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'Similar Practice Area' Casts A Wide Net Over Specialized Engineer's Work

Tuesday, July 05, 2011 07:42 am


Defective Design

Howe-Baker Engineers, Ltd. and CB&I, Inc. v. Enterprise Products Operating, LLC, 2011 Tex. App. Lexis 3237 (Apr. 29, 2011)

An engineering expert's general--but extensive-- experience was authoritative enough to evaluate the performance of a more specialized engineer's work.

Howe-Baker Engineers, Ltd. (Howe-Baker) and Chicago Bridge & Iron, Inc. (CB&I) attempted to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Enterprise Products Operating, L.L.C. (Enterprise), which sought to recover damages, overpayment and additional out-of-pocket construction costs. Enterprise hired Howe-Baker for engineering design, procurement, construction management and construction services to build two gas-processing plants in Wyoming and Colorado.

Charging Howe-Baker and CB&I with professional negligence, among other things, Enterprise filed a certificate of merit (in the form of an engineer's affidavit) describing Howe-Baker's deficiencies.

Howe-Baker argued that the certificate failed to comply with Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which requires that the affiant--here, Harmon L. Kirkpatrick, P.E. (Kirkpatrick)--practice in "the same area of practice" as Howe-Baker.

Specifically, the appellants argued that Kirkpatrick's affidavit failed to establi [...]

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