Friday, October 14, 2016

A construction worker died after he fell 45 feet off a roof while laying metal decking for a warehouse that is under construction in Teterboro, NJ

Construction worker dies after fall from roof in Teterboro
The Record

TETERBORO, NJ — A construction worker died Friday after he plunged 45 feet off a roof, police reported.

Police believe the worker slipped and fell while laying metal decking for a warehouse that is under construction at 125 North St., said Detective Sgt. Anthony Fugnitti of the Moonachie Police Department, which is handling the incident.

Emergency personnel were called to the scene at 10:28 a.m. When police arrived, the victim was unresponsive but breathing. He later succumbed to his injuries, Fugnitti said. The man’s name was not immediately released pending the notification of relatives

Fugnitti did not know who owns the property, or the name of the construction company that employed the worker.


Global Experience Specialists Inc. sells Teterboro warehouse to Forsgate Industrial Properties LP

Record file photo
The site was assessed at $10.1 million.
The Record

A Las Vegas-based company has sold a 158,000-square-foot warehouse in Teterboro for an undisclosed amount, the broker in the deal said Tuesday.

Global Experience Specialists Inc., a division of Viad Corp., sold the class B light industrial property at 125 North St. to Forsgate Industrial Properties LP of Jamesburg, according to Jones Lange LaSalle, which represented Forsgate.

The broker declined to reveal the sale price, and the deed hasn't been recorded yet in the Bergen County Clerk's Office.

Forsgate is a private real estate developer and investor that owns and manages 10 million square feet of industrial buildings.

Its partners are Alex Klatskin and Steve Seiden, says CoStar, which supplies commercial real estate data, while GES' officers include Paul Dykstra and Kevin Rabbitt.

The property, built in 1950, was known as the Wella Industrial Facility. It is a 13.6-acre site on the corner of North and Huyler streets immediately off Exit 65 of Route 80. Teterboro assessed the property at $10.1 million last year, according to CoStar.

Jones Lang LaSalle's managing director David Knee and Senior Vice President Blake Chroman represented Forsgate in the off-market transaction.

The seller was represented by its in-house real estate team.

The seller, GES, is remaining in the building as a short-term tenant after the sale, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.

Roof collapse during construction injured seven workers, two with serious injuries, at Heart Cry Church in Queen Creek, AZ



QUEEN CREEK, AZ - The Arizona Registrar of Contractors has ordered a summary suspension for work on a church in Queen Creek.

An investigation began after a roof collapse during construction injured seven workers, two with serious injuries, at Heart Cry Church. The workers fell approximately 17 feet when part of the roof collapsed.

The AZ ROC discovered the framing of the church had been subcontracted to an unlicensed entity by Harte Contracting Services. The report also states seven additional violations in the construction including knowingly contracting beyond the scope of the license.

“This investigation is still in the preliminary stages but from what we’ve already learned, this contractor hired an unlicensed entity to frame a 21,000 square foot structure and that structure collapsed injuring workers,” stated AZ ROC Director Jeff Fleetham.

“It is our duty to ensure Arizona’s contracting licensees work within standards and the law and when we find a licensed contractor aiding and abetting unlicensed entities and placing the public’s safety at risk, we are going to act quickly to remove their ability to contract in the state,” Fleetham continued.

Harte Contracting Services is the General Commercial Contractor of the new church being built near Empire Boulevard and Wild Horses Drive.

A hearing has been scheduled at the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings for October 24 on the matter.

The investigation is ongoing.

Duke Energy warned about an erosion at an inactive coal ash basin and a "possible coal ash release" at the plant near Goldsboro in Wayne County, NC

 N. Carolina Investigates Possible Coal Ash Spill

By The Associated PressRALEIGH, N.C. — Oct 14, 2016, 5:58 PM ET

The Latest on the recovery from Hurricane Matthew (all times local):

6 p.m.

North Carolina officials say Hurricane Matthew has caused erosion at an inactive coal ash basin, and they're investigating whether any has been released.

The Department of Environmental Quality issued a news release saying that Duke Energy notified it Friday of the erosion and a "possible coal ash release" at the plant near Goldsboro in Wayne County. The H.F. Lee plant is near the Neuse River, one of the rivers overflowing from torrential rains during Matthew.

State investigators are going to the site Saturday to determine if any coal ash spilled. Department spokesman Mike Rusher said he would not speculate as to whether coal ash was discharged until a team can investigate.

Rusher said the basin isn't in use and has been covered by soil and trees.

A Duke Energy spokeswoman said the company was preparing a statement.


4:20 p.m.

A man found drowned in his flooded home in hard-hit Nichols, South Carolina, is the fifth fatality from Hurricane Matthew in the state.

Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson told The Associated Press that 40-year-old James Tyler refused to leave his home when rescuers warned him two rivers near the town were rising fast last weekend.

