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Meteorology and the Law: Hazardous Weather Preparedness and Litigation

Total Credits
1 - 2
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Failure to prepare in advance for weather events, either as a result of misinformation or lack of knowledge about how to do so, is the cause of many weather-related lawsuits. Proper preparation in advance of both minor and major weather hazards can protect lives and property and create a more resilient community in the face of a changing climate.

This course will present a survey of the field of forensic meteorology, including a discussion of the types of cases on which meteorologists work and how a meteorologist analyzes weather data in order to reconstruct past weather events.

A case example of a slip and fall on snow and ice in the Northeast U.S. will be presented to illustrate how lack of preparedness led to litigation, the meteorological research process, and discuss the retention of expert meteorologists and use of meteorological analyses in litigation to develop and support common legal defenses including lack of notice and storm in progress.

Lecturer Bios

Michele Newsome, Esq.

Michele Newsome, Esq. is a partner at the firm Milber Makris Plousadis & Seiden, LLP in White Plains, New York. Michele received a Bachelor of Science from University at Albany in 2008 and obtained her Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law in 2013. She currently practices in the areas of general liability, premises liability, automobile and transportation liability, New York Labor Law, medical malpractice and appellate practice.

She defends building owners, commercial establishments, contractors, subcontractors, management companies, health care professionals and individuals in all aspects of litigation. She has secured favorable settlements and verdicts on behalf of her clients at the trial level and has also successfully argued at the appellate level.

Alicia C. Wasula, PhD, CCM

Dr. Alicia Wasula is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and owns Shade Tree Meteorology, a firm which provides expert witness consulting services for litigation support. Alicia has over 20 years of teaching experience which has given her expertise in communication of scientific information in a clear, easy-to-understand style.

Her research background serves as her foundation for understanding and interpreting weather data and conducting scientific analysis. As a small-business owner, she is constantly exploring how to enable individuals to understand and use weather information in a way that is most relevant to their needs.

Whether she is communicating weather information to attorneys or juries for litigation purposes, property owners for weather preparedness training, or her students, her goal is to help people understand how the weather is important to them and use that information in a way which is most relevant to them.

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