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Hotels & Hospitality Industry Expert Witnesses

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Kenneth Free
President
2808 Ashworth Circle
Las Vegas NV 89107
USA
phone: 805-373-6840
fax: 888-473-6510
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Scope & Range of Services

Overview: Kenneth Free is a hotel and resort professional with over 40+ years of experience in the business.  He is a highly credible resource for operations, real estate development, feasibility, business valuation, and business interruption issues.

Degrees and Licenses held by the Principal: MBA- Finance, Bloch School of Business & Public Administration (University of Missouri, Kansas City); BS- Hotel Administration, Harrah College of Hospitality (University of Nevada, Las Vegas); Registered Resort Professional, American Resort Development Association; Certified Master Hotel Supplier, American Hotel & Lodging Association; Real Estate Broker licensed by the California Department of Real Estate.

Detail:   Mr. Free’s company, Straightline Hospitality, Inc., provides Advisory and Expert Services for Hotels, Resorts, and Timesharing.  These services may be in relation to new properties going through the development or pre-development stages, those that are open and experiencing difficulties, or in situations where disputes have arisen among the stakeholders.   Additional current emphasis is in premises liability and wrongful death cases.

Key areas of consulting and expert effectiveness are –

Hotel Operations:

  • Wrongful Death
  • Premises Liability
  • Mismanagement
  • Operational Issues
  • Financial Issues
  • Security Issues
  • Industry Standards of Care

Hotel Development:           

  • Economic Damages, Lost Profits, and Business Interruption Impacts
  • Brand/System Affiliation or Conversion Issues; Management Contracts & Franchising
  • Development Planning
  • Project Management
  • Strategic Planning, Market Repositioning, and Workouts for Distressed Properties

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Restaurant and Hospitality Expert
941 Kanuga Rd
Hendersonville NC 28739
USA
phone: 561-309-2298
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David Rutecki's career spans 35 years of Restaurant and Hospitality related experience. Working in more than 20 restaurants and involved in the opening of more than a dozen, he has worked every position possible within this industry.

Mr. Rutecki currently owns and operates Mountain Deli in Hendersonville, recently garnering the 2016 Blue Ridge Growth Award. He is a Member of the North Carolina and National Restaurant Associations.

Mr. Rutecki has been invloved in the opening of the following selected restaurants:
  • Fancy’s Food and Wine, Gourmet Shop, Coral Gables, South Miami & Grove Isle, Fl.
  • Susie’s Bagels, Breakfast Restaurant, South Miami, Fl.
  • Pizzaria Uno, Full Service Restaurant, Miami, Fl.
  • Baystreet, Full Service Seafood Restaurant, Miami, Fl.
  • Rusty Pelican, Upscale Seafood, Key Biscayne, Miami, Fl.
  • Gatsby’s, Upscale Billiards and Cigar Bar, Boca Raton, Fl.
  • Maxwell’s Chophouse, Upscale Steakhouse, Boca Raton, Fl.
  • Mountain Deli, Delicatessen, Downtown Hendersonville, NC
Litigation Support - David Rutecki offers expert witness and litigation support for restaurant related issues in Western North Carolina. His services are available to counsel representing both Plaintiff and Defendant.

Areas of Expertise:
  • Restaurant and Kitchen Design, Menu Development
  • Food Safety and Sanitation
  • Bar Operations & Liquor Liability
  • Safety & Security - Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Concept Development & Restaurant Start Up, Partnership Issues
  • Daily Operations & Management, Employee & Staffing Issues
  • Retail Operations
  • Work Flow Planning
  • Staff & Mgmt Training Programs & Handbooks
  • Site Selection and Development
  • Business Plan Development
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Dennis P. Gemberling, CHA, CFBE, FMP, FCSI
President and Founder
One Market Plaza, Spear Tower, Suite 3600
San Francisco CA 94105
USA
phone: 800-580-3950
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Dennis Gemberling PhotoDennis Gemberling, CHA, CFBE, FMP, FCSI, President and Founder of Perry Group International, has over 35 years of experience in the Hospitality Management industry. His experience includes managing, operating, and consulting on full-service, limited-service, extended-stay, all-suite, condo and timeshare hotels and resorts, casual, fine-dining, and quick-service restaurants, bars and nightclubs, catering and special event facilities, casinos, and mixed-use real estate.

