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Contacting Ray Helmer, Inc.
 

Below is a brief synopsis of some cases for which Mr. Helmer has acted as a consultant or expert witness. Click on any of the categories below to review the cases.

Airport Runways and NAVAIDS Hurricanes, Tropical Storms, Tornados
Building Structures Sewer Systems
Construction Train/Automobile Accidents
Drainage and Storm Water Water - Plumbing Systems
Fire & Fire Protection Water - Sewage Utilities
Highways & Streets: Accidents  

Airport Runways and NAVAIDS

Aircraft Accident - Plane Ran off End of Runway
Engineering Consultant for plaintiff and his attorney in a case in which an airplane pilot ran off the end of a runway during an approaching storm. The plane impacted aircraft lighting and navigation aids (NAVAIDS) at the end of the runway. Both the plane and the lighting/NAVAIDS were damaged. Mr. Helmer's report will address whether the aircraft lighting and NAVAIDS were placed too close to the end of the runway, and whether poor drainage and unstable soils contributed to the accident and resulting damage.

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Building Structures

Condominium Foundation Failure
Expert witness to determine the cause of foundation failure and resulting structural damage in ten (10) of eighteen (18) condominium buildings in North Texas. The buildings are two-story with slab foundations on compacted fill and/or native soil. Some of the slabs have conventional steel reinforcing, while others are post-tensioned. Mr. Helmer's assignment was to determine whether the foundation failure was caused by expansion, contraction and settlement of subsurface soils; plumbing leaks; faulty construction; or a combination of these factors. Gave deposition.


Foundation Failure - Single Family Residences

Expert witness to determine the cause of foundation failure and resulting structural damage in eighteen (18) single family residences in South Texas. The homes are one story on fill and/or native soil. Mr. Helmer's assignment was to determine whether the foundation failure was caused by expansion, contraction and settlement of subsurface soils, use of substandard concrete for building slabs, use of substandard steel reinforcing in the concrete slabs, and/or other relevant factors. Prepared Engineering Report and testified in court.

Floor Slab and Foundation Damage to Warehouse
Consultant for the plaintiff, a developer/owner of a 94,000-square foot warehouse building, that has severe floor slab and foundation damage due to faulty construction. This is a multimillion dollar case in which the occupant of the warehouse building is a Fortune 10 company. Alleged faulty construction practices include the use of highly plastic soils for fill under the building, the lack of steel reinforcing bars or mats in the floor slab, inadequate drainage around the building, and numerous other improper design and construction practices.

Structural Damage due to Foundation Failure, Termites, Falling Utility Pole, Water, etc.
Consultant for the defendant (the insurance company) in a number of cases involving structural damage to a building resulting from foundation failure, termite infestation/rot, impact by a vehicle, impact by a falling utility pole, water intrusion, and similar causes.

Wall Failure
Consultant for the defendant (the insurance company) in a case in which the plaintiff alleged that the wall of a commercial building fell due to a windstorm. It was determined that the wall fell due to corrosion of devices securing the wall to the structural framework of the building.

Building Vibration
Consultant for the occupant (medical office) in a commercial building that was adversely affected by vibrations caused by another occupant of the building.

Office Building Accident
Consultant for plaintiff who sustained permanent injury when a file cabinet that she was loading with books and records fell on her. Investigated the accident site, viewed the file cabinet, made measurements of the unevenness of the floor, and prepared a report proving that the uneven floor caused the file cabinet to fall.


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Construction

Injury Resulting from Pedestrian Falling into Sewer Trench
Expert Witness for an excavating subcontractor and his attorney on project to replace deteriorated sewer lines under a structure. The subcontractor performed trenching outside the structure and tunneling under the structure, to enable the prime plumbing contractor to replace the sewer lines. A pedestrian fell in a trench and was severely injured. The pedestrian sued the contractor and subcontractor, claiming failure to cover and mark the trenches. Mr. Helmer's Engineering Report proved that his client, the excavating subcontractor, was not negligent. The case was settled favorably at Mediation on the basis of Mr. Helmer's Engineering Report.

Payment Dispute due to Alleged Project Mismanagement by Subcontractor
Engineering consultant for a milling (cold planing) subcontractor on state highway reconstruction project. The prime contractor refused to pay the subcontractor for a large part of its work. Reasons given were alleged excessive depth of milling, which required greater quantities of repaving materials than were intended, alleged project delays, alleged failure to perform prompt and complete cleanup, and other alleged deficiencies. The case is currently in progress.

