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'Expert' Had Experience With A Company, Not An Industry

Friday, July 07, 2017 06:52 am


Negligence---Expert Testimony

Judds Brothers Constr. Co. v. Mersino Dewatering, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. Lexis 60367 (D. Neb. April 20, 2017)

To be credible, expert testimony must be more than one subcontractor (that performed successfully) telling another (that didn't) what it did wrong on the job.

Judds Brothers Construction Company (Judds Brothers) was the general contractor on a sewer relocation project in the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The work involved dewatering trenches for the sewer lines. When the first subcontractor hired for this task, Mersino Dewatering, Inc. (Mersino), failed to perform satisfactorily, Judds Brothers hired a replacement sub that successfully completed the work. Judds Brothers then sued Mersino for breach of contract, negligence, breach of implied and express warranties, and unjust enrichment. The contractor's expert, however, lacked the qualifications to present evidence regarding these claims.

Mersino initially tried to dewater, or pump out groundwater, by drilling wells to depths of 45 to 55 feet. When that didn't work, it installed a well-point system, which also failed. Then Griffin Dewatering (Griffin) stepped in and drilled wells to depths of 70 to 84 feet. Judds Brothers contended that Mersino "should have been aware---via readily-available information---that drilling deeper wells" would be more viable than the well-point system. It relied on David Gamerl, a Griffin employee, as an exp[...]

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