Psychology

Mistrial Due to Expert Witness Testimony

A Stamford, CT judge declared a mistrial yesterday in the sexual assault case of a minor by police officer, Anthony Santo. Attorney for Santo, Gary Mastronardi, filed a motion for a mistrial after testimony offered by Child Guidance Center ‘s Dr. Larry Rosenberg, was so prejudicial to Santo that, “even striking his testimony would not keep the jurors from considering it in their deliberations.”
Interestingly enough, in a case argued by Mastronardi earlier this year, Connecticut’s Supreme Court upheld an appellate court reversal of the conviction of a Fairfield man on felony risk of injury charges. The Supreme Court agreed that the trial court abused its discretion by allowing an Expert Witness to indirectly testify about the truthfulness of a complaint’s allegations.
In this case, Dr. Rosenberg, a Psychologist, testified that 93 percent to 95 percent of the children who alleged sexual abuse are being truthful. The other five to seven percent were found to be coached by a parent. As there was no divorce or custody dispute in this case,  the inference was too strong that the girl was a victim of sexual abuse. “He went too far,” said Mastronardi. “He improperly and inappropriately commented on the credibility of the witness….” Comerford admitted that an error had been made in allowing Rosenberg’s testimony on the percentages of truthful minor sex-abuse victims. As a result, substantial damage was done to the defendant’s case. “Essentially what he was saying was the woman was telling the truth,” Comerford said. Based on the Supreme Court’s earlier decision regarding the truthfulness of a complaint’s allegations, Comerford granted Mastronardi’s motion.

ConsultantsExpert WitnessInsurance

Insurance Expert Witness on Litigation and Selection of Experts

Andrew J. Barile, CPCU, CEO, of Andrew Barile Consulting Corporation, Inc., has over 40 years of experience in the Property Casualty Insurance and Reinsurance Industry. He is the co-founder of the first publicly held Bermuda reinsurer and is on the board of both domestic and offshore insurance companies. Mr. Barile has an MBA from Stern’s (NYU) business school, and has won the AngloAmerican Fellowship to study at Lloyd’s of London, with his thesis on the captive insurance company.

In a recent article, he writes,

“The versatile Insurance Industry Expert is being selected by insurance industry litigation law firms throughout the country. Since many cases involve millions of dollars of litigation exposure, it is important to have an experienced insurance industry expert who brings the element of persuasion and accuracy into the mix.

Insurance experts that have been retail insurance brokers, wholesale insurance brokers, excess and surplus lines insurance brokers, managing general agents, reinsurance intermediaries are very helpful in winning cases because they possess practical industry experience…”

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AdvertisingConsultantsExpert WitnessMarketing

THE BUSINESS OF LAW

Attorneys can be so overwhelmed with the practice of law that they lack time for the practice of business. Between consultations, research, writing, court time, hour-logging, etc., there is little or no time to number-crunch for the highest profit. Many large firms have in-house accountants to mind the books but, even then, the traditional practice of law can hinder a firm’s profitability. The perfect example exists in the Expert Witness arena. The legal industry has a tendency toward the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is all well and good if, indeed, “it ain’t broke,” but the Expert Witness industry has changed drastically over the last 15 years.

Prior to the computer age, when information was hard to come by, the best way to procure an Expert was through a Broker. Broker’s compiled lists of Expert Witnesses and Curriculum Vitae otherwise unknown to attorneys. The Brokers would then, and still do, charge attorneys a fee to retain those Experts. The cost is usually a 30%-60% mark-up over the Experts’ hourly rates. Though some Brokers offer a brief vetting of Experts, it is not worth the severe mark-up and attorneys are still required to do their own due diligence.

Expert Witnesses No BrokerToday, with information readily available on the internet, there is no need for a Broker’s services. Established and well-respected website Directories have made public and free what was once private and costly. The very same Expert Witnesses are marketing their services with these online Directories and negotiating their own terms with no middle-man. According to Expert Witnesses, the most common dissatisfaction with Broker referral services is their ineffective means of collecting from their law firm clients. With the Experts in control, getting paid is getting easier.