Alleged Construction Fraud - Inflated Invoices
Engineering Consultant and Expert Witness for plaintiff (public agency) in litigation before Grand Jury. Plaintiff claims contractor invoiced for larger areas of construction than performed. Investigation and engineering report are currently in progress. Alleged fraudulent invoices total $22.4 million.

Injury to Flagman
Engineering Consultant and Expert Witness for case involving severe injury to a Flagman who was run over by a dump truck during asphalt cold planing (milling) operations. Mr. Helmer reviewed a large number of case documents. He gave his Deposition in 2003. His testimony focused on the cause of the accident, especially in regard to the Contractor's lack of Safety Training for workers engaged in cold planing.

Damage to Concrete Roads
Engineering Consultant for Contractor who damaged existing concrete roads at a large power plant by driving a heavy tracked crane over them. Owner of the power plant requests that the Contractor replace the damaged concrete pavements. Mr. Helmer inspected the damaged concrete roads and prepared an Engineering Report, which included estimated cost and procedures for replacement of the damaged pavements. This case is currently in progress.

Alleged Defects in Water Transmission Line
Engineering Consultant for a case in which a multi-county water authority sued a contractor for numerous deficiencies that occurred during construction of a water treatment plant and its large high-pressure water transmission line. The water system's maximum capacity is 12,000,000 gallons per day. The system provides retail water service in one county, and wholesale water service to five cities. The Engineering Report was prepared. It provided an expert opinion concerning a number of construction defects that occurred. Mr. Helmer testified in the Arbitration for this case, which occurred in 2003.

Alleged Asphalt Paving Deficiencies
Engineering Consultant for a case in a Western State in which the county is suing a contractor for deficiencies in asphalt paving of a number of miles of rural county road. Mr. Helmer's Engineering Report investigated the contractor's workmanship in regards to quality and suitability of the asphalt paving materials that were used, as well as the contractor's construction practices and equipment.

 

Rupture to Water Main
Expert witness for defendants (contractor and subcontractor) for case involving directional boring across a major highway to install a fiber optic cable. The directional boring rig impacted and ruptured a 48-inch water main, which is one of two public water sources for a city of 155,000 population. Damages alleged by the plaintiff (the city) included labor, material and equipment costs to repair the water main; lost water; additional electric charges for an extended period of time because they pay for electricity on a demand basis; and future repairs and/or replacement of the damaged 48-inch water main. Attended and participated in Mediation, which resulted in favorable settlement of the case.

Floor Slab and Foundation Damage to Warehouse
Consultant for the plaintiff, a developer/owner of a 94,000-square foot warehouse building that has severe floor slab and foundation damage due to faulty construction. This is a multi-million dollar case in which the occupant of the warehouse building is a Fortune 10 company. Alleged faulty construction practices include the use of highly plastic soils for fill under the building, the lack of steel reinforcing bars or mats in the floor slab, inadequate drainage around the building, and numerous other improper design and construction practices.

Damage to Twenty Residences by Contractor's Pavement Breaker
Consultant for attorney representing twenty plaintiffs whose homes were severely damaged by vibrations caused by a pavement breaker (guillotine.) The guillotine was being used by a contractor to remove pavement for improvement of an Interstate Highway adjacent to the twenty homes. This is a Class Action Lawsuit. Mr. Helmer reviewed documents for each of the twenty plaintiffs, including pleadings, counter pleadings, deposition, structural damage reports, and repair cost estimates.

Pavement Damage to County Road
Consultant for the plaintiff (a county) on a case in which a county road was severely damaged by a highway contractor which hauled a large number of truckloads of earth fill material over it. Reviewed case documents, inspected the highway, took photographs, analyzed the load-carrying capacity of the pavement of the highway in relation to loadings imposed by the large number of heavy trucks, and prepared a report containing conclusions and professional opinion.

Death of Highway Construction Worker
Consultant for plaintiff's attorney in case involving death of a highway construction worker. Plaintiff alleged defects in construction signing, pavement marking and other construction safety practices. Potential defendants were the construction contractor and the state highway department.

