HG CORNERSTONE, LLC

Preeminent Construction Expert Witness | Excellence in Forensic Engineering

HG Cornerstone is a nationally recognized and trusted professional construction expert witness and forensic engineering firm specializing in building construction litigation, design-related litigation, catastrophic property damage insurance claims, surety claims, environmental contamination matters, real estate and housing issues, construction accident and injury litigation, and premises accidents and injuries.

The best outcomes are reached by involving an expert who possesses both engineering design and hands-on construction field experience. HG Cornerstone is backed by over 30 years of real-world experience including hands-on construction practice, direct construction oversight, design-build, construction management, civil engineering, environmental engineering, site safety, and commercial real estate practice. As such, HG Cornerstone is well-positioned to provide the most effective opinions, forensic investigations and expert witness testimony possible. We have a solid track record of positive, successful outcomes.

Welcome to our website! We invite you to explore the myriad of reasons why so many top litigators and major insurance providers turn to HG Cornerstone time and time again.

AREAS OF SPECIALTY

We Specialize in Forensic Engineering & Construction Expert Witness Services for…

CONSTRUCTION LITIGATION  |  INSURANCE LITIGATION

CASUALTY CLAIMS  |  GENERAL LIABILITY

SURETY LITIGATION  |  SUBROGATION

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY  |  PRODUCTS LIABILITY

PREMISES LIABILITY  |  ACCIDENT & INJURY LITIGATION

REAL ESTATE LITIGATION  |  ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION


 

CONSTRUCTION LITIGATION

  • Construction Expert Witness
  • Forensic Engineering
  • Construction Defects
  • Design Defects
  • Constructability Issues
  • Standards of Care
  • Improper Construction Monitoring
  • Poor Project Controls & Oversight
  • Construction-Related Damage
  • Construction Vibration Damage
  • Improper Construction Means & Methods
  • Improper Materials Selection
  • Improper Workmanship
  • Incomplete Work & Omissions
  • Non-Compliance with Plans & Specifications
  • Manufacturers Defects in Building Products
  • Manufacturers Defects in Materials
  • Manufacturers Defects in Equipment
  • Building Code Violations
  • Other Code(s) Violations
  • Permit Violations
  • Premature Failure of Building Components
  • Manufacturer’s Instructions Non-Compliance
  • Warrantee Issue
  • Damage Quantification & Cost Estimating

 

INSURANCE LITIGATION & SUBROGATION

  • Casualty Claims
  • Catastrophic Property Damage Claims
  • Structural Failure
  • Geotechnical Issues
  • Slope Failures
  • Water Damage
  • Water Infiltration
  • Vapor Intrusion
  • Corrosion
  • Cracking
  • Concrete Damage
  • Plumbing & Water Control Valve Issues
  • Storm Damage
  • Wind Damage
  • Fire Damage
  • Snow & Ice Damage
  • Cosmetic Damage
  • Roof Failures
  • Vandalism
  • Odor & Indoor Air Quality Issues
  • Contractor Fraud & Licensing 

 

SURETY LITIGATION

  • License bond claims
  • Construction bond claims
  • Payment bond claims
  • Performance bond claims

 

DESIGN PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY LITIGATION

  • Design Defects
  • Professional Malpractice Claims
  • Errors & Omissions (E&O)
  • Professional Negligence
  • Improper Plans & Specifications

 

CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT DISPUTES

  • Construction Contract Violations
  • General Contractor Liability
  • Subcontractor Liability
  • Manufacturer Liability
  • Supplier Liability
  • Standards of Care
  • Improper Workmanship
  • Work Scope Disputes
  • Constructability Issues
  • Change Orders
  • Schedule Disruptions or Delays
  • Loss of Labor Productivity
  • Differing Site Conditions
  • Unforeseen or Hidden Site Conditions
  • Mechanic’s Liens
  • OSHA Violations
  • Worker Health & Safety Issues

 

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINATION MATTERS

  • Real Estate Affected by Contamination
  • Buildings Damaged by Contamination
  • Improvements Damaged by Contamination
  • Construction Materials Damaged by Contamination
  • Environmental Trespass & Nuisance
  • Environmental Stigma

