Board certified construction lawyer Andrew Showen of Hill Rugh Keller & Main spoke at the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) annual convention in Portland, Oregon in May 2023. Andy discussed the results of a Manatee County, Florida lawsuit he defended against a directional drilling contractor for alleged damage to a bridge 90 feet away from the bore. The defense team for the contractor defeated a novel claim by the plaintiff that directional drilling was an abnormally dangerous activity for which strict liability should be imposed. Andy and his team obtained an unusual summary judgment for the contractor against this claim.
The defense team also obtained an unusual summary judgment in which the court decided that, because all the experts in the case testified they had no knowledge of any event where a directional drilling process had damaged property so far away, the alleged loss was unforeseeable and the contractor could not be forced to a jury trial on the claim.
The contractor and its insurer ultimately recovered their attorneys’ fees from the plaintiff.
Andy co-presented with directional drilling expert Dr. David Bennett of Bennett Trenchless Technology, co-author of the industry manual HDD best Practices, and a defense expert in the case.
A copy of the seminar paper is attached.SES3C96T0VZV1Q4B4_Final Paper_MM-T2-01-03-01-23 REV AVS 23.03.13