Pipeline Damage During Highway Construction
Expert witness for defendant, a natural gas transmission company, whose pipeline was damaged during excavation for a highway. A severe fire resulted, which destroyed a costly piece of construction equipment. Contractor alleged improper relocation of the pipeline. Pipeline company alleged improper construction practices by the contractor.

Injury from Falling Debris
Consultant for the plaintiff in a case involving injury to a resident that occurred when debris from blasting for a drainage ditch penetrated the roof of a residence nearby. Defendant was the county drainage district and its insurance company.

Injury to Motorist During Construction
Expert witness for co-defendants, construction contractor and county, for case in which motorist left pavement and ran down into ditch on left side of two-lane roadway while passing other vehicles. Plaintiff sustained severe injuries. Plaintiff alleged that traffic control devices and other safety measures during construction were inadequate. Gave deposition showing that traffic control devices and construction practices were, in fact, appropriate to the situation.


Drainage and Storm Water

Damage to Automobiles at Car Lot During Tropical Storm Allison
Engineering Consultant for attorney and insurance company to assess cause of flood damage to numerous automobiles at a New Car Dealer Lot in Houston, Texas, during Tropical Storm Allison in June, 2001. This case is currently in its early stages.

Flooding from Tropical Storm Allison
Engineering Consultant for owners of five homes that were damaged by flooding from Tropical Storm Allison in Houston, Texas during June, 2001. Reviewed case documents, made field inspection, took photographs, and prepared Engineering Report that analyzed whether or not flooding of the five homes resulted from downstream channel blockage that was caused by third parties.

Flooding in Housing Development
Engineering Consultant for a contractor who constructed utilities for a housing development adjacent to the rear of an existing housing development. The contractor's construction activities were alleged to have caused the flooding of an existing home. Mr. Helmer investigated the topography in the area and the effect of the contractor's construction on the direction and magnitude of drainage flow. Mr. Helmer's investigation determined that the contractor did not cause the flooding of the plaintiff's home. The case was settled by Mediation on the basis of Helmer's investigation and professional opinion.

Flooding and Fatality Resulting from Plugged Detention Pond
Engineering Consultant for a case involving the plugging of the outlet of an urban detention pond. Water overflowed the earthen embankment surrounding the pond during a major rain storm. The overflowing water damaged 25 homes and drowned an automobile driver who attempted to drive through the rushing water. Prepared an Engineering Report that investigated and analyzed why the outlet became plugged, and adequacy of engineering design of the detention pond. The case is currently in progress.


Drainage Flow
Consultant for owner of 50-acre agricultural property who was being sued by adjoining residential property owners for allegedly changing the direction of drainage flow onto their properties. Investigated previous and current conditions to determine that owners of the residential properties had raised the elevation of their properties, and that they were, in fact, causing part of the problem themselves. Also determined that owner of the 50-acre agricultural property had not changed direction of flow of stormwater runoff, and had not increased the volume or rate of runoff.

Developed Alleged to have Increased Stormwater Runoff
Consultant for defendant, the developer of a residential subdivision, who was being sued for allegedly increasing stormwater runoff affecting two downstream properties. Inspected the subdivision, the downstream properties, the surrounding drainage area, and engineering drawings for four subdivisions in the area. Prepared report and affidavit.


Alleged diversion of stormwater
Consultant for defendant (a rural property owner) who was being sued by an adjoining property owner for allegedly increasing or diverting stormwater runoff onto the plaintiff's property. Mr. Helmer Inspected the site and the surrounding area, met with the defendant, the plaintiff and his attorney. Attended the court sessions. This case was settled in Mediation based upon Mr. Helmer's investigation and professional opinion.

Drainage Blockage - Fill in Flood Plain
The case immediately above was reopened when the original plaintiff placed 30,000 cubic yards of earthen fill material in the flood plain immediately downstream from the original defendant. This created a large, stagnant, permanent pool on the downstream property. Mr. Helmer prepared an engineering report that determined feasibility and cost for five alternative drainage improvements designed to eliminate ponding and flood damage. The court hearing and trial are now pending.

Fire and Fire Protection

Destruction of Commercial Property by Fire
Consultant for defendant's attorney and insurance company in a case in which a valuable commercial structure was destroyed by fire. The structure was in a commercial development with a public water system and fire hydrants. The fire department connected to a fire hydrant and sprayed water on the fire, but the water pressure soon dropped to zero because the water storage tank was severely undersized. Prepared report stating professional opinion concerning inadequacy of the water system in relation to design standards of various water system and fire protection authorities.

