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WRM America Indemnity Company, Inc. v. Siemens Building Technologies, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

February 19, 2015

WRM AMERICA INDEMNITY COMPANY, INC., as subrogee of SAINT MARY-OF-THE-WOODS COLLEGE, Plaintiff,
v.
SIEMENS BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES, INC., also known as SIEMENS INDUSTRY, INC., Defendant.

ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE AND DAUBERT MOTION

WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on the Defendant's motion to strike the entire supplemental report of Carl Baldassarra, the Plaintiff's proposed expert (Dkt. No. 163), and the Defendant's motion to bar Baldassarra from testifying regarding a particular opinion expressed in his original report pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 702 and Daubert (Dkt. No. 164). The motions are fully briefed, and the Court, being duly advised, GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART the motion to strike, and DENIES the Daubert motion, for the reasons and to the extent set forth below.

I. GENERAL BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff, WRM America Indemnity Company, Inc. ("WRM"), as subrogee of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College ("St. Mary's"), filed the instant suit against Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., also known as Siemens Industry, Inc. ("Siemens"), after a fire caused nearly $900, 000 in damage to Guerin Hall, a 100-year-old building on St. Mary's campus. Siemens had previously installed a new fire alarm/smoke detection system in Guerin Hall; however, it did not install any smoke or fire detectors in the basement of the building where the fire originated. Only WRM's breach of contract claim, and specifically, whether Siemens breached its contract with St. Mary's when it failed to install smoke and/or fire detectors in the basement of Guerin Hall, remains for trial.

II. MOTION TO STRIKE

A. Background

On April 30, 2013, WRM filed Baldassarra's original report with the Court (hereafter the "First Report"). Dkt. No. 45-1. Baldassarra's First Report contained, in relevant part, the following general opinions:

• Guerin Hall is a mixed use building.
• The fire alarm system installed by Siemens was an optional system, and therefore, subject to the requirements for new construction to the extent practicable and as a matter of good fire protection practice.
• Pursuant to the National Fire Alarm Code, and specifically NFPA 72, a smoke detection system should have been installed in the basement of Guerin Hall.
• Because fire detection was not provided in the basement of Guerin Hall, the delay in detection caused a delay in notifying the responsible persons from notifying the fire department.
• The delays were directly related as causal factors of the extent of damage that resulted from the fire.
• The failure of Siemens to install a system in the basement is a violation of good industry practice and did not fulfill Siemen's obligations to St. Mary's under its proposal.
• Had plans for the system been submitted to local authorities, it is possible that the omission of the smoke detectors in the basement would have been raised.
• The plans prepared by Siemens were not accurate.

See id.

On July 15, 2013, Siemens disclosed the report of its retained expert, Don Hoffman ("Hoffman's Report"). Dkt. No. 60-2.

On February 27, 2014, Baldassarra was deposed. During the deposition, WRM's counsel elicited several opinions that Siemens claims were not discussed in his First Report or provided in a timely rebuttal report. They include the following:

• Disagreements with some of Hoffman's opinions.
• Opinions about smoke detector sensitivities and features.
• Timing of fires undetected by smoke detectors.
• Siemens' plans did not match the actual building. This did not comply with the applicable standard of care.
• The individual who designed the system should have been familiar with the building.
• The installation of horns and strobes in the basement of Guerin Hall, but not detectors, was puzzling and did not comply with industry standards.
• Siemens should have hired an engineer to determine the proper placement of smoke detectors and failed to employ proper engineering judgment.
• Siemens should not have proceeded with the work because Saint Mary's did not obtain the necessary permits.
• Siemens' drawings were inaccurate.
• Siemens did not properly manage ...

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