The Falcon Group consists of Forensic Architects and Engineers who consult on construction claims. We provide claims consulting for: Construction Defects, Architectural Standard of Care, Delay, Errors and Omissions (E&O), Building Codes, Specifications and costs. The Falcon group has Professional Engineers, Registered Architects, Roofing Experts, Stucco Experts, EIFS Experts, and Building Envelope Experts. We perform dispute resolution and prepare expert reports for a wide range of construction issues. Litigation sometimes becomes necessary to resolve construction, engineering, architectural or materials-related disputes. For virtually any type of property or project, we provide a variety of analytic and related services to assist clients in obtaining successful litigation outcomes, related to:
Expert Witness/Professional Testimony
Material Defect Claims
Construction Defect Reports and Claims
Construction Litigation Support and Documentation
Commercial Property Managers
Private Property Owners
Professional Services Provided Include:
Design Plans and Specifications
Administration and Inspection
Specialty Services for Community Associations
Construction and Material Testing
Property Condition Assessment (PCA) Reports
Litigation Support - Litigation sometimes becomes necessary to resolve construction, engineering, architectural or materials-related disputes. For virtually any type of property or project, we provide a variety of analytic and related services to assist clients in obtaining successful litigation outcomes, related to:
As discussed in my first window article titled "The View Of Your Windows Is Not Always The Same", there is great variation in the suitability of a window for a particular application. In all cases, there is a very specific need for proper detailing and attention to detail with respect to integration of the window with the building envelope and proper detailing during installation. This sequel to my first window article focuses on quality control measures for installation once your window has been selected and specified.
In March 2013 a catastrophic sinkhole collapse swallowed a central Florida bedroom killing the occupant without notice. The home was a total loss and the event made national news making many property managers keenly aware of the costs and dangers of sinkholes. Residents of the Northeast are not immune from these occurrences. Understanding possible causes and remedies should help with decision making at all levels of property management and ownership.
Community associations, building owners, engineers, contractors and property managers deal with the constant battle of keeping water out of the building envelope, but sometimes the water that causes stains, mold and decay actually originates from within the building envelope. The cold temperatures of the winter months combined with specific interior conditions will result in excessive condensation. The condensation may be in the attic, basement and crawl spaces or inside wall cavities. Deficiencies in the original construction or recent reconstruction of exterior wall cavities, basements, crawl spaces and/or roofs /attics can exacerbate the conditions resulting in excessive condensation conditions and potential for damage and mold development. Sometimes, the conditions may be seen but many times the condition and subsequent damages may be hidden from view and worsen with each passing winter season, escalating repair costs.
"Where were YOU when the lights went out?" was a famous slogan from the 1965 Northeast Blackout, but a better slogan in light of the more recent Superstorm Sandy Blackout of 2012 might be "How did YOUR building perform when the lights went out?"
We have been responding to homeowner's complaints of sagging ceilings in the living space of townhomes which were built in the 1980's. Beginning in 2010 and continuing through today, Falcon Engineering has observed the condition of ceilings in over 30 homes in a Lincoln Park, NJ townhome community of close to 400 homes. Our findings are that upwards of 80% of the homes investigated have deflection which exceeds design criteria and are in need of repair. Repairs are relatively simple, but costly to the Homeowners Association having responsibility for the structural components of these buildings. Because of the need for financial planning, Associations want to understand the factors which influence the failures of these aging structures. For the purposes of this discussion, we are talking about failures which occur due to mysterious origin, rather than catastrophic failures of excessive wind or snow loads, or abuse from excessive loads that the trusses were not designed to accommodate (such as water beds or heavy stone finishing materials).
It's that time of year again. That snow that is pretty for some is scary for others. You have experienced, read or heard about ice damming. You are familiar with the damage the phenomena can cause. Perhaps your Association has even spent several hundred thousand or even over a million dollars on roofing improvements and/or replacements within the last few years. Why do we have leaks from ice damming? Was the roof replacement performed correctly or designed correctly? The answer is simple, with a properly designed and installed roof system, the possibility of damage resulting from ice damming should be significantly reduced.
Manufactured stone is a very popular product for both the interior and exterior of homes and buildings. There are many manufacturers of this type of cladding system, Cultured Stone® and Coronado Stone® among the most recognized names. A man-made stone manufactured primarily for decorative purposes, these systems are typically comprised of cement, natural aggregates and iron pigments. In order to give manufactured stone a realistic appearance and shape it is often created by using molds of actual real natural stones. Like many building materials, the use of manufactured stone has both advantages and disadvantages, and installation is vital to its long term success.
