7th Annual Intermountain Construction Defect & Dispute Conference


October 15, 2021

Conference Agenda

10:00—11:00 AM

Trial by Fire…Er…Zoom: How Not to Get Burned

Coreen Wilson | Wieck Wilson and Noah Wick | Trial Exhibits, Inc.


11:05 AM—12:05 PM

Soils 101

Curt Peterson | Peterson Geotechnical Group


12:05—1:00 PM     Lunch


1:00—2:00 PM

Streamlining Widespread Catastrophic Structure Claims

John Link | Advise & Consult, Inc.


 2:05—2:35 PM

What Public Adjusters Contribute to the Claims Process

Tavisha Grant | Property Claim Adjusters


2:40—3:10 PM

Mock Appraisal and Appraisal 101

Jim Ortenstone | Independent Estimator and Eugene Peterson | Advise & Consult, Inc.


3:15—4:15 PM

Deconstructing Construction Bankruptcy

Knute Rife | Rife Legal




Course Description and Faculty Bios

Coreen Wilson and Noah Wick – Trial by Fire…Er…Zoom: How Not to Get Burned

  • Best practices in trial preparation and witness preparation
  • Remote jury selection
  • Technology devices, tools, and visuals
  • Remote trial concerns and how to address them
  • Differences to consider when presenting in person versus online
  • Capturing and maintaining attention online
  • The future of online litigation


Coreen Wilson is a civil trial lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in the courtroom.  She has tried more than forty cases and has litigated thousands more.  Coreen Wilson has been a NITA instructor since 2008, has published a number of articles is a variety of legal journals, and has presented at various continuing legal education seminars.  She has been recognized as one of the Top Attorneys in Washington State by Seattle Met Magazine and was named a Rising Star by Washington Law & Politics Magazine.  She is a member of American Mensa and is highly regarded for her strategic approach to trial advocacy, which has brought much success in the courtroom.

Noah Wick, M.A. is the National Director of Litigation Consulting at Trial Exhibits, Inc. with over 15 years of trial consulting experience. He has consulted in over 5,000 litigation mattes nationwide from filing of complaints, mediations, arbitrations, private trials, bench trials and jury trials. Noah advises trial teams on theme development, visual strategy and impression management through creating demonstratives, medical illustrations, animations and trial support, running trial presentation software.

Noah has a Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication and Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University focused on communications and impression management. He served for eight years (2003-2011) with the 141st Medical-Dental Group in the U.S. Air Force. Noah is the Immediate Past President of the Washington Health Care Risk Management Society (State Chapter of ASHRM). He is a board member of the Online Courtroom Project and a leading national speaker on Hybrid and Remote Jury Trials, having consulted in over 35 trials in both State and Federal Court during the Covid-19 pandemic, including the First Zoom Jury Trial in King County Superior Court, Seattle, WA.


Curt Peterson – Soils 101

Attorneys often get hired to represent clients that are dealing with structures experiencing soil movement and resultant damage.  The purpose of this presentation will be to provide a “Soils 101” course to help understand basic soil principles.  Soils reports will also be reviewed including basic soil problems identified in soils reports and how they are addressed.  The final portion of the presentation will focus on case histories where soils issues were either not properly identified, where the soils report was not followed, or where other errors occurred during or after construction.   

Mr. Peterson has over 25 years of experience in the field of Civil Engineering and is the Principal Engineer at Peterson Geotechnical Group, LLC.  Mr. Peterson has designed, drafted, and surveyed subdivisions, roadways, utility lines, and commercial and retail site improvements. Mr. Peterson has also worked with the Town Engineer for Elk Ridge and Woodland Hills, Utah, reviewing plans and performing engineering inspections for proposed developments within each community. As a Geotechnical Engineer, Mr. Peterson’s experience includes: public works projects such as airports, pipelines, roadways, bridges, educational facilities, sewer stations, and pump stations; private developments including residential homes, hospitals, commercial buildings, parking garages, bridges, roadways retail buildings, parking lots and power plants; and forensic projects including custom homes, numerous residential subdivisions, hospitals, roadways, commercial and retail buildings, underground parking structures, sewer lift stations, parking lots, roadways, utility lines, and differing site conditions claims. As the Principal Engineer for Peterson Geotechnical Group, Mr. Peterson’s duties and experience has included coordinating forensic geotechnical investigations, overseeing and monitoring field sampling and testing activities, providing expert services including deposition and trial testimony and mediation attendance on construction defect lawsuits. During Mr. Peterson’s career, he has personally visited thousand of structures in a forensic capacity in order to evaluate soil, pavement, concrete, and/or drainage related issues. He has also provided recommendations and overseen repairs at hundreds of projects.


