EXPERT WITNESS
 
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As can be seen from the other pages on this website, Mars Burnside has been responsible for electrical systems on a wide variety of projects. In addition he has experience as an electrical plans examiner and has served as the chair of an electrical code committee. Because of this experience, he is qualified to serve as an expert witness in matters involving electricity and controls. He understands that what is needed from an expert witness is a credible, unbiased evaluation of the facts. Telling people what they would like to hear, unless it is supported by facts, can result in spending money pursuing a case that will ultimately be lost. He understands that it is necessary to explain technical issues in terms that a layperson can readily understand and that it is not necessary to answer questions that are not asked.

The following are expert witness assignments that Mr.Burnside has been
responsible for:

Evaluation of Damage due to Theft of Electrical Wire and Equipment at an Auto Dealership
During a period when an auto dealership had relocated and its old building was out of service, thieves stole copper wire to sell as scrap metal, causing extensive damage to the facility. With the aid of an electrical contractor, the condition of the facility was evaluated, and the cost to restore it to its previous condition was estimated.

Evaluation of Cause of Injury Due to Short in a Resort’s Hair Dryer
A shock received from a short in a dryer’s cord caused a woman to fall against the metallic corner of a wall and suffer permanent brain damage. Mars Burnside advised the plaintiff’s attorney and participated in the deposition of the manufacturer’s engineer.

Evaluation of Cause of Electrical Arc Blast
A multimeter ohm lead accidently contacted grounded metal causing an arc-flash on a 4,000 Amp, 480 Volt service that blew an electrician across the room and severely burned him. Mars Burnside advised the plaintiff’s attorney that if the meter had been provided with an inexpensive current-limiting fuse the arc-flash would not have occurred.

Evaluation of Storm Damage to a Religious Classroom Building
A rain storm that occurred during reroofing of a religious classroom building caused extensive damage. The religious organization claimed that all the light fixtures had been damaged by the water and needed to be replaced. As evidence of this, they pointed out that some of the lights did not work and that many of the lenses were stained although they claimed to have attempted to clean them. By moving a few fluorescent tubes around Mr. Burnside was able to show that nothing was wrong with the light fixtures electrically, but that several of the tubes were burned out due to age. By applying a damp rag with a little cleanser, he was able to show that the stains were easily removable.

Evaluation of Cause of Pump Failure Causing Sanitary Sewer Overflow
During a heavy storm, power to a major sewage pump station was lost. The standby generator started, but the controls on the 400 HP pump drives were locked out, and the surrounding residential neighborhood was flooded. Three hundred plaintiffs had brought suit against the sanitary district. Mars Burnside clear analysis and explanation of the cause of drive controls being locked out resulted in the drive manufacturer acknowledging their culpability and resulted in satisfactory mediation for the sanitary district.

Evaluation of Lighting Related to Pedestrian Injury in a Crosswalk
The case involved a child in a crosswalk who was severely injured by a motorist. The situation involved a signed, but unsignalized crosswalk between a brightly lit bridge off ramp and a brightly lit arterial intersection. Mars Burnside provided an opinion on the effect of the lighting on visibility.

Evaluation of Intersection Lighting Related to an Automobile/Motorcycle Crash
The case involved an automobile that made a left turn in front of a motorcycle resulting in a crash that injured the motorcyclist.  Some street lights at or near the intersection had burned out and some were in the final stages of burning out resulting in intermittent operation.  Mr. Burnside was retained by the automobile driver’s attorney to make measurements of light levels in the intersection and the approaches to the intersection.

Evaluation of Electrical Construction of a Gold Dredge
The case involved a contractor who had provided design/build services for the construction of a gold dredge.  The Owner was withholding money claiming shoddy construction.  Mr. Burnside, retained by the Owner’s attorney, listened to the deposition of the Owner's expert and suggested questions for the Contractor’s attorney to ask making it obvious that the Owner's expert was not fully knowledgeable.  The case was settled in favor of the Contractor.

Evaluation of Electrical Construction of a Cement Batch Plant
The case involved a contractor who had provided design/build services for the erection of a cement batch plant.  The Owner was withholding money claiming shoddy construction.  Mr. Burnside, retained by the Contractor’s attorney, inspected the work and then participated in a deposition of Owner's expert and suggested questions for the Contractor’s attorney to ask.   He participated in informal discussion with the attorneys, the contractor, the Owner and the Owner's expert which led to settlement of the case in the contractor’s favor.

Construction Defects in Stacked Modular Building Condominium Units
A condominium complex was constructed of modular building elements. Each unit consisted of three factory manufactured modules stacked one atop the other. Due to problems with the structure, the roof and other issues, a lawsuit was initiated charging substandard construction. Mr. Burnside was retained by attorney for the owner of one of the units. Investigation of the electrical system found incomplete and out of code electrical construction due to negligent and incompetent work both in the factory and on the site.

Evaluation of Street Lighting at a Murder Scene
The issue was whether a witness could have made a positive identification given where the witness was relative to the shooter under the lighting conditions that existed at the time of the incident. It was observed that the street lights were LED fixtures of a type that had not existed at the time of the incident. Plans of the lighting as it had previously existed were obtained and visibility evaluated taking into account light level, and direction relative to witness and shooter at the time of the shooting.

Contact: 916.838.2501 - Email: mars@mbengineering.net
11008 Rainbow River Ct. Rancho Cordova, CA 95670-2723