Electrical Expert, Inc.

Electrical Engineering Litigation Support

B. Michael Aucoin, D.Engr., P.E., PMP-Retired

legal books

“Dr. Aucoin was our expert in a long, contentious patent trial. Dr. Aucoin was poised and well prepared for cross-examination, and he demonstrated a unique ability to connect with the jury regarding technical matters. He was instrumental in our successful result in Federal Court. Additionally, Mike is a pleasure in analyzing and problem solving. Mike related to our trial team and greatly assisted in the overall preparation for trial. Dr. Aucoin has my highest recommendation!”

— George Holman
Server Technology, Inc.
Reno, NV

“I hired Dr. Aucoin as an expert witness in a wrongful death case involving electrocution from a high voltge power line. Dr. Aucoin has extensive education, knowledge, and expertise involving electricity. He can help the layperson understand the complexity of the various rules, codes, and standards that apply to this industry. He assisted in every phase of the litigation and was always readily available. He was key to helping resolve the case and get a seven-figure settlement. I highly recommend Dr. Aucoin to anyone looking for an expert witness in his area of expertise. I look forward to working with him again the first chance I get.”

— Jessica Mendez
Mendez Law
El Paso, TX

Sample Case Descriptions

Resident Electrocution, Fallen Power Line

A resident of a suburban home was electrocuted by an energized distribution power line that had fallen in a tree and across a shed and which had started a fire. Issues involved included supervisory reclosing after circuit lockout, overcurrent protection application, circuit configuration, and advanced technology for identification of fallen power lines.

Lineman Electrical Contact, Safe Work Practices and Training

A utility lineman contacted an energized distribution primary conductor during his work and experienced severe injuries. Issues involved included safe electrical work practices, application of National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) rules and OSHA regulations, suitability of his training, and protective device settings.

Passerby Electrocution, Fallen Power Line

A teenager was electrocuted from a 120-volt conductor that had fallen during a severe storm. Issues involved included whether the electrical facilities complied with NESC rules, and the suitability of previous inspections by a utility contractor.

Worker Electrocution, Clearances

A worker was killed after contacting an energized distribution primary and falling from a scaffold. Issues involved included clearances of the primary to a building, suitability of utility inspection upon notice of a potential clearance issue, and responsibility for notifying the utility of work near the primary.

Child Electrocution, Apartment Complex

A four-year-old child was electrocuted when he contacted exposed wiring of an air conditioning unit in an apartment complex. The investigation included examination of the physiological effects of electrical contact.

Industrial Arc Flash Accident

A contractor received burns from an arc flash while cleaning 13,800-volt switchgear in an industrial plant. The issues involved in the case included application of safe electrical work practices, work planning and communication, lockout-tagout and testing practices, and application of OSHA and the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

Wildfire, Arcing Power Lines

The origin of a large wildfire was located under an overhead 480-volt service that was incorrectly wired and had exhibited artifacts of arcing. At issue in the matter was the potential for this circuit to be a competent cause of the fire. Investigation included application of the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations.

Residence Fires, Defective Transformer

Within a three-day period, four fires occurred at two adjacent residences and a third residence experienced electrical problems. All residence were served from a common utility transformer that was defective. Issues involved included review of photographic evidence, application of the NESC, and evaluation of the potential for high voltage to have been conducted into the two residences.

Industrial Plant Outage, Protective Relay Operation

An industrial plant experienced a temporary outage during a thunderstorm, and it alleged a defect in a protective relay on a transmission line serving the plant. Activities on the case included observation of exemplar relay testing, and review of the state of the art and of an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) standard.

Semiconductor Plant Outage, Contractor Relay Work

After a complete outage, a semiconductor manufacturing plant alleged that a contractor had performed defective work to replace and rewire protective relaying at the plant. Issues involved included examination of the plant's bid and procurement process and power system operation mode, quality control, project acceptance, quality of the contractor's work, and application of an IEEE standard and the NEC as amended by the jurisdiction.

Patent Infringement and Invalidity

The manufacturer of an electrical product alleged infringement of its patents by another vendor. In turn, the other vendor alleged that the plaintiff's patents were invalid, and that the plaintiff had infringed the vendor's patent. Issues included examination of obviousness and non-obviousness, detailed comparison of product features in exemplars, and application of claim language and construction.

Tax on Facilities in Delivery of Electrical Energy

This case involved the application of state sales tax for an electric utility and the point at which supplied electrical energy reaches the form of a completed product. The issues examined included defining the product delivered to utility customers, components of the delivery system, and the physics of conveyance of electrical energy.

Work by Engineering Firm

An electric utility contracted with an engineering firm to issue specifications and recommend a supplier for all-dielectric-self-supporting fiber optic cable to be installed on a transmission line. The cable subsequently failed in multiple locations. Issues involved included analysis of the assignment, the state of the art, work by the firm, potential effects of contaminants, and the application of the NESC and a relevant IEEE standard.

Technician Shock, Medical Equipment

A service technician reported receiving an electrical shock while servicing a medical laser device, and he alleged a defective power supply in the device. Case activities included device testing, and application of OSHA and NFPA 70E provisions for safe electrical work.

Power Quality at Dairy Farm

The cause of a drop in milk production at a dairy farm was alleged from power quality issues from the utility. The investigation included electrical measurements at the farm, and application of the NEC and the body of knowledge of physiological effects of electrical energy on dairy cattle.