John Link – Streamlining Widespread Catastrophic Structure Claims

Demonstrate several methods for determining total loss structure value and the problems they present.

The problems with obtaining the information for determining the value of total loss.

Demonstrate a better method for gathering information from grief stricken clients.

Demonstrate how to accurately adjust structure values with market conditions relating to wide spread catastrophic claims

John Link- Construction Expert Witness

John has been a licensed builder, remodeler, and restoration contractor for over 30 years. His former businesses performed work thorough out the US with over 200 employees. His company was one of the only ISO certified restoration companies in the United States, which allowed direct contracts with large corporations. He also developed an industry 1st in the contents restoration services by standardizing the contents remediation process for several insurance providers and third party administrators. Throughout his career he has consulted with numerous companies to implement scalable growth and sales strategies. He has served as an expert witness for over 25 years. He has produced many CE classes, speaks publically, and provides industry training.  

Since the start of his business career, one of John’s main focuses has been how to effectively run and scale a business. With this focus, John has put together a comprehensive business administrative package. It provides start to finish protocol with over 300 critical documents covering the 4 main areas of business: personnel, project management, accounting, and file management. It also contains marketing sales strategies including educational classes that are industry specific. The package has been designed and implement to be highly adaptable to various businesses. This kind of organization and detailed business focus is what help his company become one of the only ISO Certified restoration companies in America.


Tavisha Grant – What Public Adjusters Contribute to the Claims Process


  1. What is a Public Adjuster
  2. Difference between “good” and “bad” public adjusters
  3. How PA’s are compensated
  4. Brief Overview of Utah Public Adjuster laws


  1. Accurately Determine the Value of a Loss
  2. Assist with Policy Provisions not Normally Handled by a Contractor
  3. Review the Insurance Policy to Determine All Pertinent Coverages
  4. Bring in Experts to Provide a Third-Party Opinion Supporting the Claim
  5. Document Instances of the Carrier Committing Unfair Claim Settlement Practices


  1. Demanding Appraisal
  2. Referring Policyholder to an Insurance Attorney


               Liberty Mutual Water Damage Claim


  1. Reiterate the Value a Good Public Adjuster can Add to a Claim
  2. The Value of Appraisal When Negotiations Break Down

With 25+ years of experience in the insurance/claims sector, Tavisha brings a unique perspective to her role as a Public Adjuster. Her goal is to bring accuracy to every claim she is involved with – starting from review of the policy to determine where coverage exists, then to accurately estimate all damages and, finally, to negotiate a fair and equitable settlement within the timelines outlined by state statute.

Her objective is to honestly evaluate property damage, and fight for every legitimate item in an estimate to be paid. She is tenacious and persistent in her fight for policyholders to be properly indemnified by their insurance company.


Jim Ortenstone and Eugene Peterson – Mock Appraisal and Appraisal 101


  1. What is Appraisal?
  2. What is an Appraiser?
  3. What is an Umpire?
  4. How are Appraisers and Umpires Compensated?




  1. Doesn’t Have to Follow Carrier Guidelines
  2. Can Devote Sufficient Time to Evaluate the Loss
  3. Much Quicker than Litigation
  4. Less Expensive than Litigation




Curriculum Vitae of Jim Ortenstone

Professional Experience

Independent Estimator-Expert Witness-Appraiser-Umpire – August 2013 to Present

Estimator – Appraiser – Umpire

Estimator for Public Adjusting firms, attorneys, and property owners and Insurance companies. Perform loss/site inspections, evaluate damage, and write estimates in Xactimate. Perform services as an expert witness, appraiser and umpire.

Nationwide Construction Services, LLC – August 2013 to January 2015

Managing Partner

A general contracting and consulting business specializing in insurance repairs. Numerous new builds, fire, water restoration, and roofing. Perform services as an appraiser and umpire for Public Adjusters and insured parties.

TM Services, LLC – January 2012 to August 2013

Managing Partner

Provide consulting, project management, reconstruction services, loss statements, damage evaluations for a variety of insurance losses on commercial and residential assignments. Perform services as an appraiser and umpire for Public Adjusters and insured parties.

