NWKT would like to recognize one of its Partners, Kile Turner, for having his recent Defense win featured in DRI’s The Voice.
Kile Turner, of Norman Wood Kendrick & Turner in Birmingham, Alabama, and a DRI member, recently obtained a defense verdict for his client, Pinnacle Design/Build Group, LLC, in a lawsuit filed by a homeowner claiming that the mechanized stabilized earth (MSE) retaining wall built by his client had failed. The lawsuit was tried in Shelby County, Alabama, where the plaintiff’s home is located. Mr. Turner’s client was an out-of-state construction company. About three months after the wall was completed in 2011, the slope above the wall began to fail, causing varying degrees of damage to the wall. The homeowner had experienced two significant mudslides before the construction of the wall, which was supposed to be a complete repair job. At trial, the plaintiff presented an engineering expert who criticized various aspects of the design of the wall. An additional expert opined that significant grading work was required to fix the slope, which should have been done by Mr. Turner’s client. An aggressive cross-examination nearly got the expert’s testimony stricken, but the judge ultimately decided to let it go to the jury. Inconsistencies in some of the engineering drawings were blamed for the slope being steeper than contracted for, which resulted in the failure. Mr. Turner countered with his own expert and leader in the construction of MSE walls, who explained why the wall was properly constructed. One of the keys to winning the case was the consistency of the defense witnesses, who were able to take a complicated geotechnical engineering problem and make a clear presentation to the jury. The case had been in litigation for six years, but it took the jury less than 60 minutes to return a verdict for the defense.