A recent case filed in the Western District of Texas highlights the importance of retaining experts to assist in evaluating the cause of loss early in the claim process. In White Lodging Services Corporation et al v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company,1 a hotel development and management company filed suit against Liberty Mutual over a collapse claim that arose during the construction of a hotel. The policyholder had a builders’ risk insurance policy issued by Liberty Mutual.
Continue Reading Collapse Claim Highlights the Importance of Retaining Experts Early in the Claim Process

Missouri has adopted a new standard for expert witness testimony. The old standard was based upon a statute, while the new standard follows the Daubert1 standard. In Daubert, the United States Supreme Court held that the enactment of the Federal Rules of Evidence overturned the Frye2 standard which had been in place since 1923. Frye held that evidence could be admitted in court only if “the thing from which the deduction is made” is “sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in the particular field in which it belongs.” Thirty-nine other states and the federal government follow Daubert to determine whether expert witnesses may testify in court.
Continue Reading Missouri’s New Expert Witness Standard

As we enter a new year, FEMA has issued WYO Bulletin W-16091, “Guidance on the Use of Expert Services.”

The purpose of the memorandum is “to ensure transparent and consistent claims handling for all policyholders” and to provide “guidance on the use of services provided by subject-matter experts as part of specific claims investigations.”


Continue Reading FEMA Issues Bulletin on Use of Experts by WYO Carriers

In Illinois, the decision to whether to admit expert testimony falls within the sound discretion of the trial court. A person will be allowed to testify as an expert witness if:

  1. His or her experience and qualifications afford him or her knowledge that is not common to laypersons, and
  2. his or her testimony will aid the trier of fact in reaching its conclusions.

There is no predetermined formula for how an expert acquires specialized knowledge or experience, and the expert can gain such through practical experience, scientific study, education, training, or research. Formal academic training or specific degrees are not required to qualify a person as an expert; practical experience in a field may serve just as well as to qualify him or her. An expert need only have knowledge and experience beyond that of an average citizen. The burden of establishing the qualifications of an expert witness is on the proponent of his or her testimony.1


Continue Reading The Lack of an Illinois Engineering License Is Not a Bar To Expert Testimony in a Civil Case

A question lawyers representing insureds often must answer when preparing for trial in a first-party property insurance claim is, “In what capacity can I use the public adjuster as a witness?” In Pennsylvania, the Court of Common Pleas for Lycoming County has stated that a public adjuster on a contingent fee may not testify as an expert.


Continue Reading Public Adjusters on a Contingent Fee May Not Testify As Expert Witnesses in Pennsylvania

In most first-party property insurance disputes, experts are frequently required to provide opinions and testimony on the cost to repair a property. An insurance company will often seek to exclude an insured’s expert on the basis that the opinions are not reliable because the expert did not personally inspect the property.


Continue Reading Court Excludes Causation Expert Who Did Not Personally Inspect Property