Insurer's Attempt to Strike Experts in Collapse Case Fails

Businessman with hands on face as if worried

Attorney Tred R. Eyerly analyzes Hudon Specialty Ins. Co. v. Talex Enterprises, LLC.

February 3, 2020
Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The insurer's efforts to exclude two of the insured's experts in a collapse case were unsuccessful. Hudon Specialty Ins. Co. v. Talex Enterprises, LLC, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150148 (S.D. Miss. Sept. 4, 2019).

The insureds' building collapsed. The remaining portions of the building required immediate stabilization. The insureds hired Mr. Laird, an engineer, to prevent further property destruction. The insured designated Mr. Laird as a non-retained expert for trial. Mr. Laird's report claimed that the collapse was caused because the building had been re-roofed many times without removal of the degraded underlying roofing materials, thereby adding additional weight to the roof structure.

The insureds also designated Steve Cox as a non-retained expert. Mr. Cox was an architect who owned property neighboring the building that collapsed. He opined that the building collapsed because of the condition of very old mortar and not because of water standing on the building roof or because of roof repairs.

Hudson sought to strike these two experts because their opinions were inconsistent with the admitted facts. A document produced by the insureds stated that a large amount of rainwater had collected on the roof and the weight of the rainfall was the proximate cause of the collapse. Hudson claimed that this statement qualified as a judicial admission, removing the question of causation from contention. The court disagreed that the statement was a judicial admission because it did not form any part of the pleadings. The statement may have been an evidentiary admission that could be controverted or explained by the parties.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com



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