Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pilot seriously injured after a Piper PA-34aircraft clipped powerlines and impacted roadway terrain during a forced landing in East Hartford, Connecticut

Small Plane Crashes in East Hartford, Pilot Hospitalized
(Published 7 minutes ago)

Police said a small plane crashed in East Hartford on Tuesday afternoon.

The crash happened at 3:30 p.m. on Main Street. East Hartford police said crews are responding to an aircraft down near Pratt and Whitney.

The twin-engine Piper PA 34 plane was on its final approach to Brainard Airport, the FAA said in a statement.

The pilot was transported to St. Francis Hospital, East Hartford Fire Chief John Oates said. Oates said two people were in the plane at the time of the crash.

Plane Crashes in East Hartford
A plane crashed on Main Street near Pratt & Whitney on Tuesday afternoon. (Published 53 minutes ago)

Litwin said the second person is unaccounted for.

Smoke can be seen rising from the crash site.

Connecticut State Police said Route 2 westbound at exit 5A is currently closed as crews investigate a crash on Main Street.

Eversouce is reporting more than 500 outages in East Hartford. Litwin said the plane did hit power lines and poles on its way down.

Aircraft Crash in East Hartford

Pratt and Whitney, a jet engine manufacturer, said the crash does not appear to involve any of its employees or contractors.

"We are aware of the incident that occurred this afternoon on Main Street. Our thoughts are with the people affected. It does not appear at this time that any Pratt & Whitney employees or contractors were involved. Additionally, there is no impact to our operation here in East Hartford other than restricted traffic flow to the facility's main entrance on Main Street. We stand ready to assist local officials as needed. Additional queries should be directed to the appropriate local officials."

Litwin said two people who were in a car at the time of the crash were also transported to the hospital but they were not linked to the airplane accident.

Goodwin College in East Hartford said classes were canceled for Tuesday evening.

East Hartford fire, police, Connecticut State Police and FAA officials are responding to the scene.

The investigation is active and ongoing. 

Residents are asked to avoid the area.


Time: 15:45
Piper PA-34


C/n / msn:

Fatalities: Fatalities: / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Hartford County, East Hartford, CT - United States of America
Phase: Landing
Nature: Unknown
Departure airport: Hartford-Brainard (KHFD)
Destination airport:

The aircraft clipped powerlines and impacted roadway terrain during an apparent force landing attempt in East Hartford, Connecticut. The airplane was partially consumed by the post-impact fire and the pilot onboard received serious injuries.

Survivors and family members of people killed in the nation's deadliest landslide have reached $60 million in settlements with the state of Washington and a timber company that logged an area above the site of the collapse.

Families reach $60 million in Washington landslide settlements

Published October 10, 2016

Death toll rises in mudslide; governor seeks federal aid

Survivors and family members of people killed in the nation's deadliest landslide have reached $60 million in settlements with the state of Washington and a timber company that logged an area above the site of the collapse.

Just as opening statements were due to begin in a Seattle courtroom Monday, Grandy Lake Forest Associates agreed to settle liability claims for $10 million. The announcement came just after the state on Sunday reached a $50 million deal with the plaintiffs.

The slide on March 22, 2014, killed 43 people when it wiped out a rural neighborhood in Oso, northeast of Seattle. Survivors and relatives of the victims alleged that logging above the slide and construction of a retaining wall along a bank where the Stillaguamish River undercut the hill increased the danger, and residents were never warned about it.

Pam Sanford, whose brother was killed, called it a "huge relief" that she wouldn't have to sit through the trial, which had been expected to last nearly four months.

"Reliving those details is something I am done doing," she said.

The plaintiffs filled several pews in a courtroom in King County Superior Court on Monday. Judge Roger Rogoff told them that while no legal proceedings could bring the victims back, "I hope the settlement you've reached in this case can bring you some measure of closure."

Some of the plaintiffs dabbed tears from their eyes.

Dayn Brunner's sister, Summer Raffo, was buried and killed as she was driving to work along State Route 530. When her body was found five days later, her hands were still gripping the wheel.

Some of the money from the settlement will go toward a permanent memorial at the site of the slide, he said.

"My No. 1 priority was to ensure my sister's legacy lived on," Brunner said. "Today was an affirmation of that."

Corrie Yackulic, an attorney for some of the plaintiffs, said a "settlement master" will likely be appointed to oversee distribution of the settlement money.

While the settlements largely end the case as far as the state and timber company are concerned, some issues remain. The judge said he intended to issue monetary sanctions against the state after its expert witnesses — scientists hired to study the slide — deleted emails sent among themselves rather than preserve them so they could be turned over to the plaintiffs' lawyers.

Had the case gone to trial, jurors would have been allowed to infer that the experts did it because preserving the emails would have hurt the state's case.

Another issue concerns Snohomish County, which was a defendant before being dismissed by the judge. The plaintiffs are appealing that decision, arguing that the county was also liable.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson called the settlement "a fair resolution for all parties."

The timber company didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Following the landslide, the state imposed new rules on logging in landslide-prone areas.

The slide struck after weeks of heavy rains. The neighborhood that was destroyed was a development of about 35 single-family homes, some dating to the 1960s, across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River from a hillside in the Cascade Mountains.

The river eroded the base of the hill, as it had been doing for decades, causing numerous smaller slides. The massive slide produced enough sand and soil to cover 600 football fields, which rushed down and swept the river up with it. The highway was buried under as much as 20 feet of muck.

Emergency workers, cleanup contractors, employers and the public at-large face potentially serious hazards as they begin to recover from Hurricane Matthew, and the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is urging vigilance during the cleanup.

October 8, 2016

OSHA urges storm recovery workers, public to be vigilant,
aware of hazards in aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

ATLANTA - Florida's emergency workers, employers and the public at-large face potentially serious hazards as they begin to recover from Hurricane Matthew, and the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is urging vigilance during the cleanup.

"Recovery work should not send you to the hospital emergency room," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's regional administrator for the Southeast. "A range of safety and health hazards exist following storms. You can minimize these dangers with knowledge, safe work practices and personal protective equipment. OSHA wants all working men and women - including volunteers - to stay safe once the storm has passed."

