Builder Not Liable in Absence of Expert Testimony

Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter

Builders have a common law duty to construct in a workmanlike manner. In a recent case, the Court of Appeals for Montgomery County ruled that while it is not always necessary to present expert testimony to prove a builder's deviation from common standards of workmanship, such expert testimony was required in this case involving capping an oil pipe. The Court's decision relied largely on the fact that the jury would likely not have known whether the act complained of was unworkmanlike from its common knowledge or experience. Floyd v. United Home Improvement Ctr., Inc. (1997), 119 Ohio App. 3d 716.

This case means that claimants complaining of unworkmanlike construction should expect to hire an expert witness unless the alleged deviation is well known to average jurors and is not highly technical or scientific in nature.