Court Refuses to Exclude Meteorology Expert Witness' Conclusion about Wind Damage

Court Refuses to Exclude Meteorology Expert Witness’ Conclusion about Wind Damage

A district judge in Nevada admitted the testimony of an expert meteorologist despite lack of certain tests or calculations.

In 2003, the Mindens purchased a new high-end custom home in Henderson, Nevada, where they have resided since then. They maintained an active insurance policy over the property through Allstate. A sudden storm hit the property on or around September 1, 2019, which Allstate determined to be the “time of loss.” The property sustained substantial damage to the roof, exposing the underlying roof membrane or felt.

This dispute stems from Plaintiffs’ deprivation of certain insurance coverage benefits guaranteed to them by Allstate, as Allstate has acted in bad faith and refused to honor the terms of Plaintiffs’ insurance policy. The Mindens’ home suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, for which Allstate paid the Mindens a mere $2,887.56. After over a year and a half of litigation, Allstate admitted that in its view, it owed the Mindens an additional $29,506.79, about ten times what it initially paid and likely over twenty times less what it actually owes.

Plaintiffs argued that Allstate’s wind and roof damage expert, Timothy Marshall should be excluded from testifying under Daubert because he reached his conclusion that no wind damage occurred to the Mindens’ roof based on an inspection, review of submitted photographs, and weather information, but he did not test the roof tiles in a wind machine and did not perform wind pressure calculations. 

Meteorology Expert Witness

Timothy P. Marshall, P.E., M.S., is a Forensic Engineer and a Meteorologist for Haag Engineering Co. in Dallas, Texas. He has been with Haag since 1983, and has inspected tens of thousands of homes and building for damage from hail, wind, and other issues.

Marshall is a member of the American Association of Wind Engineering, American Meteorology Society, American Society of Civil Engineers, International Conference of Building Officials, National Weather Association, and the Southern Building Code Congress International. He earned a Master of Science in Atmospheric Science from Texas Tech University in 1980, and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas Tech University in 1983. 

Marshall is a widely published author, writing and contributing to more than 100 articles, technical papers, and damage surveys.

Get the full story on challenges to Timothy Marshall’s expert opinions and testimony with an in-depth Challenge Study. 

Discussion by the Court

Plaintiff’s Arguement

The Plaintiffs demanded exclusion of Marshall’s testimony due to the inaccuracy of his conclusion about wind damage.

Plaintiff argued that Marshall chose not to do a wind machine test or wind pressure calculations. Marshall explained that he chose not to conduct the wind machine tests or make wind pressure calculations because it was unnecessary to do so as he had already concluded that there was no wind damage. The Court held that his reasoning was based on his inspection of the roof, review of photographs and weather research, and application of his knowledge and experience about wind damage to roofs.

Lastly, the Plaintiffs argued that the exclusion of one wind data point showed that Marshall is biased. The Court held that they failed to provide any authority to explain why the exclusion of one data point made Marshall’s methodology unreliable or showed that he is biased.


The Court denied Plaintiffs’ motions in limine to exclude Allstate’s expert Timothy Marshall.

Key Takeaway:

The key takeaway is that under Daubert, courts scrutinize the reliability of an expert’s methodology and principles. They do this rather than dissecting the accuracy of their specific conclusions.

Criticisms about an expert’s judgment, potential biases, or failure to consider particular information or testing are for the jury to weigh through cross-examination. These are not grounds for excluding the expert’s testimony altogether.

In the previous article, we discussed the wind speed opinions of the Plaintiff’s forensic engineering expert witness.

Case Details:

Case Caption:Minden v. Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co.
Docket Number:2:21cv151
Court:United States District Court, Nevada
Order Date:June 11, 2024


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