Expertly Speaking

Mount Moriah Historical Preservation

Mount Moriah Cemetery Gatehouse Structural Stabilization Project

DJS Associates is pleased to share with you that the Mount Moriah Cemetery Gatehouse Structural Stabilization Project (performed by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.) has been selected to receive a 2018 Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

DJS Associates is proud to have contributed to this effort, having documented the Gatehouse via 3D laser scanning, in order to provide baseline measurement data. Jon W. Adams, Director of Architectural and Heritage Services at DJS Associates, was honored to be part of this project and welcomes your feedback and/or questions at or via phone at 215-659-2010.

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School Safety Expert

Lack of Playground Supervision or Inherent Danger

Professor Bruce Ira Levenberg B.S., M.S., M.S., P.D., SAS, SDA, School Safety & Security Expert ::::

In this case study, a School Safety Expert was requested to determine is a school student was injured due to negligent supervision during recess.

Case Synopsis: Plaintiff, an older elementary school student, went outside for recess. At recess, the students played on a large, general purpose blacktop area adjacent to and surrounding the school on three sides. On the back side of the building there was an outdoor picnic table with attached benches, a large covered metal garbage can, and a weighty bike rack all located on the grass in a line outside the perimeter of the play area. The outdoor apparatus was situated at that location before the incident, and no one had previously been injured on them. Weather conditions were not relevant. The plaintiff was playing catch during recess with five or six other girls. She alleges that as she turned and ran to catch a ball, she tripped over the bike rack, which caught her foot, and sustained serious facial injuries.

Standard procedure at that school was when the students had free time at recess, the teacher in charge of the activity positioned herself where she could have a panoramic view of the entire class. The teacher stood near the picnic table, central to the students’ activities, approximately 15 feet from the bike rack where the plaintiff was hurt. The plaintiff admits that the location of the bike rack was well known to her, and that there were no prior injuries resulting from the bike racks or any of the outdoor equipment location.

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Aquatics Expert Witness

Young Boy Drowns at Guarded Pond

Tom J. Griffiths, Ed.D., Aquatic/Water Safety Expert ::::

In this case study, an Aquatics Expert was requested to determine if the certified lifeguard on duty was properly supervising local a swimming pond.

A church group held a picnic at a local swimming pond owned and operated by a municipality. While the group gathered in the picnic pavilion, children went to the nearby pond to swim.
A young boy wanted to swim with his playmates and an older youth in the group offered to watch the young boy for his parents.

Although there was a certified lifeguard on duty, he was ill-prepared to protect these children of tender years. Adults in attendance noticed that the lifeguard talked and texted on his cell phone while on duty. Testimony indicated he was not supervised or in-serviced during the summer. When the child was reported missing, he was reluctant to perform a water search and incapable of organizing the adults to conduct the same. The child was eventually found submerged in shallow water, in close proximity to the lifeguard on duty.

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Tree Expert Witness

Tree Causes Fatalities

Russell E. Carlson, RCA, BCMA, Arboricultural Consultant ::::

In this case study, an Arboricultural (tree) Expert was requested to determine whether the defects present in a tree were identifiable in advance, and who should have been aware of those defects.

Case Synopsis: On June 29, 2012, a series of meteorological events combined to cause a major storm front. It started near Chicago, then moved eastward. The storm front grew in intensity and width, traveling more than 700 miles in less than 13 hours. It crossed 10 states and the District of Columbia, causing widespread wind damage, power outages affecting more than 5 million customers, and at least 13 deaths, mostly from falling trees.

Two families were camping over the weekend at a New Jersey State Park campground. The storm arrived shortly before 1:00 A.M., with microburst winds estimated to be more than 67 miles per hour; suddenly slamming the area and causing widespread damage throughout southern New Jersey. A pine tree at the campsite snapped, falling on the small tent occupied by the campers, including two young boys who suffered fatal injuries.

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Leslie E. Lovre, Technical Assistant ::::

Automotive engineers are routinely asked to inspect and document vehicles to rule in or rule out potential vehicle malfunctions as possible factors to a collision or other automotive claim. For various reasons, these inspections are sometimes scheduled and coordinated with damage appraisers, working for the same carrier, to occur simultaneously. Sensitivity to, and awareness of potentially relevant evidence and preservation techniques, is imperative to securing evidence. A recent joint inspection highlights what can go wrong if proper care is not taken when evaluating a vehicle for any purpose.

DJS Associates was retained to investigate a motor vehicle incident wherein the primary dispute between the parties was whether a turn-signal was activated immediately before the incident. Engineers have specific knowledge and training, not only in automotive electrical systems, but in evaluating the filaments within most automotive bulbs to determine their illumination status at impact. This investigative tool, broadly referred to as “hot-shock” analysis, capitalizes on the fact that an incandescent filament softens and can experience permanent deformation when subject to a localized collision force. This was the evidence the engineers were prepared to search for at the beginning of this inspection.

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The Problem with “Fog”

Johann F. Szautner, PE, Civil Engineer ::::

If your work involves commercial kitchens, plumbing, or municipal code enforcement, you may know that fog can have a different meaning from what one may expect. It is the acronym for “Fats, Oils and Grease,” components of wastewater which must be removed before allowing it to enter the municipal collection system, to avoid clogging of pipes. FOG removal is achieved by installing a grease interceptor, commonly referred to as a grease trap. After the kitchen wastewater enters the trap, it cools down immediately, which solidifies the FOGs and floats them on the water surface, while food particles sink to the bottom, leaving a layer of clean water in the middle, which can be safely discharged into the municipal sewer system.

Case synopsis: The plaintiff, a custodial worker, entered the basement beneath an institutional kitchen to retrieve supplies kept there. As he walked around a corridor corner, he slipped and fell on a spill of greasy water, sustaining severe injuries. Defendants included the food service company, which was responsible to maintain the kitchen including the sinks and floor, the company maintaining the trap, and the institution owning the facility, including the kitchen.

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