 

CONSTRUCTION SITE ACCIDENT & INJURY CLAIMS

  • Onsite Work Injuries
  • Tools & Construction Equipment Accidents
  • Scaffolding & Ladder Accidents
  • Fall Protection
  • Confined Space
  • Chemical Exposure
  • OSHA Violations
  • Wrongful Death

 

PREMISES ACCIDENT & INJURY CLAIMS

  • Slip, Trip & Fall
  • General Premises Liability
  • Physical Conditions of Premises 
  • Building, Safety & Sanitary Code Violations
  • ADA Violations
  • Wrongful Death

 

REAL ESTATE LITIGATION

  • Planning & Zoning Violations
  • Easement & Rights-of-Way Issues
  • Hidden or Undisclosed Defects
  • Environmental Contamination
  • Geotechnical Issues
  • Site Drainage Issues

 

HOUSING LITIGATION

  • Housing Code Violations
  • Building Code Violations
  • Sanitary Code Violations
  • HUD Compliance
  • Warrantee of Habitability Issues
  • ADA & Accessibility Compliance
  • Hazardous Materials & Toxic Mold

 

SPECIALIZED & COMPLEX LITIGATION

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony

What we do

HG Cornerstone provides comprehensive construction expert witness, forensic engineering and construction consulting services associated with insurance claims and civil litigation. We also work on catastrophic property damage insurance claims and personal injury matters involving premises liability and construction site accidents.

GO TO OUR SERVICES PAGE

HG Cornerstone offers:

We typically work on matters involving:

  • Catastrophic Property Damage
  • Construction Defects
  • Construction Contract Disputes
  • Building Products Defects
  • Construction Materials Defects
  • Design Defects
  • Architect’s & Engineer’s Errors & Omissions (E&O)
  • Construction Worker Safety
  • Premises Personal Injury
  • Environmental Contamination
  • Real Estate Matters

Who we work for

We work with clients in every facet of the construction, design, insurance, and surety industries including:

  • Law Firms & Litigators
  • Corporate In-House Counsel
  • Insurance Companies
  • Sureties
  • General Building Contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Architects & Engineers
  • Construction Managers
  • Building Products Manufacturers
  • Construction Materials & Equipment Manufacturers
  • Construction Products, Materials & Equipment Suppliers
  • Building Owners & Investors
  • Property Developers
  • REITs
  • Business Owners
  • Municipalities & Government Agencies
  • Physically Injured Parties

Our consulting services span the entire claims process from initial claims evaluation through to mediation, arbitration, or litigation, as required. We also provide construction consulting services that focus on risk management and improved internal controls.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony

Client Testimonial

“Joel [Breuer, P.E.] presented as significant expert rebuttal witness on a difficult component of a lengthy trial and handled direct as well as cross-examination as well as anyone could have asked for. Suffice it to say, a favorable finding by a well-respected decision maker who was strict on evidentiary formalities was likewise as much as anyone could have asked for. It was also what the client had delivered (100% to the precise six figured claim dollar). Joel was an absolute pleasure to deal with and I would not hesitate to recommend for future matters that involve his field of expertise.”

~Patrick J. Sullivan, Esq.
Sullivan Construction Law

Award of Arbitrator

“I find that Joel Breuer was a competent and qualified expert witness…I do find that there were significant items of work performed by [the general contractor] and its subcontractors in an unworkmanlike and defective manner and other items that were not performed at all…I find that Mr. Breuer’s estimated repair costs were…reasonable considering that there will be a significant additional cost to performing this work…I have factored in all of these issues in my calculation of damages in this case.”

~Case Arbitrator
Excerpt from Arbitrator's Final Decision & Award (addressing Mr. Breuer's report & oral testimony)

Client Feedback

“Joel: I just wanted to let you know that the above-referenced matter recently settled. Thank you for all the work you did in helping us reach an excellent resolution to the matter. I look forward to working with you again in the future. Regards, Chris”

~Christopher G. Perillo, Esq.
Murphy & Riley, PC
Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony

Expert Opinions based on Real-World Design & Construction Experience

Expert opinions are provided by Joel E. Breuer, PE, a professional civil engineer and construction engineer with over 30 years of engineering design, consulting and hands-on construction field experience. When you hire HG Cornerstone, you get Mr. Breuer.

