Sunday, October 9, 2016

Federal officials said at least two employees at Aluminum Shapes manufacturing facility suffered fingertip amputations this year, all while management ignored warnings to install machine guards to prevent such injuries.

Workers lose fingers at manufacturer with bad safety record, feds say

Aluminum Shapes at 9000 River Road was cited by OSHA Sept. 23, 2016 for failing to ensure employees' safety. (Google Maps)
By Rebecca Everett | For
   updated October 07, 2016 at 10:47 AM

PENNSAUKEN TWP., NJ— Federal officials said at least two employees at a township manufacturing facility suffered fingertip amputations this year, all while management ignored warnings to install machine guards to prevent such injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said in a release that it began investigating Aluminum Shapes of 900 River Road in April when the company reported an amputation.

According to the notice issued to the company, a woman's middle finger was amputated when her hand was pulled into a rolling machine.

During the time when OSHA officials were investigating that incident, two more workers were injured: one lost a fingertip and one suffered a thumb injury, the release said.

After completing the investigation, OSHA cited Aluminum Shapes with one serious violation and two repeat violations. The company was rapped for not installing guards on machines and equipment, and also for failing to report the initial amputation within 24 hours, as required.

OSHA had cited the the company for machine guarding violations in March and also in May 2012, according to the release.

The agency fined the company $89,390 as a result of the investigation.

A spokesman for the company told the Courier-Post in a statement that Aluminum Shapes is dedicated to employee safety and this year spent nearly 700 hours installing "new and upgraded safety guards."

The company also hired safety coordinators and consultants spent hundreds of hours training new staff on safety issues, the spokesman told the Post.

Paula Dixon-Roderick, director of OSHA's Marlton Area Office, said in a statement that OSHA had also found 44 safety violations at the facility in 2015, including amputation hazards.

"This employer has taken no action to protect its workers and serious and senseless injuries are the result. This is unacceptable," she said. "Employers have a legal responsibility to provide employees with a safe and healthful work environment, and we intend to hold companies accountable when they fail to meet their obligations."

On Sept. 23, 2015, Aluminum Shapes was cited for one willful, three repeat, 35 serious and five "other than serious" violations and fined over $300,000.

In that case, the investigation was launched after the company failed to report within 24 hours that an employee had broken his leg while operating a crane, according to the release.

The violations included allowing employees to use damaged and malfunctioning electrical and other equipment, not guarding metal saws or floor openings.

Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Administration will levy “significant penalties” related to recent deaths at Goodyear’s Danville plant and health and safety conditions at the facility

‘Significant penalties’ will be levied against Danville’s Goodyear plant after 4 worker deaths in a year

Matt Bell/Register & Bee

Goodyear is Danville’s largest private employer.

Posted: Thursday, October 6, 2016 6:45 pm

By The (Danville) Register & Bee

Goodyear’s Danville plant faces “significant penalties” related to recent deaths there and health and safety conditions at the facility, an official with the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Thursday.

Jennifer Rose, VOSH safety director, said a citation was issued last week for a workplace fatality and others will be issued against Goodyear today related to another fatality, a steam burn incident, and health and safety comprehensive inspections.

Rose said she could not reveal the dollar amount of penalties.

“There are significant penalties related to the citations,” she said.

A news release will be issued next week revealing the amounts of the fines, Rose said.

William “Billy” Scheier of Halifax County died at the plant in August. His death was the fourth worker fatality in a year at Danville’s largest private employer.

Goodyear workers Greg Cooper, 52, died April 12, and Kevin Edmonds, 54, died March 31.

In August 2015, Jeanie Lynne Strader, 56, of Chatham, died in an accident. Citations were issued against Goodyear for the incident. The company is contesting the citations, which include $16,975 in fines.

When Hurricane Matthew dumped torrential rains on North Carolina, thousands of people found themselves suddenly trapped in homes and cars.

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Updated 2 hrs 58 mins ago
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- When Hurricane Matthew dumped torrential rains on North Carolina, thousands of people found themselves suddenly trapped in homes and cars. Rescuers in Coast Guard helicopters plucked some of them from rooftops and used military vehicles to reach others, including a woman who held on to a tree for three hours after her car was overrun by flood waters.

In another dramatic rescue, a woman with her small child perched on the roof of her car had to be helped to safety as the waters rose around them, underscoring how quickly Matthew wreaked havoc 100 miles or more inland after sparing much of the Southeastern coast the catastrophic damage once feared.

