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by Richard Bennett ~ Cozen O'Connor

In James D. Fowler v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Ins. Co., 2014 WL 3844215, 2014 S.C. App. LEXIS 209 (S.C. App., Aug. 6, 2014), South Carolina’s Court of Appeals recently held that it was prejudicial error to allow the jury to consider either the report of a volunteer fire chief or his testimony on the issue of cause and origin if he does not qualify as an expert.  The take away is that if a firefighter can’t testify as an expert, any opinion he or she has on causation is simply not a datum that the fact-finder is entitled to know about.

The insured’s home was destroyed by fire in January of 2007.  His homeowner’s carrier, Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, denied liability after a fire investigator hired by the carrier determined that the blaze was incendiary, and the insured brought suit.  The fire was extinguished by the local volunteer fire department, after which its Chief, David Wright, completed a mandatory form known as a “Truck Report.”  This stated that the fire originated in a kerosene heater in the living room and that the “Cause of Ignition” was “unintentional.”

 

Description

This recall involves 36-volt and 48-volt lithium ion rechargeable batteries sold separately and as original equipment with Pedego electric bikes. Recalled batteries of each voltage came in two styles. One style has a silver or black metal case that measures about 13 ½ inches long, 6 ½ inches wide and 2 ½ inches high, with black plastic end caps and a handle. The other style has a black or white plastic case that measures about 14 inches long, 6 ½ inches wide and 2 ½ inches high with a red indicator lamp on one end. The batteries have serial numbers that start with “DLG.” A label with the serial number is on one side of the metal batteries and on the underside of the plastic batteries.

 

Full details can be found at CPSC or in the members only section.

Description

This recall involves 16-ounce white ceramic beverage mugs with metallic gold accents. A monogram letter A, B, C, D, E, G, H, J, K, L, M, R, S or T is printed in gold on the mug. A sticker on the bottom of the mug has “UPC# 698617673962,” “SKU# 138837” and “Retail: $6.99.”

 

Full details can be found at CPSC or in the members only section.

Description

This recall involves Sears Kenmore stainless steel slide-in ranges with gas cooktops and electric ovens. Model number 790.42603xxx with serial numbers ranging from AF42500601 through AF43000916 and model number 790.42613xxx with serial numbers ranging from AF42500541 through AF43103647 are included. The model and serial numbers are located on the inside frame of the range door on the left side. Kenmore Elite is printed on the front of the oven door.

 

Full details can be found at CPSC or in the members only section.

In the new issue of NFPA Journal®, President Jim Shannon said the Association will focus on the leading causes of home fires, including cooking. "We also need to continue to push hard for home fire sprinklers. That's still a large priority for NFPA, and we plan to work very aggressively in 2014 on our residential sprinkler initiative," he said.

Read more...

Description

This recall involves Lenovo battery packs sold with the following ThinkPad notebook computers: the Edge 11, 13, 14, 15, 120, 125, 320, 325, 420, 425, 430, 520, 525 and 530 series; the L412, L420/421, L512 and L520 series; the T410, T420, T510 and T520 series; the W510 and W520 series; and the X100e, X120e, X121e, X130e, X200, X200s, X201, X201s, X220 and X220t series.

 

The battery packs were also sold separately. The black battery packs measure between 8 to 11 inches long, 1 to 3 inches wide and about 1 inch high. Recalled battery packs have one of the following part numbers starting with the fourth digit in a long series of numbers and letters printed on a white sticker below the bar code on the battery pack: 42T4695, 42T4711, 42T4740, 42T4798, 42T4804, 42T4812, 42T4816, 42T4822, 42T4826, 42T4828, 42T4834, 42T4840, 42T4862, 42T4868, 42T4874, 42T4880, 42T4890, 42T4944, 42T4948, 42T4954, 42T4958, 45N1022 and 45N1050.

 

Get the full details at CPSC or sign in to the members only section

 

 

The next CCAI Training Seminar will be held November 2 - 4, 2015

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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