Destruction of Apartment Building
Consultant for water utility district and its insurance company in case involving destruction of an apartment building when a fire hydrant malfunctioned during a fire.

Pipeline Fire During Highway Construction
Expert witness for defendant, a natural gas transmission company, whose pipeline was damaged during excavation for a highway. A severe fire resulted, which destroyed a costly piece of construction equipment. Contractor alleged improper relocation of the pipeline. Pipeline company alleged improper construction practices by the contractor.

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Highways and Streets: Traffic Accidents

Payment Dispute due to Alleged Project Mismanagement by Subcontractor
Engineering consultant for a milling (cold planing) subcontractor on state highway reconstruction project. The prime contractor refused to pay the subcontractor for a large part of its work. Reasons given were alleged excessive depth of milling, which required greater quantities of repaving materials than were intended, alleged project delays, alleged failure to perform prompt and complete cleanup, and other alleged deficiencies. The case is currently in progress.

Environmental Impact of Highway Realignment
Engineering consultant for one governmental agency (Mr. Helmer's client) that was objecting to the recommended alignment for a highway that was proposed by two other governmental entities and their engineering consultant. Mr. Helmer's client objected that the recommended alignment would have excessive unnecessary environmental impacts on wetlands, historical and cultural amenities, and would be more costly than other potential alignments which would have lesser environmental impacts. Mr. Helmer developed an alternative alignment for the highway at a scale of one inch to 1000 feet. He prepared reports in 2003 showing that his alternative alignment would have lesser environmental impacts, as well as a lower cost, than the alignment recommended by the other parties. This case is currently in progress.

Accident Resulting from Ice on Highway
Engineering consultant to the plaintiff for case in which a motorist lost control of her vehicle on an icy pavement, left the highway, and impacted a utility pole. The motorist was injured and her three children have possible injuries. Mr. Helmer's investigation determined that the icy pavement resulted from flow of water from the median onto the roadway, flow of water from a median crossover onto the roadway, and/or percolation of groundwater from the pavement subgrade to the pavement surface through joints in the pavement. Prepared Engineering Report in 2003, stating that these three sources of water and ice on the pavement are design and construction deficiencies. This case is currently in progress.

Injury to Flagman
Engineering Consultant and Expert Witness for case involving severe injury to a Flagman who was run over by a dump truck during asphalt cold planing (milling) operations. Mr. Helmer reviewed a large number of case documents. He gave his Deposition in 2003. His testimony focused on the cause of the accident, especially in regard to the Contractor's lack of Safety Training for workers engaged in cold planing.

Damage to Concrete Roads
Engineering Consultant for Contractor who damaged existing concrete roads at a large power plant by driving a heavy tracked crane over them. Owner of the power plant requests that the Contractor replace the damaged concrete pavements. Mr. Helmer inspected the damaged concrete roads and prepared an Engineering Report, which included estimated cost and procedures for replacement of the damaged pavements. This case is currently in progress.

Damage to Gasoline Pipeline
Engineering consultant and expert witness for a gasoline pipeline transmission company whose pipeline was damaged by a highway contractor, causing the release of a large volume of gasoline into the environment. Reviewed case documents and prepared an Engineering Report containing expert opinions concerning actions and inactions of the contractor, engineering firm, city and state highway department that contributed to causing damage to the pipeline. This case was settled based on Mr. Helmer's Expert Opinions.

Alleged Asphalt Paving Deficiencies
Engineering Consultant for a case in a Western State in which the county is suing a contractor for deficiencies in asphalt paving of a number of miles of rural county road. Mr. Helmer's Engineering Report investigated the contractor's workmanship in regards to quality and suitability of the asphalt paving materials that were used, as well as the contractor's construction practices and equipment.

Highway Accident Resulting in Severe Injury
Expert witness for plaintiff in case involving severe injury (paralysis) when vehicle went out of control and rolled over during a rainstorm on a suburban highway. Plaintiff alleged defects in design, construction and maintenance of the highway. Defendants were the parish (county) highway department, contractor and abutting property owner. Testified in Court for this case.