A condominium development located in northern New Jersey was experiencing water infiltration and severe cracking in the concrete foundation walls and floors in the garages. In support of the Association's overall litigation approach, Falcon performed concrete crack mapping, concrete petrographic analysis, and overall concrete evaluation.
A New York City building underwent litigation pertaining to the construction of an addition to the existing structure and resultant structural support system depriving tenants of proper light and air through their existing windows. Falcon performed a light and air study on the effect of both the addition and the structural support system on lighting and air flow in defense of the claim.
A condominium building located in northern New Jersey was experiencing water infiltration into various locations around roofs, curtain wall systems, and balcony access points. The Condominium Association engaged Falcon to investigate these issues in support of their dispute resolution with the Developer
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) include a group of exterior cladding systems that was introduced from Europe to the United States approximately 30 years ago. EIFS was first used in Europe after World War II to reclad many bombed and damaged buildings
Casey K. Hemmatyar, SE, is a Forensic Structural Engineer with over 30 years of diversified experience in the field of Structural, civil, and forensic engineering in design, investigation, evaluation, research, building code and standards development and construction supervision. His experience includes new buildings, special structures, as well as modifications, alterations, seismic / wind retrofits, and upgrades. Mr. Hemmatyar has provided failure analysis, expert consultation, structural forensic investigation, damage assessment services for many litigation and insurance related matters. He has been principal structural engineer on projects for clients such as NASA and several other high profile agencies.
Litigation Support - Mr. Hemmatyar has provided extensive services for defendants and plaintiff attorneys on construction litigation matters in single and Class-Action both on State and Federal lawsuits. His understanding of core legal concepts and engineering principles has enabled him to assist his attorney clients in the most efficient manner. His services include on-site inspection, written reports, depositions, and trial testimony as needed.
Long International provides expert engineering and construction claims analysis, expert testimony, project management consulting, and insurance claims analysis services. Our focus is on heavy industrial projects including oil and gas, petroleum refining, petrochemical, chemical, mining/mineral processing, power, cogeneration, and other industrial projects. We analyze claims, not limited to, disputed change orders, schedule delay, acceleration, time extensions, liquidated damages, loss of productivity, defective specifications, and deficient project management performance.
Richard J. Long, P.E., P.Eng., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Long International, has over 50 years of U.S. and international consulting experience involving construction contract disputes analysis and resolution, arbitration/litigation support and expert testimony, project management, engineering/construction management, cost and schedule control, and process engineering. As an internationally recognized expert in the analysis and resolution of complex construction disputes for over 35 years, Mr. Long has served as the lead expert on over 300 projects having claims ranging in size from US$100,000 to over US$2 billion. He has presented and published numerous articles on claims analysis, entitlement issues, CPM schedule and damages analyses, cumulative impact claims, and claims prevention.
Rod C. Carter, CCP, PSP is President of Long International and has over 20 years of experience in construction project controls, contract disputes and resolution, negotiations, mediation, arbitration support, and expert testimony on scheduling, loss of productivity, and quantum issues. He has experience in entitlement, schedule, and damages analyses on over 30 construction disputes ranging in value from US$100,000 to US$7 billion, related to oil and gas, oil refinery, LNG, heavy civil, nuclear, environmental, chemical, power, industrial, commercial, and residential construction projects. Mr. Carter is proficient in the use of Primavera P6 and P3 software, and he has extensive experience in assessing the impact to engineering and construction works of RFIs, change orders and other events. Mr. Carter specializes in loss of productivity, cumulative impact, and quantum calculations, and had a lead role in assessing damages on more than a dozen major disputes. In addition, Mr. Carter has developed cost and schedule risk analysis models using Monte Carlo simulations to address the uncertainty of estimates and claims.