Storm and tornado cleanup may involve hazards related to restoring electricity, communications, and water and sewer services. Demolition activities such as debris cleanup; tree trimming; and structural, roadway and bridge repair; hazardous waste operations and emergency response activities present their own unique hazards. OSHA's website provides guidance to keep disaster-site workers safe in tornado and storm cleanup and recovery operations.

Flooded areas have unique cleanup challenges, including dam and levee repair, removal of floodwater from structures and repairing downed electrical wires in standing water. Workers and residents taking defensive action to protect structures or evacuate severely impacted areas may encounter hazards, such as rapidly rising streams and moving water. Resources on flood preparedness and response also are available on OSHA's website.

Only properly trained and adequately equipped workers should conduct cleanup activities.

Protective measures for workers engaged in cleanup efforts include the following:
  • Evaluate all work areas for hazards.
  • Employ engineering or work practice controls to mitigate hazards.
  • Use personal protective equipment.
  • Assume all powerlines are live.
  • Use portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles and other equipment properly.
  • Heed safety precautions for traffic work zones.

Individuals involved in recovery efforts may call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit the agency's website to reach local representatives who can provide on-site assistance.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

# # #

OSHA has placed Og Plumbing LLC in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after the Illinois plumbing contractor ignores OSHA, returns to job site next day and continues exposing workers to dangers of trench collapse

Illinois plumbing contractor ignores OSHA, returns to job site next day and continues exposing workers to dangers of trench collapse
Og Plumbing labeled Severe Violator after 3 job sites found in violation in a month 
OAK PARK, Ill. – Less than three weeks after being cited for exposing workers to unsafe trenches, federal investigators saw a Chicago plumbing contractor exposing the same four-man crew to trenching hazards as they worked on sewer and water utilities at two locations in Oak Park on consecutive days in March 2016.

For its wanton disregard for the safety of its workers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has placed Og Plumbing LLC in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program

OSHA proposed penalties of $275,728 and issued one willful, three repeat and one serious safety citations to the plumbing contractor for the violations found at the job sites. The SVEP program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, the agency may inspect any of the employer’s facilities or job sites if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

“After being told by an investigator to protect workers against trench cave-in hazards, Og Plumbing returned to work the next day and again exposed the same crew to the potential threat of being buried by thousands of pounds of soil and work in an unprotected trench,” said Angeline Loftus, OSHA’s area director for its Chicago North Office in Des Plaines. “Each year, dozens of workers die and hundreds suffer injuries when soil unexpectedly shifts and trench walls collapse burying them in mere seconds.”

“Og Plumbing needs to evaluate its job site procedures immediately to ensure they use required protective systems. These can be the difference between life and death.”

OSHA’s inspection found:
  • On March 28, 2016, a four-man crew on a job site in the 1036 Washington Blvd. in Oak Park was working in a five and one-half foot-deep trench without cave-in protection and a means to enter and exit the trench. In addition, inspectors found workers not wearing hard hats.
  • On March 29, 2016, inspectors found the same crew working in a six-and-one-half-foot deep trench at 1035 Randolph St. in Oak Park without cave-in protection and a means to enter and exit the trench. After the investigator left the site, employees were seen re-entering the unprotected trench. As the investigator approached the trench the second time, the employees scrambled out of the trench. Shortly after this, a large section of the trench wall collapsed into the area of the trench where the employees were working.
  • On March 10, 2016, OSHA inspectors observed a crew installing water lines in a trench about six-feet deep at 1632 N. Western Ave., in Chicago, without cave-in protection. OSHA issued penalties of $69,300 to the company on April 25, 2016, for one willful and one repeated safety violation following its inspection.
OSHA’s trenching standards require protective systems on trenches deeper than 5 feet, and that soil and other materials remain at least two feet from the edge of trench.

View current citations for Washington Boulevard and Randolph Street.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines at 847-803-4800.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. 

OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
OSHA News Release: 

Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC to pay a $154,000 penalty and Twin Lakes Chemical to pay a $40,000 penalty for Clean Air Act violations or rules governing chemical safety and risk management

New York Companies Fined for Clean Air Act Violations
Contact Information:
Elias Rodriguez (rodriguez.elias@epa.gov)

(New York, N.Y. – Oct. 11, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced fines against the Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC in Savona, N.Y. and Twin Lakes Chemical Inc. in Lockport, N.Y. for Clean Air Act violations or rules governing chemical safety and risk management. Among the violations, the companies failed hazard identification and equipment safety requirements. Finger Lakes LPG agreed to pay a $154,000 penalty and Twin Lakes Chemical agreed to pay a $40,000 penalty for the violations.

“Chemical facilities are required to establish risk management plans in order to prevent and prepare for chemical accidents," said Judith A. Enck, EPA's Regional Administrator. “By taking steps, such as properly labeling chemicals, properly training employees, and providing employee emergency health care, chemical facilities can protect the communities where they are located.”

Risk management plan requirements under the Clean Air Act include developing a hazard assessment to identify potential effects of an accidental release of chemicals; an accidental release prevention program that includes safety precautions, safe operating procedures, maintenance and employee training measures; and an emergency response program that spells out emergency health care, employee training measures and procedures for informing the public and local response agencies should an accidental release occur.

Hazardous chemicals are located in many types of facilities in our communities. Emergency responders need to know where hazardous chemicals are used and stored, how to assess the risks associated with those chemicals and how to ensure community preparedness for accidents or incidents that may occur. Many facility owners and operators rely on local resources for emergency preparedness and response, including first responders, emergency medical services and hazardous materials response teams. It is important for local officials, first responders and facility owners and operators to work closely together to ensure chemical safety and security and the protection of local communities.

The first settlement is with Finger Lakes LPG Storage, the owner and operator of a facility that receives and stores liquefied petroleum gas for wholesale customers. The EPA identified several areas of the facility's operations that had been in violation of the Clean Air Act, including by failing to comply with hazard identification and equipment safety requirements such as updated and accurate piping and instrumentation diagrams, among other violations.

