H+A is Hiring: Mechanical Engineering Associate


Dynamic consulting firm in Oregon seeks a highly–motivated engineer for a national litigation practice focused on injury biomechanics. The successful candidate will support a portfolio of cases involving injuries from motor vehicle collisions, falls, workplace incidents, defective products, sports activities and criminal matters. Our goal is to attract, mentor and keep a bright, high-achieving professional who aspires to a successful career as a testifying expert in injury biomechanics.


  • Collaborative review of case facts, injuries and witness testimony

  • Engineering analyses using both fundamental physics and software for modeling motor vehicle collisions, human body dynamics and 3-D reconstruction of scenes

  • Compare force predictions to injury thresholds and form opinions on injury causation

  • Manage cases and case portfolios with strict deadlines and budget controls

  • Produce reports and trial exhibits that are accurate, compelling and understandable

  • Publish papers in technical journals and present findings at conferences

  • Over time, develop a client base, take shared testimony cases and then serve as sole testifying expert



  • MS or PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering or closely related field

  • Outstanding academic record in advanced engineering mechanics

  • Exceptional abilities in both written and oral English

  • Demonstrated success at modeling complex engineering systems

  • Biomechanics experience a plus, but not required; additional training available

  • Qualification as an Engineer in Training and then certification as a Professional Engineer


Salary, Benefits and Application

  • Minimum Salary of $80,000 for MS level candidates. More senior candidates can expect salary commensurate with education, training and experience.

  • Career advancement opportunities include Senior Associate and Partner status.

  • Full medical/dental/vision benefits and SEP retirement plan



  • To apply, please email or mail your resume and cover letter (include the names and contact information for three references) to:


Melissa Maloney
Hayes+Associates, Inc.
2390 NW Kings Blvd.
Corvallis, OR 97330
Email: mam@hayesassoc.com

 (Click for a PDF of this announcement)

Hayes+Associates Inversion Table Injury Cases Emphasize Potential Catastrophic Risks of Popular Home Therapy for Low Back Pain


While Inversion Table therapy, a home treatment for low back pain, has its strong proponents, the scientific basis for its medical effectiveness is questionable. Moreover, our experience at Hayes+Associates (H+A) with cases involving Inversion Table injuries suggests that there are inherent, potentially catastrophic risks associated with use of these devices.

Inversion Table therapy involves suspending the user in a partial or fully upside-down position on a backward tilting platform. The user is attached to the platform by one of several mechanisms that are meant to secure the ankles.

Many who suffer from low back pain believe passionately in the benefits of inversion therapy. However, the scientific evidence for beneficial effects is strongly contested. The Harvard Medical School newsletter asserts: “Proponents claim that inversion table therapy not only relieves back pain but also improves posture, preserves height, increases flexibility, stimulates blood flow to the brain and scalp, corrects the position of abdominal organs, and relieves varicose veins,” but, the publication maintains, “none of these assertions has any scientific basis.” https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/do- inversion-tables-work

Inversion Table injuries we have analyzed at H+A include fracture-dislocation of the neck with quadriplegia, head injury, paraplegia and, in two cases, death, one by spinal cord injury and another by positional asphyxiation when the user, fully inverted, could not return the table to the upright position.

Two recent H+A cases, Chong v. STL Int’l and Fuit v. Elite Fitness, highlight one of the major problems associated with the use of these devices. In 2012, Jeanie Chong, age 49, inverted on her table as she had done without mishap twice daily for over a month. However, one day, in full inversion, the mechanism meant to secure her ankles malfunctioned and her feet slipped out of her shoes. As a result, she fell about two feet onto her head. In 2014, Richard Fuit, age 53, fell 8 or 9 inches onto his head when the ankle restraint on his Inversion Table failed, resulting in severe injuries to his neck and spine. Both incidents resulted in permanent paraplegia.