Michael J. Vallez, P.E., MBA, LEAN SIX SIGMA is a Senior Principal with Long International and has over 40 years of hands-on and leadership experience in project management, engineering/construction management, cost and schedule control, change management, claims, and dispute resolution. He has served in executive management roles for both the owner and contractor working on world-class oil and gas, power, and international mining projects. Mr. Vallez has a proven ability to organize, integrate and manage the work of multi-disciplined technical specialists and project construction teams to achieve corporate financial goals and objectives of return on investment, safety, operational performance, cost, and time. In all, he has provided leadership on several billion dollars’ worth of projects in the chemical, heavy civil, mining, power, oil and gas, industrial, and commercial sectors. Mr. Vallez has written several books on the subjects of construction management, safety, and effective project leadership.
Most construction contracts require written notice for changes, differing site conditions, extra work, or other events which may affect the contractor’s time and cost of performance. The process of giving “notice” is vital to triggering the contract mechanisms that allow the contractor to pursue additional time and cost and to reserve its rights to recover for any unforeseen...
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the internal and external project execution environments. The pandemic has caused impacts of varying degrees to nearly every aspect of projects involving the activity of people. Ordinary practices in the creation of project documentation are robust and are utilized to support the analysis of construction claims. Although project productivity losses may be demonstrable, providing compelling evidence and proof that the losses were caused by the pandemic may not be as easy to demonstrate.
An As-Built But-For Schedule Delay Analysis (ABBF) is a retrospective CPM schedule delay analysis technique that determines the earliest date that the required mechanical completion activity, project completion activity, or various milestone activities could have been achieved but-for the owner-caused compensable delays that occurred during the project.
Contractor’s claim submittals and expert reports are often deficient in proving causation, i.e., the cause-effect linkage. These claims generally outline the owner-caused impacts and separately calculate quantum; however, the two are often not linked in any meaningful way. Most claims are settled prior to a decision by a panel, court, or board, and therefore these deficiencies are not made apparent. Yet, a well-prepared claim document which includes a persuasive and accurate causeeffect analysis can greatly improve the contractor’s chances of a successful recovery, either through negotiations or in arbitration/litigation. This analysis is difficult and often costly to prepare, and is therefore not performed in many disputes, which may be the reason why the claims fail.
The leader of a corporation or project is the individual who must ultimately be willing to take responsibility for results. Within the context of an organization or team made up of individuals, it is the collective performance of the individuals, as a team, that defines the results of the whole. While it can be said that the best motivation is internal motivation as opposed to external motivation, the leader is ultimately the one responsible for creating the conditions where motivation can thrive.
Time is money especially on engineering and construction projects. Because delays in the completion of the project usually result in increased owner, engineer, and contractor costs, the overall time of performance is vital to the financial success of the project. The importance of time is evidenced by the significant role played by CPM schedules, completion dates, and milestones in the bidding and awarding of engineering and construction contracts. The desire to minimize costs and the time of performance often causes the occurrence of acceleration.
In the construction industry, it is largely agreed that overtime work adversely affects labor productivity. However, there is no universally accepted method for estimating the resulting loss of productivity, and many of the studies commonly used to estimate such losses have been subject to criticism by industry experts and the courts.
The Collapsed As-Built Windows Schedule Analysis (AACE® International Recommended Practice 29R-03, Method Implementation Protocol 3.9) is a modeled, subtractive, multiple-base method. It is a retrospective CPM schedule analysis which is typically used to prove entitlement for compensable delay and assess concurrency of delay within a window of time. The analysis simulates the as-built conditions within a schedule window and then delays are removed from the CPM model. If the forecasted project finish date “collapses” but-for or absent compensable delays, then entitlement for compensable time-related costs can be demonstrated. This article addresses the usage of the Collapsed As-Built Windows protocol and the advantages and disadvantages of the methodology.
The "discrete damages/cost variance analysis method" for quantifying construction claim damages involves the specific distribution of all costs incurred on the project rather than quantifying only certain parts of the cost or damage analysis as may be used in the other methods.
ABSTRACT - This paper provides guidelines to commercial construction cost engineers for the development of a plan for obtaining and utilizing subcontractor cost information for use in bidding, procurement, scheduling, change order management, and claim management. The paper is based upon personal field experience gained in cost engineering, scheduling, bidding, planning, contracting, and claim analyses.
A component of a construction claim often relates to the cost, quantity, and quality of the materials that the contractor installed on a project. The contractor frequently purchases these materials and agrees to install the quantities of materials on a unit price basis, i.e., a unit price that includes both the cost of the materials and the cost to install them.