The storm killed more than 500 people in Haiti and at least 17 in the U.S. - nearly half of them in North Carolina. Gov. Pat McCrory said authorities were searching for five people and feared they may find more victims. The problems were far from over as all that rain - more than a foot in places - flows into rivers and downstream, likely causing days of major flooding in many of the same places devastated by a similar deluge from Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

"Hurricane Matthew is off the map. But it is still with us. And it is still deadly," McCrory said.

More than a million people in South Carolina and North Carolina were without power, and at least four separate sections of Interstate 95 - the main artery linking the East Coast from Florida to Maine - were closed in North Carolina.

The ferocity of the rain caught people by surprise.

People wait in line to pay for gas at one of the few stations in the area to open following Hurricane Matthew in Brunswick, Ga., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. (David Goldman/AP Photo)

"The forecast said it wasn't supposed to be anything major. Just rain and wind. Well, considering what happened weeks prior with the rain and combined with this, Mother Nature's at its best," said Lamont England, who was trying Sunday to get to his parents' home in Fayetteville.

In Wilson County, rescuers were called when a 63-year-old woman didn't make it home from work. They heard her cries for help while riding on top of a Humvee, and when they couldn't get her with a rope, a National Guard soldier swam to her, staying until a rescue boat arrived, Emergency Management Director Gordon Deno said.

Even animals had to be saved. WRAL-TV showed a dog swimming around floodwaters Saturday. McCrory said he and his wife were riveted by the coverage and relieved to find out from the Coast Guard that the dog managed to get into a tree and rescue it.

Most of the dead were swept away by flood waters. The governor said there were rural areas that search and rescue teams hadn't been able to make it to and places that flooded overnight.

"There could be some backroads where we had people swept away. I'm praying that is not going to be," McCrory said.

The rainfall totals were staggering: Nearly 15 inches in Fayetteville and 8 inches in Raleigh. McCrory warned that cities along rivers in eastern North Carolina needed to be prepared for days of flooding. The Lumber River in Lumberton was 4 feet above its record level Sunday afternoon and was forecast to remain there for at least five days.

Shortly before daybreak, the hurricane was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. As of 2 p.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 150 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, moving out to sea. It still had hurricane-force winds of 75 mph.

Elsewhere along the Atlantic coast, things were slowly returning to normal. Much of Savannah, which had 17 inches of rain, was still without electricity. About 150 people stood in line for a grocery store to open like it was a Black Friday sale.

Debbie Berta said she waited more than an hour to get propane gas for her grill. She also wanted "bread, potatoes, eggs - and a piece of sanity."

Matthew killed more than 500 people in Haiti last week, plowing into the desperately poor country at 145 mph. The fearsome storm then sideswiped hundreds of miles of the U.S. coastline from Florida through Georgia and the Carolinas, its eye staying far enough offshore that the damage in many places along the coast was relatively modest, consisting mostly of flooded streets, flattened trees and blown-down signs and awnings. A shift of just 20 or 30 miles could have meant widespread devastation nearer the ocean.

An estimated 2 million people in the Southeast were ordered to evacuate their homes as Matthew closed in.

In addition to the eight deaths in North Carolina, there were four in Florida, three in Georgia and two in South Carolina. Some were killed by falling trees, others by carbon monoxide fumes from a generator. One 66-year-old man near Columbia, South Carolina, died at a nursing facility when he got pinned under his electric wheelchair in water after the heavy rains.

Property data firm CoreLogic projected that insured losses on home and commercial properties would amount to $4 billion to $6 billion, well below Hurricane Katrina's $40 billion and Superstorm Sandy's $20 billion.



Picture from WCAX-TV

Sunday, October 09, 2016 01:23PM
WILLISTON, Vermont -- A man driving the wrong way on an interstate highway in Vermont spawned several crashes that left five people dead, an unknown number injured and at least two vehicles in flames, including a stolen police cruiser, state police said Sunday.

Local news outlets are reporting those killed were teenagers riding in the same vehicle, which had been traveling south on Interstate 89 in Williston. Their identities were not immediately released.

Emergency dispatchers started getting calls about a vehicle traveling north in a southbound lane of the interstate Saturday, just before midnight. State and local police officers tried to locate the vehicle, but soon began getting reports of the crash.

A vehicle was in flames when a Williston officer arrived at the scene. He grabbed a fire extinguisher before pulling a female victim away from the burning vehicle, authorities said.

