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Design Engineering Failure


An insured had a grain system installed at their ranch. A company that supposedly had considerable experience in constructing such systems developed this grain storage and elevator system for the insured. Design engineering, construction, and installation of this new system was supposed to include the professional services and quality guarantee one would expect from an engineering firm, in addition to what regulatory bodies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), require of a structure.

System collapse

On an early spring day, the grain elevator portion of the system collapsed and caused damage to other parts of the system. The engineer tried to blame high winds on the cause of the grain elevator collapse but maximum winds of 50 mph were recorded and the grain system was constructed to withstand 70 mph winds. All of this happened while the installation company was dispatched to the insured’s ranch to repair a supposed cable that was broken and previously reported to the company.

Jury verdict

Keis George received the file only thirty-five days before the statute of limitations expired. Keis George collaborated with a Columbus, Ohio law firm to recover the insured’s loss with haste. We discovered the engineering company failed to design and construct the grain system within industry standards and regulations. The system was not constructed in a competent and skillful manner. We took the engineering company and the contractor to Court. During the discovery period, the installer, who did not have insurance, ceased doing business and had no assets to collect. Despite threats from the engineer’s insurance carrier that all work was excluded from coverage, and that it would file a declaratory judgment action if the jury found against its client, we proceeded to Trial. After a one-week trial, Keis George obtained a six-figure jury verdict for its client. The opposing carrier did not file the declaratory judgment action and did not appeal the verdict. To learn more about our construction defect experience, contact one of our subrogation attorneys.