Most construction contracts, whether they are standard or customized forms, usually contain specific provisions related expressly to the process of giving "notice." The notice generally refers to an obligation on the part of the Contractor to notify the relevant party administering the contract, normally the architect, resident engineer, or owner's representative, of a claim or change event that gives rise to possible additional entitlement for time and/or cost.
The equitable allocation of responsibility for project delays is essential to the resolution of many construction disputes. Contractors frequently assert that they have been delayed for reasons beyond their control. Owners often remain unconvinced that the Contractor is legitimately entitled to a time extension or delay, acceleration and loss of productivity damages.
Philip J. Isaak, PE, P.Eng., DCDC, RCDD, SMIEEE, is an expert witness, consultant & trainer in the design, construction, procurement, implementation, commissioning & operations of information technology, telecommunications & critical data center facilities. Mr. Isaak provides clear analysis for complex disputes, incorporating industry standards, best-practices and over 20 years of consulting & training expertise working with clients located in 28 countries and territories across 6 continents.
In recognition of Mr. Isaak’s professional standing, the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest professional association for advancement of technology, certified him to the grade of Senior Member, a level only 9% of IEEE’s over 400,000 global members hold. Mr. Isaak is also an author of several industry standards published by TIA & ANSI/BICSI, whitepapers published by The Green Grid, and the Data Center Handbook published by John Wiley & Sons.
One of the new terms in the data center industry is Edge Data Centers. What is the Edge? Where is the Edge? Before we begin to understand what an Edge Data Center is, it might be helpful to first understand what it is not.
Andrew Allocco, PE, is a leading Construction Consultant, Florida Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster and Real Estate Broker. With over 45 years of experience in his fields of expertise, Mr. Allocco's services are sought by individuals, corporations, developers, and law firms to oversee and advise on construction projects. He is the current owner of construction, real estate, and engineering consulting firms.
Background Experience - Mr. Allocco is the President of Indian River Construction Services, Inc. Prior to his current role, he served as the President of Better Homes Construction Services, Inc. of Miami, Florida, which performed in excess of 40,000 Building Inspections. A Forensic Consulting Engineer, he inspects Commercial, Residential, and Industrial Facilities before, during, and after construction. He assists property owners with complex insurance claims, some of which involve significant and lengthy litigation
Mr. Allocco is not only licensed in the State of Florida as a Professional Engineer and Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster, he holds more licenses both presently active and past than any other individual in the State
Litigation Support - Since the early 1970s, Andrew Allocco has been an Expert Witness in many court and arbitration cases involving disputes between owners, builders, contractors, and architects. He has extensive knowledge of the court litigation process and has assisted law firms in providing facts and questions to be used during depositions and discovery motions. Mr. Allocco's services include inspection reports on the status of the property, depositions, trial testimony, arbitration, and mediation hearings.
Areas of Expertise:
Structural Condition of Buildings / Drone Inspections
Smart Buildings / Energy Use / Conservation
Insurance Litigation and Structural Consulting - Mr. Allocco is also called upon by insurance companies and attorneys representing property owners to help adjusters evaluate loss. He has been retained to investige the cause of a structural failures, determination the extent of the structural damage, develop subrogation information, prepare the scope of repair, develop a repair design, draft specifications, and more. Mr. Allocco aslo has experience with code upgrades and notice of dangerous conditions, including hurricanes such as Hurricane Andrew.
Gene Farmer, AIA, NCARB, LEED-AP, is president of Gene Farmer and Associates, Architects and Planners an award winning architecture firm. He has over thirty years of experience in the Design of numerous Residential and Commercial Projects in Florida, Texas, Illinois and Minnesota. His work has been published both locally and nationally and he has received numerous awards including two F.A.M.E. awards and the prestigious Price Waterhouse South Florida Business Journal "Up and Comer Award for 1990."
Mr. Farmer holds a license to practice architecture in the State of Florida, an N.C.A.R.B. Certification, and a Dade County Sub-Builder Certificate. He is also a certified Florida Building Inspector, a certified Florida Building Plans Examiner, a certified International Code Council ICC Commercial Building Inspector and a certified International Code Council ICC Building Plans Examiner. Mr. Farmer currently holds an OSHA 30 hour certification and has been a certified OSHA 500 instructor.
Mr. Farmer has served as an Expert Witness in numerous cases ranging from Construction Defects to Construction Claims Analysis.