As the officer tried to extinguish the fire, a man took the officer's police cruiser and began speeding away. When a Richmond police officer tried to stop it, the driver turned the cruiser around and began heading north in a southbound lane, back toward the crash scene, police said.

The cruiser struck seven vehicles. The driver, identified by police as 36-year-old Steven Bourgoin, was thrown from the cruiser, which also burst into flames. Police had not determined whether Bourgoin was the driver who caused the initial crash.

Bourgoin was taken to the University of Vermont Medical Center, where spokesman Mike Noble said he was listed in critical condition. It's unclear if Bourgoin has an attorney.

Several people injured in crashes caused by the cruiser were taken to the hospital, but Noble could not say how many were treated. Police said none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

Paul Swann, of Waterbury, was headed home when he came upon the scene of the first crash. He told WCAX-TV there was debris everywhere and he heard people yelling and screaming before he saw the police cruiser drive away. It returned several minutes later.

"The only thing I could do was try and yell and just gasp as this thing came flying in," Swann said. "I couldn't even believe what I was seeing when the cruiser came back in in that high rate of speed and just no brakes, no nothing."


What Is Subrogation?
Subrogation refers to the process an insurance company uses to seek reimbursement from the responsible party for a claim it has already paid.
Subrogation matters to you if:
  • You have a covered loss, and
  • You submit a claim to your insurance company, but
  • Another party is actually responsible for all or part of the damages (i.e. you have a car accident and the other driver caused the accident, or if damage to your home was caused by a faulty appliance)
In this case, your insurance company may pay your claim, and then seek reimbursement from the other party. This would depend on the circumstances surrounding the loss, the laws in your state, and your policy provisions.
If your company decides to pursue subrogation, the company will work to recover the damages from the responsible party.  Damages may involve costs paid by you and the insurance company. Costs paid by you usually means your deductible, but could include amounts over your policy limits not paid by your insurance company. This would depend on the laws in your state and the specific circumstances surrounding the loss.
The subrogation process may also be used if you are at fault for damages.  In this case, the other party and/or their insurance company would make a claim against you, usually directly to your insurance company.  Your company will review the facts of investigation to determine if you are liable for the damages.

 Your company may make payment to the other company if you have coverage and it is determined that you would be legally responsible for all or part of the damages. Keep in mind that often times liability is not clear cut. In some cases, both parties may be partially responsible. Dependent on the laws in your state, both parties may share responsibility for payment of damages. For example, one party may be 40% responsible, and the other party may be 60% responsible. This could mean that both companies make subrogation claims against each other, and each company pays their respective portion of the other party's claim.
In all cases, your participation and cooperation with us in the investigation phase of the claim process is important. Your assistance can help to establish important facts, and preserve evidence, and may help to accelerate the recovery process. 

Insurers do not ordinarily think of themselves as plaintiffs.  A carrier's subrogation rights can exist under common law, equity, contract, or statute.  No matter its origin, a carrier's right of subrogation and its ability to recover a loss, large or small, is a fundamental right of the insurance industry.  A successful subrogation program can often mean the difference between profit and loss. 
METROPOLITAN has represented more than 350 insurer, self-insured entities, third party adjusting companies, and government entities in connection with subrogation related litigation. This includes recovery efforts in the areas of personal lines insurance, worker's compensation, fire, group health, casualty, fidelity and surety bonds, uninsured motorist, inland and ocean marine, ERISA, long shore and harbor worker's compensation, aviation, hospital liens, group health and disability, conversion claims, med pay, mistaken payment of benefits, recovery of premiums, and other areas. 
METROPOLITAN aggressively pursues subrogation rights which have traditionally been neglected and underutilized.  Implementing an aggressive and successful subrogation program remains an insurance carrier's biggest challenge. Lacking the historical respect given to other areas of the insurance industry, aggressive subrogation has become an indispensable function of carriers interested in making every effort to maximize profit. Through aggressive subrogation training programs and the investment of subrogation resources, insurers are no longer backing down when it comes to recovering what is rightfully theirs.  

Hiring a full service firm like METROPOLITAN to implement an innovative recovery program and aggressively pursue and recover every possible subrogation dollar is a necessary step toward this end. In effect, failure to recognize third party liability and take advantage of all subrogation opportunities is tantamount to paying a claim twice. Subrogation must be recognized as a profit center worthy of the investment of time and resources. 

