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Sample Case Descriptions

Patents and Intellectual Property Cases

Patent Infringement Case regarding Automatically Self-Adjusting Audio Equipment
Owner of several patents for automatically self-adjusting audio systems was suing a manufacturer of audio systems for infringing on those patents. After a cursory reading of the patents in question, advised retaining attorney (for the defense) that the adaptation algorithms which are the basis of the invention and patents were published in engineering text books more than a decade earlier than the patents. Defense attorney advised plaintiff's attorney of this opinion and plaintiff immediately dropped the suit.

Patent Infringement Case regarding Geo-Location of Mobile Phone Devices
Patent owner plaintiff of geo-location circuitry and method claims that a later patent for geo-location is in error, and that the defendant patent owner's product infringes. Reviewed patents and literature.

Patent Review and Analysis
From time to time, on contract with a patent consulting agency, I examine and answer questionnaires about integrated circuit patents.

  • Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software programs
  • A/D, D/A converters and their calibration
  • Electronic control systems for HVAC systems

Circuits and Systems Cases

Business Sale/Purchase Dispute over Semiconductor Test Equipment Manufacturing Capability
A semiconductor test equipment company was sold by its owners to a buyer in several stages. Unknown to the buyer the latest flagship product of the company was being rejected by customers for not performing to specifications. The buying company refused to continue with the second and subsequent stages of purchase. The selling company sued the buyer for not complying with the agreement, and the buyer counter-sued for fraudulent deception. Reviewed specification documents regarding the test equipment product, the due diligence reports, e-mail chains regarding product quality, field returns and repairs. Filed an expert report and was deposed regarding semiconductor testing procedures, the equipment used for testing, and the importance of the product specifications in question.

Dispute over Product Requirements, Specifications, and Quality for Video Screens
A distributor of video screens purchased a large lot of video screens from another distributor. The end-buyer of the video screens required that they have a wide viewing angle. A wide viewing angle was specified for the make and model of the video screens which were purchased. The purchasing distributor claimed that many units within the lot did not have the specified wide viewing angle. Tested, measured and demonstrated viewing angle of multiple video screens during trial.

Communications and Control Systems Cases

Business Dispute over Design of Two-Way Communication System for Drive-Through Restaurants
Buying company (plaintiff) outsourced the design of a two-way communication system to a designing company which claimed expertise in radio design. Buying and designing companies agreed to a full set of specifications, a multi-phased schedule, and cost. The cost and schedule were overrun. Buying company demanded contract rescission and refund. Buyer sued seller after negotiations failed. After reading documents, specifications, communications, etc. I visited the buyer's site, tested the system in question, and submitted an expert report (for the plaintiff's attorney). The case settled shortly after I submitted my report.

Person Injured when the Control System of the Rod Handler of a Construction Drill Rig Malfunctioned
A person (plaintiff) was operating a drill rig at a construction site for his employer. He and his assistant had reported about 10 days prior (and continued reporting on a daily basis) that the drill rig's rod handler would intermittently drop rods (drill bits) during the semi-automated process of placing additional 12-foot lengths of rods to the entire drill assembly for drilling holes deeper than ten feet. The plaintiff and assistant claimed that they would lose their jobs if they refused to use the unauthorized and unsafe method of working around the failure. One evening while working the late shift, the grabber of the rod handler closed upon the plaintiff's hands, severing two fingers. Inspected a similar drill rig, read discovery documents, and reported the likelihood that the injury was due to a fault in the electronic control system for the drill rig's rod handling system. Case settled.

Fatal Collision between a Police Vehicle and a Civilian Vehicle
A police officer on a high-speed chase ran a red light and crashed into a vehicle in an intersection under control of an emergency vehicle preemption system. A review of preemption system and traffic light controller event logs and manuals, Department of Transportation regulations, police reports, witness depositions, videos and photos. Submitted an expert report and was deposed regarding the extent of the role played in the collision by the preemption system, the traffic controller and their programming.

Person Injured by Hot Cleaning Solution when Pressure Sensor Was Removed from Tank
A maintenance person in a bottling plant removed the pressure sensor from a tank containing hot cleaning solution, and was seriously scalded. Investigated documentation for the sensor and other production line equipment to determine if the pressure sensor itself contributed to the cause of the injury.