CONTACT MR. BREUER DIRECTLY OR REQUEST HIS CV NOW

Joel E. Breuer, PE is a construction expert witness and forensic engineer. Mr. Breuer, a founding Managing Partner of the firm, works nationwide and has consulted on some of the most technically challenging and complicated construction, design, accident, and real estate related insurance claims and litigation. These have involved catastrophic property damage, major construction defects, building-products defects, architect and engineer design errors and omissions, onsite worker injury, and personal injury matters.

Mr. Breuer has provided expert witness opinions and oral testimony on a wide variety of issues involving building design, construction defects, building code issues, catastrophic insurance claims, personal injury matters and more and has proven to be extremely resolute under rigorous cross-examination. Whether on the witness stand or in a deposition, his exceptional communication skills, ability to simplify complex issues and his aptitude for reading others well each make Mr. Breuer highly effective when providing oral testimony.

His extensive 30+ years of hands-on experience as a practicing civil engineer and former general building contractor make him an invaluable, highly effective, and well-sought-after national construction expert witness. Part of what makes Mr. Breuer a formidable expert witness is the fact that he is proficient in many of the construction trades and knows exactly what to look for during a forensic site investigation. His combined engineering design knowledge and well-seasoned construction skills give him the ultimate blend of “book smarts” and “street smarts.” These are some of the key reasons his clients truly appreciate him. 

Mr. Breuer thrives when working on large-dollar, technically-complex litigation with seemingly no resolution in sight. He has consistently brought to light ingenious, yet logical, answers for his clients that lead to amicable case resolutions and wins through his innovative approaches to technical strategy, claims analysis, specialized research, evidence procurement and testing, and adherence to the central theme of the case.

Mr. Breuer has directly helped clients resolve cases valued in the tens of millions of dollars range and lasting for a number of years. He has also been successful in helping clients reach favorable resolutions concerning litigation where physical evidence no longer existed, lay witnesses were scarce, and only documents were available for forensic examination, sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands of pages. The litigation that Mr. Breuer has consulted on includes commercial buildings, high-rise condominiums, restaurants, multifamily apartment complexes, senior housing communities, single-family housing developments, mixed-use developments, office buildings, fitness centers, spas, warehouses, medical buildings, prisons, municipal buildings, public schools and more.

Mr. Breuer began his construction career during the mid 1980’s in downtown Boston, Massachusetts where he was responsible for the foundation monitoring of high-rise office towers during the up-down construction process, along with the construction monitoring of other critical commercial, condominium, and engineering construction projects. During the 1980s and 1990s, he continued working as a consulting civil engineer in Massachusetts, California, and nationwide where he was responsible for both the design and construction oversight of a variety of projects ranging from environmental cleanups, to geotechnical issues, to commercial and residential building construction projects, to civil engineering works.

From 1999 to 2012, Mr. Breuer was the principal owner of a general contracting firm in Southern California, where he specialized in extensive, corrective projects for existing multifamily complexes and commercial buildings. His projects included large-scale structural repairs, seismic retrofits and geotechnical improvements designed to save buildings from eminent failure or collapse, and capital improvement projects designed to increase cash flow and asset value. 

Mr. Breuer is highly experienced in solving challenging design and construction-related issues under tight budgets and time constraints. He has provided invaluable design and construction advise to legal counsel, real estate owners, developers, REITs, investors, and asset managers. 

Mr. Breuer assists both in-house counsel and outside legal counsel for insurers, construction-related bond holders, building products manufacturers, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, developers, building owners, business owners, and injured parties. He provides key engineering assessments, precise forensic engineering investigations, compelling expert witness testimony and highly effective engineering reports.

Mr. Breuer excels far beyond his peers in his capacity to simplify the technical aspects of a legal matter, quickly and efficiently establishing cause, and supporting and communicating his findings in a direct, easy-to-understand manner. Mr. Breuer also excels far beyond his peers in his capacity as a forensic engineer with his unique abilities and his unparalleled, innovative approaches to the examination and testing of evidence and the evaluation of the cause(s) of failure, or alleged failure, associated with design, structure, construction materials, building products, mechanical and plumbing equipment, and other building components. Bottom line–Mr. Breuer delivers results.

