@ Copyright, Damon Data Services, 1996-2017 RETURN

From the Files of Damon Data Services
A Sampling of 15 Cases

  Below are abridged summaries, approved for use here by the original client where necessary. This sampling, of the more complex or somewhat dramatic type, was selected to show variety and depth of experience over the years in:

Civil & Criminal Cases
Background Investigation
Accident/Injury Site Inspection
Locating & Interviewing Witnesses
Creative Research



"Uzi Attacker" Innocent of
Six Counts of Attempted Murder

In one of Connecticut's most brazen, apparently drug-related shootings, an intensive Damon Data review of the police investigation led to the prosecutor withdrawing all charges against accused defendant Client. Among the police allegations: that Client had sprayed Uzi machine-gun fire into a group of males, wounding four. Following a dissection of the police reports, Damon Data conducted its own field investigation, including re-interviewing police witnesses and discovery of a key eye-witness missed by the police. A detailed report of those results went to Client's defense attorney, who shared the report with the prosecutor. Under the eyes of an apologetic judge, Client was quietly released from jail. He was never charged again, nor was the actual shooter ever apprehended. The local news media made no mention of the dropped charges -- some believe, to avoid embarrassment to a newly appointed Chief of Police.

Client Kills Boss;
Jury Rules 1st Degree Manslaughter
The prosecutor's murder case seemed open and shut. In a rage over being fired, defendant Client, a truck driver/worker, entered the company office, pulled a handgun, and shot dead his boss. But a Damon Data reconstruction of events in the hours and days prior to the shooting showed an escalating pattern of seemingly sadistic psychological abuse and harassment of Client by the boss. Six key witnesses were located at the last minute and convinced to come to trial, where they were brilliantly questioned by Client's attorney. So compelling was their testimony, as was Client's own testimony in court, that the jury found Client guilty instead of 1st degree manslaughter. He served eight years.

Political Candidate Withdraws
After Background Investigation

A member of a community was concerned about the possibility that a certain local businessman might win a high local political position. The candidate's published resume seemed straightforward and impressive. Local news media had covered his business experience during the decade that he had lived in the state. But what local media had not done was to confirm his claimed background in the area of 12 to 25 years in the past. Damon Data was hired to discreetly probe that distant past, which involved several out-of-state employers (or companies), with one company no longer in existence. A number of former supervisors and partners of the candidate were identified and interviewed by phone by Damon Data. The information obtained in those interviews revealed a pattern of serious distortion and other questionable issues in the candidate's resume. That information was detailed in a confidential report to the Client community member. Whatever happened after that is unknown by Damon Data, except that the candidate quietly ended his political ambitions and has never run again.

Damon Data Client
Flees the Country

Sometimes it's the duty of a criminal defense investigator to confront defendant Client with unexpected results in his investigation. Sometimes it's the investigator's duty to suggest that Client review his own memory of the alleged crime, and to the allow his defense attorney to possibly deal differently with the prosecutor. Such was the case of a man arrested and accused of the brutal rapes of two young women within several days of each other. He steadfastly denied the accusations to his attorney. A Damon Data dissection of the police investigations, combined with long interviews of Client and intensive field work, including contact with claimed alibi witnesses, resulted in a detailed report to Client's attorney. Subsequently, instead of opening up a new dialogue with his attorney, Client fled the country just prior to trial. Years later he was finally returned to custody and brought to trial, convicted of the two rapes, and headed to years in prison.

Locating Certain Staff of a Hospital
That Had Been Closed 22 Years

A civil case involved the claim of long-time hospitalization due to a wrongful medical diagnosis of a mental condition. Client in this case was the defense (an insurance carrier) who requested Damon Data to identify certain employees in certain staff positions from an out-of-state hospital that no longer existed, and, in fact, had closed 22 years earlier and had been torn down. The hospital's personnel files and medical records no longer existed. Damon Data subsequently probed two existing local hospitals in that community, initially via Internet, and then by phone, and pieced together where a number of the key employees had gone after the former hospital had closed. One of those employees was located (then retired) and interviewed by phone, and supplied useful information on the whereabouts of several other relevant still-living former staff members. Client in this case subsequently conducted those phone interviews, which proved very helpful and necessary in reaching an out-of-court settlement.

Arranging for an Informant
Inside a Company
A major Connecticut newspaper published a series of articles that exposed a large medical device manufacturer as using live dogs for experimentation and training purposes in cruel ways. But what the paper lacked was an informant who actually worked within the company. Damon Data was brought in initially as a consultant, and then played the key role in making such an informant available. More detailed information concerning the treatment of the dogs and how the dogs were purchased was gathered by that employee over a period of weeks. Those facts led to new and even more startling accusations against the company. That, in turn, led to more news articles and to dramatic and vocal picketing of the company's headquarters by animal rights activists, which was covered by both local and nationwide news media. The company had been humiliated was forced to permanently clean up its act.

