Water Industry Expert Witness
Case Studies

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Patent Dispute

RAH Consultancy Client graphic
As an expert witness RAH Consultancy had never before been involved in patent litigation. This important case enabled me to gain valuable expertise in the nuanses of patent disputes and the experience gained has equipped me for any future cases.

The case involved an inventer of a expanding garden hose whose invention had been copied by an major manufacturer. The inventer considered that the manufacturer had no right to copy his invention and market it in competition with his own patented product. Naturally the manufacturer took a different view and challanged the patent.
RAH consultancy was acting as the expert for the hose inventor. The work included some laboratory experiments which were designed on behalf on the Client by ourselves, including method statements, calibration statements, etc. Later in the progress of the case, I commented on the opposition's experimental data and witnessed the repeat of these tests for my Client.

In addition reports were produced and the opposition's reports were commented upon in detail.

Richard Hurst with the support of hs staff spent considerable hours researching the manufacture and history of this type of water device. Eventually we spent 5 days supporting our arguments in the courts.


New Law solicitors logo
RAH were instructed by NewLaw Solicitors, a personal injury practice in Scotland to investigate the circumstances of a scalding incident. The case involved a single lady living in an apartment complex in Glasgow. The property management company had installed an electric shower within the property. The claimant was undertaking her usual daily shower and after finishing the shower turned off the tap and bent down to pick up a towel when suddenly the shower discharged scalding water across her shoulders.

Our investigation concluded that the shower installed at the property did not meet the most elementary safety requirements. The management company should have installed a product that was designed, manufactured, installed and certificated within the "BEAB Care" anti-scald product standard.

As a result of our report the parties were able to agree a satisfactory settlement without the need for a court hearing.

Legionella Infection

Slater and Gordon logo
Slater and Gordon approached RAH Consultancy to provide an expert report concerning an employee of a North of England steel works whose infection by legionella may have occurred at work. We were responsible for examining all of the documentation with regards to control of legionella upon the company's premises.

We were able to demonstrate that there were reasons why the infection may have occurred. After discussions with the company's expert a joint statement was prepared. The case was settled in our client's favour before coming to court. Please click here to view the testimonial from Slater and Gordon.

Borehole Good Practice

Bore hole good practice
We were asked to provide of an Expert's report with regard to a bore hole system on a country property in the North of England. We undertook the inspection of the property's water supply, took water samples and instructed a UKAS accredited laboratory on the required testing.

The bore-hole water was found to be highly contaminated with iron, this is normally an innocuous contaminant but in this case the levels were above 18,000 ppm. These levels when ingested will cause kidney problems and are likely to be carcinogenic.

In conjunction with a leading manufacturer we suggested the design of a modern filtration system which reduced the iron levels to safe limits. We then provided a report which included the necessary requirements to enable the bore-hole's compliance with good practice

Legionella Fatality

legionella fatality
RAH agreed to act for a Solicitor to undertake an inspection of documents relating to a Legionella death alleged to have occurred in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. The documents related to International Codes of Practice, the hotel's Inspection and Laboratory Reports arising from the incident which occurred in 2008.

A medical expert had concluded that on the balance of probabilities, the deceased contracted the Legionnaire's Disease whilst staying at a hotel in the resort. The defendants alleged that the building possessed a reasonable system for checking the water supplies for Legionella. We had been referred to their defence and the disclosure documents submitted to support it.

We had been asked to consider the hotel's evidence in conjunction with those International Standards and Codes of Practice that should apply to enable the Hotel to operate a reasonable level of Legionella control on the premises.

Our investigations led us to conclude, that in our view this particular venue was far from adequate in their engagement with best practice. After considering both reports and consulting their own expert, the insurers of the hotel made an offer which our party was able to accept.

No Case Too Small

shower head graphic
We have undertaken several cases on behalf of Clients who's problems may appear minor but for whom the situation was far from being so. Ms Catherine Ladbrooke, Mr Tim Keohane's family and Dr Chris Good all had serious problems with the bathrooms in their homes.

Ms Ladbrooke's case concerned the installation of a power shower; examination of other issues within her system also raised our concerns because of serious safety issues concerning the boiler and hot water storage cistern within the property. These issues and their solutions were included in our report which was presented to the Court.

Mr Keohane's problems arose from the continuous leakage caused by a poorly installed shower in his newly refurbished bathroom. We attended on site and the investigation resulted in our discovery of rotten framing caused by the leakage through the floor of the shower. We then produced a report and this was also submitted to the Court.

Dr Good's difficulties were due to a faulty installation of a commercial shower cubical which led to the failure of the ceiling in the room below the bathroom. Our investigations identified further failures in other bathroom fittings.