Accidental Death at Malfunctioning Traffic Signal
Consultant for plaintiff's attorney in case involving death resulting from a traffic accident when a traffic signal malfunctioned due to a storm and resulting power failure. Defendants were the electric power company and state highway department.

Severe Injury Accident at Traffic Signal
Consultant for defendant in severe injury traffic accident. Both parties claim they had the green light. Review of traffic signal timing diagram, depositions and witness statement proved conclusively that defendant did have the green light.

Accident at Traffic Signal (Both Claim Green Light)
Consultant for defense attorney for case involving an accident at the intersection of a freeway frontage road and a major arterial street. Defendant on frontage road stated he entered intersection on green signal and broadsided plaintiff on arterial street. Plaintiff claimed he had the green signal. A witness statement appeared to support the plaintiff. However, Mr. Helmer's review of traffic signal timing diagrams, site visit and photographs proved conclusively that the defense attorney's client did have the green signal and therefore was not at fault.

Traffic Controls at Accident Site
Consultant for attorney and insurance company regarding adequacy of traffic control devices at scene of severe traffic accident. One car ran stop sign and was broadsided by another at night. Provided report on sight distance, signs, markings and illumination.

Death of Highway Construction Worker
Consultant for plaintiff's attorney in case involving death of a highway construction worker. Plaintiff alleged defects in construction signing, pavement marking and other construction safety practices. Defendants were the construction contractor and the state highway department.

Accidental Death of Motorist due to Falling Log
Consultant for defendant in case involving death of a motorist when top log on logging truck hit underside of bridge and was dislodged, striking automobile. Defendant alleged that road was resurfaced, but that vertical clearance sign was not changed. Another potential defendant was the state highway department.

Injury to Bicyclist Falling from Low Water Bridge
Engineering expert for defense attorney and neighborhood association in case in which a bicyclist was injured by falling off a low water crossing (small bridge) on a jogging path that lacked safety railings. Inspected the accident site, took photographs and prepared report regarding design standards for bicycle paths in relation to characteristics of the accident site.

Auto-Pedestrian Accident at Intersection
Consultant for plaintiff attorney for case in which a pedestrian was struck by an automobile at a signalized intersection at night. Reviewed accident reports, inspected the scene of the accident, and prepared a report that evaluated the need (or not) for painted crosswalks, highway lighting and other safety improvements.

Auto Accident on Two-lane Highway
Expert witness for co-defendants, construction contractor and county, for case in which motorist left pavement and ran down into ditch on left side of two-lane road while passing other vehicles. Plaintiff sustained severe injuries. Plaintiff alleged that traffic control devices and other safety measures during construction were inadequate. Gave deposition showing that traffic control devices and construction practices were, in fact, appropriate to the situation.

Fatality at Non-Signalized Intersection
Consultant for plaintiff in case against a State Department of Transportation. An automobile was turning left at a rural non-signalized intersection with very poor sight distance, and was struck by another vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. One occupant of the left-turning vehicle was killed and the other was permanently disabled. Mr. Helmer inspected the accident site and prepared a report addressing several unsafe features of the highway including sight distance, speed zoning, warrants for traffic signals, and hazard beacons.

Pavement Damage to County Road
Consultant for the plaintiff (a county) on a case in which a county road was severely damaged by a highway contractor which hauled a large number of truckloads of earth fill material over it. Reviewed case documents, inspected the highway, took photographs, analyzed the load-carrying capacity of the pavement of that highway in relation to loadings imposed by the large number of heavy trucks, and prepared a report containing conclusions and professional opinion
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Hurricanes, Tropical Storms and Tornados

Dispute over Cause of Water Damage to Marina
Engineering consultant for owner of marina and his attorney. The marina was severely damaged by a major tropical storm. However, the insuring agency refused to compensate for most of the damage because they did not believe that it was "storm-related." Mr. Helmer reviewed case documents and made an inspection of the marina and its environs. He prepared an Engineering Report proving that the damage was caused by storm surge and wave action, rather than by hurricane-strength winds. The case is currently in progress.

Flooding from Tropical Storm Allison
Engineering Consultant for owners of five homes that were damaged by flooding from Tropical Storm Allison in Houston, Texas during June, 2001. Reviewed case documents, made field inspection, took photographs, and prepared Engineering Report that analyzed whether or not flooding of the five homes resulted from downstream channel blockage that was caused by third parties.