Gene Farmer is a Professor Emeritus in the Moss School of Construction, in the College of Engineering and Computing at Florida International University. His teaching specialties include Principles of Construction Management, Building Construction Materials, Sustainable Construction, Building Codes, Quality Control in Construction, and Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing Systems in Buildings.
In addition to his book entitled Architectural Detailing for Commercial Construction, published by McGraw Hill in 1991, he has a book entitled “A Contractor’s Guide to LEED Certified Construction” which was published in 2013 by Delmar-Cengage.
This is the consummate source of LEED information for anyone in or entering the construction industry. Unlike other LEED books that focus on the totality of LEED compliance, this one-of-a-kind resource focuses on the narrower topic of construction-related requirements. It offers detailed explanations of the rational for each construction credit, as well as strategies for achieving LEED compliance. With a clear, logical organization, the book will serve as a valuable constructor reference at the beginning of a project, as well as a useful step-by-step guide through the duration of the project.
H. Landis “Lanny” Floyd II, PE, CSP, CMRP, CRL, CESCP, Life Fellow IEEE, has over 45 years of experience in Electrical Safety in the Workplace. His work has advanced the application of Human Factors Engineering, Electrical Technology, and Safety Management Systems in preventing occupational electrical injuries. Mr. Floyd retired from DuPont in 2014, holding the positions of Principal Consultant - Electrical Safety & Technology, and Global Electrical Safety Competency Leader.
Background Experience - For the past 35 years, Mr. Floyd focused on electrical safety in the construction, operation, and maintenance of industrial and commercial facilities worldwide for DuPont. This included safety management systems, competency renewal, work practices, and the application of technologies critical to electrical safety performance. From 1992 to 2014, he led the team that designed and facilitated implementation of a strategy for continuous and sustainable improvement in occupational electrical safety for DuPont Global Operations. This work enabled breakthrough performance in prevention of serious injuries and fatalities from electrical energy in DuPont facilities worldwide. In 2013, Mr. Floyd was invited to join the faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he teaches in the Advanced Safety Engineering and Management Master of Engineering degree program.
Litigation Support - Mr. Floyd has been providing expert witness services and litigation support for over 10 years. His expertise is available to counsel representing both plaintiff and defendant. Mr. Floyd's services include consulting, site inspections, testing, reports, depositions, and trial testimony when necessary.
Thomas H. Burtness, PE, is an Electrical Engineer specializing in both Electrical and Building Construction - equipment selection, specification, and installation (actually “working with the tools”), as well as cost control techniques.
Background - Mr. Burtness has 40+ years of experience in the design, specification, construction contract administration, installation, startup, and troubleshooting of electrical power, on-site generation, distribution, control, and instrumentation systems and equipment for residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal occupancies. His experience also includes water, wastewater, and stormwater treatment plants, and military facilities.
Additional expertise includes Illumination Engineering for street, roadway, and area lighting including photometric footcandle requirements, calculations, field verification, equipment specifications, installation, and analysis of failure, glare, overlighting and underlighting.
Litigation Support - Since, 1981, Mr. Burtness has been providing forensic electrical engineering services to insurance companies and attorneys including accident and failure investigations, determination of cause and origin, litigation support, expert opinions, reports, and testimony. His services are available nationwide, with PE registration by comity available in most states.
Mike Panish is an expert witness & consultant for most construction trades, specializing in automatic door systems and door sensors, door, door hardware, cabinetry, and architectural millwork. Extensive experience working for plaintiff & defense (Federal & State). Highly credible & solid testimony. Licensed in CA as a General Building Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Door, Lock & Security Equipment Contractor, Cabinet & Millwork Contractor, and Painting & Finish Specialties Contractor. Over 35 years hands-on experience in all construction trades with over 1600 cases since the year 2000. Local to CA & New England. Nationwide Inspection & Testimony.
Mike Panish is the most retained and the leading expert witness for Automatic Door injuries / Wrongful Death and Door Defects and Injuries. Security issues relating to daycare & healthcare centers. Construction defects, product liability, poor workmanship relating to contractor vs homeowner disputes and contractor fraud.
