When a building or structure is under investigation and fault is alleged, experts in the structural engineering field are sought out to offer credible information to the case. MHP utilizes 120+ years of combined professional experience in this field to help parties determine the cause(s) of and correction(s) for structural and construction problems including failure analysis, construction defect issues, and design problems. MHP’s legal experts pro-actively work with attorneys, arbiters and/or mediators in cases to assess the issues involved, assist in assigning responsibility to the parties involved and to help achieve an expedient and fair resolution.
Experts at MHP have represented and acted on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving such diverse issues as:
- Failures of large, tall structures under extreme wind loading
- Damages to and failures of structures under seismic loading
- Steel frame connection failures
- Failures of structures under snow and ice loading
- Industrial floor slab construction and failures
- Residential and Multi-Family construction defect issues
- Condominium / Apartment conversion construction and maintenance issues
- The "standard of care" for professional design consultants
Strategically, expert and forensic work is limited to 5 to 10% of the overall volume of work commissioned for the firm. The majority of the work at MHP will always be concentrated with structural design and seismic risk analysis of the performance of buildings and structures. It is through this work that experience is gained as is the ability to contribute to the cases. In this manner, the objectivity of analysis and testimony will always be protected as well as the quantity and quality of experience achieved and maintained that is essential to accurately opine on the issues involved.
Other Partners of MHP join Garry with specialized knowledge and expertise in the following areas:
- Structural Engineering Standard of Professional Care issues
- Issues involving Design and Construction with Structural Steel
- Structural Steel Connection issues
- Structural Damage to Buildings because of Terrorist Bombings and Blast
- Progressive Collapse of Buildings
- Earthquake Damage and Seismic Risk Issues
- Developing computer models to assess performance issues and predict failure modes
FORENSIC CASE STUDY
*Due to confidentiality, the following case study is generic and typical of the cases handled by MHP
Construction Defect Attorney
CHALLENGES AND NEEDS
Thousand of projects are designed and constructed each year. Of these projects, a small percentage leaves victims of design errors and omissions, construction irregularities, or unrealistic owner expectations.
SCOPE OF SERVICE
In the decision process as to whether or not to proceed in an “expert” capacity with a project under litigation, the following questions must be answered affirmatively by an MHP expert:
- I don’t have any personal or professional relationships with the parties in the litigation that would or would be perceived to influence my opinions on the issues.
- I have recognized experience in dealing with the issues that are likely to be important in this litigation.
- I will be allowed and able to function as an “expert” and not expected to be an “advocate”.
- I will be compensated for my time regardless of the outcome of the litigation.
- I will not be expected to testify in areas outside of my specialized expertise.
Upon selection, the engineer becomes familiar with the issues involved. This process starts by accumulating knowledge of the issues obtained through site visits and document review, including depositions by other parties, plans, correspondence, legal filings, etc. If the issues involve construction and/or design deficiencies, the process continues with the preparation of “scope of repair” plans and specifications that will assist in finding appropriate solutions. These technical documents should be sufficiently complete so that a “probable construction cost” can be assigned to them.
The process continues through exchanges of information that can further the resolution process. These exchanges include meetings, depositions, mediations, and if unsuccessful, trial or arbitration testimony.
SCOPE OF SOLUTION
The steps outlined above will, in most cases, lead to resolution in one of the following manners:
- An “out of court settlement” which resolves the issues while, at the same time, minimizing legal and expert expenses.
- A “win/win” settlement arrived at through mediation between the parties.
- A “win/lose” resolution arrived at through an, anything but, “speedy” trial process”.