks.
In the News this Month...
A Judge Laments:  Daubert = Work 
Gone are the days when a judge could use Frye and opine on the admissibility of an expert.  Now there is Daubert and the paperwork it produces.  Click Here.

Daubert the Monster!!!
This article chronicles from the original intent of Daubert to "the perverse fashion in which Daubert has been interpreted and applied by the federal judiciary."

County Commissions Hold Up Payment of Expert Witness Fees
A Pennsylvania county commission tables the payment of an expert witness for the county prosecutor because the expert witness charged for being on-call during a murder trial.  In my humble opinion (IMHO), retainers should always be received from governmental entities.  This is a good example why.  Click Here.

Wisconsin's Move to Daubert Seems Ineffective
The writer of this article is extremely critical of the attitude toward Daubert in Wisconsin courts.  From this article we have, "Given the Wisconsin appellate courts’ disdain for Daubert, it is likely that, even if Avery were tried today in the Daubert era, the trial court would still allow the state to use its weird, non-science science at trial."  Click Here.

Experts Explaining Complex Computer Code Case
For those who provide legal or expert witness services involving computer code, this article is for you.  In the Zenimax v. Oculus case, much of what the experts are saying can be found on social media.  Click Here.

3D Printed Pedestrian Bridge
For those who ever provided legal or forensic services after a bridge failure, this is pretty cool.  A group in Spain has constructed a usable pedestrian bridge using a 3D printer.  Click Here.

Volunteer Sues Church after "Construction" Injury:  Does OSHA Apply?
Dueling experts is nothing new.  What is novel about this issue is that it involves a volunteer who was injured while helping a church.   Click Here.

Another Dispute Regarding Expert Witness Fees
Every time I read stories where there are arguments about the paying of expert witness fees, it reinforces my belief in retainers.   Click Here. 

Smartwatches:  The New Expert Witness
This is a great article about how Smartwatches are being used to collect medical related data on people before and after an incident.  Click Here.

Insurance Crisis in Texas
This section says it all, "27 percent of all claims that arose out of a 2012 hail event in Hidalgo County involved a public adjuster or attorney, compared with 2 percent or less for most other events."  Click Here.

What Type of  Expert Witness Suits You?
The number of articles and papers written by attorneys on how to choose an expert is large.  What caught my eye in this article was this: "There are, broadly speaking, three sources for expert witnesses: they can either come from the world of academia, from services or consulting firms that provide “professional” experts for use in litigation, or they can simply have worked in the industry or area that is the subject of the issue to be determined, such that they have gained the experience and specialized knowledge that would qualify them as experts in the particular field."  I personally qualify as a "worked in the industry" kind of expert.  Which kind do you prefer?  Click Here.

New Expert Witness Code of Conduct in Australia
To be an expert witness in Australia, one must perform to a certain set of rules.   Click Here.

Insurance Carrier Not Liable for Suggesting Bad Contractor
A residential policy holder asked for a referral from the insurance carrier, and got one.  Somehow, things went bad at the house.  See Article 4:  Click Here.

Court: "Go to the Property, Mr. Expert, or Else!"
Many property owners and insurance companies have asked me to render an engineering opinion on damages and costs based solely on photographs and documents provided by the asking party.  To not inspect an available property is dangerous for many reasons.  Click Here.

Expert Opinions Without Scientific Method Get the Boot
This is a great article about a plaintiff's expert that was removed because the opinions showed great width, but no depth.  Click Here.

Canadian Court Offended by "Ghost Writers"
Ghost writing occurs when the expert signing the report was not the only person who wrote the report.  Does this occur in the United States?  Click Here.

Coffee Talk:  Dr. Peter S. Parsonson
It is my honor to bring to you an article written by one of the most revered and sought after experts on traffic engineering.  Dr. Parsonson has authored and co-authored dozens of papers and university level text books on the subject.  Dr. Parsonson is a former professor at Georgia Tech, and routinely consults with state DOT's regarding traffic engineering issues.  He is a member of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE), and is my mentor and friend.  The article is entitled "The Design Driver in Crash Litigation."  Read this knowing that Dr. Parsonson knows of what he writes.  Click Here.
Did you know...?
The Florida Supreme Court, even after 20 years since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Daubert the standard for determining expert witnesses in the federal courts, decided that it had “grave concerns about the constitutionality of the [ Daubert] amendment.”  Really?  I guess Florida will take over from Missouri the moniker of "judicial hellhole."  Their words, not mine.  Click Here.

Special Submission!!!
And speaking of Florida...the Florida Board of Professional Engineers (FBPE), William C. Bracken, PE - Chairman, has allowed OFI to offer you a past newsletter published by the FBPE.  Of particular interest are the featured articles regarding the Florida Building Code, and Engineering Interns.  Thank you very much.  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

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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