Exponent, Inc. - Science-for-Hire

Exponent, Inc. - Science-for-Hire

Postby Oscar » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:10 am

They’re Everywhere!

[ http://www.fairwarning.org/2016/12/exponent/ ]

Big Companies in Legal Scrapes Turn to Science-for-Hire Giant Exponent

By Myron Levin and Paul Feldman on December 13, 2016

The Fall of Icarus is the Greek myth about a youth who gets a pair of wax-and-feather wings but soars too close to the sun–melting the wings and casting him into the sea.

In the 1990s, a consulting firm called Failure Analysis Associates ran tongue-in-cheek ads aimed at corporate lawyers that retold the myth as a courtroom drama. The arty-looking promos boasted that Failure’s expert testimony in “Icarus vs. Wax Aviation” would put the onus on pilot error, getting the company off the hook.

The formula has turned the firm, now named Exponent, Inc., into a publicly traded giant in litigation defense and regulatory science. It’s a go-to destination for major industries with liability problems–even as it is derided by critics as a hired gun whose findings are for sale.

While not a household name, its cases often are drawn from the headlines, such as the National Football League’s “Deflategate” controversy; the General Motors ignition switch litigation; and most recently, the investigation of battery fires in Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones. Other Exponent clients have included BP, ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical, powerful trade groups such as the American Chemistry Council and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and government agencies including the Defense Department.

The auto industry in particular has long provided a fortune in fees to the Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm. According to court records, Ford Motor Co. paid Exponent more than $106 million from 1999 through 2011. Toyota ponied up more than $33 million from 2010 through the first nine months of 2013–mostly for helping to challenge claims of sudden unintended acceleration. In testimony this year, Jeffrey Croteau, the director of Exponent’s vehicle practice, said he had been involved in about 500 automotive lawsuits without once concluding that any component of any vehicle was defective.

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[ http://www.fairwarning.org/2016/12/exponent/ ]
Oscar
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