H+A Senior Engineer, Erik D. Power, PhD, analyzed the ankle mechanisms on Ms. Chong’s and Mr. Fuit’s Inversion Tables, identifying the unique design defects that led to each of their falls. In both cases, H+A President Wilson C. “Toby” Hayes, PhD, evaluated the biomechanics of the injuries that resulted, estimating the force of impact Ms. Chong and Mr. Fuit sustained. Based on the fundamental laws of physics, he concluded that both Plaintiffs’ catastrophic injuries were the direct result of design defects in the ankle restraint mechanisms. Both the Chong and Fuit cases settled prior to going to trial.

Recalls of inversion tables are legion, some of them voluntary and some mandated by the United States Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC). In many of the recalled tables, it is the ankle-restraining hardware that is at issue. In some cases, manufacturers offer free replacement apparatus to more reliably restrain the user’s feet. In others, owners are advised to discontinue use and a refund is offered. In all cases, consumers are warned to stop using the defective machines.

Recently, some Owner’s Manuals for Inversion Tables noted that 100% inversion is unnecessary for full benefit from the machine. One such manual asserts that users “can gain all the benefits of inversion without ever inverting beyond 60 degrees.”

Such statements comport with H+A analysis. In their Fuit report, Power and Hayes noted: “For inversion angles of 60° or less, the neck impact forces would be greatly reduced in the event of a device failure. Also, at non-vertical angles, the head would be likely to slide along the floor, thus allowing the neck to ‘escape’ the [full inversion] compressive forces generated as the torso crushes down on the neck.”

Hayes+Associates, Inc. (http://www.hayesassoc.com) is an expert witness and consulting firm, based in Corvallis, OR. The company brings more than 75 years of collective experience in academic research, university teaching and forensic testimony to practice areas that include vehicle collisions, premises safety, slips and falls, products liability, worker safety, sports and recreation, patent litigation and criminal matters.

US District Judge Affirms Earlier $2.2 million Jury Verdict in Hayes+Associates-assisted Case of Injured Railway Conductor, Grants Additional $1 million in Post-Trial Decision

Montana, July 2015: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. (BSNF) conductor Zachary Wooten suffered a complex wrist injury resulting from a malfunctioning train door and subsequent fall. After filing a personal injury report, Wooten was unlawfully terminated by BNSF on September 29, 2015 in retaliation for his report of the on-the-job injury.

After BNSF refused to reinstate Wooten when ordered to do so by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Wooten brought action against BNSF alleging violations of the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), the Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA), and the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA). The OSHA damages amounted to approximately $65,000.

On November 5, 2018, after an eleven-day trial, the jury found that BNSF had not violated the LIA but had violated FELA and FRSA.  Analysis by Hayes+Associates Matt Soicher, PhD, and testimony delivered by H+A CEO Wilson C. “Toby” Hayes, PhD, contributed to the jury verdict:  Lost back wages and benefits, lost future wages and benefits, mental and emotional humiliation or pain and anguish and punitive damages, for a total award of  $2,171,156.

Read the full story of Hayes+Associates involvement in the Wooten v. BNSF case here: https://www.hayesassoc.com/news-full/2018/11/20/8xocy7y56gf0mt647k0vbl4gkyjutc

Shortly after trial, both parties filed post-trial motions, Wooten for attorney’s fees and expenses, and BNSF for a new trial. BNSF motions were denied in their entirety and Wooten’s motions were granted in part and denied in part. 

The federal judge in the post-trial hearing confirmed Wooten’s punitive damage request and BNSF was ordered to award Wooten an additional $1,038,854., for a total award of 3.2 million, the largest FRSA verdict in US History.

Wooten was represented through trial and post-trial proceedings by William G. Jungbauer, John D. Magnuson, and Christopher W. Bowman, all of YAEGER & JUNGBAUER BARRISTERS, PLC. (St. Paul, MN, yjblaw.com). YJB is a nationally recognized leader in railroad law, specializing in whistleblower discrimination cases. The three attorneys involved in Wooten v. BNSF were recognized by peer review in the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers.