Tropical Storm Frances
Consultant for insurance company to assess cause of damage from Tropical Storm Frances to three (3) beach homes that are directly on the Gulf of Mexico at Galveston, Texas. Inspected each structure, took photographs and prepared reports summarizing condition of the structures, including professional opinion as to whether the damage was caused by wind or wave action.

Tornado Damage
Consultant for the defendant (the insurance company) in a number of cases involving tornado damage to residential structures. Assessed the severity of the damage and made recommendations as to whether or not the structures could feasibly be repaired.



Sewer Systems

Alleged Pipe Damage due to Toluene and Acetone
Engineering consultant for owner of shopping center and his attorney. The shopping center was alleged to have discharged Toluene and Acetone in its wastewater,at concentrations which damaged PVC and ABS sanitary sewer pipes of a downstream water district. Mr. Helmer's investigation determined that the concentration of Toluene would have to be more than 600 times as great as the highest concentration that was reported, in order to damage PVC pipes. Also, that the PVC pipes can withstand an infinite concentration of Acetone without being damaged. In addition, that the manufacturer for ABS pipes has never even tested them for resistance to Toluene or Acetone in the extremely low concentrations that were discharged from the shopping center. Mr. Helmer's investigation therefore proved that the allegations were extremely erroneous and unfounded.

Sewer-worker Deaths
Expert witness for plaintiff in case involving two deaths and two severe injuries when sewer workers entered a manhole to remove a plug. Defendants were the city, two engineering firms and a contractor.

Extreme Sewer Backflooding
Engineering Consultant and Expert Witness for the plaintiff whose multi-million dollar 70-unit apartment project was severely damaged by backflooding from a city sewer. The defendant, a plumbing contractor, installed project sanitary sewers that did not meet code, and which were subject to frequent backflooding. Sanitary sewage backed up into all of the first floor apartments. The project was ultimately closed and vacated. Mr. Helmer's investigation and report enabled the plaintiff to be compensated for his losses.

Damage Caused By Sewer Backup
Consultant for plaintiff in case involving cleaning of a plugged sanitary sewer. Removed material included grease which flowed downstream, plugged the sewer again, and caused flooding of a residence. Defendant is city and its sewer maintenance department.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Deficiencies
Engineering Consultant for city in lawsuit against contractor and engineering firm for deficiencies in design and construction of wastewater treatment plant. Deficiencies included improper installation of air diffusers, corrosion and inadequate painting, unequal chlorination of effluents, improper disposal of sludge, and the need for frequent manual repriming of pumps. Inspected treatment plant for preparation of engineering report discussing deficiencies.


Train/Automobile Accidents

Accident at Railroad Crossing
Engineering expert for plaintiff's attorney in case involving an automobile/train accident at a railroad grade crossing. The automobile driver's visibility was obscured by heavy trees and underbrush on the railroad right of way. Prepared report stating professional opinion regarding affect of the trees and underbrush on the driver's ability to see the train.

Fatality Accident at Unprotected Railroad Crossing
Consultant for the defendant (the railroad company) in a case involving death of three occupants of a passenger vehicle when struck by a train at an unprotected railroad crossing.

Vehicle/Train Accident during Highway Construction
Consultant for the defendant, a large construction contractor, and its attorney for case involving an accident at a railroad grade crossing in which three occupants of a vehicle were severely injured. Proposed signs and pavement striping were incomplete, and future gates and bells were not installed. Plaintiffs alleged that this constituted contractor negligence. Mr. Helmer performed an investigation that included review of documents, site visit and photographs. He determined that contractor was not negligent because pavement striping could not be installed until completion of paving, and that gates and bells were to be installed later by the railroad company.

Water-Plumbing Systems

Alleged Defects in Water Transmission Line
Engineering Consultant for a case in which a multi-county water authority is suing a contractor for numerous deficiencies that occurred during construction of a water treatment plant and its large high-pressure water transmission line. The water system's maximum capacity is 12,000,000 gallons per day. The system provides retail water service in one county, and wholesale water service to five cities. The Engineering Report was prepared. It provided an expert opinion concerning a number of construction defects that occurred. Mr. Helmer testified in the Arbitration for this case, which occurred in 2003.