Finger Lakes LPG Storage will also spend an estimated $158,000 to purchase equipment and vehicles for three local fire departments in the area near the facility: the Savona Fire Department, the Bath Volunteer Fire Department in Steuben County and the Watkins Glen Fire Department in Schuyler County.

The second settlement is with Twin Lakes Chemical, a chemical manufacturing plant which, at the time of EPA’s inspection, was using and storing 32,000 pounds of phosgene. Phosgene is a toxic industrial chemical used to make plastics and pesticides. At room temperature it is a deadly gas.

The EPA identified several areas of the facility's operations that had been in violation of the Clean Air Act, including failing to adequately support, secure, and label phosgene equipment and pipes; and failure to comply with hazard identification and equipment safety requirements. All of the violations were addressed by the company prior to the settlement.

Twin Lakes Chemical will also spend an estimated $100,000 to purchase hazardous materials equipment for the Lockport fire department.

After the violations were brought to light by the EPA, the companies began working with EPA making the necessary improvements. Twin Lakes Chemical has certified that it is now in compliance with the risk management plan provisions of the Clean Air Act, and Finger Lakes LPG Storage has retained a third-party auditor to address its remaining compliance concerns.

To learn more about risk management plans, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/rmp

To learn more about facilities with significant amounts of chemicals and your communities’ right to know about them, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/epcra

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2

A worker with Falls Tree Co. clearing tree near Ormond Beach, Florida in the wake of Hurricane Matthew was killed when he was pinned beneath a log

Tree removal worker pinned under log near Ormond Beach dies


OCTOBER 11, 2016

A worker clearing tree and other debris near Ormond Beach in the wake of Hurricane Matthew was killed Monday evening when he was pinned beneath a log, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim was cutting a tree in the Halifax Plantation neighborhood about 5:45 p.m. when a chunk of the tree rolled on top of him, deputies said.

A passerby spotted the victim on the edge of Tano Drive and yelled for help, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said coworkers pulled the log off the victim and a witness tried to revive him before paramedics arrived but he did not survive.

An autopsy will determine the cause of death. 

When paramedics and deputies arrived at the scene, Barna could not be saved, Davidson said.

The sheriff's Major Case Unit is investigating and the medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Two other people — one of them a 9-year-old boy — also died on Monday in storm-related incidents. The first death was Friday when a 63-year-old woman was struck by a tree near DeLand, police said.


The tree cutter killed when a log pinned him was an employee of an Ohio company working in the Hurricane Matthew recovery effort, officials said

Steven Barna, 47, of Garrettsville, Ohio, is the fourth person killed in hurricane-related accidents, said Volusia County sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson.

Barna worked for Falls Tree Co. of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The company has workers in the area to help with tree cleanup from the storm.

Barna was killed late Monday afternoon at Halifax Plantation in Northern Volusia. He was cutting a tree that was already on the ground when a large piece of the tree rolled on top of him and pinned him underneath, Davidson said.A passerby spotted the victim on the edge of Tano Drive and yelled out for help. Co-workers who were working nearby responded and pulled the log off Barna. A witness began CPR efforts while awaiting the arrival of paramedics.

When paramedics and deputies arrived at the scene, Barna could not be saved, Davidson said.

The sheriff's Major Case Unit is investigating and the medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Two other people — one of them a 9-year-old boy — also died on Monday in storm-related incidents. The first death was Friday when a 63-year-old woman was struck by a tree near DeLand, police said.


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Pilar Garcia Lorenzo (Garcia), 38, of Tampa, the owner of Gold Care Home Health Services Inc. (Gold Care), was convicted of one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering

Friday, October 7, 2016
Owner of Florida Home Health Agency Convicted in Multimillion-Dollar Health Care Fraud Scheme

The owner of a Tampa, Florida, home health agency was convicted by a federal jury for her participation in a multimillion-dollar health care fraud and money laundering scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Shimon R. Richmond of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office and Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office made the announcement.

Pilar Garcia Lorenzo (Garcia), 38, of Tampa, the owner of Gold Care Home Health Services Inc. (Gold Care), was convicted late yesterday of one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering following a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell of the Middle District of Florida. Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 5, 2017.

According to evidence presented at trial, in late summer 2014 Gold Care submitted millions of dollars’ worth of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. The claims were for home health services that had never been provided and had not been legitimately prescribed by a physician. As a result of those false and fraudulent claims, Medicare reimbursed Gold Care approximately $2.5 million. Garcia used a “straw” or nominee owner in an effort to execute and conceal the fraudulent scheme, the evidence showed. Approximately $2 million of the fraud proceeds her company received were laundered in cash transactions through fictitious shell companies located in Hialeah, Florida.

HHS-OIG and FBI investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Florida. This case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Christopher J. Hunter and Trial Attorney Angela Adams of the Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged over 2,900 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for over $10 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov


TAMPA, Fla. - As attorney general Loretta Lynch announces a "national health-care fraud take-down,” five-people from the Tampa Bay area are now charged for their alleged involvement in Medicare scams.

Across the country, 243 people are charged with bilking the system for $712 million in false medical claims and bills, including five from here from the Tampa Bay area.

Federal agents say two of the targets of this crackdown were operating a home healthcare business that they say never treated patients, but collected millions of your tax dollars.

“It's an office space that doesn't really do any business,” said Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Special Agent Ryan Lynch, describing Gold Care Home Healthcare, which operated for three years in a West Busch Blvd. office building.

In an indictment unsealed Thursday, federal prosecutors say the business owners stole senior citizens' identities and used them to bill Medicare nearly $2.5 Million for home healthcare services that were never needed or provided.

“These fraudsters are stealing the identities of physician providers as well as patients,” said Lynch.

“Something seemed odd, and it was,” said Tas Poulos, who was the landlord for Gold Care Home Healthcare.

He rented office space to business partners Maury Perez of Miami and Pilar Garcia Lorenzo of Tampa.

“He just disappeared, and the rent stopped coming in,” said Poulos, who said the business suddenly shut its doors when the Feds started investigating.

