Attorney at Law

Washington, DC, United States

Attorney at Law

Washington, DC, United States
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Perflourinated compounds, or PFCs, have been widely used in our industrialized society. Notably, they are used in the manufacture of non-stick coated bakeware and in firefighting foams designed to fight high heat fires. These unregulated chemicals have gotten into surface and groundwater sources of drinking water in locations around the United States and likely the world. Data shows widespread release, particularly near airports and air bases and near industrial production sites. PFCs cause many health related impacts. Human exposure pathways include perinatal transfer, consuming contaminated water, and consuming contaminated fish. Clean Water Act permitting programs can address their release into waterways. Contaminated site clean-up laws can also be used to remove the source contamination. Granular activated carbon technology can remove most forms of the chemicals from drinking water. The case study of drinking water contamination in Newburgh, New York illustrates the PFC challenge, public reaction, and government response. © 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC


This article is about perceived safety and its impact on liability and insurance. In the framework of private commercial human spaceflights, spaceflight participants (SFPs) are required to sign an informed consent to fly. Operators have to inform SFPs both orally and in writing comprehensively on the risks of spaceflight, so that the latter assume the risk of flying and the former are exonerated from potential liability. Behavioral science has proven that people's risk perception depends on various factors. Considering these factors when providing information to SFPs can facilitate their acceptance of the risk. The article consists of two parts. First, it explains the factors that influence risk perception and suggests methods to reduce the perceived risk of SFPs. Potential SFPs will find spaceflight less risky if they associate flying with vivid positive images and feelings; consider spaceflight as a pioneering activity with significant benefits for society and themselves; are convinced that they participate voluntarily in the activity and can change their mind any time before the flight at a reasonable cost; are given the chance to familiarize themselves with the flight through training and simulation; and do not doubt on the trustworthiness and sincerity of the operator and its employees, and private spaceflights are exposed to positive media coverage. Second, this article explores the impact of using such methods on the validity of the informed consent, that is, whether such methods could be deemed a form of fraud or misrepresentation. This affects both the operator's liability, because only a valid informed consent can exclude liability, and its insurance coverage, since insurers do not cover liability for fraudulent acts. It is submitted that most of the times such methods will be a legal form of marketing, upon condition that operators provide all relevant information to SFPs in a written and legible form, give them adequate time to think on the risks, and enable them to withdraw from the contract at any time before the flight with a partial ticket refund. © Copyright 2016, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2016.


Ted Vosk J.D.,Attorney at Law
Journal of Physics: Conference Series | Year: 2016

Forensic measurements play a significant role in the U.S. criminal justice system. Guilt or innocence, or the severity of a sentence, may depend upon the results of such measurements. Until recently, however, forensic disciplines were largely unaware of the field of metrology. Accordingly, proper measurement practices were often, and widely, neglected. These include failure to adopt proper calibration techniques, establish the traceability of results and determine measurement uncertainty. These failures undermine confidence in verdicts based upon forensic measurements. Over the past decade, though, the forensic sciences have been introduced to metrology and its principles leading to more reliable measurement practices. The impetus for this change was driven by many forces. Pressure came initially from criminal defense lawyers challenging metrologically unsound practices and results relied upon by government prosecutions. Litigation in the State of Washington led this movement spurring action by attorneys in other jurisdictions and eventually reform in the measurement practices of forensic labs around the country. Since then, the greater scientific community, other forensic scientists and even prosecutors have joined the fight. This paper describes the fight to improve the quality of justice by the application of metrological principles and the evolution of the field of forensic metrology. © Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.


Schillhorn K.,Attorney at Law
LaboratoriumsMedizin | Year: 2015

A number of legal issues arise with regard to genome analyses. In the context of medical treatment, some of these issues are being dealt with by the German Gendiagnostikgesetz. In the context of science, the right to self-determination over personal data should be observed. A legislative act would be necessary to create a reliable basis for scientists, doctors, and patients.


Chatzipanagiotis M.,Attorney at Law
Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC | Year: 2015

Space Traffic Management (STM) is being developed to deal mainly with the problems of satellite operations and space debris. Therefore, currently is being examined separately from air traffic management (ATM). However, the advent of reusable space vehicles (RLVs) and the increase of private spaceflight operations calls for a joined examination of the STM with ATM. Among others, airspace will be shared by both aircraft and RLVs, while outer space traffic in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) will increase and begin resembling air traffic. At the same time, modernization of ATM worldwide focuses also on satellite-based navigation. Therefore, developing a comprehensive AeroSpace Traffic Management (ASTM), to include both aviation and LEO space flights, could be useful. In this regard, some core concepts and technologies already developed or under development for ATM could set a useful example. The Automatic Depended Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) technology uses satellite navigation to locate the position of a given aircraft and the aircraft flying nearby, and transmit it to other aircraft and the Air Traffic Control (ATC). The 4d-trqjectory management is based on the integration of time into the 3D aircraft trajectory, to ensure flight on a practically unrestricted, optimum trajectory for as long as possible, provided that the aircraft meets accurately an arrival time over a designated point. The System Wide Information Management (SWIM) concept envisages prompt and efficient data sharing among airspace users and Air Navigation Services Providers (ANSPs) through a wide-array network or a centralized flight data processing system. Such concepts and technologies could prove useful to regulate spaceflight traffic to and from LEO as well as coordinate such traffic effectively with air traffic. Moreover, developing an efficient ASTM system requires designating competent authorities, which will supervise the service providers. The nature of outer space as res nullius resembles international airspace, which falls under the jurisdiction of no State. Air traffic in such airspace is controlled through air navigation regional agreements, which designate a specific national or transnational authority to control the airspace and ensure flight safety, without affecting the international status of the airspace. Similarly, LEO could be divided into zones, for each of which a competent authority can be designated through special international agreements. Such authorities could be linked to a SWIM, which would include both air traffic and space traffic data available to all affected authorities, service providers and aerospace users.