From automobile losses to fire and casualty to catastrophic inland marine transportation claims, METROPOLITAN takes the action necessary to preserve your subrogation interests and aggressively recover your claim dollars. 
When a work related injury results in a claim, every state has a different set of priorities and rules regarding your right to recover these dollars. Prompt action is necessary to guarantee maximum recovery. Our network of local counsel allows us to act as a clearinghouse for subrogation claims across the country. 
Transportation law and claim investigations can be complicated and confusing.  METROPOLITAN specialized in navigating the mine field of modern transportation and defeating limitations wherever possible. 
When an insurer makes a mistake of tact in paying a claim, it has valuable recovery rights which it should avail itself of. Prompt action is necessary in order to avoid bars and limitations to such recoveries. We aggressively pursue and recover overpayments, claims paid by mistake, as well as premiums due from insureds. 

In addition to counseling group health providers and plan administrators on plan and policy language, METROPOLITAN expertly puts to work favorable plan subrogation language and federal law under ERISA, where applicable, to maximize your recovery of medical and disability benefits at an absolute minimal cost. We represent several such group carriers and plan providers on a nation-wide basis. 

Most insurers don't realize when they have lost subrogation dollars.  When such recovery opportunities are lost, it is usually because third party liability is not timely recognized or is not recognized at all. These monies are lost forever and you may never even know it. 
METROPOLITAN believes that immediate investigation, especially in catastrophic losses, is essential to an effective subrogation program. METROPOLITAN will conduct an investigation of subrogation potential whenever there is a serious injury or catastrophic property loss, even in instances in which it appears that there is no visible source of recovery.  It is paramount that this investigation is initiated while memories are fresh, witnesses are available, and the evidence has not been destroyed or tampered with.  Our expansive collection of expert witnesses covers the nation and allows us to get the best quality professionals involved early, and at the right price. 
METROPOLITAN will also make investigators available to review your files to determine whether files have subrogation potential. Reviewing either electronic files or hard copies of files, METROPOLITAN will search for subrogation potential and make recommendations on files where further investigation or subrogation activity is needed. These services are offered free of charge to our clients.

The word subrogation comes from the Latin word subrogoree, meaning to substitute.  Subrogation is therefore a substitution of one creditor, the damaged Insured, for that of another, the insurer.  The concept of subrogation arises out of the property-casualty insurance policy as a contract of indemnity, with the purpose of returning the Insured to pre-loss condition.  No subrogation exists in life insurance because a life insurance policy is not a contract of indemnity.
As the right of subrogation arises out of the property-casualty policy as a contract of indemnity, this right exists without the subrogation clause contained in the policy, which would appear to make it redundant to write the subrogation clause into the policy.
The subrogation clause is written into the policy for two reasons: to prevent the insured from waiving subrogation rights after the loss; and to allow for recovery to the extent payment has been made, known as “pro-tanto” recovery.  The subrogation clause allows an Insurer to subrogate as soon as a loss has been partially paid and before there has been complete indemnity.
Most subrogation clauses allow the Insured to waive rights of recovery before a loss.  However, the ISO Builders Risk Form only allows a pre-loss waiver of subrogation with the written permission of the insurance carrier.
Nearly all insurers allow the Insured to engage in pre-loss waivers of subrogation in order to allow the insured to engage in some non-insurance transfer, such as hold harmless agreements, and are perceived as necessary to allow the Insured to conduct its business affairs.  On the other hand, most policies do not permit the Insured to waive rights of recovery after a loss, and the Insured who does risks voiding the policy.
The effect of subrogation is to create an equitable rate structure, reducing first-party losses and ultimately, fist party premiums (it has been estimated that auto collision premiums would increase by 31% without subrogation). 

Conversely, subrogation increases third-party losses and liability premiums.  Subrogation forces the party responsible for a loss to pay for it.
Recovery percentages can be increased through prompt recognition and investigation.  Most subrogation is missed through failure to recognize third-party liability.