Person Injured by Remote Control Model Drone
An owner was using their remote control model quadcopter (drone) for the first time. It descended and collided with a bystander. The owner believed that there was a malfunction. A review of owner's manual and user guide, photos and diagrams of the scene, communications, police report, and a forensic investigation of the quadcopter to determine if there was a malfunction.

Wirelessly-Remote-Controlled Drilling Equipment Tragic Failure
Remote controlled drill bit punctured a high pressure gas line, causing a fatal explosion. Visited the site and tested to validate the calibration of the drill bit to see if it met its accuracy specifications.

Electronic Toll Collection and Traffic Control Lane Accident Investigation
A passenger on a motorcycle was struck and injured by the gate of an electronic toll collection traffic control lane. The toll collection transponder was tested on the scene at the time of the incident and found to operate normally. Reviewed documents regarding electronic toll collection and control lane hardware and procedures. Investigated state of control lane's safety devices. Reported on probable cause of the accident.

Electrically Related Personal Injury Cases

Person Injured by Electric Shock while Servicing MRI Main Disconnect Panel
A person (plaintiff) was investigating the cause of repeated power supply failures in an MRI machine. While in the process of troubleshooting by attaching test probes to live three-phase 480V power leads in the MRI machine's Main Disconnect Panel, an electrical arc flash occurred. Plaintiff received 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his arms and upper body. Inspected the equipment as stored in an evidence preservation facility after reviewing related documents and photos and submitted report.

Person Injured by Electric Shock while Swimming in Recreation Center Pool
Plaintiff was injured by an electric shock while swimming in a community recreation center pool (defendant). Local electric power company had temporarily repaired the electric service years before the incident and did not return to complete the repair. Inspected the severed neutral of the electrical service and filed a report after reading related documents. Case settled soon after report was submitted.

Investigated Remains of Electrical Equipment Recovered from Fatal Hotel Fire
Retained by attorney for hotel owner (defendant) to investigate and opine on whether any of the electrical appliances, fixtures, and extension cords recovered from a fatal fire were a likely cause of the fire. A possibly overloaded electrical outlet splitter had appeared in photographs of the room prior to the fire. The fire inspector opined that the area where the outlet splitter appeared in the photos was the origin of the fire. The remains (if any) of the splitter were not recovered. I informally reported that none of the electrical items which were made available for inspection caused the fire. The estate of the deceased did not proceed further.

Person Injured by Explosion of Lithium-Ion Batteries in Pocket
Plaintiff carried a bare, uncased Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery in his pocket. The battery was intended as a spare for use in an E-Cigarette. There may have been other objects in the plaintiff's pocket. The battery exploded and burned. Plaintiff suffered third-degree burns on his thigh and hand and sued the store (defendant) where he bought the battery. Retained by counsel for the defendant, I read statements and communications, researched cases of exploding Li-Ion batteries, and examined the battery in question and an exemplar battery. Informally advised that retailers of such batteries warn customers to carry Li-Ion batteries either inside their intended product or in the protective package in which they're sold. Informally advised retaining counsel my visual examination was inconclusive, and that I could have a CT-Scan and an X-Ray performed which likely would be more conclusive and is the typical procedure in such cases.

Person Injured by Electrical Shock in Bathroom of Rented Beach Unit
Renter of a beach condominium felt a slight shock when using a plugged-in electric razor. Continued shaving after disconnecting razor from charger, then took a shower. After showering the renter touched a metal shower rack and was knocked unconscious by an electrical shock. The razor and its charger were examined and tested for possible defects which might have caused the power fault. Local regulations were researched to see if there are rules superseding the NEC grandfather clause with respect to Ground Fault Circuit Interrupts in existing properties, which are offered for rent to the public.

Home Electrical Fire Investigation
A home fire broke out during the night after an external HVAC unit was replaced. Burn marks on the wall pointed to the manual circuit breaker switch for the HVAC which had not been replaced. The manual circuit breaker had been exercised multiple times while the HVAC unit was replaced. No problem seen while cycling it for the air conditioning function. The temperature dropped that night and the heating function turned on, drawing significantly more current. Arcing occurred over the corroded terminals, causing the fire.

See Client Comments

Robert O. Peruzzi, PhD, PE - Electronics Consultant, Expert Witness

Robert O. Peruzzi, PhD, PE

Veteran-Owned Small Business icon
National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE), Associate Member
Engineer of the Year 2017 -- LVPSPE

Robert O. Peruzzi, PhD, PE
Peruzzi@RPeruzzi.com

719 Fourth Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18018
610-462-3939