Areas of Expertise:
Automatic Door Personal Injury, Wrongful Death Cases
Door and Door Hardware Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Defects Cases
Gates (all types including sliding, parking arm gates)
Cabinetry, Architectural Millwork, Furniture Personal injury, Defects Cases
Slip, Trip, Fall / Railings / ADA Personal Injury Cases
General Construction (all trades) Defects Cases, Personal Injury Cases, Wrongful Death
Premises Liability, Premises Security for Criminal Cases, Elder Abuse Cases, Wrongful Death
As a construction expert witness, I am often asked about the importance of using safety equipment. I have many years of personal experiences with the proper observance of safety procedures and appropriate safety equipment requirements.
I have been the retained expert witness by both the plaintiff and defendant to determine the causes of a variety of significant injuries that have happened as a result of improper cabinet and millwork installation practices. In most claims, if product abuse or deferred condition was not the reason for the injury, poor installation practices that have omitted required hardware was to blame. Architectural millwork injuries have occurred repeatedly in shopping centers and malls, hotels, hospitals, airports, and offices throughout the country. Casinos and restaurants are also routinely the location of significant cabinetry related failures leading to serious injuries. Many offices and industrial buildings that utilize modular furniture have had employees injured by improper or completely unattached components. In my other articles, improperly attached architectural millwork has been discussed. Heavy mirrors and headwalls have fallen upon hotel guests while they were asleep in bed. Generally, these failures occur due to lack of appropriate fasteners, missed structural connections, or product tampering.
Mechanical fasteners, when properly used as recommended by the manufacturer, almost always assure safe and secure attachment of a fastened product. In commercial and residential applications, injuries resulting from mechanical attachment failures have often been attributed to inappropriate usage of products, improper installation procedures, or the failure of a poorly manufactured fastening product. When a product becomes disconnected from its point of attachment, serious personal injury can result.
This article will discuss plastic laminated products only. Although many other laminated materials are used for residential and commercial applications, plastic laminates are one of the most common products involved in casework claims and personal injuries.
My job as a cabinetry and millwork expert witness is to inspect and evaluate casework, cabinetry, or millwork that may have either failed or may be deficient in some way. Many of the past cases where I have been designated as the cabinetry and millwork expert witness have involved analyzing products that no longer exist because they have either been replaced or destroyed. What is available for review is often in the form of architectural elevations (renderings), photographs of the damaged cabinetry, or shop drawings and samples of the materials that were used. Generally, there is a question as to what entity is responsible for the monetary loss sustained. The usual course of action by attorneys is to sue all parties in the chain of events, from design through installation.
Having recently testified as the door hardware, lock and security expert witness on a very serious elder abuse case involving the rape of a 93 year old resident of a retirement home, I am intimately aware of the potential for physical violence and neglect aimed directly at senior citizens. The following is about a completely different kind of abuse involving our senior population.
The first two questions that I am often asked by attorneys during deposition or trial testimony are "On what percentage of cases do you work for the Plaintiff?" and "On what percentage of cases do you work for the Defense?"
Most of the misunderstandings pertaining to contractor and homeowner relationships occur as a result of unclear or wrongly interpreted construction contracts. Upon entering into a building contract, the enthusiasm for starting the proposed work often creates a kind of glazing over or dulling of the senses on the part of the homeowner. Many times questionable terms and arrangements for payment scheduling are accepted or unknowingly agreed to as the homeowner's urgent desire to start work overshadows common sense. Often, the lowest priced contractor seduces the homeowner with promises of more value for the money.
As a Construction Expert Witness, I have been involved in numerous homeowner vs. contractor lawsuits that turned out to be directly created by contractor fraud. In this article, I have combined a few different actual cases, highlighting the various tactics used by dishonest contractors to bait and then hook the homeowner. In all of these cases, the homeowner prevailed.
The need to have increased security to public venues such as airports, schools, religious facilities, day care centers, shopping centers, and government buildings is nothing new. However, it has become apparent that many unexpected assaults and deadly attacks are coming from individuals that have gained a certain level of intimacy with the venues and organizations that they are invading. The attackers are not necessarily strangers, but people we know.
In December of 2012 a gunman broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and viciously murdered 20 children and 6 administrators. Adding Sandy Hook Elementary School to a growing list of other tragic school shootings confirms that any educational institution should be considered a viable target for future attacks.