All of the above cases were resolved in favour of our Clients. We have conducted further small investigations on behalf of other concerned homeowners and all of these have led to successful outcomes. 

Underfloor Heating

heating system
We were approached by a Solicitor with regard to the presumed failure of design in a underfloor heating system. Our work entailed a site inspection during which we investigated the nature and thickness of the wood finish to a large bungalow. The heating system comprised five zones which it was claimed were inadequately designed. 

The major works consisted of studying the relevant standards and evaluating the heating requirements so as to establish the correct design parameters needed. Our advice was that the works were correctly designed and installed.

Farm Hose Union Bibtaps

Farm Hose Union Bibtaps drawing
The provision of expert evidence with regard to the use of hose union bib taps within a range of farm buildings. Appearance in court acting as an expert on behalf of a farmer with regard to his property and Water Regulations violations.

Household Water Metering

Household Water Metering graphic
Acting on behalf of a water user and water undertaking as a joint expert witness; with regard to water metering of a property. The report concerning the property drew upon the author's widespread knowledge of water metering and was used in the case to advise the court as to the correct provision of water meters for the property and the likelihood of their failure in service.

Hotel Mains Failure

logan and corry logo
Logan and Corry Solicitors retained to provide advice regarding the failure of a water supply system within a medium sized hotel situated in County Armagh in Northern Ireland. The local Water Undertaker and their Contractor had been repairing the mains water pipe at Corry's Corner close to the hotel. In refilling the main they inadvertently over-pressurised the hotel's water supply. This resulted in diners in the hotel becoming drenched with water pouring from the ceiling above.

We attended the site and inspected the water system. Thereafter, we carried out a laboratory analysis of the damaged fitting and liaised with the expert for the water company in the writing of a joint statement.

Period Building

Thakery Williams Solicitors logo
Following the upmarket refurbishment of a large period property a dispute arose over the water system installation within the building. The owner alleged that they suffered numerous leaks from the underfloor heating system pipework buried under the the downstairs corridors, kitchen, cinema room, garage and swimming pool. Our Client denied the leaks, claiming that the problems arose from insufficient servicing of the heating system.

Our expert services were called upon with regard to the installation of piping systems in accordance with the water system design standards, with specific regard to the accessibility or otherwise of water fittings. As part of our investigations we considered the various amendments of the British Standard on Household Water System Design, the Institute of Plumbing Design Guide and the Water Regulations, with particular attention to their advise on the burial of water pipework within concrete structures. We considered the methods employed in the construction if the property's underfloor heating system and held several conferences with the defence Counsel.

The case went to mediation and Counsel's defence was based on our expertise. The outcome of the mediation produced a favourable result for our Client. 

Legionella Death in South East England Nursing Home

RAH Consultancy Client graphic
RAH Consultancy were approached by a Solicitor for a building services contractor. They had undertaken refurbishment works on the nursing home which had involved the installation of new bathing equipment. The nursing home subsequently suffered the death of one of their patients through a respiratory illness. Our Client was not directly linked to the inquiry that resulted from this fatality but were anxious to receive the best possible advice as to their actions during the refurbishment so as to ensure they understood the latest advice and regulations with regard to the control of Legionella. 

Cost Dispute

RAH Consultancy Client graphic
We were consulted by Peth College- University of the Highlands & Islands with regard to a plumbing and heating contractor who had carried out refurbishments works on the College Campus. The College was happy with the work that was completed but they had concerns over the invoiced labour and materials costs.

RAH Consultancy was requested to examine and write a report on the works, time-sheets and costs of materials used in the project. Our expertise in this industry allowed us to compare the works carried out with our own estimates of the time required and the labour force necessary to conduct this refurbishment. In addition we researched the amounts of materials and the costs involved in their purchase. This involved our research into local suppliers and the materials locally available. The eventual Report was received by the College and used in their negotiations with their contractor, they were pleased to supply us with a testimonial. 

Water Cistern Infestation

RAH Consultancy Client graphic
Our Client, a senior executive in a local National Health Trust, approached us after falling seriously ill with a respiratory illness. The illness left her so debilitated that she was forced to abandon her career. The cause of the illness was never identified. She believed it was caused by a pigeon infestation of the water system within the residential block where she lived, and further believed that the agency responsible for the management of the block were unresponsive to her concerns.

Our report investigated the risk management systems, the record keeping, and the agency's response to our Client's illness. We highlighted the risks from pigeons, the illnesses for which they were responsible and the requirements for the management of those risks. Our investigations also revealed that there has, to date, been no scientific investigation into the survival of pigeon related bacteria in water sources.

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