Private Prison Cell Interview of
Connecticut's "Hannibal Lecter"

The art of interviewing (or diplomatic interrogation) can often be challenging, as was thought to be the case where Client (an insurance carrier) wanted an interview of a convicted 1st-degree murderer. The case was a claim by the estate of the murder victim that a medical staff had released the future murderer prematurely from a drug-treatment situation just prior to the murder. And one of the most grisly of killings it was, where the victim was surprised inside his own home and repeatedly pounded to death with a ball-peen hammer on the head and upper body. The prison interview arrangement was made, and the Damon Data investigator found himself in a locked cell with the murderer, while surprised to see the guard depart behind other locked doors and walk entirely out of range. But the real surprise came with the gradual realization that this infamous killer was in fact - when free of drugs - a shy, very polite and docile prisoner who was of no threat, and who could be counted on as an intelligent and believable witness if needed for trial. No one had known this. While the results of that lengthy interview will not be abridged here in even an abstract way, it is suffice to say that the information obtained was useful and in fact critical to the Client. The case was settled out of trial.

Witness Located in Poland, After
Reported "Probably Dead" in Florida

Litigation involving a Breach of Contract & Property Damage civil suit was at an impasse due to the failure of either side to locate the key witness - a Connecticut State-licensed building contractor who had simply vanished. A major national Detective Agency had been brought in by the defense to locate the contractor. That agency detailed its conclusion that the witness was known to be associated with "questionable characters" and was "probably dead" in Florida A substantial bill was included with their report. As a last effort, the defense hired Damon Data. After a week of research via Internet and phone, the contractor was found to be alive and well. He was traced to a location and phone number in Warsaw, Poland, his native country, where he was on an extended vacation. He proved to be cooperative in supplying very useful information by phone and was prepared to fly to Connecticut for court testimony. Plaintiff's counsel was made aware of that. The case settled without trial.

The Message in a
Missing Grave Stone

Client in this case was an insurance carrier that was defending a trucking company for the claimed wrongful death of a young female hitchhiker who was killed in a truck accident where she was a passenger in the truck. In effect, her parents were suing the trucking company for negligence in the death of their loving daughter. A trial was about a month away, three years after the accident. Damon Data was hired belatedly to perform a background investigation of the deceased female. Several former high school classmates were identified and located, and information was obtained that there had been a long-standing estrangement between parents and daughter, and that she had long discussed leaving her parents' home. Damon Data subsequently visited the cemetery where the girl had been buried. A cemetery employee pointed out the location of the grave on a map, and added "It's not easy to find, because there's no headstone." When questioned, he went on to say that the parents had not even had a graveside ceremony, and in three years still had not placed a headstone, and had never placed flowers at the grave. This information, including names of the potential witnesses and photos of the barren grave site, were passed on to a very appreciative Client. The case settled prior to trial.

Video Proves a Critical
Point
in Fatal Car Accident
A 50-year-old woman is killed when her car, traveling downhill, crossed into the oncoming lane and collided head-on with a truck. The truck driver sustained only minor injuries. It was on a downhill stretch covered with several sheets of ice. Neither the truck driver nor an independent witness felt that the car's speed had been excessive. The police report concluded that slippage on the ice was the cause, but offered no information or theory on the source of the ice on this two-lane State highway that was otherwise free of ice in either direction for hundreds of yards, although there were remnants of a recent snowfall in off-road areas. Damon Data, working for the law firm hired by the woman's family, was sent to the scene for still photos, measurements, and general inspection. That inspection led to the discovery of a small stream of water trickling down a driveway from a farm property adjacent to the accident site. The source of the stream was melting snow higher up on the property, and when the water reached the highway it turned and spread downhill exactly at the point where the woman's car had initially gone out of control. It seemed very probable that, in a sudden freeze situation as had occurred that morning just prior to the accident, this small stream was a recipe for a surprise, extremely hazardous, slick, downhill road surface. Under Damon Data supervision, various video views were taken along the course of the stream, including its spreading down the highway. That video, along with subpoenaed State DOT testimony and records, were critical in proving to a trial jury that (1) the stream from melting snow was the source of the ice, and (2) the DOT had long been aware of this defective road condition and had made plans to create a drainage diversion, but sat on the project far too long. The jury award to the woman's family was over 3.5 million dollars. The State's appeal of that award was ultimately turned down.

Photography Used to "Nab"
Missing Witnesses to Accident

A car accident occurs during morning southbound "to work" traffic at 8:00 AM on a winding suburban road. Plaintiff Client, who was severely injured, claims that several cars must have witnessed the accident, but by the time that police and ambulance had arrived, not a single witness was at the scene. The police report indicated no blame for the accident, due to inconclusive physical evidence and and the absence of independent witnesses. Client's attorney contacted Damon Data for a suggestion, and, after a visit to the accident site, and making sure that no neighbors had witnessed the accident, the suggestion is made that a discrete telephoto-surveillance operation be set up to record the license plates of vehicles traveling southbound at the site and on 10 minutes either side of 8:00 AM. That operation takes place, and twelve vehicle plates are documented, and the owners' names and addresses are obtained from the State DMV. Contact is then made with each by phone or in-person, and two witnesses to the accident are found. Both were cooperative and credible, and both were critical in an out-of-court settlement in supporting Client's claim of how the accident occurred.