The indictment says both partners used the company's bank accounts as their personal ATMs, withdrawing tens-of-thousands of dollars at a time.

Less than 10 years ago, Pilar Garcia Lorenzo filed for bankruptcy, saying she earned less than $10,000 per year.

But she recently moved into a home in West Tampa, where neighbors say she's been spending plenty.

“I knew something wasn't right,” said neighbor Gizelle Abella.

“The whole time they've been there, it's been improvements, improvements, improvements,” said Doris Perez, who lives two doors down from Garcia Lorenzo.

Real estate records show she purchased the home in 2011, the same year Gold Care Home Healthcare was formed.

By 2013, Garcia Lorenzo paid off the entire mortgage and soon began significant renovations and improvements to the home.

“The fountain, the new fence, painting, all kinds of stuff,” said Perez.

In the back, she added a hot tub, a covered porch and an outdoor kitchen.

We tried to talk to Garcia Lorenzo, but nobody answered her door Thursday.

When we told neighbors about the indictment, they were less than thrilled about all those new improvements.  “For people like that to steal what other people really need is not right,” said Abella.

About 900 law enforcement officers nationwide were involved in the latest crackdown.

The FBI says Miami led the nation in healthcare fraud indictments.  Officials there charged 73 defendants with more than $260 Million in fraudulent billing.

A whistleblower lawsuit has accused the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) of defrauding Medicaid and Medicare and receiving millions of dollars for care ordered by doctors, which the patients never received

Visiting Nurse Service of New York Faces Medicaid and Medicare Fraud Lawsuit

A whistleblower lawsuit has accused the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) of defrauding Medicaid and Medicare and receiving millions of dollars for care ordered by doctors, which the patients never received. According to the allegations, VNSNY systematically billed for the full number of nursing and rehabilitation visits ordered by doctors, but patients received only a fraction of them.

The lawsuit was initiated by whistleblower Edward Lacey, VNSNY's former VP of Operations Improvement and Integration, who had been with the organization for 16 years. Investigations into fraudulent conduct are, however, nothing new for the healthcare provider Visiting Nurse Service of New York. In 2014, VNSNY paid the government $35 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it had enrolled over 1,700 ineligible individuals into Medicaid plans. 

Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers such as Edward Lacey who have information about fraud against the government can file a lawsuit on the government's behalf and are entitled to a portion of any received damages and civil penalties. Whistleblower rewards range from 15 to 30% of the total recovery.  

Visiting Nurses Evolve from Charity to Allegations of Massive Fraud

Originally a charitable entity, the Visiting Nurses Service of New York is now a billion-dollar business. The text of the lawsuit is categorical in pointing out the gravity of the allegations:  “Beyond this massive financial fraud on the government, the ultimate victims here are the tens of thousands of elderly, disabled and impoverished New York residents who because of VNSNY’s misconduct have not been getting the critical home health care services they require.” 

While the agency's spokespeople have dismissed the lawsuit as the work of a disgruntled former employee, the lawsuit cites several examples of patients who were shortchanged for care, and whose health suffered as a result. In one case, a patient who was set to receive 27 rehabilitation visits and 38 nursing visits, received only five nursing visits. Meanwhile, VNSNY was reimbursed in the amount of $3,537 for the full care plan.

According to the whistle blower lawsuit, VNSNY patients typically received one fifth or less of the care prescribed by physicians. The whistleblower claims that he tried to get senior management to correct the misconduct, but his attempts were unsuccessful, which led him to resign and initiate legal action.

When the New York Times reported on the lawsuit, Richard Rothstein, VNSNY's vice president of enterprise communications, commented, “If The New York Times considers this self-serving and baseless whistleblower complaint to be news, this would be a clear departure from the standards of journalistic integrity to which it holds itself and its reporters, and nothing more than an intentional effort to smear VNSNY’s name and reputation.” 

Upper Management Service Capacity Concerns Ignored

The lawsuit also describes corporate meetings where senior managers voiced concerns about the agency's lack of capacity to service an excessive number of patients. According to the allegations, Mary Ann Christopher, VNSNY's Chief Executive at the time, dismissed those concerns and ordered that all referrals be taken, even if the agency was understaffed to provide the care patients required.

The agency is also being accused of routinely double-billing the government when patients were eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Originally filed in the Southern District of New York in 2014, the False Claims suit had hitherto been under seal, but it was unsealed last week. The U.S. government has not as yet joined the lawsuit as a plaintiff, but it reserves the right to do so in the future.

If the allegations are substantiated, whistleblower Edward Lacey could receive millions of dollars in rewards as provided by the qui tam provision of the False Claims Act.

US Labor Department recovers more than $570K in back wages, damages for 55 workers at Johnny Rockets restaurants in Washington metro area

US Labor Department recovers more than $570K in back wages, damages for 55 workers at Johnny Rockets restaurants in Washington metro area
Consent judgment follows federal investigation of labor violations affecting servers

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today a consent judgment requiring the owners of two Johnny Rockets restaurants in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to pay $571,460 in back wages and liquidated damages to 55 servers denied the minimum wage and overtime.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia entered the consent judgment against Dariush Inc. and Rockets and Rockets Inc. – both doing business as “Johnny Rockets” – and co-owner Gholam Kazemian.

The judgment resolves a lawsuit filed by the department after an investigation by its Wage and Hour Division focused on the fast food restaurants’ franchise locations at Union Station in the District of Columbia, and in Arlington, Virginia. The lawsuit sought to recover $285,730 in minimum wages and overtime back wages, including the misappropriated tips, plus an equal amount in liquidated damages, for the 55 employees.

The investigation found that as early as February 2013 until at least May 2015, the defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act when they required 55 servers to contribute a portion of their total tips back to the employer, who then distributed the money to cooks and dishwashers, who were not tipped employees. Also, in doing so, the employer paid servers less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 as required.

Additionally, the defendants failed to pay required overtime wages to employees when they worked more than 40 hours in a week, and did not keep accurate records of all hours worked by employees.