1) Develop a theory of liability
Is this a products case, one of negligence, or possibly breach of warranty? The theory of liability indicates the various issues that must be proven and will become the blueprint for investigation.
2) Investigate
Preserve the evidence of how the loss occurred.  The closer to the time of loss you begin your investigation, the greater your chances of recovery. Remember that the burden of proof is yours.
If at all possible, retain an expert to pick up physical evidence to protect yourself from allegations that you altered the evidence.
An added benefit to the use of an expert is that it insures you will not have to testify at trial or be challenged as to your expertise. It also protects you from identifying the insurer.
Instruct your expert to document the evidence with a three-part receipt: one copy to be attached to the evidence, one copy for the claims file, and one for the owner of the evidence.
3) Secure the Evidence
The evidence should be kept in a place to which only the adjuster or his expert has access, such as a locked desk drawer or file cabinet. This helps to establish that control has been maintained and the evidence has not been altered.
4) Take statements
Statements help witnesses clarify what happened and can be used to refresh their memories later. Some people from whom statements are obtained may even be determined to be experts by the court. For example, the mechanic who worked on a particular automobile may not have a degree, but he may well have worked on that particular make and model car many times and be aware of technical problems associated with it.
Increased recoveries improve profit. Every dollar recovered decreases losses. Underwriting and loss adjustment expense is incurred whether or not there is a recovery. Subrogation recoveries are bottom-line profit, and can make the difference between profit and loss.

Metropolitan Engineering, Consulting & Forensics (MECF)
Providing Competent, Expert and Objective Investigative Engineering and Consulting Services
P.O. Box 520
Tenafly, NJ 07670-0520
Tel.: (973) 897-8162
Fax: (973) 810-0440
Web pages:

We are happy to announce the launch of our twitter account. Please make sure to follow us at @MetropForensics or @metroforensics1
Metropolitan appreciates your business.
Feel free to recommend our services to your friends and colleagues.

Metropolitan Engineering, Consulting, Forensics, and Environmental Remediation Services. Construction, Investigation, Remediation and Forensic Expert Engineers

 Metropolitan Engineering, Consulting, Forensics, and Environmental Remediation Services.
Construction Defects, Construction Claims, Engineering, Property & Casualty Investigations, Assessment, Site Investigation, Remediation, Litigation and Indoor-Air Expert Engineers

Bill Stephan, PhD, PE, CIH, CHMM, JD, MBA
Principal Engineer

P.O. Box 520
Tenafly, New Jersey 07670-0520
Phone: (973) 897-8162
Fax: (973) 810-0440


Firm Overview

The engineering and forensic firm of Metropolitan Forensics and Consulting Engineering and Environmental Services was established for the purpose of providing a high value service to the insurance industry and to the insured companies or individuals. Our founding principal (Bill Stephan) is a licensed professional engineer in several states, including, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

We specialize in the in-situ remediation of petroleum and chlorinated spills, the defense of liability claims, the investigation and defense of first or third party insurance claims and the handling of subrogation claims.  We are also experts on oil and gas energy sector issues (design, investigations, construction oversight), renewable energy sector (wind turbines, solar panels, biofuels, etc), vapor intrusion evaluation, vapor phase and transport and in design on vapor mitigation systems.  Additionally, we offer forensic engineering services, including age-dating of contaminant releases, construction defects, oversight, evaluation of remedial alternatives, sub-slab ventilation system design and installation.  The list of our core services is:

  • Cause and Origin Investigations
  • Construction Failure Analysis (Residential, Industrial and Commercial)
  • Structural Integrity Evaluation
  • Site Investigation
  • Tank removals and tank installations; licensed and insured to perform entire UST work
  • In-Situ Remediation of Soil and Groundwater
  • Vapor intrusion, indoor air evaluation and mitigation
  • Causation
  • Forensic Investigations (age-dating)
  • Oversight
  • Review of Remedial Action Work Plans
  • Reserve Estimation
  • Cost Allocation
  • RAWP Preparation
  • Site Remediation
  • Cleanup Level Development and Negotiation
  • Subrogation
  • Expert Witness/Litigation Support
  • Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) Services
  • Construction Claims (Delay, Differing Site Conditions, Loss of Productivity, Acceleration, and others)


Additional Specialty Service Areas

Age Dating
Boilers & Burners
Building Codes
Building Inspections

Construction Accident
Construction Defects
Construction Delay Claims

Construction Surety Claims
Construction Disputes
Construction Differing Condition Claims
Construction Oversight
Construction Management
Construction Acceleration Claims

Construction Failures
Construction Injuries
Contractor Performance Issues

Defective Designs
Defective Roadway Design

Electrical Accidents/Injuries
Electrical Equipment Failures
Electrical Fires
Elevators, Escalators
   & Conveyors
Embedded Software Hazards
   & Analysis
Equipment Failures
Errors and Omissions

Failure Analysis
Fire Codes
Fire Protection Systems
Fire Suppression Systems

Flood Damage Assessment

Foundation Systems

Gas Systems

Hailstorm damage

Heating & Ventilation Systems
Heavy Construction
Highway/Roadway Design
Human Factors