The Expert Witnesses have it figured out. Why attorneys would pay exorbitant amounts for what they could get free of charge is baffling. It’s time for law firms to focus on the bottom line, fix what’s broken, and save thousands of dollars annually. Nothing else makes good business sense.

Consultants

When To Hire A Professional Consultant

A professional Consultant is one who gives expert advice in specialized fields. A good number of consultants are top-level managers who have been with organizations for years and are able to trouble shoot issues that they have seen numerous times throughout their careers. Though the players are different, the contentions are mostly the same. It is just a matter of manipulating the knowledge that they already possess to benefit all of the parties. Though dispute resolution is the most common reason organizations hire outside assistance from Consultants, there are other situations when their services can be advantageous.

1.    Specialized Knowledge – The most successful organizations understand that they must hire in good advice when necessary. If an organization has a special circumstance outside the scope of it’s normal business, it may be necessary to “borrow the brains” of a Consultant. It is not rational to think that a decision maker has all of the answers. It is neither cost-effective nor efficient for members of an organization to learn a subject that a Consultant has already mastered.

2.    Disinterested Perspective – Consultants can serve as mediators or facilitators in outside and in-house disputes where bias would only divide the interested parties. Whether it be internal personnel issues or outside distrust, Consultants can concentrate the factions away from any encumberances that impede resolution.

3.    Fresh Perspective – Over time, some companies get caught up in the same line of thinking. Employee initiative gets stagnant and original solutions can be few and far between. Consultants have the benefit of visiting the same issues from many different organizational perspectives. Since they are continually solving the same general problems, Consultants have a vast arsenal of information with which to attack. For a short time, organizations can utilize this perspective to galvanize their work forces.

4.    Bad Guy – Businesses are often called upon to make difficult decisions. For some organizations, it is better that the delivery not come from within. For instance, a resistant board of directors may determine that an outside Consultant’s opinion to increase expenditures is more valuable than an employee’s opinion. At the end of the day, or assignment, the Consultant not only has the advantage of higher, more specialized knowledge, but can leave the organization with no lasting repercussions.

Professional Consultants can be an extremely effective tool for businesses in need of expertise. Whether for brain power, a new angle, as an impartial facilitator, or scapegoat, they can be thought of as a temporary means to a lasting solution.

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Marketing Platforms for Expert Witnesses and Consultants

Professional services firms may have all of the pieces of the puzzle, but if they are not in the right place, they are ineffective at best. For Experts and Consultants, sometimes websites rich in content and social media connections are simply not enough to build reputations and establish a market presence. This post is dedicated to professionals with all of the pieces but no real results to finish the puzzle. expert witness handshake

The fact is that expert witnesses and consultants may have a wealth of knowledge to share, but it won’t do much good if it can’t be heard above all of the social media noise out there. Increasing visibility and driving growth depends, more than anything else, on having a platform to promote your expertise. This platform must be uniquely positioned to enable the higher knowledge that experts and consultants possess to reach those to whom it can benefit most.

Fortunately, there is a solution. Experts.com is an established marketing platform specifically designed to assist professionals in building their reputation and getting results. Experts.com specializes in increasing visibility and exposure, which are paramount to survival in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. Expert witnesses and consultants are encouraged to become members at Experts.com and market their services and expertise to thousands of users worldwide. The potential viewers are considerable, including attorneys, judges, businesses, insurance companies, the media, etc. Through Biographical Profiles, Members are encouraged to promote publications (articles, case studies, books, and more), place unlimited links to specialized website pages, and incorporate social media, thereby providing exposure to Experts.com’s followers on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

To better target a professional’s market, Experts.com allows its Members to highlight separate profiles under the Expert Consultant Directory and /or the Expert Witness Directory, as not all Consultants act as Expert Witnesses.  Furthermore, the performance statistics for each profile, which can be viewed in real time 24/7, are tracked separately so that Members can see which profile is getting more exposure. Again, Experts.com’s goal in introducing these features is not just to increase their Members’ visibility and exposure but to do so in an effective, efficient, and economical manner.

