Expert Witness Services

O'Donnell Consulting Engineering Expert Witness

Engineering Expert Witness Services
O’Donnell Consulting provides expert witness services, litigation support, and forensic engineering – investigating structural failures, construction matters, industrial accidents, fire/explosions on a range of equipment including chemical, industrial, construction, electrical, transportation, and energy applications.

We have supported legal firms in State, Federal & International Courts (on both Plaintiff and Defendant cases) as well as insurance companies – from simple to complex technical issues.

Our experience includes:

  • Plaintiff award over failed ductwork in an Allegheny County School (PA).
  • $98.8 M plaintiff award in a construction contract interference case
  • $7.8 M plaintiff award in Pittsburgh, PA. involving a stairway collapse
  • $590 M ICC binding arbitration investigation on design/ construction issues.
  • Served as experts into the cause of a major oil pipeline spill.
  • We have been recognized in the American Lawyer Media Top 100 Verdict Awards of 2006 and 2007.
Coke Oven Battery
Coke Oven Battery Model
Coke Oven Battery Analysis Results

We were asked to provide technical expertise in a ($200 M) construction litigation regarding the structural integrity of a coke oven battery. Finite element analysis was used to calculate temperatures, deflections, strains, and stresses to evaluate the long term integrity of the roof and heating walls. The results showed that the battery oven walls would not deflect enough to induce instability. The construction imperfections had no meaningful effect on the structural integrity, robustness, or longevity of the battery.

To see more of the engineering and legal projects we have worked on, see Portfolio.

With a knowledge of materials, metallurgy, fabrication practices and codes and standards, we determine how materials and products fail, including mechanical integrity of equipment that has deteriorated due to corrosion, fatigue, damage, exposure to fire, abuse, or improper manufacture. For over 40 years, we have been performing engineering design, analysis, troubleshooting and providing expert witness testimony - providing quantitative results and effective visuals/ animations. These results:

  • Are based on accurate engineering models
  • Clarify the root cause
  • Enables judges and juries to easily understand the technical issues

In a Range of Applications:
Consumer: Appliances, Sporting Equipment
Construction: Roofs, Scaffolds, Demolition and Excavation Equipment
Structural: Production Equipment, Welded Assemblies, Machinery
Industrial: Plants, Pressure Vessels, Pipes, Pumps, Valves
Oil/ Gas: Pumps, Pipelines, Compressors
Chemical: Reactors, Structures, Vessels, Heat Exchangers

See a list of Components We Have Worked On.

Metallurgy/ Testing
We offer a full spectrum of metallurgical testing in conjunction with our engineering analysis tools to evaluate the root cause of component failure. Our testing includes:

  • Chemical and mechanical analyses
  • Metallographic examination
  • Material testing
  • Corrosion testing
  • Electron beam microscopy

Biomechanical Engineering

  • Accident Reconstruction
  • Vehicle Dynamic Analysis
  • Injury Biomechanics
  • Occupant Dynamics
  • Human Factors
  • Product Safety

Producing Results
The right expert can offer a powerful advantage during litigation - what sets us apart is our multi-disciplinary experience in engineering design, analysis and troubleshooting. When performing forensic analysis, we thoroughly investigate the issues - from taking data at the scene, to analyzing drawings, material specifications, and supporting documentation.

Our investigations range from the simple to complex. Quite often Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is used to evaluate design, materials and fabrication/ construction defects. These models produce accurate results (images or animations) which are used to help judges and juries understand the technical issues. (O'Donnell was one of the first engineering firms to use FEA in the Courtroom.)

We have worked in State, Federal and International Courts - including Canada, Mexico, South America, UK, Spain, and the Virgin Islands. See our list of Clients. 

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See Resume Summaries of our senior engineers.

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Get the Latest Book
by Dr. William O’Donnell, PhD, PE : Founder and President of O’Donnell Consulting Engineers, Inc.

Learn from the experience of others. Especially when one such “other” is Dr. William O’Donnell, PhD, PE, Founder and President of O’Donnell Consulting Engineers, Inc., and ASME “Engineer of the Year” - his 50 years of experience in analysis of components including fatigue and fracture safety evaluations and failure analyses are now comprised in this volume. If you are interested in the fields of Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Construction, as well as Failure Analysis, then this book is a must have!


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