Canopy Construction – January 2011 to December 2011

General Manager

Provide support and expertise to create large scale sales team to work the October 5, 2010 Phoenix hail storm.

Custom Construction Services – June 2003 to December 2010


A general contracting and consulting business that provided catastrophe site consulting, scope and estimating, and project management on commercial, industrial and residential projects. Responsible for the management of large projects and both aspects of appraisal services. Full service company managing large loss construction projects from the 2004, 2005, 2008 hurricane seasons, fires and tornados throughout the gulf coast and Midwest.

Patrick Construction Services – December 1999 to May 2002

Managing Director

Supervised all marketing, estimating, office and construction staff. Responsible for all aspects of construction, including estimating, project management and project coordination. New construction, insurance reconstruction and tenant build outs. Perform services as an appraiser and umpire for Public Adjusters and insured parties.

Various Energy Companies – June 1982 to November 1999

Senior Management positions with various Energy companies

Industry Experience

 Training in water damage, mitigation, restoration, roofing

 Court Appointed Umpire

 CPO Certified

 Numerous construction training certifications

 Xactimate

 Expert Witness

 Appraiser

 Umpire

 OSHA 10


Eugene Peterson – Expert Witness & Xactimate Trainer

A homebuilder, remodeler and restoration contractor for over 35 years, Mr. Peterson now provides expert witness services, as well as consulting and mentoring to construction industry businesses, such as cabinet manufacturers, general contractors, restoration and mitigation companies, across the United States and Canada. He helps business owners create and sustain a competitive advantage. He has served as an expert witness in over 300 cases and continues to provide litigation support and consult in areas of construction failures, contractual disputes, insurance claim disputes and estimates – particularly those involving Xactimate™. Other services that Mr. Peterson also provides include insurance appraisal, mitigation and umpire services.

He was a personal consultant and advisor to James Loveland, previous owner of Xactware™, Inc. and was a one of their first certified trainers to teach Xactimate™, which markets estimating software for insurance companies and mitigation and remodeling companies. He teaches and supports Xactimate™ to all levels of users all across the United States. He is continuously in demand and is called to perform expert witness duties for Xactimate™ related cases for both the plaintiff and defense sides. His expertise has been invaluable in numerous cases and has saved his clients millions of dollars.

Mr. Peterson is also a popular lecturer since 1985 and has been privileged to be speaker at Journal of Light Construction conventions, Remodelers Shows, National Association of Home Builders’ Conventions, Southern Builders’ Conference, Pacific Coast Builders Conference, Western Remodelers Conferences, Disaster Cleanup International Conferences, Disaster Restorers Canada , Disaster Restoration Contractor’s Conference & Trade Show, Remodeling Magazine’s Big 50, First General Services Annual Convention, Remodeling Leadership Conferences, Utah Builders Conferences, Gathering of Eagles, ASCR Conference (Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Repair), IMACC (Independent Mitigation and Cleaning/Conservation), Connections, and others.


Knute Rife – Deconstructing Construction Bankruptcy

  1. Lien/Bond Claims
  • Importance of being a secured creditor in bankruptcy;
  • Procedures for perfecting claims;
  • Procedures for enforcing claims, and potential traps for the unwary

        2)    The New Subchapter V of Chapter 11 for Small Businesses

  • Why it was required
  • Special rules and requirements
  • How it differs from a regular Chapter 11

Knute Rife, the lead attorney at Rife Law Office, has over a quarter-century of experience representing individuals, businesses, and local governments.  He is a former county and city attorney and is licensed in Utah and Washington.


Cancellation Policy:

If you are not able to attend a conference you have registered for you will need to notify us prior to 14 days before the conference and will receive a full refund.  Cancellations received after this deadline will be considered a no show and no refund will be issued.  A substitute may be enrolled in your place any time prior to the event.

Financial Aid Policy:

One of our main goals in providing these conferences is to raise the level of knowledge about construction defects and insurance disputes.  If you are interested in increasing your understanding of these topics through one of our conferences, yet are unable to afford registration fees can apply for either a full  or partial discount.  Please send an email to Jeff Childs at jeff@adviseandconsult.net and explain why you are deserving of either a full or partial discount.  All requests must be submitted 14 days prior to the event you desire to attend.

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