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Should A Medical Society Discipline A Medical Expert Witness For Submitting A “Draft Report?”

Attorneys often retain expert witnesses to consult on a case, to testify at trial or deposition, or to provide a formal written opinion to the court.  Like any other professional engagement, the process usually involves several communications, back and forth, between the attorney and the expert witness, often including preliminary written or oral opinions.

Imagine if you were retained as a medical expert witness,  had written a rough draft, preliminary opinion, and submitted it, mistakes and all, for initial consideration. Then, imagine if this document had been used in court without your knowledge, and the next thing you know, you’re being disciplined based on the quality of the document. 

Something like this actually took place, and the results may have lasting results for those in the medical community. In May, a California jury determined that the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) was liable for falsely portraying an orthopedic surgeon after he had acted as an expert witness in a medical negligence case. It seems that the AAOS had suspended the medical expert for allegedly providing improper testimony in the case. Normally, the AAOS would have every legal right to discipline the doctor, but here’s the catch: According to the doctor, the “expert testimony” used in the negligence case was the preliminary report  he had submitted to the plaintiff’s attorney who retained him. It was, therefore, not meant to be used in court. Even worse, according to the doctor, the plaintiff’s attorney had removed the words “draft report” without the doctor’s knowledge. This, in itself, is questionable behavior.  For the AAOS to then suspend the Medical Expert and falsely portray him in its publication is certainly overstepping. This, at least, was the finding of the jury, though of course the AAOS is doing all it can to fight this verdict. It is worth mentioning that the jury verdict awarded damages to the doctor against the law firm as well.

 This is a unique case that could have profound implications, not just for the AAOS but for the medical industry as a whole. If a precedent has been set that expert witnesses can successfully sue medical societies, then this is certain to send shock waves throughout the medical community. Expert witnesses should be permitted to submit preliminary drafts before finalizing the report that will actually be used in court. More importantly, no one—attorney or otherwise—should have the right to alter a draft report and misrepresent it as expert testimony. Furthermore, this case, which is among the first instances of an expert witness successfully challenging a medical society’s disciplinary action in court, may compel these societies to think twice before committing what is essentially libel.

As we might expect, this story is far from over – we could say that it’s still in the “draft report” phase. Judging from what happened to one medical expert, it’s probably wise to keep that draft report in safe keeping….

Accident Investigation & ReconstructionChemicalEngineeringMaterials

Materials Engineering Expert Witnesses & Consultants

In the last century, advances in Materials Science have elevated almost every aspect of our lives. Consider some of the new and functional materials that make living so much safer and easier: chemicals, polymers, ceramics and alloys for use in medicine and medical implants, carbon fiber reinforced plastics for varied uses including to make stronger, lighter sports equipment, and metals and coatings for sturdier and safer construction. New Material Analysis and Engineering are responsible for novel technologies in many different fields encompassing civil, chemical, construction, nuclear, aeronautical, agricultural, mechanical, biomedical and electrical engineering. 

Materials Engineering Expert Witnesses and Consultants may be called upon for several purposes.  Their expertise includes Accident Reconstruction, Failure Analyses, Product Design, Product Development, Product Delivery, and Material Handling System to name a few.

Read Articles by Experts.com Materials Engineering Experts:

A Lawyer’s Guide to Hiring a Forensic Industrial Engineer
By: Gerald J. Hietpas, PR
Causey Engineering, LLC

Memos Of Invention – Attorneys and Corporate Inventors
By: Dr. Edward Funk, Ph.D.
EWF Consulting

Analysis Of An Impact Fractured, Welded Steeting Arm Spindle Assembly
By: Metallurgical Technologies, Inc.