What Does The Leading Lab for Legal Testing Look Like?


As Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Polymer Solutions Incorporated, I have been involved in over one hundred litigated matters. My involvement in these cases has exposed me to disputes over manufacturing defects, design defects, patent infringement, personal injury, and misappropriation of trade secrets.  Most of these cases involved complexity, a plaintiff, numerous defendants, and often cross-claims between parties.

Polymer Solutions

A common theme for each assignment I have accepted is that analysis and evaluation of analytical data were required in order to assist the parties involved to reach decisions. This is either done by reaching a settlement or by providing the judge and jury with enough information to make an informed verdict.

Some of the cases I have worked on include:

  • Failure of the adhesive used to construct walk in coolers/freezers
  • Poor adhesion of paint to brick on a large residence
  • Failure of a book coating that caused books in a box to stick together
  • Tread belt detachment as an alleged cause of a vehicle accident
  • Delamination of windows of a luxury condominium apartment
  • Theft of specialized trade secrets related to abrasion resistant UV-curable coatings
  • Defective raw material leading to alleged manufacturing defects in tires
  • Explosion of a 7500-lb tire leading to personal injury and property damage

Each of these cases required specific tests to be performed in order to provide data to lead towards resolution.  Although the data sets obtained by a laboratory should always be reliable and repeatable, that isn’t always the case.  In fact, I have seen first-hand that not all laboratories and testing facilities are created equal.  Some of the limiting characteristics of facilities I have visited included:

  • Poor lighting, resulting in poor examination of evidence and the inability to acquire precise photo documentation
  • Lack of space for the number of experts and attorneys in attendance
  • Limited analytical capabilities in-house, which makes for inefficient use of time and resources, some testing may require multiple inspections and that the physical evidence be transported multiple times 
  • Poor layout of the inspection area, prohibiting all parties from simultaneously witnessing evidence evaluation and analysis
  • Crowded and uncomfortable accommodations for the attending attorneys, thus not being considerate of their technology and support needs
  • Lack of accreditation and quality systems, thereby potentially affecting the reliability of the data produced
  • Inexperience with hospitality—lack of food, drink, and basic hospitality factors such as seating for the attorneys

It is true that at each laboratory facility, we were able to obtain the required data with input from the experts attending those laboratory facilities. However, our inherent drive to discover irrefutable data encourages us to do better than just “getting the job done.”  I’m the kind of person who can’t see a problem and not work to find a solution. So, because I’ve see this issue with the lack of laboratory facilities that intentionally cater to the unique needs of legal testing and joint evidence inspections, I have decided to do something about it at PSI. 

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Polymer Solutions Incorporated has designed, built, and occupied a new state-of-the-art facility to house our large inventory of analytical instrumentation and equipment.  A unique feature of our new laboratory is a custom-designed inspection room that has incorporated the lessons I’ve learned over the past twenty years of visits to other laboratory facilities.  Some of the characteristics of the inspection room include:

  • Proper lighting to allow for correct color rendition with digital imaging of physical evidence
  • Large space with wide aisle ways to accommodate movement of experts and attorneys
  • Broad analysis capabilities on-site including; physical testing, microscopy, Keyence 3D imaging, chromatography, spectroscopy, thermal analysis, custom-specimen preparation
  • Inspection tables and video imaging and projection so all participants get unobstructed views of the physical evidence and the specimen preparations
  • Comfortable seating for the attorneys, with isolation between seats for privacy, power pods, and USB outlets so powered devices can be used throughout the inspection time
  • Laboratory is accredited to ISO 17025 and moreover, is an FDA registered lab that is GMP compliant
  • Beverages, snacks, and meals (farm-to-table), with attention to dietary restrictions of participants, are provided during the duration of the inspection
  • A spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains is an added bonus

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