Snoopy Landlady Provides
Tiny, Critical Lead about Tenant

There was no dispute that the serious accident involving a utility company truck and a car was clearly the truck driver's fault. What was disputed was the extent of the car driver's injuries and how his life had changed as a result. That included alleged loss of a sex life with his wife. Client (utility company legal counsel) requested a background investigation of the Plaintiff. In the course of that probe, Damon Data conducted a friendly interview with Plaintiff's former landlady of three years earlier. Plaintiff and his wife were renting the apartment next to hers in her multi-family house at the time of the accident and for some months afterwards. After considerable chatting over tea, the landlady made an admission. She stated that "occasionally" she would hear things through the wall. Until this admission, none of what the landlady knew about Plaintiff seemed useful to Client. But now she was saying essentially that, when his wife was away, Plaintiff sometimes talked by phone with a girlfriend, and she understood through the wall only that the girlfriend lived in the Bronx and her name was "Henrietta." A court trial went ahead, and when it came time for Plaintiff's initial cross-examination, Defense Counsel asked out of the blue, "Are you familiar with a woman named Henrietta who lives in the Bronx?" By one account Plaintiff's face turned ashen. There was some stammering on his part and a confused answer. A recess was soon called. Within 20-minutes an out-of-court settlement was reached. Defense Counsel knew nothing more of Henrietta and had no evidence of a romantic relationship between Plaintiff and anyone, but Plaintiff and his attorney must have assumed the worst. Defense Counsel was more than pleased by the settlement, and estimated a savings of several hundred thousand dollars, thanks to "Henrietta". (Note: The girlfriend's actual name and town have been changed for the sake of this summary.)

Another Frivolous "Spilled Hot Coffee"
Lawsuit Against a Restaurant? Think again.

As it turned out, that was hardly the case when Damon Data was called in to inspect an in-house, fast-food type operation within a large casino where such an accident had occurred. Client was the attorney of an older lady who, some weeks earlier, had sat down at a small table, only to experience her coffee cup immediately tip over as she barely touched it. The scalding brew spilled into her lap and on an upper leg. That was instantly followed by the woman's standing up in severe pain and panic, and tripping over a chair and falling. Her injuries were far from frivolous, but the attorney Client had little to go on and wondered if he had any case at all. The woman, and the friend she was with, had no idea why the cup had suddenly tipped. The very brief accident report released by the Casino offered no explanation and implied carelessness on the part of the customer. Damon Data was dispatched to the scene for a stealth inspection. While the precise table used by the lady could not be determined (as tables were shuffled around when the floors were cleaned), the following important information was accumulated, resulting in a a very satisfactory out-of-court settlement for Client: (1) The tiled floor was found to have subtle deviations in its flatness, (2) The tables were all of a specific four-legged model manufactured by a specific company [an out-of-sight label with that information was found and photographed on the bottom side of one table top], (3) The table legs each had circular plastic adjusters for the purpose of fine-tuning the level of the table top, (4) A substantial number of these plastic adjusters were noted to be cracked or broken, allowing table tops to be off-level in varying degrees [close-up photos were taken of a number of adjusters, as well as full views of tables], (5) The potential effect of an off-level table top, whether by itself or with the added effect of an uneven tile floor, offered a very plausible and legitimate explanation for an easily tipped-over cup of hot coffee. This was all information that the Defense would not want a jury to hear.

Lost for 28 Years,
World War II Artifacts are Found

The steel helmet and personal scrapbook of the U.S. Army's legendary WWII artillery commander, the late Colonel Frederic Brown, was donated by his son around 1983 to the 3rd Armored Division Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, the largest such military museum in Europe at the time. But with the end of the Cold War, the Division was inactivated or retired in 1992 and the Museum closed down, with its holdings scattered to multiple destinations both in Europe and the U.S. After several years of trying, the Colonel's son, who had risen to the rank of 3-Star General and had considerable clout, had given up trying to find out where the helmet and scrapbook had gone. That loss had haunted him for years, and right up to the year 2010, when General Brown, then retired, was invited to be the main speaker at the final reunion of the 3rd Armored Division WWII Veterans Association in Columbus, GA. Two months before the reunion, Damon Data accepted the mission of trying to locate the helmet and scrapbook, as hopefully a surprise "gift" for General Brown. Research began by way of the Internet, e-mails, and phone. The bureaucracies of the Army's history and museum administrations (in Germany and U.S.) were probed until finally a solid lead was developed, pointing to the Gen. George Patton Museum at Fort Knox, KY, as a likely location. Damon Data contacted that museum's curator, who discovered the scrapbook on a shelf in the rare documents¬Ě room. The helmet was then found in a storage box in the museum's basement where it had been since 1992. The curator sent Damon Data photos of the helmet and his personal guarantee that the items, which were to remain Army museum property, would be transferred to Ft. Benning, GA, for inclusion with the holdings of the future new National Armor Museum. The surprise for General Brown at the reunion's main banquet in 2010 was complete. Before an applauding audience, he was overjoyed.


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