Mr. Gemberling has held prior positions for different owners, operators, and chains as Senior Vice President, General Manager, Director of Food & Beverage, and Restaurant Unit Manager. He has been retained on over 400 projects with typical values in the $1 million to $75 million range and revenues in the $1 million to $100 million range both nationally and internationally.

His many clients have include among others Biscuits & Blues, Cantina’s, Chevy’s, Choice Hotels, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inns, Hilton, Holiday Inns, Hooter’s Casino, Hyatt, Marriott, McDonald’s, Microtel Inn & Suites, Outback Restaurants, Radisson, Residence Inns, Signature Resort, Sizzler, Sonic Drive-Ins, Starbucks, Starwood, Sheraton, Togo’s, Wendy’s, and Willie Mays Skybox Lounge.

Litigation Support: Dennis Gemberling is a Certified Hotel Administrator, Certified Food and Beverage Executive, Certified Foodservice Management Professional, and Certified Food Safety Manager. He offers expert witness services to attorneys for plaintiff and defendant cases on a variety of Hospitality-related claims. He is a Professional Member of Foodservice Consultants Society International and the Forensic Expert Witness Association. Mr. Gemberling also provides expertise as a Court Appointed Receiver and Interim Property Manager and is currently the Past President and a Board of Director for the California Receivers Forum – Bay Area Chapter.

Areas of Expertise:
  • Management & Operations
  • Income Analysis & Valuation
  • Employment, Hiring & Labor Issues
  • Lost Profits & Future Earnings
  • Customs & Trade Practices
  • Planning & Feasibility
  • Upkeep & Maintenance
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Standards of Care
  • Franchise & Management Contracts
  • Safety & Security
  • Contractor & Entertainment Use
  • Food & Alcoholic Beverage Handling
  • Costs & Economic Impact
  • Procurement & Purchasing
  • Landlord / Tenant, Operator & HOA Issues
  • Discrimination & Harassment
  • Construction or FF&E Problems
  • View Dennis Gemberling's Consulting Profile.
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    Maurice Robinson, ISHC, CRE, ASA
    President
    28 Dover Place
    Manhattan Beach CA 90266
    USA
    phone: 310-640-9656
    fax: 310-640-9276

    Qualfied Expert Witness & Consultant in Hotel and Real Estate Industry Business Issues:

    • Market, economic & financial feasibility
    • Valuation
    • Disputes between owner-operator, borrower-lender, franchisor-franchisee
    • Management contracts
    • Ground & building leases
    • Partnership & JV agreements
    • Concession contracts
    • Development agreements and loan documents
    • Expert witness testimony
    • Litigation strategy, consultation and support
    • Damage calculations
    • Lost profits analysis
    • Real estate appraisals
    • Deal structuring & workouts
    • New development
    • Strategic planning
    • Market demand assessment
    • Acquisition due diligence
    • Economic, financial & investment analysis
    • Can estimate damages and appraise property values under multiple scenarios
    • Trained Arbitrator & Mediator

    Winner of the Creative Counselor of the Year for appraising the Grand Canyon.

    Recently, we were engaged by the National Park Service (NPS) to appraise the structures and other improvements that have been constructed by commercial vendors or "concessionaires" operating hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services in National Parks.

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    Jeffrey M. Evans, LSM, PCAM, MCM, CCE, CCM, ECM, ASCAC
    Principal
    6302 Route 191
    PO Box 529
    Mountainhome PA 18342
    USA
    phone: 570-350-3550
    fax: 570-646-5337
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    Jeffrey M. Evans, Principal - LSM, PCAM, MCM, CCE, CCM, ECM, ASCAC is a Management Specialist with over 35 years of experience.

