Category Archives: Industry Insight

Judge Holding Documents

New Technology Sets Aside 1988 Arson Double Murder Conviction

Richard Wright was convicted in 1988 of setting a 1986 house fire that killed two teenage girls and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Mr. Wright long maintained his innocence and his initial appeal, based on the credibility of witness who testified that Wright confessed to the crime, was denied in 1995. Mr. Wright ultimately appealed to the New York State Supreme Court after his family hired an attorney who uncovered flaws with the origin and cause investigation conducted by arson investigators…

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The Importance of the Product Defense Attorney at the Fire Scene: Part Four

Part 4 – Attendance at the Fire Scene –Post Scene Exam Defense Planning The attendance of a product defense attorney at the fire scene can greatly assist in the defense of a fire loss. Of course, that benefit is only fully realized when an attorney is sufficiently prepared and takes a proactive role when at the scene. If a client chooses to send an attorney to a fire scene, the attorney should make the most of that opportunity and gather as much information as possible…

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The Importance of the Product Defense Attorney at the Fire Scene: Part Three

Part 3 – Attendance at the Fire Scene: Investigation of the Area of Origin and Scene Wrap-Up The attendance of a product defense attorney at the fire scene can greatly assist in the defense of a fire loss. Of course, that benefit is only fully realized when an attorney is sufficiently prepared and takes a proactive role when at the scene. If a client chooses to send an attorney to a fire scene, the attorney should make the most of that opportunity and gather as…

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The Importance of the Product Defense Attorney at the Fire Scene: Part Two

Part 2: Attendance at the Fire Scene – Information Gathering and Initial Investigation The attendance of a product defense attorney at the fire scene can greatly assist in the defense of a fire loss. Of course, that benefit is only fully realized when an attorney is sufficiently prepared and takes a proactive role when at the scene. If a client chooses to send an attorney to a fire scene, the attorney should make the most of that opportunity and gather as much information as possible…

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Spoliation: A Derivative Claim — Illinois Appellate Court Creates a High Standard

Plaintiffs are increasingly using destroyed, lost, or altered evidence to bring spoliation of evidence claims in product liability actions. In Illinois, a plaintiff can make a spoliation claim if it is tied to an underlying negligence action. Although spoliation claims are meant to address evidentiary issues, Illinois does not recognize them as an independent tort. Accordingly, a spoliation claim does not have its own statute of limitations and instead is based upon the underlying claim in the lawsuit. On October 7, 2015, the Illinois Appellate…

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The Importance of the Product Defense Attorney at a Fire Scene

Part 1 – Preparation The attendance of a product defense attorney at a fire scene can greatly assist in the defense of a fire loss. Of course, that benefit is only fully realized when an attorney is sufficiently prepared and takes a proactive role when at the scene. If a client chooses to send an attorney to a fire scene, the attorney should make the most of that opportunity and gather as much information as possible to assist in the case. This series of blog…

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In The Eyes Of The Jury: The Power of the Public Official

investigatorsIn catastrophic injury cases, defense counsel are familiar with the first responder investigations conducted by local and state police and fire departments. At times, the opinions and conclusions of the police and fire officials are unfavorable to the defense and attorneys are “stuck” with these opinions throughout the case and must find a way to discount or neutralize these opinions. If their findings align with the defense’s theory, they are a powerful weapon for the defense. A recent case that went to the jury highlighted…

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Addressing Myths and Advancing Science in Fire Litigation

Fire Marshal It is an experience common to fire litigators at trial.  The local fire marshal enters the court room, crisply attired in uniform and hat, ribbons and medals in view.  A stack of certifications attests to years of experience investigating hundreds, maybe thousands, of fires.  An air of detachment and neutrality conveys to the jury that he has “no dog in this fight.”  He calls it as he sees it.  If his findings align with your client’s interests, you have a powerful, often lethal, weapon to…

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