Yaeger & Jungbauer point out on their website that “the $65,000 OSHA judgment, which then became a $2.17 million jury verdict, has now increased to more than $3.2 million that BNSF owes for its unlawful conduct…and the verdict represents the largest verdict under the strengthened FRSA whistleblower protections to date.”

This story may not be over.  BNSF has retained Jones Day, one of the largest law firms worldwide, to challenge both the jury’s verdict and the district court’s decision before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hayes+Associates, Inc. (http://www.hayesassoc.com) is an expert witness and consulting firm, based in Corvallis, OR.  The company brings more than 75 years of collective experience in academic research, university teaching and forensic testimony to practice areas that include vehicle collisions, premises safety, slips and falls, products liability, worker safety, sports and recreation, patent litigation and criminal matters.














Hayes+Associates Contributed to Settlement in 13-Year-Long Seat Belt Fatality Case Involving a Far-Reaching US Supreme Court Decision

1993 Mazda MPV van, Northbound SR-89 & 290 N Center, Orderville, UT (August 14, 2002)

1993 Mazda MPV van, Northbound SR-89 & 290 N Center, Orderville, UT (August 14, 2002)

Utah, 2002: A Jeep Wrangler towed by a motor home came loose and struck an oncoming 1993 Mazda MPV minivan head on.  Thanh Williamson, 32, seated in the rear center seat of the minivan, died as a result of abdominal injuries and internal bleeding sustained from the lap seat belt she wore.  Her husband and daughter, Ondi and Alexa Williamson, in the driver’s seat and rear side seat, wore lap-shoulder belts and survived the collision. Alexa, seated next to her mother, was seven.

In 2004, after reaching a settlement with the driver of the motor home, the Williamson family filed suit in California’s Orange County Superior Court accusing Mazda of negligence, product liability, and wrongful death. The suit claimed the automaker should have installed a lap-shoulder belt in Mrs. Williamson’s seat to restrain her upper torso in a frontal collision. Lawyers for the Plaintiff were David R. Lira, Thomas Girardi (LA, www.girardikeese.com), and Martin N. Buchanan (San Diego,  www.martinbuchanan.com).

The state trial court dismissed the action on the ground that it was preempted under the 1989 version of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 (FMVSS 208), which permitted auto manufacturers to choose whether to install lap belts OR lap-shoulder belts on rear inner seats such as the one Thanh Williamson had been using.  

In 2008, Williamson’s attorneys brought the case to the California Court of Appeal, which affirmed the Orange County Superior Court ruling, holding that the suit, if successful, would deprive auto manufacturers of the FMVSS 208 choice of which type of seat belt to install in rear inner seats.

In 2010, when the California Supreme Court declined to review the Court of Appeal decision, Williamson’s attorneys took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a friend-of-the-court brief, the Office of the Solicitor General said Williamson should be allowed to sue Mazda. During oral arguments, attorney William Jay, assistant to the Solicitor General, said Mazda complied with the federal minimum standard by installing a lap seat belt, but argued the automaker should not be exempted from the consequences of its seat belt choice under state common law.

In 2011, after hearing all arguments, on February 23, 2011 the US Supreme Court issued a decision unanimously reversing the suit’s dismissal, asserting the Williamson family could sue Mazda. The court determined that Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 does not preempt a state lawsuit that alleges a defective seat belt design.

In 2013, the case went back to California and then, at Mazda’s request, to Utah’s 6th District Court.  Utah attorney Richard D. Burbidge (www.burbidgemitchell.com) joined the Plaintiff’s representation and spent years preparing the case for trial.

In 2014, as the Williamson’s suit against Mazda went forward, Hayes+Associates, Inc, was retained on behalf of the family to provide biomechanical analysis of the incident and injury.  Based on that analysis, H+A CEO Wilson C. “Toby” Hayes, PhD, demonstrated at a 2017 hearing challenging the admissibility of his testimony, that the severe abdominal injuries that led to Thanh Williamson’s death resulted directly from concentrated restraint forces and the associated jack-knifing of her body over the lap belt. Analysis by former Senior Associate, Mark S. Erickson, now of Erickson Forensic (https://ericksonforensic.com/), and testimony by Dr. Hayes, concluded that if Thanh’s seat had been equipped with a lap-shoulder seat belt, her fatal abdominal injury would not have occurred.   Shortly after the hearing, the Court ruled that Dr. Hayes’ testimony was admissible and could be used at trial.

