Another important consideration is whether the association is going to be willing to hire and pay for the qualified experts necessary to win the case. You can have a great case, but if you have the wrong expert, it can quickly turn into a disaster. The best way to avoid this problem is for counsel to give the client a thorough and honest estimate of what the case will cost and what the timing of the case will likely be. What does counsel base this assessment on?
Many lawyers file suit based upon transition engineering reports. These reports are often perfunctory, and were done just to give the association a general idea of what issues might be of concern. Many explicitly state that no invasive testing was done and that additional investigations are needed.
We like to get as much engineering work done as possible before the complaint is filed, so that we have a good understanding of the strengths of the case. For that reason, we prefer to hire experts who we will rely upon at trial to do a thorough investigation of whatever defects have been identified or are suspected. These investigations involve extensive test cuts and as many photos as are needed to properly document conditions. They can take weeks to complete and can result in extensive reports that cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. Counsel has to use good judgment on a case-by-case basis to guide the client as to what level of engineering work is needed or appropriate before the complaint is filed.. Generally, the more complex the issues, the more detailed the investigation will have to be. For example, if the case involves roof claims on 45 buildings, a decision has to be made as to whether you are going to have your experts test all 45 buildings or try to test just a representative sample. If you have issues relating to deficient installation of fire suppression systems because the wrong anti-freeze was put into the CPVC pipes, causing damage from environmental stress cracks, a careful analysis will need to be mdeas to what type of experts you need. Depensding upon your proofs, if you do not havw busrt pipes yet, you may needd to hire an expert who is a chemist and hwo can tetsify about environmental stress cracks and how they can or will cause consequential damage in the near future. The list of possible examples is limitless. The pijnt is that close consultation between the clients, counsel and the experts is obviously needed in making this judgment.