The consent judgment orders the defendants to pay $285,730 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.

“When employers like these two Johnny Rockets restaurants fail to pay legally required wages to tipped workers, they violate the FLSA in an industry where all too often unscrupulous employers short employees’ pay,” said Mark Lara, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Baltimore District Office. “The U.S. Department of Labor is determined to protect vulnerable restaurant workers by identifying and remedying wage violations.”

Many restaurants require servers to pool their tips for workers to share equally. A valid tip pool may not include employees who do not receive tips customarily and regularly, such as dishwashers, cooks, chefs and janitors. When an employer utilizes employees’ tips for any purpose other than a valid tip pool, as was the case at Johnny Rockets, it is a violation of the tip credit provision of the FLSA. As a result, no tip credit may be claimed, and the employees are entitled to receive the full cash minimum wage on a retroactive basis, as well as a return of the tips that were misappropriated.

“As demonstrated in this case, we will use all enforcement tools available, including litigation and the assessment of liquidated damages, to ensure employees receive the wages they have rightfully earned,” said Oscar L. Hampton, the department’s regional solicitor in Philadelphia.

The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt workers be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus one-and-one-half times their regular wages for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records

For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd
WHD News Release:

Female worker with Miami Gardens on a golf cart run over by mule truck; longshoreman injured when he struck a crane at Port Everglades, Florida

Worker dies, longshoreman hurt in crashes at Port Everglades

Worker dies, longshoreman hurt in crashes at Port Everglades
Linda Trischitta and Rebeca Piccardo Sun Sentinel

A man was injured Monday in an accident with a cargo container at Port Everglades, a county official said.

A cargo company supervisor driving a golf cart died Monday at Port Everglades when the cart and a truck collided — one of two accidents at the port that day, an official said.

Luisa Anderson, 40, of Miami Gardens, was driving the cart through the Sun Terminals shipping container yard around 2:30 p.m. The truck, called a yard mule, moves containers from docks to storage areas. Both vehicles collided in a four-way intersecting path, said Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Joy Oglesby.

Anderson was ejected and run over by the truck driven by Theoplous Wright, 55, of Fort Lauderdale, said Oglesby.

The intersecting path that both vehicles were using isn’t regulated by traffic control devices such as stop signs or traffic signals.

Anderson was liked and respected on the cargo side of Port Everglades, Port Everglades spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy said.

"The whole port community is grieving for the family," Kennedy said.

She said Rev. Ronald Perkins, a chaplain for Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue and at Seafarers' House, which serves the maritime community, was providing counseling.

Wright, an employee for Crowley Maritime Corporation, was "very shook up," according to Kennedy.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will also investigate, Oglesby said.

It was the second tragedy this year for Sun Terminals. In February, an employee was walking as his shift ended when he was struck by a tractor-trailer and died.

Earlier Monday, a longshoreman was hurt when his truck fell on its side.

The longshoreman, a member of Local 1526 who works for Florida International Terminal, was in a yard mule truck during the crash, Kennedy said.

"The truck driver was in the cab when he was hurt," Kennedy said. "He struck a piece of heavy equipment, part of a crane, and the truck rolled on its side."

The yard mule was carrying a fully loaded container that held granite and iron bars, according to preliminary reports, Kennedy said. The container had been unloaded from the Elisabeth-S, a Hamburg-Sud ship that docked at the port at 6 a.m. Monday.

Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue took the injured man to Broward Health Medical Center, where he was treated for minor injuries and released, Kennedy said.

Bolt and Connector Failures that has been plaguing subsea equipment. Interagency Bolt Action Team Tackles Bolt Problem

Interagency Bolt Action Team Tackles Bolt Problem

BSEE-Led Interagency Bolt Action Team meets in DC
WASHINGTON, DC - The newly-formed Interagency Bolt Action Team convened its second meeting today at the Department of the Interior’s headquarters in Washington to assess the current state, and determine next steps.  The team was formed in response to a bolt problem that has been plaguing subsea equipment. Bolt failures have been gaining domestic and international media attention following a public forum the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) held in August to highlight the problem.

The Bureau reached out to federal agencies and national laboratories that have metallurgical or engineering expertise. The meeting today included a diverse set of agencies, including the Department of the Navy, Department of Energy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

A team charter and synopsis of the available information pertaining to the problem will be prepared to inform all members of the extent of the issue and to set goals to develop short term solutions to the risk offshore. 

“The nature of the dialogue today underscores the value of getting a group like this together to resolve this complex issue,” said BSEE Director Brian Salerno.
Looking long term, the Bureau has also awarded a contract with the National Academy of Sciences to hold a root cause analysis workshop and follow-on study to address bolt failure issues and advance the understanding of subsea connector performance.  

The objective is to determine the optimal material properties and coating requirements associated with fasteners used in critical safety components and equipment in offshore oil and natural gas subsea operations over the next 18 months.  The Academy, through the National Academy of Engineering and the National Materials and Manufacturing Board, will develop and advance an understanding of the issues associated with bolt material failures and equipment reliability issues, and discuss possible paths for mitigating risks associated with bolts used in subsea oil and gas operations.


Bolt and Connector Failures

ImageLeadership and staff of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement have been working to address a recurring problem that raises serious safety and environmental hazard concerns - faulty connector bolts in safety critical equipment currently deployed offshore. There have been a number of failures - beginning over a decade ago around 2003 - of bolts that are used to connect blowout preventers, risers, and other subsea equipment. 

We have created this page so that government, industry, and other stakeholders can share the latest information related to these failures, including: root cause analyses of bolt/connector failures, safety alerts, industry standards and guidance, and other connector and bolt related information and guidance.


A construction defect is generally defined as a defect or deficiency in the design, the construction, and/or in the materials or systems used on a project that may not be readily observable and results in a building, structure or component that is not suitable for the purpose intended. The term “construction defect” includes both design and construction defects that result in financial harm (either property damage or personal injury) to the owner or to a third party.