Every good attorney needs to consider the validity of every potential claim. As the most frequently retained door expert witness, working for both Plaintiff and Defense evenly, I have been retained on door injury and wrongful death claims that were not caused by malfunctioning doors or door hardware. As discovery has often shown, people in poor physical or mental condition who are left unattended or unassisted while moving through properly functioning doorways are often the genesis of their own injuries. All commercial venues have the responsibility to maintain their facilities to industry wide standards, seek proper routine maintenance, and provide daily inspections of their door systems. However, it is difficult to provide safe passage to every patron of their facilities when some of those patrons may include persons requiring diligent physical supervision, special assistance walking, or have special needs due to disease, mental incapacity, or other unknown infirmities.
One of the most common types of expert related calls that I receive pertains to some sort of door injury. Door injuries caused by automatic pedestrian doors, manual doors, or garage doors often lead to serious and potentially life threatening high dollar liability and personal injury lawsuits. My case load as a door expert witness is evenly split between plaintiff and defense. I have written articles, testified, and been consultant on many door injury cases throughout the country and abroad. In addition, my services have been utilized by defense teams representing cross defendants such as door maintenance companies also named in the chain of commerce.
As a door expert, I am called upon many times a year to evaluate garage door injuries. In my professional career as a general contractor and door & hardware contractor, I have installed many different types of garage doors. I have been involved with roll up doors, both for commercial warehouse applications and automotive repair facilities that allow the passage of a motor vehicle. I have installed and serviced life safety/fire drop doors typically seen in hospitals, pharmacies, labs, shopping centers and other commercial venues. I have placed sectional doors in apartment buildings, single family homes and condominiums. My company has custom built many types of garage enclosures that have had special cosmetic concealed purposes for themed attractions. Working on historic buildings has given me the opportunity to work on sliding barn type doors, hinged parting doors and old carriage style swinging doors. I have removed and replaced the older style, overhead vintage single panel pivoting hinged garage door from commercial and residential locations, and have installed a variety of newer and safer products.
The overhead or floor mounted concealed door closer is a very common type of door closer mechanism which is normally unseen and unnoticed. In the majority of installations, these concealed closers are used on aluminum glazed storefront doors, hollow metal stand alone, or structural framed window systems. The concealed door closer design concept was initially engineered as a self-contained product that featured a center pivot allowing a variety of door functions with no exterior arm or visible operating hardware.
During the past several years I have been contacted many times regarding door injury claims related to manual door closers. In response to numerous inquires asking if I have published any manual door closer articles similar to the primers I have done on automatic pedestrian doors, I am offering this article for general information to assist attorneys in determining potential issues relating to manual door closer mechanisms.
We are all used to opening and closing doors on a daily basis. Unless you encounter a problem with the function of your doors, you probably don't give their operation and component make up much thought. I am continually contacted by attorneys seeking my advice on an injury that took place because of an improperly adjusted or malfunctioning door. In this article, I am simply discussing manually operated doors. Nothing fancy or automatic about them, the kind where you grab a lever, push a plate or bang on a bar to enter or leave a room or building. So, if you want to learn to communicate professionally and simply with your door expert or even your building manager, read on.
If you run an active automatic door service company it is not a matter of IF you will be sued . . . it is a matter of WHEN ! What every door service provider can do to proactively protect their business.
As the retained expert witness on many overhead door injury and wrongful death cases, some of the injuries I have seen include injured or severed fingers and limbs, bodily trauma, and death. Disabling injuries often lead to involved lawsuits due to the combination of jobsite and employer, landlord and tenant contractual agreements, and property owner liability insurance coverage. Knowing who is responsible for maintenance and inspections of these doorways is essential.
In conjunction with many other articles that I have had published pertaining to high energy doors, or what most people think of when they say automatic doors, low energy systems can be equally dangerous and need to be appropriately and properly maintained.
Within the past few months, I have been retained as expert witness to evaluate revolving door injuries in over a dozen different locations nationwide. While I usually see an even distribution of sliding door, swinging door, and revolving door injury cases, the revolving door injuries currently seem to be the most prevalent. What is particularly interesting is that no two of my recent cases were created by the same problem.
I have been involved in many automatic door cases during the past few years working for both plaintiff and defense. As discussed in one of my previous articles (The Ins and Outs of Automatic Door Operation), automatic doors are highly complex pieces of equipment that require daily attention. Most injuries occur when some component of the automatic door system malfunctions.
A basic primer in how they work, what to look for, and how to analyze defects vs. deferred maintenance. Expert door contractor, Michael Panish, takes you through the basics for your case. A basic primer about Automatic Door functions.