Mr. Breuer works closely with legal counsel to establish the theme and precise scope of each legal matter in order to proceed in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible. His winning approach involves well-researched, fact-based solutions and he has the track record to prove it.

Why top litigators choose HG Cornerstone as their expert witness

HG Cornerstone IS excellence in forensic engineering.

HG Cornerstone is backed by over 30 years of combined engineering consulting practice, hands-on construction field work and direct construction oversight. Our unique approach involves fact-based research, precise investigations and experience-based testimony.

At HG Cornerstone, we realize that the end product we deliver is ultimately “diligence.” That is why we begin each and every matter with a thoughtful consultation to fully understand the depth and breadth of the matter at hand. We then proceed with the end goal in mind.

First, we work closely with legal counsel to understand the theme of the case. Next, we develop a precise scope for providing expert consultation on each legal matter. This allows us to proceed in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. Our winning approach involves well-researched, fact-based solutions and HG Cornerstone has the track record to prove it. 

For a complementary initial consultation, please contact us today at 866-204-3440 or info@hgcornerstone.com.

Client Testimonial

“Joel [Breuer, P.E.] went above and beyond the call of duty in investigating and analyzing a construction site accident, including work to coordinate a reconstruction of the accident scene that cast significant doubt on the opposing side’s version of events, and led to a favorable settlement. I have no hesitation in recommending his services.”

~Kevin M. Hensley, Partner
Barton Gilman LLP
Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony

Recent Legal Cases & Consulting

Here are some recent examples of legal cases, disputes and matters that HG Cornerstone has consulted on.
Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony Environmental Contamination

Environmental Contamination, Potential Effects on Building Materials, City of Carson, CA

In early 2017, HG Cornerstone was retained by the City Attorney for the City of Carson, CA to perform a forensic engineering study aimed at identifying a possible causal connection between petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soil and the degradation of buried cast iron sewer pipes. In 2017, the study was performed by HGC within the City’s Carousel Track residential development comprising about 285 single-family homes largely constructed from between 1967 to 1969.

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Many of the homeowners had complained about issues with their cast iron sewer pipes. A number of cast iron sewer pipes removed from the ground were severely degraded and were no longer serviceable. Homeowners were spending approximately $15,000 to $20,000 to replace their sewer pipes and one homeowner reportedly spent over $40,000.

Both the City and the homeowners suspected that the crude-oil contaminated soils underlying their houses was responsible for the degraded sewer pipes. Consequently, HG Cornerstone was retained to perform an engineering assessment of conditions and a forensic study for a possible casual connection. In April 2017, HG Cornerstone initiated the first, preliminary, phase of their engineering study. This first phase was limited in scope and its main goal was evaluating whether a causal connection between the soil contamination and degraded sewer pipes was likely.

The homes within the Carousel neighborhood were built directly on top of soil that was contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons in the form of crude oil. The 44-acre development site was previously operated by Shell as the Kast Property Tank Farm, a crude oil storage tank farm which included three massive crude oil storage reservoirs. In 1965, Shell sold the property to a developer named Barclay Hollander Curci. 

In 2007, the State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control initiated an environmental investigation at the site. In 2011, the State of California Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a Cleanup and Abatement Order requiring that Shell clean up the site. A Remedial Action Plan (or “RAP”) was subsequently approved by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board and Shell began implementing the cleanup work in 2016. The cleanup of the site is expected to take about a decade or so. In very general terms, the cleanup of individual properties involves excavating and removing about 5 to 10 feet of soil from around most houses. Excavation of the soil located directly beneath the house was not made part of the RAP although soil vapor extraction was included as an additional remediation option for any homeowner who requested it.

On September 14, 2017 HG Cornerstone issued its interim report for the first phase of its investigation titled “Interim Engineering Observations & Assessment Report, Forensic Cast Iron Sewer Pipe Study, Former Kast Property, Carousel Tract Residences, City of Carson, CA.” On September 19, 2017, HG Cornerstone’s interim engineer’s findings were presented to the City at its City Council meeting.