Richardson says searchers found Tyler's body in his waterlogged living room Thursday.

Flooding triggered by the hurricane has killed at least 41 people in the U.S. and more than 500 people in Haiti.


2:15 p.m.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says the death toll from Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath has risen by two people, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 24.

He told reporters on Friday that the latest storm-related deaths were in Cumberland County and Lenoir County but offered few other details.

Flooding triggered by Matthew has left at least 40 dead in the U.S. The hurricane killed more than 500 people in Haiti.

McCrory spoke after touring Edgecombe County, about 60 miles east of Raleigh, where the town of Princeville flooded.

He said as many as nine out of 10 houses in the town of about 2,000 residents have taken on water. He said in some places the water is as deep as 10 feet.

Aerial news footage from midday showed the water had nearly reached the roofline of the town hall about one story off the ground.


9:30 a.m.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory plans to tour Hurricane Matthew flood damage in Tarboro, about 60 east of Raleigh.

The governor's stop in Edgecombe County early Friday afternoon is his latest stop as he tours areas hard hit by flooding resulting from the storm.

McCrory says 22 people have died because of Hurricane Matthew, almost all of them have been vehicle-related deaths.

The governor's office said he would tour Edgecombe County and the surrounding area damaged by the storm.


8:15 a.m.

Officials in Pender County northwest of Wilmington, North Carolina, say the flooding after Hurricane Matthew is among the worst the county has had in many years.

Pender County Manager Randall Woodruff flew over the area Thursday and could see some homes where only rooftops were visible from the waterline.

More than 200 homes have been affected by the flooding from the Black River and Northeast Cape Fear River.

Officials say some people refused to evacuate Thursday even though the area has been without electricity.

The flooding could affect downtown Wilmington and riverside roads in New Hanover County this weekend.

A swift water rapids team from Charlotte and teams from Greensboro and Brunswick County were helping agencies on the ground Thursday in Pender County. A state team was working to rescue stranded animals.


7:30 a.m.

Officials in Lumberton in southeastern North Carolina say some people could be without water for two weeks as employees work to recover from Hurricane Matthew.

A water treatment plan had massive flooding and the water has to be removed before officials can assess the damage and make repairs.

City manager Wayne Horne said Thursday there's no timetable for the restoration of service because of the high water levels from the Lumber River.

Horne says power has been restored in most of the city. One section of the town still has flooded roads that have delayed restoration of service.

Robeson County still had more than 20,000 people without electricity. A county spokeswoman said a substation and a number of power lines were under water.

More than 1,300 people were still in shelters.


7 a.m.

Three kennels in the Charlotte area need help handling 72 dogs moved to North Carolina from the Charleston, South Carolina, area as Hurricane Matthew approached.

The Charlotte Observer reported ( that the dogs were moved from an animal rescue shelter in Ladson, South Carolina, Oct. 7 to shelters in Mooresville and Indian Trail.

Matthew damaged the South Carolina shelter's fences, kennels and dog runs, and repairs could take several weeks.

The kennel Dog Day Out Grooming and Pet Resort in Indian Trail has 44 dogs. The others are at another location in Indian Trail or one in Mooresville.

Some shelters are seeking volunteers to help with feeding, exercise and cleaning.

Supplies are also needed, including towels, blankets, detergent, metal dog bowls and treats.

Donations are also welcome.


3 a.m.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says the state will rebuild and take steps to protect one of the country's oldest towns chartered by African-Americans after it was inundated by floodwaters for the second time in less than 20 years.

After a Thursday flyover, McCrory says the town of Princeville is under water from flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew. It's the same town that was flooded up to rooftops because of Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

The governor pledged to help the town rebuild as well as take steps to make sure the town isn't overrun by floodwaters again.

Also, McCrory said the death toll in North Carolina associated with Hurricane Matthew has risen to 22 after two more deaths were reported Thursday.

Several lawsuits against e-cigarette manufacturers claim the users suffered injuries from e-cigarette lithium-ion battery explosions.


4 Washingtonians sue for e-cigarette explosions
Lithium-ion batteries are blamed for the blasts

Updated 4:02 pm, Thursday, October 13, 2016

  Olaf Eriksen of Seattle was walking from his car to work on April 11 when his e-cigarette exploded in his pants pocket, causing his pants to catch fire. The explosion caused serious burns to his right thigh, which later grew infected and required multiple treatments at the hospital.

Four Washingtonians filed separate lawsuits against e-cigarette manufacturers Thursday claiming they suffered injuries from e-cigarette battery explosions.

The plaintiffs, from Seattle, Kelso, Vancouver and Spokane, each suffered severe burns when the lithium-ion batteries in their e-cigarette burst.