Indoor Air Quality
Laboratory Services
Ladders, Scaffolding Falls
   & Failures

Mechanical Defect Evaluations
Metallurgical Age Dating
Mold Causation
Natural Disasters/Weather
   Related Issues
Nuclear Energy
Occupational Hazards
   & Illness

Playground Equipment Injuries
Product Failures
Roofing Problems & Failures
Safety Codes
Safety & Human Factors
Scene Mapping and Photographs
Sick Building Syndrome
Sports Equipment Injuries
Standardized Codes
Steam Systems
Subrogation Issues

Transportation Issues
Trips, Slips & Falls
Underground Storage Tanks
Utilities Expertise
Water Damage

Mission Statement

Our mission is to work as an extension of our clients to expeditiously achieve the most economically favorable resolution of claims on their behalf and on behalf of their insured. We have developed and will continue to create new solutions to the technical problems and issues which are facing the insurance industry and the insureds today.  

Metropolitan provides forensic engineering work (age-dating or fingerprinting), site remediation, auditing, cost control and litigation support services to insurance carriers, their insureds and to private or public companies.  In its risk management role, examines, manages and audits environmental claims to ensure that assessment and remediation services provided to both carriers and policy holders are reasonable and necessary, properly rendered and appropriately charged. 

In its litigation support role, Metropolitan assists carriers and their counsel to ensure that litigious disputes are resolved fairly and reimbursement benefits are provided when appropriate.  The corporations service area includes the entire United States, with our corporate office located in Northern New Jersey.  The Firm's professional staff also travels regularly throughout the United States on assignment.

Forensics at Metropolitan

There are many issues associated with disputes over responsibility for cleanup. Who, what, when, where, and how chemicals were released can be investigated. The tools of forensic investigation include mathematical models, statistical models, fate and transport calculations, chromatography, lead isotope analyses, time of travel assessments, library search site characterization, tracer additives, and recently developed software applications.

Effective forensic project management should include an evaluation of multiple forensic tools based on site specific circumstances. The process of evaluation and the ultimate selection of the forensic tool are critical to a successful outcome. When project budgets allow, combining forensic methods for corroborative evidence can substantially strengthen your client’s position in an effort to prevent or support litigation. The effective forensic consultant must be well acquainted with an ever expanding list of analytical methods, environmental regulations, assessment procedures and remedial technologies.

The forensic field is one that utilizes a wide range of scientific tools to identify and characterize complex adverse environmental events. Some of the scientific disciplines involved in forensics include engineering principles (biological, physical and chemical), hydrology, lithology, geology, site history, site practices, mathematics, and statistics. These areas may be combined with technologies such as respiratory analyses, chromatography/mass spectrometry and chemical fingerprinting methods to answer complex questions with the ultimate goal of establishing responsibility for a particular event. Accurate, defensible forensic analyses are an essential component of any strategy that attempts to resolve the extent of the insurer or insured client responsibilities in the cleanup of contaminants.

Contact us online or call 973-897-8162 to learn more about our forensic services.

Property Damage Services at Metropolitan

Metropolitan assists property owners, claims professionals, businesses, and attorneys in   the assessment of the cause & origin (C&O), extent of damage and required restoration after pipe bursts, settlements, manufacturing and construction failures, fire, flood, earthquake, or storm damage.  Our teams of engineers have extensive experience in the many systems that make up a building including structural, mechanical and electrical systems.   We also have the necessary background to evaluate property damage to items such as communications towers or solar panels. We can help determine alternative, appropriate, and cost effective solutions for repair or restoration of any damaged property, both commercial and residential. 

Providing Competent, Expert and Objective Investigative Engineering and Consulting Services.

Our experts are multi-skilled, competent, and objective professionals who apply their analytical and common sense skills to reconstruct, determine the root cause, and document the events that give rise to property, casualty, and liability claims.  Thorough investigations and detailed measurements/research help us distinguish between pre-existing conditions and sudden and accidental losses.


Our investigations are:

·         Comprehensive & Accurate

·         Legible & Easy to Understand

·         Timely Performed

·         Delivered Quickly

·         Cost Effective

·         Clear & Concise

·         Developed by Professionals

·         Dependable

·         Our own uniform reporting system saves time and money.

Our Fast Track Investigation and Uniform Format Reporting systems allow us to conduct and deliver a comprehensive response to the assigned claim.  In most cases, we will obtain findings based on a site visit, visual observations, photographs, interviews, and field measurements.  Further investigations and testing will be provided upon request and approval by the client.