HG Cornerstone had found that, based on the first phase of its study, there is merit to the possibility that a casual connection does exist between the soil contamination and the cast iron pipe corrosion observed. Several key, theoretical pipe corrosion mechanisms associated with the soil and site conditions were identified. However, HG Cornerstone noted and recommended that further study is necessary and required to confirm these preliminary findings. In its report, HG Cornerstone also identified several imminent health hazards associated with the corroded sewer pipes beneath residents houses including potential sewer gas exposure and hazards associated with wastewater directly entering the subsurface. Based on HG Cornerstone’s report and preliminary findings, numerous issues were brought to light including the fact that many residents of the Carousel neighborhood were able to see photographs of the soil cleanup work for the first time as this work was screened from public view.

The second, more definitive, phase of the study has been delayed due to lack of funding and pending discussions between the City of Carson and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to determine whether the removal and replacement of degraded cast iron sewer pipes by Shell can possibly be included in the RAP. Therefore, any continued efforts by HG Cornerstone are on hold and are subject to further funding and approvals by the City of Carson.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony

Construction Defects, Restaurant, Brighton, MA

HG Cornerstone worked as a construction expert witness with legal counsel for restaurant owners who alleged construction defects against their general contractor. HG Cornerstone identified multiple construction defects along with numerous building code violations, incomplete work, and poor workmanship.

Joel E. Breuer, PE provided expert witness testimony at the arbitration. A favorable decision was rendered on behalf of HG Cornerstone’s client.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony Construction Vibrations Ground Induced Vibrations

Construction Equipment Vibration Damage, Braintree, MA

A custom-built luxury home was subjected to construction vibrations allegedly caused by heavy equipment operating at an adjacent lot including rock drilling and breaking equipment. As a construction expert witness for the homeowners, HG Cornerstone identified and quantified the damage to the home and prepared a comprehensive engineering report regarding extent and cause of damage. HG Cornerstone’s focus was on construction-induced vibration damage mechanisms, the science and research behind such phenomenon and proper vibration monitoring measures and techniques.

A favorable settlement was reached for the property owners. HG Cornerstone then worked with the insurer’s legal counsel on the subrogation action. Mr. Breuer opined on the contractor’s duty of care.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony CMU Failure Block Wall Defects

Design & Construction Defects, Woman's Prison, Niantic, CT

During 2016, HG Cornerstone was retained as a construction expert witness by legal counsel for one of several general contractors, and its insurer, responsible for the construction of a state correctional facility for women. The Connecticut State Attorney General had filed a lawsuit in 2008 against a number of general contractors and others involved in the facility’s design, testing and construction-related insurance. The lawsuit contended that the contractors knew, or should have known, that their work was defective. Cracked concrete masonry walls and water leaks were alleged.

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According to the State, the original construction of the facility cost over $50 million. Construction of the facility’s 22 buildings was performed between 1991 and 1997. The State’s lawsuit sought to recover over $18 million for the costs of repair work to the facility that began in 2010.

HG Cornerstone’s focus was mainly on the design and construction of double-wythe concrete block wall systems which allegedly failed and had been subsequently removed and replaced by the State. Physical evidence was not available for observation or testing and HG Cornerstone had to base its expert witness work exclusively on scanned case documents which numbered in the tens of thousands of pages along with thousands of digital photographs. Joel E. Breuer, PE researched and opined on the actual design and construction, relevant design and construction codes in effect at the time of construction, and construction practices, standards and industry norms circa the late 1980’s through the mid 1990’s. Mr. Breuer also focused on the roles, responsibilities, and work product of the architect, engineer, and construction manager. 

The lawsuit settled in 2017 on undisclosed terms.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony ACV

Plumbing Product Defects, ACVs & Water Pressure Regulators, Condominium Towers, Bellevue, WA

HG Cornerstone was retained by the manufacturer of domestic water automatic control valves (called “ACVs”) and water pressure regulators as an expert witness for an insurance defense matter regarding the alleged failure of their products installed in a new high-rise condominium development. A lawsuit had been filed against many parties associated with the design and construction of the new condominium towers and there were numerous co-defendants.