The battery-powered smoking devices are thought by many to be safer than conventional cigarettes or help people quit smoking, though the FDA has not approved that approach and the substance consumed in e-cigarettes still contain nicotine.

The e-cigarettes in these cases contained lithium-ion batteries -- the same type linked to exploding hover boards and Samsung Galaxy phones in the past year, both of which prompted recalls.

"Lithium-ion batteries have an inherent risk of fire and explosion that is dramatically increased when combined with an e-cigarette's heating element and cylindrical shape," according to a statement put forth by the attorneys ahead of Thursday's lawsuit. "There are different methods to protect against these batteries, but weak regulation and absent testing requirements leave protections up to e-cigarette manufacturers."

The Seattle complainant, Olaf Eriksen, is a 40-year-old welder at a local shipyard. He was walking from his car to work on April 11 when his e-cigarette exploded in his pants pocket, causing his pants to catch fire. The explosion caused serious burns to his right thigh, which later grew infected and required multiple treatments at the hospital.

The 23-year-old Kelso plaintiff is still recovering. Sidney Hayes took a smoke break at work on Dec. 18, 2015. As he inhaled through his e-cigarette, the device exploded in his face, knocking him backward to the ground. Hayes underwent emergency oral surgery at a Longview hospital. He received multiple surgeries to correct the damage to his mouth and teeth and will require bone-grafting surgery for dental implants.

Vancouver resident Dontae Gardner, 19, was walking to a friend's house on Feb. 26 when his e-cigarette also exploded in his pants pocket. The burst inflicted second- and third-degree burns to his right thigh, which required skin-graft surgery.

Marlene Rubertt, a 45-year-old from Spokane, was watching a Gonzaga University basketball game at home on Jan. 30 when her e-cigarette exploded in her face while she was using it. Rubertt suffered severe injuries to her mouth, face, neck and chest. She underwent multiple bone-grafting surgeries to restructure her jaw and continues to recover.

A recent study by the University of Washington Medical Center reported that e-cigarette injuries are on the rise in the Seattle area, according to Live Science. The medical center treated 15 patients for such injuries from October 2015 to June 2016. Compare that to 25 total injuries from 2009 to 2014.

Of those patients, 12 experienced burns from flames and four suffered "blast injuries." Some experienced chemical injuries from the alkaline chemicals in the battery and others exhibited "traumatic tattooing," which is what medical experts call it when foreign particles are embedded in a person's skin.

The authors of the study also noted that more than half of the injuries were to the thigh or groin, one-third of the injuries were to the hands and one-fifth of the injuries were to the face.

A ComEd electrical worker suffered third-degree burns from an electric shock at 111th Street and Vernon Avenue in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago

Chicago Fire Department workers render first aid to a ComEd electrical worker who suffered third-degree burns from an electric shock at 111th Street and Vernon Avenue on Oct. 13, 2016. (Eric Clark / Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Tribune staff

A ComEd worker was injured in an electrical accident Thursday morning while working on an electrical pole in the Roseland neighborhood, officials said.

The 26-year-old man suffered second- and third-degree burns just before 11 a.m. near 111th Street and Vernon Avenue, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Cmdr. Curtis Hudson.

The man, a ComEd worker, was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where his condition was stabilized.

ComEd released a short statement six hours after the incident:

"Earlier today there was an incident involving a ComEd worker who was performing overhead work in Chicago. We are working to understand what occurred and have ensured the area is safe," the statement read.

The worker was performing work on a pole at the time of the accident, said ComEd spokeswoman Lydia Hall, in a follow-up email, declining to release further information.

Check back for updates. 


A ComEd worker was injured Thursday morning on the Far South Side.
The man was hit by an electrical transformer about 11 a.m. at 111th Street and Vernon Avenue, according to Fire Media Affairs. He was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn with first degree burns, where his condition stabilized, Chicago Police said.

Iowa worker injured during fire at Renewable Energy, LLC ethanol plant in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Renewable Energy, LLC ("SIRE" or the "Company") announced that a fire occurred in the ethanol load out portion of SIRE's ethanol plant this afternoon. The fire is under control. No SIRE personnel were injured.

The driver of a truck who was loading ethanol was injured. While the damage is still being assessed, it does not appear that other areas of the plant were significantly impacted. The cause of the fire and other circumstances are being investigated.

Brian Cahill, SIRE's President and CEO said, "We are thankful that all of SIRE's personnel are safe. Our thoughts are with the truck driver as he receives medical care tonight. All of us at SIRE are very grateful for the prompt response from the Fire Departments of Council Bluffs, Louis Township and Carter Lake. Our first responders and SIRE personnel all performed well and as planned through advance training for this kind of emergency."

About Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC:

SIRE is located on 275 acres in Council Bluffs, Iowa, operating a 125 million gallon per year ethanol plant.

