Technical Expertise in Litigation

Nick Harney
Faithful+Gould recently provided expert witness services on two major disputes in the Infrastructure sector.

The first case involved a dispute between a major program management firm and a local municipality in southern Florida. The second case involved a dispute between a local water agency and a leading construction company in Orange County, California.

The case in southern Florida resulted during the execution of a multi-million dollar re-sewerage program:

  • The program required removal of septic tanks from more than 1,000 properties and upgrade of existing storm water sewer systems.
  • One of the program’s principal contractors encountered technical difficulties controlling groundwater flows, which can be significant in southern Florida.
  • The contractor subsequently faced financial losses and filed a lawsuit against several parties to the contract, including the program management firm. The contractor claimed that the work specifications were unclear and that the design of the sewers was not buildable.
  • The plaintiff further argued that ground conditions could not have been anticipated and that the program manager was to assume responsibility for an allegedly faulty design.
  • Faithful+Gould acted as an expert witness (including expert testimony) on this case, providing professional opinion on whether the program manager had met the required standard of care within the context of this program.

In Orange County, the legal dispute on a major program for infrastructure work on a residential development resulted in a lawsuit between the owner and the principal contractor for the works:

  • The work had been bid under a unit rate contract following a standard set of specifications issued by the local water agency. The construction company was awarded the contract and began working on the project the same year.
  • In between the project award and the contract start date, the water agency issued a revised set of specifications.
  • As a result of the change in specifications, the construction company alleged that it incurred substantial increases in costs in respect of both time and materials, which it was looking to recover from the owner.

Our expert witness services covered determination of the implications of the changes in specifications involving:

  • The water system valve assemblies and the substantiation of additional costs incurred by the contractor to install the revised assemblies.
  • The jointing requirements of the water system piping and the substantiation of additional costs incurred by the contractor to install mechanical joints as opposed to push-fit joints.
  • Our deliverable entailed an expert report based upon our findings.

In both contractual disputes, our team was able to use several decades of specialized infrastructure knowledge combined with extensive construction litigation experience to successfully analyze pertinent data and convincingly advocate the conclusions to our clients’ advantage.