Dan Baldwin 2013-12-27 11:46:01
Jeffrey Lange is a practicing safety professional with expertise in construction safety, premises safety and liability, and construction defect claims. He has been providing expertise in these areas since 1993 when he was contacted by a number of attorney friends who asked if he would be interested in offering his opinion on their cases and possibly testifying in court. He readily agreed. “I assist attorneys with understanding how to apply and understand regulations or codes, and the time period that they apply or are grandfathered-in and standard practices in industry and on-premises matters,” he says. He explains how things work, go together or procedures that are typical for the industry. He works with them to develop lists for requesting documents, preparing questions for depositions, questions to ask witnesses and other experts in trial, and in developing strategies to accomplish a particular goal within the facts of a case. Lange has testified at trial 63 times in six states: Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Idaho and New Mexico. He estimates that he has participated in more than a thousand depositions during his 32 years as an expert witness. In fact, he enjoys the work so much that he formed his own firm in 2004. “This has been most interesting. I know it sounds strange, but I enjoy the challenge of having my deposition taken by a smart and experienced attorney. I also enjoy court testimony when we have good facts,” Lange says. Lange’s background suits him well for working as an expert in the safety field. He served as an apprentice carpenter for several years in high school. During his college years he operated a forkliftin a manufacturing plant while on summer vacation. After college, he worked in construction, eventually becoming involved in safety, insurance, litigation and premises matters and worked into a position as expert witness. Two defense attorneys for a firm he worked for approached him about becoming an expert witness. He liked the idea and asked the company’s president for permission. With the boss’s OK, the attorneys “sent him to school” to understand safety procedures from a legal point of view. “They were great for me and really helped me to understand the process,” he says. Lange used his expertise to create and to help implement important safety features for industrial use. “Near the end of my career at the firm I came up with an idea and developed and patented environmental equipment to minimize dust and dirt trackout from construction sites, landfills, salvage yards, power plants, and similar sites and operations.” He is experienced in numerous areas of construction safety, including construction industry practices, the flow of documentation and change orders, procedures in construction, building premise maintenance, simple property maintenance, and defective construction on premises. He also has experience with contracts, contract language, insurance provisions and the application of those provisions from an operations point of view. He is knowledgeable about OSHA, ANSI, IBC, UBC, NFPA, IEBC, IBMC and other regulations and regulatory agencies and procedures. Continuing education is essential for an expert witness, regardless of his or her area of expertise, he says. “Above and beyond education and continual industry experience an expert would ideally work on the defense side and the plaintiff’s bar and clearly understand how the entire legal process works. He or she should be able to communicate with a jury and not come across as ‘over baked.’” Lange enjoys personal injury cases the most. He says that a thick skin is necessary if someone is considering serving as an expert witness. “Think before you open your mouth and don’t take anything too personally,” he says.
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