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Joel E. Breuer, PE performed forensic testing on the ACVs and water pressure regulators that were removed from service as evidence. Mr. Breuer also focused his investigation on the plumbing design, the installation and maintenance of the plumbing system and its individual components, water quality, and metal pipe and valve corrosion mechanisms, among other things. Almost immediately after Mr. Breuer’s engineer’s findings report was issued and reviewed by plaintiff’s legal counsel, his client was released from the lawsuit altogether.

Plumbing Product Defects, Catastrophic Water Damage, Gate Valve, Outpatient Medical Facility, Council Bluffs, IA

HG Cornerstone was retained by the manufacturer of domestic water gate valves (also known as control valves) as an expert witness for an insurance defense matter. A claim was made regarding the alleged failure of one of the manufacturer’s gate valves installed at a medical care facility, allegedly resulting in catastrophic water damage to the entire medical facility, resulting in an inordinate loss.

Joel E. Breuer, PE performed a forensic inspection of the gate valve and other plumbing components at the facility and was able to help HG Cornerstone’s client affect a favorable settlement.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony Worker Safety Scaffolding

Worker Injury Claim, Scaffolding Accident, Municipal Building, Gloucester, MA

HG Cornerstone was retained by legal counsel for a scaffolding company. A worker was allegedly injured on one of the company’s leased and assembled scaffolds while preforming work.

HG Cornerstone recreated the accident scene on an exemplar scaffold arrangement and was able to demonstrate that the accident could not have occurred in the manner that was described by the allegedly injured worker. As such, HG Cornerstone was able to help its client achieve a favorable settlement quickly.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony HVAC

HVAC DEFECTS, Improper Installation, Catastrophic Water Damage, Office Building, Boston, MA

HG Cornerstone was retained by legal counsel representing a general contractor’s insurer. The general contractor had subcontracted the HVAC replacement portion of an office remodel project to an HVAC subcontractor. After the remodel work was complete, a catastrophic water leak occurred at one of the water source heat pump units that was replaced during the work. At issue was whether or not the general contractor was responsible for directly overseeing and inspecting the HVAC subcontractor’s work.

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Joel E. Breuer, PE of HG Cornerstone performed relevant code research and opined that: 1) the work performed by the HVAC contractor was done in strict conformance with applicable and relevant sections of both the building and mechanical codes; and 2) that according to the Massachusetts contractor’s licensing code provisions, the general contractor was, in fact, not responsible for directly overseeing and inspecting the HVAC subcontractor’s work in that specific instance for a number of reasons. As such, HG Cornerstone was able to help its client achieve a favorable settlement quickly.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony

Defective Concrete, Public School, Reading, MA

HG Cornerstone was retained by legal counsel representing a general contractor that constructed a public school.  In a lawsuit against the general contractor, it was alleged that some of the concrete work was improper and defective and cracking and spalling resulted due to the allegedly defective concrete work.

Joel E. Breuer, PE, retained as a rebuttal expert witness, testified regarding concrete placement, curing and concrete chemistry, and the potential detrimental effects of certain deicer chemicals applied to new concrete. Based on Mr. Breuer’s oral testimony, he was able to help HG Cornerstone’s client affect a favorable settlement on the issue at hand.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony Worker Safety

Personal Injury, Severed Child's Finger, Entertainment Venue, Massachusetts

HG Cornerstone was retained by legal counsel representing an injured party. At a popular children’s party/entertainment venue, a child’s finger was completely severed by the closing of an interior door.

Mr. Joel E. Breuer, PE of HG Cornerstone provided relevant building code research regarding the door installation, hardware, and closure apparatus. Based on Mr. Breuer’s research and opinion, he was able to help the client affect a favorable settlement.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony

Structural Damage caused by Commercial Tenant, Retail Building, Alston, MA

HG Cornerstone was retained by legal counsel representing the insurer of a former lessee of a commercial building. The tenant’s former activities involved operating a fitness center and indoor gym. It was alleged that the former tenant’s activities directly caused damage to a number of the building’s structural members, necessitating their complete removal and replacement, along with consequential repairs including the replacement of hardwood flooring throughout.

