From: Roger Turk <73527.1356(--nospam--at)compuserve.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2001 23:55:15 -0500
You provided valuable information about the Aas case:
. > The Superior court in pre-trial agreed to exclude the list of structural
. > defects and known building code violations.
A jury can only consider that which is presented to them, and if actual
structural defects and known building code violations are not presented to
them, then they cannot make a decision in this regard.
If the HOA's attorney agreed to exclude these items, or did not vigorously
object to excluding them, then the result of the trial is predetermined as is
the outcome of any appeal based on the defects.
What the engineering profession and owners with construction defects need is
lawyers who are also engineers, who have a good understanding of engineering
and the law. The hardest part of any investigation is educating the lawyer
if the investigation leads to litigation. The worst results are when the
lawyer thinks that he/she knows everything, and only talks to the engineering
expert a week before the trial.
Many years ago, when I started doing investigations, there was a lawyer with
a large law firm who I think had an engineering education. His firm
typically represented insurance companies in defense of the policy holder and
on more than one occasion, he and I were opposite of one another. During
depositions, he had the technique of asking the engineering expert to
"explain that in a simple manner so that this dumb lawyer can understand
it." He was always cordial in his examination of witnesses and was a true
gentleman attorney. I had respect for him, and I believe that he had respect
for me as he referred several people to me.
A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)