SIRE began producing ethanol in February, 2009 and sells its ethanol, distillers grains, corn syrup, and corn oil in the continental United States, Mexico and the Pacific Rim.

Two more deaths were confirmed in North Carolina from damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew, the governor said Thursday, bringing the total storm-related deaths there to at least 22.

Deadly North Carolina Flooding Expected to Worsen as Rivers Crest 0:59

Two more deaths were confirmed in North Carolina from damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew, the governor said Thursday, bringing the total storm-related deaths there to at least 22.

Authorities were also investigating a third possible death in North Carolina, Gov. Pat McCrory said.

One person in Lenoir County drowned after a vehicle went around a barricade and ending up on a flooded road, and a man walking in Robeson County died after falling into a hole left by an uprooted tree and couldn't escape, he said.

"We've stressed again, to please be safe," McCrory said. "Stay off the roads, stay out of water... Our prayers are with the families being impacted by these tragedies."

More than 43,700 customers remained without power Thursday, five days after the Category 1 hurricane pummeled the state with heavy rain after lashing South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Princeville, a town of 2,000 around 73 miles east of Raleigh, was "basically under water," McCrory said, with some areas under 10 to 12 feet of water.

The historic community of Princeville is the oldest town chartered by Africa-Americans in the nation. It was settled by freed slaves after the Civil War and incorporated in 1885. The town was devastated by flooding caused by rains from Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
Two men rescue a dog from floodwaters on October 12, 2016 in Lumberton, North Carolina. Hurricane Matthew's heavy rains ended over the weekend, but flooding is still expected for days in North Carolina. Sean Rayford / Getty Images

McCrory raised Princeville's mayor and local authorities for ensuring that the entire town was evacuated ahead of the storm, which has a history of floods. "We have not had a loss of life in a town that is totally under water," McCrory said.

McCrory flew over the town and saw water up to and over the roofs of houses and mobile homes, he said. He plans to visit Friday. Lumberton, around 140 miles away, was also inundated and rescuers used boats and helicopters to save residents.

"We're going to have a lot of work to do in Princeville, a lot of work, a lot of recovery," McCrory said. "We're going to have to rebuild a town."

An additional death was also reported in Dillon County, South Carolina, that state's governor said at a press conference, bringing the number of deaths in that state to four.

At least 42 people in all were killed either by the Hurricane Matthew or died due to complications caused by it in Florida, Georgia, and South and North Carolina, authorities said. In Haiti, more than 1,000 people were reported killed by the hurricane. The U.S. Agency for International Development, known as USAID, said Thursday it would provide more than $12 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Haiti, the Bahamas and Jamaica.

OSHA fines PPG Industries, a Louisiana chemical manufacturer, more than $92K after inspection finds 9 serious violations at Westlake facility; employees exposed to hazards such as corrosive materials and a leaking, 30,000-gallon hot water tank

Oct. 13, 2016

OSHA fines
PPG Industries, a Louisiana chemical manufacturer, more than $92K
after inspection finds 9 serious violations at Westlake facility; employees

exposed to hazards such as corrosive materials and a leaking, 30,000-gallon hot water tank
Employer Name: PPG Industries
3150 Pete Manena Road
Westlake, Louisiana

Citations Issued: Oct. 11, 2016

Investigation Findings:Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Baton Rouge Area Office issued citations for nine serious and two other violations to PPG Industries' Westlake facility, after an employee complaint began an agency investigation on April 11, 2016. Inspectors found employees of the global chemical manufacturer exposed to hazards such as corrosive materials and a leaking, 30,000-gallon hot water tank. OSHA also cited the company for:
  • Failing to inspect lock out/tag out procedures.
  • Not inspecting safety relief valves.
  • Allowing the use of deteriorated stair rails.
  • Lacking a hazard assessment for confined space entry.

The agency also identified two other violations issued for not illuminating exit signs and not having a protective cover on a junction box to prevent electric shock.

Proposed penalties: $92,642.

Quote: "The violations found at PPG Industries' Westlake facility are disturbing. Not inspecting safety relief valves endangers workers and could have catastrophic consequences," said Dorinda Folse, OSHA's Area Director in Baton Rouge. "This employer must take all necessary steps to correct these issues and take the safety of its workers seriously."

Link to citations:

Information: PPG Industries is a global manufacturer of paint and coating products. Based in Pittsburgh, it has approximately 47,000 employees worldwide of which 18,500 work in North America. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties 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 Baton Rouge Area Office at 225-298-5458.

# # #

Lake Charles - Silicas Plant PPG's Lake Charles, La., plant manufactures precipitated silicas for use in a variety of industrial and consumer applications, including tire manufacturing and footwear. The plant began operations in 1946.


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
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Feel free to recommend our services to your friends and colleagues.

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

 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