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Joel E. Breuer, PE analyzed the plaintiff’s expert’s cost estimate of repairs and was able to significantly lower the estimated costs by applying more reasonable and more straightforward construction means and methods. Mr. Breuer also identified structurally problematic issues elsewhere in the building that could not have been attributed to the former tenant’s activities, demonstrating that structural deficiencies existed elsewhere in the building. HG Cornerstone’s client was able to achieve a much more favorable settlement regarding this matter.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony Worker Safety

Personal Injury, Slip & Fall, Building Code Violations, Fitness Center & Spa, Cambridge, MA

HG Cornerstone was retained by legal counsel representing an injured party. The injured party slipped and fell while entering a heated whirlpool spa at a fitness center.

Joel E. Breuer, PE performed an inspection of the accident scene, performed building code research, and reviewed the building permit records concerning recent physical improvements made to the fitness center. Our client was then able to achieve a favorable settlement regarding this matter. 

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony

Structural Damage caused by Commercial Tenant, Hollow Sidewalks, Restaurant, Boston, MA

HG Cornerstone was retained by legal counsel representing a restaurant operator leasing space in a commercial building. The landlord of the building alleged that the restaurant’s activities caused structural damage to the building, including structural damage associated with water infiltration via hollow sidewalks adjacent to the building.

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Joel E. Breuer, PE of HG Cornerstone inspected the building and performed relevant research regarding Boston’s hollow sidewalks. Mr. Breuer opined regarding the restaurant operator’s activities, the condition and existing construction type of the building, the adequacy of prior structural repairs made, the likely causes of the structural damage, and the tenant’s responsibilities. Based in part on Mr. Breuer’s work, a favorable settlement was reached one day before the trial was to commence.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony ACV

Plumbing Product Defects, Catastrophic Water Damage, ACV, Apartment Complex, Birmingham, AL

HG Cornerstone was retained by the manufacturer of domestic water automatic control valves (ACVs) and water pressure regulators as an expert witness for an insurance defense matter. A claim was made regarding the alleged failure of one of the manufacturer’s ACVs installed at a multifamily residential apartment complex, resulting in catastrophic water damage. 

Joel E. Breuer, PE performed forensic testing on the ACV and was able to help the client affect a favorable settlement.

Construction Expert Witness Construction Defects Expert Witness Forensic Engineer Design Expert Witness Construction Products Expert Catastrophic Insurance Claims Surety Claims Forensics Accident and Injury Construction Expert Inspection Engineer Expert Witness Testimony Expert Testimony ACV

Plumbing Product Defects, ACVs & Water Pressure Regulators, Condominium Towers, Scottsdale, AZ

HG Cornerstone was retained by the manufacturer of domestic water automatic control valves (ACVs) and water pressure regulators as an expert witness for an insurance defense matter regarding the alleged failure of their products in a new high-rise condominium development. A lawsuit had been filed against many parties associated with the design and construction of the new condominium towers and there were numerous co-defendants.

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Joel E. Breuer, PE performed forensic testing on the ACVs and water pressure regulators that were removed from service as evidence. Mr. Breuer also focused his investigation on the plumbing design, installation and maintenance of the plumbing system and its individual components, and metal pipe and valve corrosion mechanisms, among other things. Mr. Breuer opined on his findings and a favorable settlement was reached.

Plumbing Product Defects, Catastrophic Water Damage, Backflow Prevention Assembly, Industrial Building, Fairview Heights, IL

HG Cornerstone was retained by the manufacturer of domestic water backflow prevention assemblies as an expert witness for an insurance defense matter. A claim was made regarding the alleged failure of one of the manufacturer’s backflow prevention assemblies installed at a commercial/industrial building, resulting in catastrophic water damage. 

Joel E. Breuer, PE performed forensic testing on the backflow prevention assembly and opined on his findings and a favorable settlement was reached.

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Nationwide

(866) 204-3440

info@hgcornerstone.com

East Coast

198 Tremont Street, No. 430, Boston, MA 02116

(617) 575-2300

info@hgcornerstone.com

West Coast

1024 Bayside Drive, No. 521, Newport Beach, CA 92660

(949) 432-3212

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