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By Charles C. Roberts, Jr. Ph. D., P.E.

Event data recorders are typically electronic devices that store information received from sensors connected to the device.  An event data recorder is often referred to as a “black box,” a familiar recording device found on many large passenger aircraft. Event data recorders are now being designed into many other products to aid in diagnosing problems that may arise with usage of the product.  Automobiles, electronic panels, alarm systems and some appliances are equipped with event data recorders.  When a loss occurs, it is becoming more likely that some evidentiary information concerning the loss will be recorded on some device.  Typical recorded data may be the time a heat sensor activated in a fire alarm panel, the number of loads handled by a clothes dryer, or the speed of an automobile prior to a collision.  The following three examples illustrate the type of data retained in “black boxes” and their significance.  It should be noted that this article deals with numerical data retained and not visual data retained from the prolific surveillance camera.

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Order granting Motion for Spoliation sanctions and dismissing for failure to follow NFPA 921. Nothing groundbreaking here, but a good discussion of the basics and how poor housekeeping led to a very bad result.  Submitted by Michael Durr, Experienced Tennessee Subrogation & Recovery Attorney, on LinkedIn for discussion.  Click here to join the discussion.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are generally undisputed and have been set forth in detail, for the most part, in the Court’s prior Order on Defendant’s Motion for Spoliation Sanctions. (Dkt. No. 35.) In sum, Plaintiff Bear River claims that the speed control deactivation switch (SCDS) in the 1994 Ford F-150 pickup truck owned by its insureds, Jeff and Julie Schoepf, was defective and caused a fire that spread from the truck to the Schoepf’s house.1 Bear River’s claim is based on an investigation conducted by Bear River’s expert, Tad Norris, a fire investigator with IC Specialty Services, who was assigned to inspect the scene and determine the origin of the fire.  On behalf of Bear River, Mr. Norris inspected the scene and decided what evidence should be preserved without Ford’s presence, consent or input. As part of that investigation, Mr. Norris removed the SCDS’ hexport and electrical housing and claims that he sent both to another expert, Jeff Morrill, who requested an examination of the hexport. Mr. Morrill acknowledged receipt of the hexport, but claims he never received the electrical housing. Following Norris’ inspection and investigation, the scene of the fire was destroyed. Additionally, Plaintiff lost the hexport before it could be inspected and tested by Ford, and Plaintiff lost the electrical housing before inspection and/or testing by anyone.

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Abstract

Grilling has become part of many celebrations and regular meals. Unfortunately, grilling also causes fires and burns. National estimates of reported fires derived from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey show that in 2009-2013, grills, hibachis or barbecues were involved in an average of 8,900 home fires per year, including an average of 3,900 structure fires and 5,100 outside or unclassified fires. These 8,900 fires caused annual averages of 10 civilian deaths, 160 reported civilian injuries, and $118 million in direct property damage. Almost all of the losses resulted from structure fires. Five out of six grills involved in reported fires were fueled by gas. The leading causes of grill fires were a failure to clean, having the grill too close to something that could catch fire and leaving the grill unattended. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills. In 2014, 8,700 thermal burns involving grills were seen in hospital emergency departments. Roughly three out of five thermal burns were non-fire burns, typically caused by contact with the grill or its contents. Children under five accounted for one-third of the contact burns involving grills.

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On May 18, 2017, the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsyvania, ruled that a plaintiff's electrical engineering expert could not testify regarding the origin of a fire and fur excluded a portion of his testimony regarding the fire cause.

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This article was member submitted and includes a short comment about the article at the bottom.

Selecting Among Engineer Experts (aka, What Kind of Expert Do I need for This Loss?) JH Nolt June 29, 2017
Do you want your Proctologist doing your Neuro-surgery? They are both licensed MDs aren't they?
Do you want your Wills and Trusts Attorney working on your Subrogation case? They are both licensed Attorneys aren't they?
Do you want your Workman's Comp adjuster handling your Large Property Liability loss? Adjusters are all licensed adjusters aren't they?
Similar concerns exist amont the various engineering disciplines and licenses. They are all forensic engineers aren't they?
In a word - No, No, No and No.

While there are over 10,000 different types of experts, in California there are eighteen types of licensed engineers.  

