We've arrived at a teaching moment in the long, ugly history of Tampa Bay Water v. HDR Engineering Inc., et al. Now that a jury has dispatched Tampa Bay Water's claims of defective reservoir design against HDR after four hours of deliberation, it's a good time to think back on critical decisions during the litigation. They show us that compromise often is the wisest course in the mangrove swamp of construction defects and jury trials.
Following a pre-trial conference in May 2009, when there was still a chance of heading off a trial, federal Judge James D. Whittemore set down deadlines for signing up expert witnesses. The experts were important because their testimony could determine for a jury the causes and the costs of the cracks in the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, which was completed in 2005.