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Jerome M. Staller, Statistician and Businessma​n, Dies at 62

September 18, 2008
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Jerome M. Staller, 62, a statistician whose business grew from a two-man operation to the successful organization it is today, died Aug. 1.

The Center for Forensic Economic Studies, which provides economic and statistical analyses to lawyers, was started by Staller and Bernard Siskin, his economics professor at Temple University, in 1980 when Staller was working as a senior economist for the U.S. Department of Labor.

They formed the center after they worked together to provide analysis of liability and damages issues on behalf of plaintiffs in a suit against Operating Engineers Local 452, claiming discriminatory hiring practices. The suit was successful.

One of the center's high-profile cases was the civil suit filed by the estate of NBC anchorwoman Jessica Savitch over her drowning death in 1983, when the car in which she and a friend were riding plunged into a canal in New Hope.

Staller's firm produced the data that led to an $8 million settlement of the suit in 1988 -- by putting a value on Savitch's life.

The question Staller and his firm needed to answer was what Savitch's future earnings would have amounted to. She was 36 at the time and had a $500,000 contract with NBC.

Her tax returns were examined and her check stubs studied to determine her spending habits. A mock jury trial was assembled to get an idea of what a real jury might decide.

Staller was a native Philadelphian and graduated from Central High School in 1963. He earned his bachelor's and doctorate degrees in economics from Temple University.

He taught in an adjunct status at Temple's James E. Beasley School of Law, donating his salary to the school's scholarship fund. He also lectured annually at Villanova University School of Law.

His book, What Are the Chances?: Risks, Odds and Likelihood in Everyday Life, written with Bernard Siskin and David Rorvik, was published by Crown Publishing in 1989 and became a best seller.

Staller is survived by his mother, Irene; daughter Shara Rich; son Chad Staller; sister Andrea Zeises; and two grandchildren.

Contributions in his memory may be made to: Gift of Life Donor, 401 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214.

 

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