Exceeding the Bounds of Expert Reason and Credibility – Case Studies

March 1, 2021
By Lonnie Haughton

In construction defects litigation, opposing parties often present widely divergent assessments of the nature, cause, and extent of purported deficiencies. Such conflicting presentations may well be founded on reasonable analyses by impartial experts who simply have honestly differing perspectives of the underlying facts and logic of the case. Alternatively, some consultants simply may not truly understand the issues being litigated.

However, as demonstrated with the following “case studies,” there are building enclosure experts (plaintiff and defense) who willingly advocate findings that exceed the bounds of honest reason and basic credibility. Often, these egregious advocates misuse traditional statistical analysis or the qualitative sampling precepts of industry standard ASTM E2128, Standard Guide for Evaluating Water Leakage of Building Walls.1

Case Study 1 – Phoenix, AZ

Consider a 50-building apartment complex in Arizona where, at 200 second-floor entry landings (Figure 1), improperly attached and terminated metal flashings (Figure 2) provided multiple routes (Figures 3 and 4) for damaging rainwater migration down to the stucco-wrapped engineered wood beams supporting these stair landings. As seen at all 200 of these beams, evidence (for example, staining and efflorescence per Figure 1) of trapped moisture and underlying damage (Figures 5 and 6) could be readily seen at the wrapped stucco.2

As this case slowly proceeded through state and federal litigation processes, AVELAR personnel testified that these conditions compromised these buildings’ minimum expected “service life”3 in violation of applicable building codes, industry standards, the contracted project specifications, and the permitted architectural drawings. In contrast, opposing… [Download PDF of “Exceeding the Bounds of Expert Reason and Credibility – Case Studies” by Lonnie Haughton.]