consulting on fires
caused by a defective surge suppressor or surge arrester.
I have designed surge suppressors since 1973.
During 1982-93, I was actively engaged in research on the design and application
of surge suppressors and surge arresters, and I wrote more than twenty
published papers on this topic.
My 1989 book on this subject
is still in print.
I have been an expert witness in six cases involving fires caused
by a defective surge-protective device.
consulting on damage or personal injury by
lightning current on telephone wires or electrical power wires.
consulting on liability of electric utility for either:
outage or blackout
bringing temporary overvoltage or
surges into premises
(either negligence or products liability by electric utility).
law of meteorology (e.g., lightning, negligent weather modification,
negligent weather forecasts, etc.) Another webpage explains
my background in
meteorology and atmospheric physics.
consulting to litigators on scientific and engineering issues in law:
framing of scientific and engineering issues in context of law
role of engineering standards for safety or performance in establishing duty of care in torts
evaluation of discovery materials
drafting deposition questions to ask expert witnesses
I can also assist litigators by providing fact-based
in physics, electrical engineering, and meteorology.
Because I have more than 16 years of experience in scientific and engineering
research, and because I have more than 13 years of experience as an attorney,
I can do more than merely find such technical information:
I can also interpret it in the context of law, as well as provide critical
reviews of the technical information.
About Dr. Standler
By way of introduction, I:
earned a Ph.D. in physics in 1977,
was a professor of electrical engineering for ten years,
programmed computers since 1968
(mostly numerical models of physical phenomena,
automatic collection of data from scientific instruments,
statistical analysis of data, and design of numerical algorithms),
research on lightning and atmospheric electricity in thunderstorms 1971-1979,
designed electronic circuits and instrumentation 1973-1989,
research on electrical surge suppressors and arresters 1982-1993,
wrote more than 30 archival technical papers and
consulted to litigators since 1981, and
am an attorney in Massachusetts since December 1998.
I am admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Massachusetts,
as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.
I shall personally do all work on my client's case or problem,
so that my client gets the full benefit of my education and experience.
My homepage at www.rbs2.com/
contains links to documents with my c.v.,
my current fees, how to contact me, and
links to my essays on other topics in law.
My Essays About Technology Law
Essays on this website are provided only to provide general information
and to communicate my personal comments on interesting topics in
law, technology, and society. Essays on this website are neither
legal advice nor legal opinion. Accessing this website or reading
documents on this website does not create an attorney-client
relationship. See my disclaimer
All essays at this website are protected by copyright.
I have posted my Terms Of Service
for printing, copying, and distributing my essays
at this website.
I am an attorney only in Massachusetts, so I can not provide
legal advice to people in other states of the USA, unless they have been
injured or sued in Massachusetts, or unless your local attorney hires me as a consultant.
However, I have posted the following hints for
how to find an attorney.
In 1997, when I was a student in law school,
I wrote two term papers that show the interaction between science, technology,
engineering standards, medicine, and law in the USA:
(1) Lightning injuries to users of land-line
(2) Legal duties to warn and to protect people from direct
The legal duty to warn of lightning
at recreational facilities compared with the duty to warn of riptide at beaches,
an essay that I wrote in March 2007.
Electric Power Problems:
Surges, Outages, Overvoltages
Since 1979, there is a trend in courts in the USA to consider low-voltage
electricity (less than 1000 V rms) as a product, for which
products liability applies when
the defective electricity causes harm. My essay contains a collection of
citations to cases in which a court either considered the product/service distinction
or applied products liability law in the context of electrocution, outages,
surges, temporary overvoltages, or stray voltage.
I wrote a companion essay on liability for defective
water (e.g., low water pressure,
bacteria or rust in water) in the USA, which has analogies between
liability for defective electricity and defective water.
I have written an essay on the technical legal problems faced by plaintiffs
who sue an electric utility for losses caused by an
outage or blackout. This essay
includes a critical discussion of the major cases in the USA.
My essay explains why the transmission and distribution of electricity is neither an
ultrahazardous nor an
abnormally dangerous activity, for which strict liability (i.e., liability
without negligence) applies.
Law of Meteorology
My first peer-reviewed scientific paper, back in the year 1972,
was a review of the literature on the toxicity of silver iodide (AgI), the most
common cloud seeding agent. In 2002, I spent three months reading all
of the reported cases involving negligent cloud seeding, reading all of the articles
in law reviews about weather modification, and reading many articles in the meteorology
and atmospheric physics journals about weather modification.
As a result of this study, I wrote an essay on the law of
which discusses and analyzes court cases in the USA concerning cloud seeding
and summarizes the basic principles of tort liability for cloud seeders.
While this essay was written to inform farmers, ranchers,
meteorology students, and attorneys working in environmental law
or water law about the obscure law of weather modification,
this essay is also a case study in how and why courts
in the USA avoided deciding disputes about this novel area of technology.
My essay on the
history & problems
with cloud seeding also explains the need to give adequate long-term
financial support to basic scientific research before
engaging in practical applications. Scientists have been doing research in weather modification since 1946. Because of the immense
economic important of water to farmers and ranchers, there have been many commercial cloud seeding
operators since the early 1950s. Despite this long history of science and technology,
the courts in the USA have not yet begun to resolve legal issues involving either (1) negligent
cloud seeding or (2) the rights of landowners to rain from the clouds that are either
above their land or upwind from their land.
My essay, Tort Liability in the USA for Negligent Weather Forecasts,
discusses each of the reported court cases in the USA on this topic that
involved either people on the ground or sailors at sea.
This essay also compares and contrasts cases involving an airplane crash
caused by negligent weather information from employees of the
My essay, written in 1997, on the
response of law in the USA to new technology.
I discuss the effect of invention of the printing press,
telephone wiretaps, contraception, videotaping at home,
protection of computer software, and regulation of the Internet.
Copyright 2009-2012 by Ronald B. Standler
This document at http://www.rbs2.com/itech.htm
first posted 16 May 2011, revised 23 May 2012