Construction Expert Witness Testimony Not Allowed in Chinese Drywall Litigation

Summary: Construction Expert Witness testimony excluded because the court ruled that the expert cannot state that the Chinese drywall caused the plaintiffs’ injuries

Facts: This case (Fozard et al v. Knauf Gips KG et al – United States District Court – Southern District of Mississippi – May 13th, 2024) involves a products liability and personal injury claim.  The plaintiffs, David and Candace Fozard, allege that they discovered that their home, which they purchased in March 2015, contained Chinese drywall in 2017.   They allege that the drywall caused damage to their home as well as injuries to their bodies.  In order to prove their case, the plaintiffs hired Construction Expert Witness Howard Ehrsam to provide expert witness testimony.  The defendants filed a motion to exclude this expert witness testimony.

Discussion:  The defendants claim that Ehrsam’s expert witness testimony should excluded as unreliable because he did not individually inspect the plaintiff’s property, he admitted that other factors could have caused the corrosion, and he cannot state for certainty that the Chinese drywall damaged the plaintiff’s home.

The court ruled that Ehrsam cannot state that the Chinese drywall caused the plaintiff’s injuries.  In addition, the court stated that Ehrsam’s testimony should be excluded because it is not relevant in determining the defendant’s liability and would confuse the jury.

Also, the court states that Ehrsam cannot apply his methodology without inspecting the defendant’s property, which he hadn’t done.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness testimony of Howard Ehrsam is granted.