According to the Insurance and Risk Management Institute, a construction defect is generally speaking, a deficiency in the design or construction of a building or structure resulting from a failure to design or construct in a reasonably workmanlike manner, and/or in accordance with a buyer's reasonable expectation. The most dangerous defects have the capacity to fail, resulting in physical injury or damage to people or property. However, many defects present no increased risk of injury or damage to other property but nevertheless cause harm to the property owner in the form of loss of use, diminution in value, and extra expenses incurred while defects are corrected. This latter type of defect is often referred to as a passive defect.

Many states have more specifically defined the term "construction defect" for purposes of applying statutes that dictate processes for remedying and litigating construction defect claims. These statutory definitions vary by state. Nevada, for example, uses the term constructional defects and defines it as follows:

“Constructional defect” means a defect in the design, construction, manufacture, repair or landscaping of a new residence, of an alteration of or addition to an existing residence, or of an appurtenance and includes, without limitation, the design, construction, manufacture, repair or landscaping of a new residence, of an alteration of or addition to an existing residence, or of an appurtenance:
1. Which is done in violation of law, including, without limitation, in violation of local codes or ordinances;

2. Which proximately causes physical damage to the residence, an appurtenance or the real property to which the residence or appurtenance is affixed;

3. Which is not completed in a good and workmanlike manner in accordance with the generally accepted standard of care in the industry for that type of design, construction, manufacture, repair or landscaping; or

4. Which presents an unreasonable risk of injury to a person or property.

Whether, and to what to extent, coverage applies in liability policies for claims alleging construction defects is a matter of serious debate both in insurance circles and in the courts. We wrote few weeks ago about some earthshaking decisions reached by the majority of the jurisdictions during 2013 and 2014, finding construction defect coverage under a contractors’ CGL policy. These policies, however, are subject to numerous exclusions and Anti-Indemnification Statutes, Right to Repair/Cure and Statutes of Limitations and Repose. In fact, the defendants in many of these cases have been successful in defeating claims using the defenses of the statutes of limitations and repose.

Among the more frequently addressed exclusions are the so-called “business risk” exclusions, which include the “damage to property”; “damage to your property”, and “damage to your work” exclusions. Other potentially applicable exclusions concern prior work; contractual liability; EIFS; mold; owned property; earth movement, and known or continuing injury or damage. Claims for damages resulting from defective drywall began to appear in about 2005, and courts have frequently addressed whether the standard pollution exclusion, in addition to the above-mentioned exclusions, bars coverage for such claims.

Basic Categories of Construction Defects

There are several categories of construction defects depending on the area of the building or foundation that was affected by defective construction.

· Site Defects

· Building Envelope Defects

· Structural Defects

· Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Defects

· Electrical and Plumbing Defects

· Fire/Life Safety System Defects

Types of Construction Defects

There are two types of construction defects, latent and patent defects. Latent defects are those defects that are concealed and are often not obvious or readily observable upon reasonable inspection. Even with the most comprehensive on-site inspections, sometimes defective construction may go unnoticed. After construction is complete, Latent Defects are unknown and generally undiscoverable and will only appear after the passage of time.

Examples of Latent Defects are: 

Soils that were not properly compacted.
Improperly installed flashing and/or the total lack of flashing within the building envelope assembly.
Lack of reinforcing in structural concrete footings, walls and/or slabs.
Lack of brick ties and/or masonry reinforcement in a brick/masonry veneer wall.
An improperly installed weatherproofing system.
Improperly installed stucco or EIFS exterior wall system.
Improperly consolidated concrete.
Reinforcement not fully embedded in the concrete structure.

Patent Defects are those defects that are known or would be readily obvious upon reasonable inspection. Examples of Patent Defects are:

· Weep holes not installed in brick veneer walls.
· Handrails omitted in stairways.
· Missing control and/or expansion joints.
· Cracking and/or signs of distress in the building envelope.
· Lack of roof drainage and/or roof slope.
· Lack of proper roof/attic ventilation.

An important distinction to understand in the analysis of con­struction defects is the difference between the “defect” itself and the “manifestation” of the defect, although in general terms, both the defect and the manifestation of the defect must ultimately be corrected. At times these concepts are erroneously considered to be the same and are discussed as if they were synonymous.

In fact, the manifestation of a particular defect is the apparent visible condition of the building, structure or component that gives the observer notice of the possible existence of, and most likely results from, a defect in construction. For example, a crack in a brick veneer wall may be considered to be a defect, but, in fact, it is only the manifestation of a defect. The actual defect may be the result of the failure of one or more components of the brick veneer wall system such as improperly installed or missing flashing; improperly installed or missing expansion joints; improperly installed and/or missing reinforcement; lack of or improperly installed vapor barrier; and/or the improper installation of the brick veneer wall itself.

Examples of the manifestation of a defect include:
· A total or partial collapse of the structure.
· The inability of the structure to prevent water intrusion.
· Cracking, selling or subsidence of concrete flat work.
· Cracking, settling or tilting of walls.
· Doors that are out of plumb and do not fit into the frame.
· Windows that do not operate.
· Foundations that settle crack or subside.

The importance of distinguishing between the manifestation of the defect and the defect itself is critical as the manifesta­tion may provide clues that a Latent Defect exists and further investigation is warranted and necessary. The manifestation of a defect may be the first indication to the owner of a potential problem. Depending on the length of a warranty and in light of the time limitations imposed by a State’s statutes of repose, quick action, notification and possible litigation may be necessary to protect the owner’s rights.


One can think of a building envelope as being similar to envelopes used to mail packages through the postal service. A standard package mailing envelope is used to protect the interior contents from moisture, wind and damage while in transit. The building’s envelope acts like a mailing envelope by protecting the structure from rain, sleet or snow.

A building’s envelope includes the walls, siding, flashing, roof, foundation and so forth. These systems should work together by providing a barrier between the interior of the structure and the exterior environmental elements such as rain and moisture. The installation materials and methods used in the building’s construction will determine how heat, air and moisture travel through the structure.

This year, the construction industry is rapidly approaching the $1 trillion mark. Based on past damage claims, we would expect that there will be about $100 to $200 billion worth of construction defect-related claims. The risks causing these damages include design risks, material risks, construction risks, maintenance risks, and weather-related risks.