The three main types are:
  • Civil
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical

 

The others are:

  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Control System Engineer
  • Corrosion Engineer
  • Fire Protection Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Metallurgical Engineer
  • Nuclear Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Quality Engineer
  • Safety Engineer
  • Soils (Gotechnical) Engineer
  • Structural Engineer
  • Traffic Engineer

 

 

 

 

 

To obtain any of these licenses, there are specific education, experience, expertise, examination and professional peer recommendation requirements that are reviewed and approved (or rejected) by technical peers before the license is granted.

The following pages try to help you understand the differences amount the engineer types so you make better expert selections at the beginning of your loss investigation.  At the end, website addresses are provided so you can check an engineering expert for proper licensure.

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A phase-out of environmentally damaging chemicals means that most refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners may soon be using flammable refrigerants.

BY JESSE ROMAN

 

Like a suitor spurned over and over in love, the refrigeration and air conditioning industries can’t seem to find a good partner. While the mechanics of these indispensible technologies have been stable for decades, the substances that circulate through them absorbing heat and cooling the air—aptly named refrigerants—keep finding ways to foul things up.

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Fuel Delivery Line Corrosion may Cause Fuel Leak

SUMMARY:

Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. (Suzuki) is recalling certain model year 2013 Suzuki SFV650 motorcycles manufactured March 23, 2013, to April 8, 2013, 2014 Suzuki SFV650 motorcycles manufactured October 24, 2013, to November 26, 2013 and 2015 Suzuki SFV650 motorcycles manufactured August 9, 2014, to September 12, 2014. During assembly of the motorcycle, the fuel tank breather hose may have not been positioned properly and may become kinked. 

CONSEQUENCE:

If the fuel tank breather hose is kinked, pressure may build inside the fuel tank and cause the tank to crack, resulting in a fuel leak, increasing the risk of a fire.

Go to NHTSA for more details

"Burn to Learn"

 

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Save the Dates – – –

 

CCAI will be presenting another in its series of “BURN TO LEARN” training seminars on March 7 through 9, 2016 in San Luis Obispo.  Don’t miss out!

Live burns and various tests will expand your knowledge on a variety of burn patterns so that you may confidently explain them in the courtroom.

Whether you’re just starting to build your CV or just keeping it polished, you need to attend this conference!


or
Sign into the Members only area and sign up and pay there.


In order to get the discounted conference room rate, you MUST make your hotel reservation by the 25th of February.

Call Embassy Suites at 805-547-6417 or 805-549-0800 to make yours TODAY.

Hoverboards Put On No-Fly List, As Airlines Cite Fire Concerns

Hoverboards like the one seen here won't be allowed on flights by America's top three airlines, which are citing a potential fire hazard related to the self-balancing scooters' powerful lithium-ion batteries.Citing a potential fire hazard, major U.S. airlines are banning hoverboards from their cabins and cargo holds. Announcing its ban, Delta acknowledged the toy's "presence on many gift lists this holiday season" but said safety comes first.

The bans come as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it's looking into at least 10 reports of the self-balancing electric scooters bursting in flames — an occurrence that's allegedly been captured on video, in some cases.

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Limoss Recalls Battery Power Packs for Power Recliners and Lift Chairs

Recalled Limoss AKKU-PACK battery power packDescription

This recall involves Limoss AKKU-PACK rechargeable lithium ion battery power packs sold as accessories for Palliser, Flexsteel and Best Home Furnishing power recliners and lift chairs. They are used to power the chair when an electrical outlet is not available.  “Limoss Li-ion Battery Pack,” model number ZB-B1800, code MC 160 and dates codes of 11-0102011 through 6-14-2012 are printed on a white sticker on the side of the unit. Recalled battery power packs are black and measure 6 inches long by 3 inches wide.

 

Read the full details at CPSC.

Horizon Hobby Recalls E-flite Chargers

Recalled E-flite Ultra Micro-4, 4x9W, AC/DC Battery Charger
Description

This recall involves the EFLC1105 E-flite Ultra Micro-4, 4x9W, AC/DC Battery Charger from E-flite. The charger has four independently functioning charge circuits with a LED status display. Each port can charge one 30–150mAh, 1S UM cell, a 1S MCPX cell, or one 120–300mAh 2S pack equipped with a JST-PH, 3-wire connector. The charger measures 5 inches tall by 7 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep.  The charger is blue with a gray, black and blue faceplate with white and black type. “Eflite Celectra UMX-$ Battery Charger” is printed across the center of the charger.

 

See the full details at CPSC

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