Chatzipanagiotis M.,Attorney at law
Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC | Year: 2015

In ancient Greece, whenever people wanted a prediction of the future as to their planned actions, they were asking the oracles, which were believed that they were expressing the view of the gods. The answers of the oracles were famous for their ambiguity, to exclude any chance that gods were mistaken about the future. One of the most prominent examples of such ambiguity refers to a king, who was leaving for a military campaign and asked the oracle whether he will return alive. The oracle replied "you shall go and return not die", which depending on where a comma is placed could be 'you shall go and return, [you shall] not die' or 'you shall go and return not, [you shall] die'. In the framework of commercial human spaceflight, given that currently no special rules on manned private spaceflights have been enacted in Europe, the same ambiguity surrounds the validity under European law of the informed consent that a passenger would sign to fly. Provided that the law of a European State is applicable, the validity of the informed consent would be judged according to the national provisions implementing Directive 93/13/EC on unfair terms in consumer contracts. A "consumer" under the Directive is any person concluding a contract in his/her personal capacity. Informed consent under European law is a form of exclusion or limitation of liability for death or injury. The Directive stipulates that, depending on the circumstances, such clauses could be unfair and thus invalid. However, the Directive does not prohibit EU Member States from establishing stricter rules. Thus, some States follow the Directive's provisions as they are, some States stipulate that liability exclusions for death or injury are invalid in any case, while other States define the consumer in broader than the Directive. This paper focuses on the pertinent provisions of Directive 93/13/EC, the laws of the Member States that have transposed the Directive into national law, the relationship of such laws to eventual future special rules on manned private spaceflights and the practical implications arising from the above.


This report deals with Germany's impending construction contract law, expected for around year's end, and with altered sales-law provisions regarding warranties. Sales-law warranty obligations are being expanded to cover regress liability extending all the way back to the manufacturer, now expected to include the bearing of costs for the removal and replacement of defective supplied construction products. This instrument will be of major significance for the entire construction product service and supply chain and can be expected to necessitate appropriate insurance coverage.


Following its determination of a finding of scientific misconduct the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) will seek redress for any injury sustained. Several remedies both administrative and statutory may be available depending on the strength of the evidentiary findings of the misconduct investigation. Pursuant to federal regulations administrative remedies are primarily remedial in nature and designed to protect the integrity of the affected research program, whereas statutory remedies including civil fines and criminal penalties are designed to deter and punish wrongdoers. This commentary discusses the available administrative and statutory remedies in the context of a specific case, that of former University of Vermont nutrition researcher Eric Poehlman, and supplies a possible rationale for the legal result. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Aceto J.F.,Attorney at Law
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters | Year: 2013

The recent US Supreme Court decision in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. clarified what is considered patentable subject matter. Patent claims limited to the composition of isolated nucleic acid sequences are now considered a product of nature and not patent eligible, while man-made variants of nucleic acid sequences may still be patentable. The decision is consistent with an earlier ruling in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories., Inc. related to diagnostic methods. In Prometheus, the Court held that a method simply reciting known steps used to observe a natural event is not patentable subject matter. Taken together, the Court's decisions provide guidance as to what constitutes a natural phenomenon outside patent protection and what is considered a man-made creation worthy of protection. Despite misgivings, both decisions will provide impetus for increased genetic research and development of new therapeutics and diagnostics, especially in genomic and personalized medicine. © 2013 American Chemical Society.


Vosk T.,Attorney at Law | Forrest A.R.W.,University of Sheffield | Emery A.,University of Washington | Mclane L.D.,Defender
Journal of Forensic Sciences | Year: 2014

Proper interpretation of forensic measurements can be critical to the administration of justice. Breath alcohol testing is commonly relied upon to measure the concentration of alcohol in breath or, indirectly, in blood. The concentration sought constitutes the "quantity intended to be measured," referred to as the measurand. Although breath tests always probe the same physical quantity, their measurand is dictated by statute and varies between jurisdictions. Thus, identical numerical values obtained from tests in disparate jurisdictions may refer to different quantities and may not indicate the relevant statutory measurand. This can lead to misinterpretation of results, referred to as the "measurand problem." We first illustrate the concept of the measurand. Thereafter, the measurand problem is illustrated through application of Hlastala's breath test paradigm and Gullberg's work on breath test uncertainty. It is shown that where the measurand is not properly accounted for, conclusions based upon breath test evidence are undermined. © 2014 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

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