Forensic Engineering 09
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Forensic Engineering 09

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 Presentation Objective: Excel in the subspecialty of Forensic Engineering. ...

 Presentation Objective: Excel in the subspecialty of Forensic Engineering.
 Presentation Outcome: Learn how to perform forensic investigations, issue reports and provide expert testimony during depositions and trials.

Background: Professional Engineers more and more provide a service to lawyers, judges and juries within their field of technical competence. These professionals make up the growing number of technical experts on which our court system relies, when technical facts become too complex to be analyzed and understood by legal professionals and the general public which provides the members of the jury. In order to excel in this subspecialty of forensic engineering, one must have a basic understanding of the litigation process, how to perform forensic investigations, issue reports and provide expert testimony during depositions and trials.

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Forensic Engineering 09 Forensic Engineering 09 Presentation Transcript

  • Forensic Engineering Think and Listen like a Lawyer! Think and Talk like an Engineer! Johann F. Szautner, P.E.,P.L.S.
  • Introduction
    • Purpose of this presentation
      • Objective:
        • Excel in the subspecialty of Forensic Engineering.
      • Outcome:
        • Learn how to perform forensic investigations, issue reports and provide expert testimony during depositions and trials.
  • Topics
    • Basic Definitions
    • Laws & Standards
    • The Legal System
    • Qualifications of a FE
    • The Investigation
    • Failure Analysis
    • Report Preparation
    • Testimony
    Find the Core
  • Forensic Engineering?
    • From Latin: forensis meaning belonging to the “forum” or market place, “public”.
      • Belonging to courts of law
      • Pertaining to or fitted for legal or public argumentation
    • Forensic Engineering – Engineering concerned with assisting the Legal System with Fact Finding.
    Forensic Engineering Definition
  • Fact Finding Scientific Methodology of Analysis and Synthesis.
  • Fact Finding Definitions
    • Accident : A hazard exists and a person or persons unaware of the hazard.
    • Failure : An unacceptable difference between expected and observed performance.
    • Risk : Existence probability of hazards
    • Safety : Summation of acceptable Risks
  • Hazard Identification
    • Mechanical Energy
    • Electrical Energy
    • Chemical Energy
    • Kinetic Energy
    • Potential Energy
    • Thermal Energy
    • Acoustic Energy
    • Radiant Energy
    • Environmental Hazards
    • Biological Hazards
  • Failure Causes:
    • Human factors (including both 'ethical' failure and accidents)
    • Design flaws (many of which are also the result of unethical practices)
    • Materials failures
    • Extreme conditions or environments, and, most commonly and importantly
    • Combinations of these reasons
  • Human Factors
    • Insufficient knowledge …………………………………… 36%
    • Underestimation of influence …………………………..16%
    • Ignorance, carelessness, negligence ……………….14%
    • Forgetfulness, error ………………………………………….13%
    • Relying upon others without sufficient control ….9%
    • Objectively unknown situation …………………………..7%
    • Imprecise definition of responsibilities ………………1%
    • Choice of bad quality ………………………………………….1%
    • Other ..........................................................3%
  • Laws & Codes King Hammurabi 1795-1750 B.C.
  • Expert Witness Testimony
    • Must be beyond the ken of the average juror.
    • The field testified to must be at a state of the art to make testimony sufficiently reliable.
    • Witness must have sufficient expertise to offer intended testimony.
  • Federal Rule 702
    • Experts are qualified to
    • testify by their “knowledge,” “skill,” “experience,” “training,” or “education.”
  • Federal Rule 703
    • Expert’s opinion derived from personal observations, or
    • Evidence admitted at Trial, or
    • Data relied upon, which is the type normally relied upon by experts in the field.
  • Freye Test
    • Specific science used by expert must have “general acceptance” in the “relevant scientific community”.
  • Daubert Principles
    • Scientific evidence is admissible if it is:
        • Relevant
        • Reliable
  • Technical Competency