Based on extensive analysis of the construction defects over the past 100 years, we can safely say that wall design, wall material, construction and maintenance practices are the most significant factors responsible for the occurrence of the building envelope defects.

Below, we present a number of construction defect photos, illustrating some of the property damage caused by such defects.


Flashing at the Bottom of Brick-Veneer Walls

Improper through-wall detailing and installation. No weep holes, and the flashing did not extent enough on either direction. Also, the caulking is deficient. As a result, the steel angle lintel corroded and there was a collapse as well.

This is an example of properly shingled through-wall flashing system. As you can see here, the black flashing is on top of the brick ledge. It goes up onto the framing, and is behind the weather-resistive barrier(WRB) (white sheet folded out of the way near top of photo). When the WRB is folded down, it will protect the sheathing from moisture damage due to capillary action.

Failed sealant in need of replacement

Improper design and installation

Damage due to improper installation

This picture clearly displays a problem that we call mortar bridging. This occurs when sloppy workmanship results in mortar getting behind the brick. The problem is that this prevents water from freely draining out of the wall system. In fact, it even bridges the gap between the brick and the framing, allowing water to wick into wood materials, causing lots of problems.

Building codes require that weep holes - holes placed at the base of a masonry wall - be spaced every 16 to 32 inches on center. Here you can see that these weep holes (where the holes are at) are placed directly above the through-wall flashing. If water gets behind this brick, it can freely drain down and be wicked out through these ropes to daylight.

Failed sealant, allowing water to infiltrate the wall

This picture shows what happens when the weep holes get plugged. You can see here that there is water trapped at the base of this brick-veneer wall. It will eventually leak through the building paper and cause moisture problems.

An improper installation of a stainless steel flashing is shown in this image. The edge is held back from the face of the wall. This will allow water that collects on the flashings to run around the edge of the flashings and back into the wall.

An improper installation of flashings and rope wick weeps in a wall system is shown above. Note that the flashings do not meet and obviously cannot be lapped and sealed. The rope wick weep is laid in a mortar joint approximately 3/8 inch above the flashings, meaning that any water collecting on the flashings will not be able to be picked up by the rope wick until it reaches the height of the rope wick on the interior of the wall.

As you can see here there is no air space between the brick and the weather-resistive barrier (WRB), which means there is no pathway for water to freely drain out. Water can easily get trapped behind here, leading to moisture damage. There should be at least a 1-inch airspace between the brick and the WRB.

Failed sealant allowing water to infiltrate

Failed terracotta window surround

EPDM thru-wall flashing membrane is a flexible EPDM rubber membrane that forms a moisture retarder in cavity wall construction by redirecting water to a building exterior

Misaligned rigid board insulation exposes this airspace to water bridging

The mortar bridging and impaction in this two-inch airspace are unacceptable

Flashing for Wood and Fiber-Cement Siding

All cladding systems leak. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. It's important to understand that proper moisture management dictates that when water gets through penetrations, we want this water to drain down the wall freely, and exit the wall at the base of the siding. That's why the detailing and integration of flashings are so critical to building long-lasting, durable buildings.

In this photograph we can see that this home has cement-board siding over foam board sheathing. Even though foam board sheathing is not affected by moisture, codes still require that we have a weather-resistive barrier (WRB). As you can see here, the butt-joint of this siding lines up perfectly with the seam in the foam. So in a wind-driven rain, it would be very easy for water to penetrate this seam, get in between the foam into the wall cavity where it can cause lots of damage. It's critical to have a properly shingled WRB that directs the water downward, where it can exit freely.

This photograph shows an example of improper drainage at the base of the wall in conjunction with cement-board siding. The moisture build-up in the siding shows that the wall is not getting free drainage. One of the problems here is there is not enough space between at the bottom of the siding and that through-wall flashing. There should be at least 1/8 inch gap to prevent capillary action. And it's important that the flashing be properly integrated behind the weather-resistive barrier for proper shingling of water away from the house.

In the photograph on the left, we can see that we have T-111 siding. These T-111 siding panels may not be long enough to side the entire structure without a seam. So here for example, we have two pieces of T-111 siding covered by a trim board. In the photo on the right, we can see there is a substantial amount of damage due to water leaks at the seam where these two pieces of T-111 plywood meet. You can also see that there was a thin piece of metal Z-flashing, but it was not adequately sized, nor properly integrated with the weather-resistive barrier to provide free drainage to the base of the wall.

It's fairly typical for wood or cement-board siding to be installed tightly up against the building wrap, and this can restrict drainage. So manufacturers have created rain-screen materials and drainage wraps. The photo on the left shows a rain-screen product. This is a plastic matrix that is about 1/4-inch thick that facilitates drainage, and provide an air space that helps prevent capillary action, so water can drain down the wall system and exit at the base of the siding. The product on the right is a drainage wrap material. These are different than an standard building wrap in that they have a texture, or in this case, plastic deposited on the surface to create a space for drainage. It doesn't take much or an air space to create better drainage.

Early Deterioration and warping. Note fungus growing on bottom edge.

Edge Checking and swelling. Although each manufacturers product varies slightly the bottom edges should be around 7/16" thick with no swelling present. This area has swelled to over 9/16".

Flashing at the Bottom of Stucco Walls

Stucco is a popular cladding material because it can be durable and long lasting, and it doesn't require a lot of maintenance. However, it is important to follow a few building science principles relating to water management to ensure that the stucco does not trap water or let water into the wall assembly.

A couple things are wrong in this picture: The stucco runs all the way to grade, and there is no weep screed. The bottom of the stucco must have a weep screed to allow water to drain out of the wall system, and this screed should be at least 8 inches above grade. If the stucco runs all the way to grade, moisture from capillary action can wick up into the stucco, and transfer to wood framing.

This picture illustrates how important it is to have a good water management system behind stucco. You can see that rain water has been absorbed into the cracks. Now all stucco cracks; that's fairly common. But that's why it is so important to have a good water management system. Most building codes requires two layers of building wrap, or building paper, and that must be integrated with a weep screed flashing at the base of the wall.