Alleged Water Contamination Due To Disinfection By-products
Engineering Consultant and Expert Witness for a case in which over 200 plaintiffs are suing a city for alleged severe health effects caused by alleged water contamination from water disinfection by-products. This case involved investigation and an Engineering Report analyzing a number of improvements that were made to the Water Treatment Plant by the City over a period of years. Mr. Helmer's report analyzed the effects over time of these improvements in relation to Federal and State water quality standards, and whether they were exceeded in violation of regulatory requirements. Mr. Helmer appeared in Court in connection with this case, which is currently in progress.

Ruptured Water Main
Expert witness for defendants (contractor and subcontractor) for case involving directional boring across a major highway to install a fiber optic cable. The directional boring rig impacted and ruptured a 48-inch water main, which is one of two public water sources for a city of 155,000 population. Damages alleged by the plaintiff (the city) include labor, material and equipment costs to repair the water main; lost water; additional electric charges for an extended period of time because they pay for electricity on a demand basis; and future repairs and/or replacement of the damaged 48-inch water main. Attended and participated in Mediation, which resulted in favorable settlement of the case.

Product Liability Lawsuit Involving Failure of Water Service Pipelines
Consultant for plaintiffs in multi-million dollar product liability lawsuit involving failure of water service line piping in cities in two states. Made estimates of cost for repair and replacement of 1,000 to 2,000 water service lines, for use by plaintiff's attorney in determining the dollar value of damages incurred by the cities.

Fire Damage linked to Inadequate Water Storage Tank
Consultant for defendant's attorney and insurance company in case in which a valuable commercial structure was destroyed by fire. The structure was in a commercial development with a public water system and fire hydrants. The fire department connected to a fire hydrant and sprayed water on the fire, but the water pressure soon dropped to zero because the water storage tank was severely undersized. Prepared Engineering Report stating professional opinion concerning inadequacy of the water system in relation to design standards of various water system and fire protection authorities.

Malfunctioning Fire Hydrant
Consultant for water utility district and its insurance company in case involving destruction of an apartment building when a fire hydrant malfunctioned during a fire.

Injury due to Plumbing Fixture Explosion
Expert witness for plaintiff who was severely injured when plumbing fixture exploded due to severe water hammer caused by malfunction of a pressure reducing valve. Defendant was the state university in which the incident occurred.

Pedestrian Injury - Stepping into Open Water Meter Box
Expert witness for plaintiff in case involving injury to a pedestrian who stepped in a water meter box with cover removed. Defendants were the water utility district and the state water commission. Testified in Court for this case.

Personal Injury - Stepping into Open Water Meter Box
Engineering Consultant for plaintiff who exited vehicle at night and stepped on floating plastic water meter box cover. Plaintiff's foot plunged to bottom of meter box, causing severe injury. Mr. Helmer prepared a report stating that floating meter box covers are a frequent hazard in this city. Defendants are the city, the manufacturer of the meter box, and owners of the property where the accident occurred.

Second Product Liability Lawsuit Concerning Water Service Pipelines
Consultant for plaintiffs in a second multi-million dollar product liability lawsuit involving failure of water service line piping in two counties and one village (three rural water authorities). Visited the communities, met with their representatives, and observed replacement of a typical water service line. Made estimates of cost for repair and replacement of several thousand water service lines, for use by plaintiff attorney in determining dollar value of damages sustained by the water authorities.

Extreme Sewer Backflooding
Engineering Consultant and Expert Witness for the plaintiff whose multi-million dollar 70-unit apartment project was severely damaged by backflooding from a city sewer. The defendant, a plumbing contractor, installed project sanitary sewers that did not meet code, and which were subject to frequent backflooding. Sanitary sewage backed up into all of the first floor apartments. The project was ultimately closed and vacated. Mr. Helmer's investigation and report enabled the plaintiff to be compensated for his losses.

Water-Sewer Management

Utility District Management Firm
Consultant in multi-million dollar case involving replacement of one utility district management firm (Helmer Engineering, Inc's client) by another. Owner of the utility district alleged mismanagement and excessive charges by Mr. Helmer's client, who disagreed. Mr. Helmer performed a detailed evaluation of the circumstances and records to prove that his client acted properly in performing its duties.

For more information, or to discuss a particular project or legal case, complete the inquiry form or contact:

 



Ray G Helmer, P.E.
9314 Bankside
Houston, Texas 77031
Tel: 713/777-7611 or email:helmereng@comcast.net

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