    For 30 years, Mr. Evans served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Lake Naomi-Timber Trails Communities and the Lake Naomi Club (A Platinum Club Community), located in Pocono Pines, Pennsylvania. In late 2010, Jeff stepped into a consulting role for the Lake Naomi-Timber Trails Communities and the Lake Naomi Club.

    Mr. Evans served as the Court Appointed Receiver for the Hamlet Recreation Club in Canadensis, PA for 18 years. With certifications from CAI, the Communities Association Institute; CMIA, Community Managers International Association and CMAA, Club Managers Association of America, Certified Ice and Snow Professional, Accredited Snow Contractors Association, he is a highly qualified consultant and expert witness. He provides these services throughout the United States and the Caribbean.

    Jeff Evans serves as an Expert Witness in cases involving:
    • Planned Communities
    • Community Associations
    • Property Owner Associations
    • Private Clubs
  • Country Clubs
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Recreational Programs
  • Facility Operations
  • View Jeff Evans' Consulting Profile.
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    Leonard J. Backer
    President
    16463 N.E. 33rd Avenue
    North Miami Beach FL 33160
    USA
    phone: 305-409-9092
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    Leonard J. Backer has over 28 years of extensive and successful Seating, Tables and Furniture Industry experience in all key areas. Mr. Backer has been directly involved in the design and development of 250+ seating and table collections. He specializes in Private Label Manufacturing, Sourcing, and Product Development expertise.

    Mr. Backer provides aggressive Expert Witness and Litigation Support services to attorneys, insurers and businesses for Plaintiff or Defense. He performs site inspections, detailed product reviews and incident analyses. He has worked with law firms and insurance companies to develop and coordinate strategies for various types of legal actions and lawsuits. Very strong hospitality background.

    Mr. Backer has extensive experience with hotel, restaurant, cruise ship, retail store and senior living incidents. Personal Injury and Product Liability Cases. He provides detailed analyses, written opinions, and expert witness reports for clients throughout the U.S. Strong proven deposition and court testimony.

    Areas of Expertise:
    • Furniture Based Disputes, Claims, or Legal Actions
    • Chair Failures
    • Seating Product Liability
    • Personal Injury
    • Purchasing Disputes
    • Seating Product Design / Performance Issues
    • Design Knockoffs
  • Sales Rep. Commission Disputes
  • Designer Royalties
  • Exclusive Distribution Agreements
  • Product Evaluation
  • Warranty Issues
  • Product Launch Failures
  • Private Label Development Agreements
  • Evaluation of Management Performance
  • View Leonard Backer's Consulting Profile.
    3/27/2017 · Manufacturing
    Having worked with attorneys in over 40 injury cases related to chairs (wood, metal, fully upholstered, plastic, aluminum, swivel, fixed mounted, outdoor), dining tables, occasional tables, bar stools, booths and banquettes; I felt the need to try and "clear the air" and save substantial time and resources for both plaintiff and defense sides moving forward.

    6/4/2015 · Design
    Basic but very important points which could help minimize owners' liability and financial exposure to accident and personal injury claims on their premises.

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    J.M. Design Group
    Jeffrey Melton
    Principal
    Manteca CA 95337
    USA
    phone: 707-889-8246 or M: 209-639-7782
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    Food Service & Restaurant Design Consultant. I have been involved in the design of restaurants and commercial kitchens for over 10 years. I have personally designed over 125 restaurants including front of house and back kitchen design, including project management. I have a B.A. in interior design. I have worked on projects throughout the United States and Phillipines, and Honduras.

