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article found at KXAN.com -Leslie Rhode/KXAN News Special Contributor photo by Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.


AUSTIN (KXAN) — When you have three small boys running around your house, you also have a slew of electronic toys and gadgets that come along with it. To make sure she was always prepared for long road trips and car pools, Jennifer Buaas kept extra AA and AAA batteries in her vehicle, just in case one of her boys needed to power one of their toys. 

 Early Halloween morning, Jennifer heard a car horn going off in her driveway.

“My husband grabbed the keys, went to the garage, opened the garage door and the Suburban was completely on fire,” said Jennifer.

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Subrogation & Recovery Law Blog Posted on March 15, 2016 by Michael Melusky--Cozen and O'Connor 

In a recent decision, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland considered an issue of first impression regarding the doctrine of spoliation. Maryland appellate courts had “not established how to apply the spoliation doctrine in the context of a situation” “where the physical object . . . that was destroyed [was] itself the subject of the case.” Cumberland Ins. Grp. v. Delmarva Power, No. 72, 2016 Md. App. LEXIS 12, at *10 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Feb. 1, 2016). The court held that “it is appropriate to balance the degree of fault . . . on the part of the spoliator, on the one hand, with the level of prejudice that injures to the defense because the evidence has been destroyed on the other.” Id. at 11. The court explained that if this balance favors imposing a sanction, “the question then becomes what remedy is appropriate and whether a remedy less drastic then dismissal can cure the prejudice to the defendant.” Id.

 

From Out of the Abyss

This weeks article is written by Dr. Ruth Alexander.  It is from the May 1956 VOL II No.4 issue ofthe California Conference of Arson Investigators' newsletter.

Our America: Treatment "Coddles" Juvenile Delinquents 

 

Description

This recall involves clear acrylic Hanukkah menorahs in a pyramid design that are 10.5 inches long, 1.2 inches wide and 2.3 inches high. Model number 240-14-0169 and bar code can be found on a round white label on the side of the menorah.

Get all the details at CPSC.

Abstract:

Although electrical fires constitute the greatest percentage of the main causes of building fires, the critical evidence used by fire investigators to identify electrical fires is not always convincing to the general public.  In this study, we scrutinized the microstructures of fire-causing copper wires and simulated the external environmental conditions required for the formation of fire-causing arc beads. Our metallographic investigation revealed that the primary thermal dendrites of copper at the fire-causing arc bead grew parallel to one another, but in the opposite direction to the heat flow.  We determined the relationships of the undercooling (?T0), the growth velocity (?), and the primary spacing (?) of the dendrites with respect to the electrical wire’s diameter.  Accordingly, fire investigators can now identify fire-causing arc beads in terms of these metallographic characteristics, thereby providing clear scientific evidence for litigant judgments of electrical fires.

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New Jersey Supreme Court Holds that a Person Violates the Insurance Fraud Statute Even if Insurer is Not Duped Into Paying a Fraudulent Claim by Michael Henry |  Cozen O'Connor

In the recent case of State of New Jersey v. Robert Goodwin, 224 N.J. 102, 129 A.3d 316 (N.J. 2016), the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that a person violates the insurance fraud statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4.6(a), even if he or she does not succeed in duping an insurance carrier into paying a fraudulent claim. In doing so, the Supreme Court reinstated Robert Goodwin’s conviction for insurance fraud.

 

The Goal is Truth

By Paul Francois & Enrique Garcia
Third Degree Communications

When testifying in court as to the manner in which we conducted an interview, defense counsel will often ask us whether we just wanted his client to "confess." We answer that we do not seek confessions  but rather truth. After all, no good cop is interested in false information, only truthful information. That is why our motto at Third Degree Communications is "Nothing but the Truth."

One little tidbit we impart on our students to help convey this concept is by reminding them that if obtaining the truth is their ultimate goal, then they should be doing nothing that might prevent them from obtaining the truth. For example, getting angry with a subject who is lying would most likely sever rapport and interfere with accomplishing the goal of obtaining the truth. Raising my voice, insulting him, or speaking to him in a condescending manner are all most likely going to be rapport killers that will stymie my ability to get to a successful and truthful outcome with the subject. If we want to get people to provide us with truthful information, we should avoid doing anything that will interfere with accomplishing this goal.

This actually applies to many areas of our lives if we think about it. Let's say I've made a new year's resolution to avoid gossiping about other people. There are several steps I can and should consider that will help me accomplish this goal, including but not limited to:

  •  Avoiding certain people who I know thrive on gossip
  • Not asking certain questions that are more likely to lead to gossip, such as "Who did that?" "What are you guys talking about?" "What happened next?"
  • Excusing myself from conversations that turn in the direction of gossip

In the same manner, if my goal is to obtain truthful information, I must only engage in behavior that's more likely to help me accomplish this goal and to avoid behavior that will interfere: 

  • Treating people with dignity and respect
  • Manipulating my tone of voice to maximize my effectiveness
  • Establishing rapport
  • Being a compassionate, empathetic listener
  • Projecting an image of being non-judgmental and accepting

 

Getting people to tell the truth means creating an environment that is conducive to helping them cooperate. Obtaining our goal means everything that I say and do is oriented toward achieving that goal. It's a remarkably simple concept, but a critical one to remember throughout the interview.

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