Shortly thereafter, a confidential settlement was reached before the case went to trial.

In November of 2017, Lira, Girardi, Buchanan and Burbidge were named 2017 California Consumer Attorneys of the Year in recognition of their successful 13-year pursuit of the landmark change in seat belt safety requirements.

Far-Reaching Effects of Williamson v. Mazda

In a 2018 interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, Ondi Williamson said, “When a loved one passes away, you want a legacy.  This is Thanh’s legacy, the Supreme Court decision.  A lot of people are protected because of our loss.”

(https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/01/15/how-a-utah-womans-car-crash-death-led-to-a-precedent-setting-us-supreme-court-decision-on-seat-belts-and-continuing-pain-for-her-family/ )

Hayes describes Williamson v. Mazda as “a decision of potentially sweeping import.” The case was instrumental in rewriting seat belt requirements that had previously allowed auto manufacturers to use dangerous restraint designs under the protection of Federal Standards.

David R. Lira, attorney for the Williamsons, notes that the “decision will likely reverberate in other areas of the law as well…(and)…could become important in a wide variety of other types of products liability cases involving federally regulated products.” (https://www.girardikeese.com/News-Media/Preempting-Preemption-An-Analysis-of-Williamson-v-Mazda-Motor-of-America-Inc.shtml )

Hayes+Associates, Inc. (http://www.hayesassoc.com) is an expert witness and consulting firm based in Corvallis, OR.  The company brings more than 75 years of collective experience in academic research, university teaching and forensic testimony to practice areas that include vehicle collisions, premises safety, slips and falls, products liability, worker safety, sports and recreation, patent litigation and criminal matters.




Hayes+Associates Sponsors JDRF Community One Walk To Help Find a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes


On Saturday, May 11, over 350 walkers of all ages gathered at the Crystal Lake Sports Field in Corvallis, OR for the 3rd Annual Walk for Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) to raise awareness and research funds to help create a world without type 1 diabetes.

 For the third consecutive year, Hayes+Associates, Inc., was one of the primary local sponsors of the event.  In addition, several H+A staff members were involved in the Community One Walk. Christine Snow, PhD, Professor Emeritus at Oregon State University and current Administrator at H+A, chaired the Walk and H+A Engineering Associates, Kristen Lipscomb and Matt Soicher, both served on the Planning Committee.

 The 5K walk blew past its $60,000 fundraising goal to gather pledges of over $75,000. Since its inception three years ago, the Corvallis Walk for T1D has raised over $225,000 for JDRF.

 JDRF, founded in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, is a global organization whose mission is to fund research to cure, prevent, and treat type 1 diabetes, a grave disease that affects millions of people of all ages, worldwide.  To date, the organization has funded more than $2 billion in research.

 “Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly,” the JDRF website explains. “It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle—and it's serious and stressful to manage as it requires daily insulin injections to survive. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D and there is currently no cure.”  The JDRF tagline is, “Let’s turn type one into type none.”

 Other Corvallis Community One Walk sponsors were: Hellig Misfeldt & Armstrong, PacificSource Health Plans, The Adams & Montgomery Family, Samaritan Health Services, the Hennessy Family, Schupp-Plemmons-Cook Wealth Management Group, Gaia Landscapes, North Point Dental Group, and Live Well Studio.

 If you missed the 2019 Community One Walk and would still like to make a tax deductible donation, you may visit the JDRF website donation page at (https://www2.jdrf.org/site/Donation2?idb=687849806&df_id=19973&19973.donation=form1&FR_ID=7678&mfc_pref=T&PROXY_ID=7678&PROXY_TYPE=21) or call the JDRF Oregon/SW Washington chapter at 503-643-1995.