This is a picture of properly integrated flashing at the base of the wall. You can see the stucco screed is perforated - has holes in it - so when the stucco is troweled over the top, it has the capacity to allow moisture to drain through it. What's important to note here is that the back flange on the screed goes up behind the paper, so any water that does get behind the stucco will hit the paper, run down, hit the stucco screed and drain down through the perforations.

In this picture, the stucco screed is reverse shingled at the base of the wall. You can see that the metal flashing is actually in front of the black paper. To be properly shingled, the black paper should overlap the metal stucco screed. That way, when water gets behind the stucco, it runs down the paper onto the metal flashing and is diverted to the exterior.

It's a fairly common building practice to integrate multiple types of cladding on a single wall. For example, here we have stone at the base, with a cap, and then we have stucco at the top. The problem in this photograph is where the stucco interfaces with the capstone: There's no through-wall flashing. Any water that gets behind the stucco, can run down the wall and get trapped by the stone. Note there are no weep holes in the stone, so there's no way for the water to get out. It's always best practice to put through-wall flashing where you have this transition between one cladding system and another.

Water-Managed Adhered Concrete Masonry

Adhered concrete masonry is a term used to describe synthetic stone. Synthetic stone is different than real stone in that it's lighter weight and therefore can be supported by the existing wall system. However, to make it lighter weight, it is much more porous and is considered to be a "reservoir" cladding system (i.e. it holds water). That's why it's important to have a good drainage, particularly at the base of the wall.

The construction sequence is as follows: Typically you have your exterior sheathing, two layers of weather-resistive barrier and perhaps a drainage mat. Then you have you mortar base, your wire lath and your synthetic stone.

These photographs describe the drainage space, or drainage mat, mentioned previously. This is installed over the weather-resistive barrier to create a space that allows any moisture that gets in behind the stone to drain freely down the wall system and out the flashing at the base of the wall.

For adhered concrete masonry veneer to work properly, you have to have adequate drainage at the base of the wall. This means proper integration of your stucco screed, your flashing and your weather-resistive barrier at the base of the wall. You can see that this stucco screed is at the base of the wall and that the weather-resistive barrier is shingled over the top of it.

It's common practice to use other cladding systems with adhered concrete masonry veneer. Here we have a transition point at the base of the siding where it meets the base of the capstone. Below that we have our synthetic stone. It's critical that we have good water management here to divert water away at these siding-to-stone transitions. We want to have through-wall flashing here that diverts water away from the siding to the exterior.

The moisture damage on this home was a direct consequence of improper detailing of the synthetic stone. There are a couple problems: If you look at the photograph on the left, you can see that the synthetic stone runs all the way to grade (in fact, on this home it ran below grade). Also note that at the cap stone at the base of the siding, there was no through-wall flashing to divert water out, before it got into the stone wall. If you look at the photograph on the right, you can see that water got in at the top near the cap stone, ran down the wall, was absorbed by the sheathing and then rotted out the framing and the sheathing at the base of the wall. This is all the direct result of not having adequate flashing at the base of the wall.

Improper design and installation

Improper detailing and installation resulting in trapped water

Water-Managed Vinyl Siding

Because vinyl siding has an air space behind it, it acts like a rain screen. As you can see from this photograph, the water tracks down the foundation wall indicates how freely this siding can drain. In fact, you do not need flashing at the base of the wall with vinyl siding because it has weep holes at every course, allowing for free drainage. You do need to use a weather-resistive barrier. Also, you would need to use flashing at the base of the wall if that siding transitions to a trim board or to another type of cladding.

At first glance, vinyl siding may not appear to be a very water-tight cladding system. But if used with a weather-resistive barrier can be quite effective. The beauty of vinyl siding is that it hangs loosely on the wall, and creates a fairly good air space between the vinyl and the weather-resistive barrier, allowing water to drain freely from the wall system.

Weep holes are at every course of siding. As you can see here, water can freely flow out of the weep holes, rather than being trapped inside the wall system.

Can you spot what's wrong with this picture? The workers are installing vinyl siding but there is no weather-resistive barrier behind it. Building codes now require that there be a weather-resistive barrier behind all exterior claddings.

Common callback: This damage was caused by a leak at the base of wall cladding that did not include proper through-wall
flashing. Typically, these wall leaks are caused by missing flashings, or poorly executed flashing details at the following:

roof-to-wall intersections
windows and doors
transitions between different claddings when more than one cladding is used at the bottoms of exterior walls where cladding systems interface with the foundation.

The key to eliminating costly leaks is more than just applying a piece of flashing. You need to create a functional wall assembly

Deflects water away from sheathing, framing and floor-to-foundation intersections.
Drains water as fast and freely as possible to prevent water from being trapped and absorbed by building components.
Dries. Select building materials that allow the wall to dry out when it gets wet, and avoid materials that have the ability to trap moisture.

We are effective negotiators and work hard to resolve cases in a manner that avoids the additional time and expense of a trial. We help both insurers and insureds with water damage claims regarding: 

Stucco: When a builder improperly installs stucco or the building paper behind it, water can seep in and cause damage to the building's framing and sheathing.
Siding: When a builder improperly installs vinyl or steel siding or the housewrap behind it, water can seep in and cause damage to the building's framing and sheathing. Additionally, poor installation may cause the vinyl or steel siding to warp or buckle.

Leaky roofs: Roof leaks are often caused by faulty construction, including poor shingle installation, failure to install kickout flashing and the use of defective shingles.

Foggy, leaky, or improperly installed windows: Improperly installed flashing can allow water to seep around and through the windows and into a property. This can damage the windows, causing them to rot. It can also cause damage to the building's framing and sheathing.

Water leaks can quickly damage and ruin property. And, left uncorrected, water leaks can lead to pervasive mold growth. We assist our clients in addressing these construction defect and property damage claims against their builders to repair these problems. From our offices in several Northeast and Midwest states, we assist clients facing construction defect issues across a ten state coverage area. 

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
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