    Over the last 2 years I have owned my own company which has provided complete construction drawings for over 30 restaurants ranging from 1,500 sq. ft. to over 3,000 sq. ft. I have also been retained by architects and business owners to provide coordination drawings for commercial kitchen design for over 35 projects ranging in size from 1,000 sq. ft to 5,000 sq. ft. I have also worked on franchise restaurant projects for McDonalds, Chevy's Mexican Restaurant, Jamba Juice, Tahoe Joe's, Taxi's Hamburgers.
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    Jeff Nelken, MA, RD
    20938 De Mina Street
    Woodland Hills CA 91364
    USA
    phone: 818-703-7147
    fax: 818-703-7147
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    Jeff Nelken, MA, retired RD is a Food Safety / HACCP Expert with 40 years experience in the hospitality industry. He specializes in Food Safety, Accident Prevention, Inspections, Audits, and Training. Mr. Nelken is a certified trainer and provider with the Los Angeles Health Department who has worked with CNN, FOX, CBS, NBC, INSIDE EDITION, and Dateline MSNBC's investigation team, as well as Restaurants, Casinos, Schools, Supermarkets, and Food Manufacturers to provide food safety.

    Mr. Nelken consults for attorneys that need expert opinions on topics, such as food-borne illness complaints, food allergies, burns, accidents, and standards of performance and care. His Litigation Services include client consultations, conferences, reading, reviewing, and organizing documents, site visits, research, writing and preparing reports, depositions, and trials. Mr. Nelken's expertise is available to attorneys for both Plaintiff and Defense.

    Litigation Cases Include:
    • Salmonella
    • Campylobacter
    • Ecoli
    • Botulism
    • Foreign Objects
    • HACCP
    • Food Allergens
    • Industry Performance Standard of Care
    • Health Department Inspection Analysis
  • Nutritional Statements ( Menu Accuracy)
  • Outbreaks
  • Burn Injuries
  • Norovirus
  • Food Spoilage
  • Pest Related Issues
  • Slip and Trip
  • Equipment Related Issues
  • Food Safety Audits
  • View Jeff Nelken's Consulting Profile.
    8/23/2018 · Food & Beverage
    It's easy to slip into a false sense of security because you've covered the basics of food safety with your kitchen staff. However, there are many other hazards that impact your bottom line. For example, slip and fall accidents are at the top of the list of safety concerns. There are many other dangers that must be considered.

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    Joel Feigenheimer, PhD
    Hospitality / Restaurant Consultant
    Hollywood FL USA
    phone: 561-212-0206
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    Joel Feigenheimer, PhD is an industry expert with over 35 years of experience related to the Restaurant and Hospitality field. A graduate of the Cornell Hotel School, he holds an MBA in Hospitality and a PhD in Business from Northcentral University (attained 2018). Dr. Feigenheimer has been named the National Association of Concessionaires Eminent Scholar at The Chaplin School of Hospitality at Florida International University.

    For the past three decades, Dr. Feigenheimer has served as both an entrepreneur and director for an International restaurant firm. He has corporate, independent, and franchise restaurant experience. Over his career he has consulted on three continents, excelled in the corporate environment, been a successful entrepreneur, and met thousands of industry leaders.

    Currently on the faculty at Florida International University, he teaches Restaurant and Hospitality Management to tomorrow's hospitality leaders. His courses include Purchasing and Menu Planning, Concepts of Food and Beverage, Sustainability, Cost Control, Introductory Management Concepts, and Project Management, among others.

    Litigation Support - Dr. Feigenheimer provides nationwide expert testimony relating to Food Service and Hospitality Operations. He has direct experience not only as a "legal expert" but also as an operational expert. This enables him to explain cases in a manner that juries understand, easy going yet direct and effective. Dr. Feigenheimer's services are available to attorneys representing both plaintiff and defendant.