Forensic Investigation of Property Damage Claims

Metropolitan Consulting, Engineering & Forensics understands your need to complete a claim investigation accurately and efficiently as possible.  Whether it is accident reconstruction, damage due to environmental forces such as wind, water, hail, snow, tornado, etc.; fire origin & cause investigation or any other claim, the engineers at Metropolitan understand both you and your client want to resolve the claim.  The analysis you receive from Metropolitan will be accurate and complete, giving you the information needed in the claim adjustment and analysis.

Our services have extended beyond the forensic analysis phase into the remediation and repair phase of many large loss claims.  Upon the completion of the cause and origin (C&O) investigation, Metropolitan can provide our clients with complete working drawings and specifications needed to repair or rebuilt damaged buildings or other structures.  Metropolitan Consulting & Engineering’ staff possesses many-many years of experience in rehabilitation design, construction management, and project oversight to ensure the loss is restored in a timely and cost-effective manner without sacrificing quality.  Building code knowledge allows us to identify possible code upgrades as needed.  Metropolitan understands constructability and realizes making an insured whole goes beyond forensic investigation and design. We pride ourselves in providing practical solutions contractors can understand and follow.

At the forefront of available technology, we provide professionals and staff capable of handling a variety of engineering evaluations.  Our reports are clear, concise, complete and efficiently produced.  Our engineering objectives are achieved in an ethical manner consistent with the traditions and character of engineering professionals.

Contact us online or call 973-897-8162 to learn more about our property damage services.

Extensive Experience helping Sureties

Metropolitan also has extensive experience helping sureties fulfill their bond obligations resolve disputes after a contractor has defaulted.  This work includes the evaluation of contractor bid pricing, evaluation of the contractor’s ability to perform work, risk assessment, evaluation of termination, construction completion services, claim and litigation support services, loss recovery services, evaluation of payment bond claims, negotiation and settlement of payment bond claims, and construction defects investigation services.  Metropolitan has provided these services for commercial, development, educational, and assisted living projects.

Construction is a business fraught with risk.  Disputes over even the smallest of issues can quickly escalate, with crippling consequences to the project and the parties.  Over the years, the construction industry has developed various methods of contractually allocating the risk of project delay and disruption.  Some of these methods include liquidated damages provisions, "no damages for delay" clauses, mutual waivers of consequential damages, provisions that limit liability, claims notice provisions, and provisions addressing responsibility for the adequacy of the construction plans and specifications.  Parties frequently litigate the sufficiency of these risk-shifting efforts in conjunction with the underlying merits of delay and disruption disputes.
Construction Claims & Disputes
The most frequently encountered claims include:
1.            Construction Delay Claims
2.            Disruption and Loss of Labor Productivity Claims
3.            Design and Construction Defect Claims
4.            Force Majeure Claims
5.            Acceleration or Compression of the Schedule Claims
6.            Suspension, Termination and Default Claims
7.            Differing Site Conditions Claims
8.            Change Order and Extra Work Claims
9.            Cost Overrun Claims
10.         Unacceptable Workmanship or Substituted Material Claims
11.         Non-payment Claims (stop notice (or Notice to Withhold) claims, mechanics’ lien (only for private construction projects) and payment bond claims)

Forensic Engineering Experience Case Studies

Metropolitan staff has developed and utilized scientific methods to assist clients in a variety of ways related to their claim issues. The following is a partial list of such projects:

