The U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina recently heard a case that arose out of the construction of a pipeline running from Kiawah Island to Johns Island (“the project”). Defendant Utility, the owner of the project, entered into a contract with Plaintiff to construct the pipeline. The project consisted of using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to bore an underground hole and then pulling pipe through the hole. During this process, the pipe got stuck in the borehole, and Plaintiff’s work was lost. As a result, Plaintiff had to drill a second borehole and install a new section of pipeline.
Plaintiff presented a claim for the lost work to Defendant to be submitted to its builder’s risk insurance carrier. Plaintiff argued that the contract required Defendant to obtain builder’s risk insurance and name Plaintiff as a loss payee. Defendant disputed this, but made the claim. Insurance coverage was the central theme of the action, and Defendant sought to exclude testimony of Plaintiff’s expert, an executive with a horizontally directionally drilling consulting firm.
The reason Defendant wanted to exclude this expert was that he was hired as a horizontal directional drilling specialist by the company conducting the coverage investigation in this dispute to investigate Plaintiff‘s workmanship. Plaintiff designated the expert as a non-retained expert. Plaintiff’s expert was deposed, and he planned to present his deposition testimony at trial.
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