    Areas of Expertise:
    • Contractual Obligations
    • Restaurant Lease Issues
    • Restaurant Employee Concerns
    • Food Safety
    • Vendor Disputes
  • Hospitality Business Law
  • Food Service Management
  • Operator Liability
  • Liquor Liability / Dram Shop
  • Slip and Fall
  • View Joel Feigenheimer's Consulting Profile.
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    Roger W. Chappell
    104 Clear Ridge Cove
    Georgetown TEXAS (TX) 78628
    USA
    phone: 281-793-3455
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    Roger Chappell Security Expert PhotoRoger W. Chappell, has over 25 years of experience in the Law Enforcement and Security industry. His experience allows him to assist attorneys for both Plaintiff and Defense in determining whether or not minimum industry standards were met regarding premises liability. Additionally, he has a vast array of experience in criminal investigations.

    Mr. Chappell has been summoned to testify as an Expert Witness in Texas District Courts on more than 20 occasions involving the following matters:
    • Premises Security Adequacy
    • Murder
    • Capital Murder
    • Felony Murder of a Police Officer
    • Aggravated Robbery
    Experience - Mr. Chappell is a 9 year Marine Corps Veteran and 22 year retired police supervisor in Houston, Texas. He is also a former corporate security manager, police crime prevention specialist, detective supervisor, police training manager, and internal affairs sergeant. Mr. Chappell coordinated numerous security related functions at hotels, bars and night clubs, and apartments. He has handled large events during the Super Bowl, MLB All Stars, and NCAA Final Four events. He was also a hostage negotiator for over 12 years responsible for the safe resolution to highly stressful and violent events.

    Education / Training: Roger Chappell has a masters degree in Criminal Justice Management from Sam Houston State University. He has over 3,000 hours of training relating to active shooter, homicide investigations, kidnappings, interviewing and interrogation, crime scene process, and mental health issues.

    Areas of Expertise:
    • Security Guards Negligence
    • Bar & Nightclub Bouncers Issues
    • Use of Force
    • Investigations and Surveillance
    • Detention and Arrest by Security / Non-Security Personnel
  • Premises Security Issues / Adequacy
  • Security Management
  • Police Policies and Procedures
  • Workplace Violence Issues
  • Unlicensed Security Activity
  • State and Local Regulatory Compliance
  • View Roger Chappell's Consulting Profile.
    7/7/2015 · Security
    A report of shots fired at the Navy Yard in Washington, D. C. brought a huge response from law enforcement from all areas. The response was immediate and overwhelming. As it turns out, the report was false. The incident remains under investigation at the time of this writing.

    5/26/2015 · Security
    Coordinating security for corporate offices, hotels, apartments, convenience stores, and just about every other possible location can have its challenges. Coordinating security at major events, however, is especially challenging. This article will focus on some of the challenges I faced when coordinating security for several events and locations in Houston, Texas for Super Bowl XXXVI.

    Not long after I promoted to sergeant, I was training in a patrol division. I was riding with another sergeant when we received a call from two patrol officers. They were at an apartment complex and had chased a male into an apartment. They requested a supervisor go by with them. So, as part of my training, we went.

    I have read a number of books, studies, and court cases in my career to support the fact that eyewitness identification, by itself, is never sufficient enough to send a person to prison. This is not news. Over the past 20 years, more and more people are being exonerated for violent crimes due to DNA . This article is not to rehash old arguments. Instead, it is more of a reminder to investigators everywhere to not finalize a case, charge a person, and send them to prison based solely on an eyewitness' identification.

    3/26/2015 · Law Enforcement
    During my 22-year law enforcement career, I became involved in countless situations in which I personally dealt with people in mental health crisis. My first incident involved a Hispanic male armed with a pistol. I learned a significant amount from that single incident: so much, in fact, that I made the decision to join the Houston Police Department's Hostage Negotiation Team. The techniques I have learned over the years can be applicable to almost anyone, at any time, in just about any situation. In the following paragraphs, I will recount a few incidents in which I was involved and discuss the techniques used to end each the situation safely. Understand that this is not a specific "how-to guide" that may be applied to every situation. Instead, the use of these techniques will simply allow a person that becomes aware of a certain situation - to be able to attempt to stabilize the incident prior to first responders' arrival.