    • Evaluation of Scientific Validity
    • ( Daubert )
    • A. Whether Principle has been tested
    • B. Whether Principle has been published in peer-reviewed publication
    • C. Error rate associated with Principle
    • D. Whether Principle has achieved
    • “ General Acceptance”
  • Qualifications
    • Profession
    • Education
    • Training
    • Employment
    • Experience
    • Certifications
    • Licenses
    • Specialties
    • Present Title
    • Practical Experience
    • Number of Investigations
    • Lecturing or Teaching
  • Expert Reality Check:
    • Use only tested & proven theories
    • Specify the known or potential error rate
    • Produce peer-review literature
    • Produce references to demonstrate general acceptance of theory
    • Demonstrate that theory existed prior to litigation
    • Do not develop novel theories to support conclusions for specific litigation
  • No Junk Science !!!
  • The Investigative Process Final Conclusions Final Report What? When? Where? How? Why? How could it have been prevented? Who could be responsible? Engagement & Definition of Investigation Objectives Collection of Background Information and Documents Preliminary Site Visit Formation of Investigation Plan and Project Team Formulate Initial Failure Hypothesis Comprehensive Document Study Site Investigation, Field Testing and Sample Collection Engineering Analysis, & Code Check Laboratory Testing Revision of Failure Hypothesis Revision of Investigative Plan
  • Investigation Procedure
    • Documentary Information:
    • Make broad search & collect information pertaining to conditions before, during or after the incident.
    • Physical Evidence:
    • Obtain and preserve physical items as early as possible. When physical items cannot be preserved in their found state, document it.
    • Photographic Documentation:
    • Document the scene of incident and condition of items involved. If items involved are disassembled or subject to destructive testing, document each step.
  • Investigation Procedure Things are not always what they appear to be!
  • Admissible Data
    • Consumer surveys
    • Field agent reports
    • Government – approved documents
    • Scientific studies
    • Trade publications
    • Inspection of scene
    • Tests on products at issue
    • Opinions of experts in same field
    • Reports and testimony of experts in same case
    • Interviews
  • Preventive & Corrective Actions
    • Hazard Elimination Hierarchy
    • Eliminate the Defect / Hazard
    • Design & Install Safety devices
    • Provide Warning Devices
    • Provide Safety Training & Personal Protection
  • Analyze Cause & Effect = Root Cause
  • Report Preparation
    • Introduction
    • Scope of Investigation
    • Data Available
    • References
    • Discussion & Opinions
    • Conclusion
  • Report Preparation
    • ASTM Designation E 1020-96 “Standard Practice for Reporting Incidents”
  • Conclusion = Burden of Proof
    • Civil case doctrine
    • Conclusion must be reached based on opinions with a “preponderance of the evidence,” “more likely than not,” or more than 50% likely.
    • Criminal case doctrine
    • Conclusion must be reached based on opinions “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
  • Check that C.V. !!!
    • Currency
    • Accuracy
    • Gaps in C.V.
    • Self-Designated Titles
    • Diploma Mill Degrees
    • Multiple C.V.’s
    • Licenses & Certificates
    • Honorary Degrees
    • Self-Serving Comments
    • Forensic Experience
  • The Court Room Drama: Catch the Tiger by the Tail
    • The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed in front of you. You are also given an instruction manual written in Mandarin Chinese.
    • In 10 minutes a hungry Tiger will be admitted to the room, through the only door which will then be locked.
    • Take whatever action you feel appropriate and defend it vigorously.
  • Testimony
    • Test Expert’s emotional capacity
    • Coach expert on trick questions.
    • Coach expert on how to answer yes or no questions.
    • Instruct expert to speak to the jury.
    • Instruct expert to be a teacher not a showman.
    • Discuss hypothetical questions for cross and redirect examinations.
    • Allow expert sufficient preparation time.
    • Required?
    • Jurisdiction
    • Licensing Boards
    • Opposing Expert
    The Professional Engineering License
  • Thank You for Listening Any Questions
    • ??
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