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Daubert Reliability Findings Required by Trial Judges

In U.S. v. Ruvalcaba-Garcia (5/10/2019), the U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Circuit) considered a defendant’s appeal from a conviction for illegal entry into the U.S. The defendant argued that the trial judge erred by failing to make any findings on the reliability of the government fingerprint experts. The Court of Appeals agreed, stating: Here, the… read more

Daubert: Experts Presenting “Novel” Causation Theory

When expert witnesses offer novel theories on causation, they are at substantial risk of having their testimony excluded. For example, in Robinson Bowersock v. Davol Inc., No. 17-2068 (7th Cir. Jan. 22, 2019), a hernia mesh personal injury case in which the decedent died one year after her hernia repair, the Court of Appeal upheld… read more

Flat Fees for Expert’s Deposition Questioned

The U.S. District Court (S.D. West Virginia) recently dealt with the issue of whether an expert’s flat fee for depositions is reasonable. The expert witness fee schedule provided for $385/hour but set flat fees of $3,000 for depositions lasting up to 4 hours and $5,000 for depositions lasting more than 4 hours and up to… read more

IME: Mechanism of Injury

The Montana WC court in Hagberg v. Ace American Insurance Company wcc no. 2018-4206 (4/15/2019) dealt with a claimant who injured his back at work lifting a 200-250 lb. burner on 5/18/20016. In a battle of the experts, the report of the IME physician Schabacker was discounted due to his lack of specifics about the… read more

Construction Safety Expert Witness: Contractor Termination for Cause

By Homer R. Peterson II, P.E., CSP Introduction Many construction contracts that are executed today include terms that allow termination of a company either for cause or for the convenience of the terminating entity. As owners and general contractors become increasingly concerned about construction safety, terminations for cause for alleged shortcomings in general contractors’ and… read more

New Forensic Accounting Standards Adopted

The AICPA has adopted new standards for forensic series. The new standards which are effective January 1, 2020 provide that “… members should be prepared to justify departures from this statement.” These new standards codify “best practices” for litigation work. The AICPA statement for forensic services provides: Statement on Standards for Forensic Services No. 1… read more

Psychiatric Expert Witness: Demonstrating Cognitive Impairment

By Steven Babitsky Esq. One of the challenges faced by expert witnesses and the lawyers who retain them is the ability to diagnose and demonstrate cognitive impairment/dysfunction. Often, it is not practical to order a full neuropsychological workup including neuropsychological testing. Counsel wants to demonstrate visually the cognitive problems that their client is experiencing. The… read more

Finite Element Analysis expert witness: making complex issues clear

Introduction Finite element analysis (FEA) is a technique which helps explain complex technical issues by displaying them in a format which is easy to understand. As such, it can be a potent tool in litigation.  In the illustration below, FEA was used to show stresses in a vehicle involved in a collision. The outline of… read more

Behavioral biometrics expert witness: identity from motion

Introduction A previous blog post Introduced the subject of biometric security, covering how identity is established using biological inputs such as fingerprints, palm veins, and features of the face, iris or retina. Both the technologies involved in biometrics and the governing legal frameworks are changing. Here we focus on the behavioral side of biometrics and… read more

Expert Witness Disqualified Due to Financial Interest in Outcome

The United States District Court, WD Virginia, dealt with a financial dispute in which a former CEO of a company, Stephens, was offered as an expert witness. The court disqualified Stephens as an expert witness due to his direct financial interest in the outcome of the case. The court stated: Defendants’ claim of Steffens’s bias… read more

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