  • Provided expert witness services for plaintiff seeking remediation of contaminated groundwater that caused indoor air inhalation problems;
  • Testified that engineering and scientific evidence was improperly collected and analyzed and was inadequate to show the age of the release;
  • Origin and cause of retaining wall failures.  
  • Lightning damage to structures or electrical systems and equipment
  • Roof failure or collapse as a result of accumulated load, additional weight and snow drift at hundreds of commercial and residential properties.
  • Demonstrated that solvents in groundwater at client's property originated from off-site dry-cleaner and that client's site actually provided remediation for the off-site release of dry cleaning solvent;
  • Expert witness for property owner impacted by industrial waste disposal from industrial manufacturer;
  • Demonstrated that environmental analysis by a previous consultant for a manufacturing site was inadequate; as a result, the lender's concerns were alleviated and financing proceeded;
  • Chemical "age-dating" and contaminant transport analyses of petroleum in groundwater at a gas station showed that contaminants originated from other parties;
  • Age-dated petroleum release at a former gas station to show that the previous owner of the gas station caused groundwater contamination;
  • Age-dated petroleum releases at an industrial facility to show that the on-site plume was the result of an off-site source;
  • Prepared age-dating reports for over one-hundred residential fuel oil spills;
  • Assisted insurance companies attorneys in defending subrogation claims; was able to demonstrate that the forensic data collected by the first party consultant were collected and analyzed using invalid methods;
  • Demonstrated that structural damage to a residence was from a source other than the alleged high lake level
  • Collected evidence (for the primary responsible party) that identified other responsible parties to share in the cost of a Superfund cleanup;
  • Review of the site data at a bulk petroleum facility indicated that the site releases were not the result of regular oil transfer operations and that they were caused by the negligent actions of the insured’s agents; the case was settled in favor of the insurance company;
  • Was able to demonstrate that the majority of the removal actions at petroleum release sites were neither reasonable nor necessary; as a result of our opinion, the insurance client settled the claim in favorable terms;
  • At several drycleaner sites we were able to demonstrate that the age of the release was much earlier than the parties originally believed; as a result, the insurance client settled the claim at a fraction of the alleged liability;
  • We performed numerous flood and wind damage assessments at commercial and residential properties.
Contact us online or call 973-897-8162 to learn more about our forensic engineering services.

Site Remediation Services

 Characterizing and remediating contaminated sites involve some of the most complex and difficult issues for environmental lawyers and their clients. Problem areas include responding to regulators; negotiating enforcement settlements; negotiating or litigating cost allocation and recovery claims; working with the insured or insurer client, lawyers and regulators to develop efficient, cost-effective remediation approaches; and selling, buying, or developing contaminated properties.

Metropolitan staff has developed and applied an innovative approach to the use of sodium persulfate for the sequential in-situ treatment of subsurface contaminants through chemical oxidation followed by enhanced biological degradation through sulfate reduction. This approach has broad applicability to a wide range of contaminants, and shows strong cost-saving benefits through reducing the initial volume of chemical oxidant necessary and enhancing the in-situ biological degradation of contaminants.

Through proper subsurface geochemical characterization and chemical dosing design, the approach focuses on utilizing the oxidant for immediate mass reduction at the source area, followed by degradation or polishing of the residual contamination using sulfate reducing bacteria.  Depending upon the oxidant activation method, this approach is applicable to petroleum hydrocarbons including both volatiles and PAHs, chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) including chlorinated ethene, ethane and methane groups, as well as PCBs.

Contact us online or call 973-897-8162 to learn more about our Site Remediation Services.

Vapor Intrusion and Indoor-Air Studies

Vapor intrusion has received increased attention over the last few years near contaminated sites because some contaminants have the potential to migrate into nearby buildings and negatively affect indoor air quality. The accumulation of these volatile vapors in buildings can result in significant safety and health concerns.
To properly evaluate vapor intrusion a thorough evaluation of the building's ventilation system and subsurface conditions needs to be conducted by a knowledgeable professional in accordance with state and federal established procedures. 
The evaluation process typically includes a thorough building chemical inventory, the advancement of soil gas probes and the collection of soil gas samples. When indoor air quality problems are identified they can normally be resolved through the modification/installation of a properly designed ventilation system.
Metropolitan is well experienced with U.S. EPA and State vapor intrusion investigation techniques. We have completed numerous vapor intrusion and indoor air quality studies at commercial and residential properties. We have the experience to identify and resolve indoor vapor intrusion problems and the practical know-how to resolve indoor quality issues in an efficient and cost effective manner.
Contact us online or call 973-897-8162 to learn more about our Vapor Intrusion and Indoor Air Studies.

Metropolitan Engineering, Consulting, Forensics, and Environmental Remediation Services.

Construction, Investigation, Remediation and Forensic Expert  Engineers

P.O. Box 520

Tenafly, New Jersey 07670-0520

Ph.: (973) 897-8162

Fax: (973) 810-0440

Contact: Dr. Bill N. Stephan, PhD, PE, JD, CIH, MBA, CHMM

Insurance claim examiners, insureds, insurers, insurance adjusters and risk managers use Metropolitan for determining cause, evaluating the extent of damage, determining the age of the release, separating unrelated damage, analyzing loss scopes and managing restoration data, determining costs to repair, restore or replace, and preparing for insurance appraisals.

Attorneys call on Metropolitan for help when preparing for Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution such as arbitration and mediation