Construction Expert Witness Allowed in Part

Plaintiff sued defendant related to bids on two construction projects.  Plaintiff hired a Construction Expert Witness to provide testimony.  The defendant filed a motion to exclude which was partially granted and partially denied.

Facts: This case (S.J. Louis Construction of Texas, Ltd. v. City of Baton Rouge – United States District Court – Middle District of Louisiana – May 16th, 2018) involves two public works contracts related to sewer upgrade construction projects.  The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants for breach of contract, breach of warranties, breach of good faith and fair dealing, and others.  The plaintiff hired Construction Expert Witnesses Robert Lindquist to provide testimony on their behalf.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Lindquist.

Discussion:  The defendant argues that Lindquist does not have the qualifications to proffer an opinion about bidder expectations and bid reasonableness because he doesn’t have any experience in sanitary sewer pipe installation in Louisiana.  In addition, the defendant alleges that Linquist does not have any experience in the local construction industry and is not familiar with the geological elements  in the Baton Rouge area.  The plaintiff counters by stating that Lindquist’s limited construction experience is immaterial to his testimony.  The plaintiff continues that they are not proffering a Lindquist as an expert in engineering, but one in bid estimates for construction projects.  The plaintiffs continue by stating that Lindquist is qualified based on his more than forty years  of practical experience in the construction industry.

The court agrees with the plaintiff in this part of the case by pointing to his over forty years of experience in the construction industry as well as his education.  In addition, Lindquist held professional engineering licenses in four states and has been responsible for estimating over 3,000 projects.  Thus, the court rules that Lindquist is qualified to provide expert testimony in this case.

The defendant also argues that Lindquist’s opinions about the reasonableness of the plaintiff’s bids and expectations are subjective and not based on scientific or technical methods.  The court agrees with the plaintiff by stating that even though Lindquist does not rely on scientific methods, he can still be an expert witness because of his experience in the construction industry.  The court continued by stating that any arguments related to this issue go to the weight of the evidence, not their admissibility.

Also, the defendant alleges that Lindquist’s testimony is not relevant and will not assist the trier of fact, but this argument was declined by the court as well.

The one part of the motion in which the court agreed with the defendant is when they seek to prevent Lindquist from providing an opinion regarding the reasonableness of a damage analysis.  The court rules that Lindquist may not provide an opinion on this issue.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Robert Lindquist is granted in part and denied in part