TEA: Volume 1 (1998)

TEA 1.0 – 1998.  The Earnings Analyst  1: 118pp.

TEA 1.1 – Lost Pleasure of Life Analysis, Safety Incentive Values, and the Value of Life Literature: Three Different Approaches to Hedonic Damage Testimony.  Thomas R. Ireland.   The 1988 decision in Sherrod v. Berry introduced the term “hedonic damages” into the lexicon of the American legal system. Nine years later, the term “hedonic damages” has become synonymous with damages awarded in tort actions for the “lost enjoyment of life.” Since the Wall Street Journal (Barrett, 1988) made the term “hedonic damages” well known on December 12, 1988, two significant confusions have arisen concerning the meaning of hedonic damage testimony and how it was to be presented in a court of law. That confusion, however, is much less important than the fact that economists have provided three distinct types of testimony derived from the “value of life” literature in economics. These three types of testimony have quite different implications, but have been treated by the court system and by many forensic economists as being identical. It is the purpose of this paper to explain the differences between these three types of testimony, and to describe some of the variations in methods used by practicing forensic economists within each of the basic types, particularly the type that involves generation of estimated annual values for lost enjoyment of tort victims.

TEA 1.2 – Economic Aspects of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act: An Overview from the Employer’s Perspective.  Stephanie Rizzardi Pearson and Terrance B. Dinneen.   When the Americans with Disabilities Act was first signed into law by President Bush in January 1990, there was much discussion and concern from employers and others about the effect the ADA will have on businesses. Some believed that costs to comply would be excessive and that litigation would soar as many disabled brought forth discrimination claims under the new law. Some feared that the passage of the ADA may actually discourage some employers from hiring anyone that was suspected of having a disability just to avoid being forced to pay extra costs to accommodate them. However, though the ADA has had an effect on how employers conduct business, that impact appears to be much more positive than negative.

TEA 1.3The Vocational Quotient (VQ) As A Predictor of Earning Capacity: 1996-97 Criterion-Referenced Follow-Up Validity Studies.  Billy J. McCroskey and Steven J. Hahn.   The three 1996-1997 follow-up earning capacity prediction studies included in this paper are part of a longitudinal series of published and unpublished follow-up replication and predictive validity generalization studies dating back to 1984. Methodological refinements to this series of studies have been made since 1984 to increase the power of the McCroskey Vocational Quotient (VQ) as a predictor of pre and post-injury earning capacity range estimates. Data reduction methods to achieve the most representative, stable and least erroneous final VQ wage data sets have been identified and replicated.

TEA 1.4Work-Life Expectancy for the Self-Employed.  Lawrence M. Spizman.    Work-life expectancy in personal injury or wrongful death cases has received considerable attention by forensic economists and vocational rehabilitation experts. The discussion revolves around whether the broad average work-life expectancy tables generated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) should be used or whether other measures are more appropriate. While alternative work-life expectancy estimates raise important issues, the gains of these methods must be weighed against the cost of possibly alienating a jury with academic rigor that may be misconstrued as “ivory tower” babble. The purpose of this paper is to explore characteristics of the self-employed that may lead to differences in work-life expectancies from the general population. It may be inappropriate to solely use BLS work-life expectancies for self-employed individuals.

TEA 1.5Expert Teams and Forensic Reporting.  Jeroen Walstra and Charles Cohen.    In this paper three different approaches to gathering and integrating expert witness reports are discussed. In the “Traditional” approach the vocational expert and the earnings analyst work independently from each other. In the “All in One” approach the analysis of economic damages and the vocational evaluation are performed by the same person. In the “Expert Team” approach the vocational expert and earnings analyst work together as a team. The three different approaches to gathering and integrating expert witness reports are discussed. It is suggested that “Expert Teams” have advantages over both the “Traditional” and “All In One” approaches by increasing quality and efficiency while maintaining professional autonomy.

TEA 1.6Actuarial Valuations of the Railroad Retirement Board and Railroad Worklife Tables: A Reassessment.  Thomas R. Ireland.    The Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 requires that the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), at intervals of not longer than three years, estimate the liabilities of the RRB system. The 20th Actuarial Valuation of the Assets and Liabilities Under the Railroad Retirement Acts as of December 31, 1995 was published in August 1997 and is the most recent valuation as this paper was written. Actuarial Valuations of the RRB contain much of the information necessary for the construction of worklife expectancy tables specific to the railroad industry. Charles Sherfey of Coopers & Lybrand in Chicago has used these actuarial valuations for a number of years to compile “railroad worklife expectancy” tables under contract for the Association of American Railroads. These tables have then been made available to railroads and defense firms representing railroads and used in both personal injury and wrongful death litigation. These tables were analyzed by Dale Funderburk in 1988, who reached several negative conclusions about them. The purpose of this paper is to reconsider Funderburk’s conclusions, some of which are flawed, but also to point out important different uses that can be made of Actuarial Valuations of the RRB to develop loss assessments involving railroad workers in Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) litigation.

TEA 1.7Book Review: “Internet Disability Resources ’98” By Mary Barros-Bailey and Dawn Boyd (Ahab Press, Inc., 1998).  Thomas Weiford.    Book Review of “Internet Disability Resources ’98” by Mary Barros-Bailey and Dawn Boyd: Ahab Press, Inc. 1998.