Need a Structural Expert to Confirm Your Position Before You Embark On a Major War?
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Hi, I’m Don Leinweber, and I have been designing building structures for over 55 years.
My depth of experience comes from having my own structural consulting business since 1979.
For the past 28 years, I’ve provided expert witness services for 51 different law firms and participated in 103 cases.
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Structural Expert Services
Know the Strength of Your Case
If you are a law firm specializing in construction who needs expert witness opinion for structural issues, including field investigations, reports, document reviews, and testimony than you’re in the right place.
If you’re like most attorneys nothing is worse than having a belief that you are right and going out there and having your “pants pulled down.” It can compromise a settlement, lose your case and tarnish your reputation.
Here’s what you need in a structural expert witness:
If an attorney uses an expert correctly, they are using an expert not to just tell them what they want to hear but to confirm the strength of their case. You need to hire a structural expert you can trust to communicate clearly in order to get the information needed so you can evaluate your case effectively.
What Attorneys Say...
"When I Need an Expert Who Can Give a Solid Nuts-and-Bolts Analysis in Plain English, Don is Definitely that Guy"
Frantz Ward LLP
Recipient of the 2000 AAA Golden Gavel Award for Construction, recognizing outstanding service to the American Arbitration Association and service to the ADR community. Recognized as ”Leading Lawyer” in Construction, Chambers USA 2003-Present. Recognized as “Ohio Super Lawyer”
Andrew Natale also hires Don because he is always responsive and engages promptly
“I originally met Don about 20 years ago when I needed a structural engineer expert witness for one of my cases and have continued to work with him over the years. There are few people who are the “go to” people for me, but when I need somebody who can give a solid nuts-and-bolts analysis in plain English terms, Don is definitely that guy. He has represented us when we were a claimant as well as when we are responding to a claim. ”
“I’m a firm believer that you use experts early to confirm the validity or strength of your position before you embark on some major war. And if you use an expert correctly that expert isn’t just going to tell you what you want to hear. With Don, he’ll tell you the truth right up front, and that is so important. Nothing is worse than believing you’re right, then going out there and being humiliated.”
“When you hire Don he is always thorough with his analysis. Having been in this industry for decades, he is very knowledgeable and up-to-date about all standards, practices, and governing codes, which is what the industry is all about. But he is also very good at breaking things down into simple, plain English terms, which can be very challenging for most experts in this field. So you could hire an expert who has all of the technical competence in the world, but if nobody can understand him and you walk away with a headache…you’re lost. ”
“While it’s important that Don knows his stuff backwards and forwards, he also has the expertise and experience to go toe-to-toe with the best. His years of work have shown him how different materials interact with various temperatures and climates, and he’ll provide all of the backup necessary for each of his conclusions. The last thing you want is to pay an expert thousands of dollars, have them overreach, and then watch them be unwrapped in a matter of four questions.”
“And like I mentioned before, sometimes Don will tell me what I don’t want to hear. But that’s exactly why I continue to hire him. He won’t just say something was built wrong. He’ll say you’re got a problem, tell you how to fix it, and give you the most cost effective way to accomplish it.”
“Along those lines, normally experts will blow your budget, but Don is very focused on being cost effective and efficient. He never runs unnecessary costs for test or inspections that aren’t required. We’re talking about a guy who has a background in business and therefore knows what it takes to bring money in the door. And that’s critical.”
“Another thing I value when working with Don is how he is always responsive and engages promptly. Even more, he makes himself available for meetings with clients and can be trusted to communicate directly with the client. This creates great efficiency and clarity since all information doesn’t need to be filtered through me.”
“So whether I am presenting a case to an arbitrator, a juror, or to an owner on the other side of the table who thinks he’s been screwed, I know Don will be able to explain, “Look sir, here’s your problem. Here is why it’s not a problem.” Or, “Here’s how you fix it.” The only way to gain that credibility is to have somebody who can clearly articulate. And Don is that kind of expert.”
"You Want an Expert to Literally and Figuratively
have Grey Hair, and Don Has Both"
Frantz Ward LLP
Recognized “Leading Lawyer” in Construction, Chambers USA 2006-2008
Ian Frank describes Don as very practical and thorough
“When I turn Don loose to do something, whether it’s looking at a set of plans or going out, I know he’s going to go straight to the heart of the issue. He’s not going to waste time dealing with side issues or going off on tangents. He’s going to tell me what he needs to know and what he needs to have in his hands.”
“Once I’ve given him the data he needs, Don is always willing to sit down and talk about it. Even though he has all the technical knowledge you need in an expert, he also has the great ability to explain things really well that could otherwise be extremely confusing and complicated, which is very important on the stand.”
“Don is even sophisticated when it comes to understanding the cross examination process. He knows the responses the other side is looking at. He helps me anticipate those things in my direct examination of him as well as my cross of the other witness. Moreover, I can count on him to handle those in a non-confrontational way on the stand, and that’s an art.”
“As an attorney you always want an expert to literally and figuratively have the grey hair, and Don has both. He presents himself exceptionally well in front of a jury or in front of an arbitrator not only because of his real world experience but also because he is articulate and speaks in a way that draws people in. He’s not overly pompous, just very matter of fact, and that’s important when you are trying to have 8 or more people believe him.”
“Another important aspect is his ability to offer precise and cost effective solutions, if there are solutions that exist, because structural issues can be quite expensive to deal with. For me personally, he has played an integral part in saving us from a significant cost standpoint. I can remember on case where he told me exactly what the best solution was and helped us resolve it favorably without going to trial.”
“Cost is a big issue. You want an expert you can trust depending upon the engagement and how much time is going to be involved. You never want somebody to view your case as a blank check. Don is very efficient and contributes value for my clients for each hour he spends. He has always given me pretty conservative estimates and stays within the set budget.”
“On the whole, what I look for in an expert is someone who will not only give me their opinion, but also help in the overall case development. Don has done a great job for me in the past, and I know he will continue to do so in the future.”
"He’s Not that “Almighty” Expert Who
Thinks You’re the Subordinate"
ESG (Energy Systems Group)
Charles Olsavsky trusts Don because of his ability to handle cross-examination
“I’ve worked with Don on multiple occasions, and he is certainly my favorite constructional engineering expert witness. It’s obvious right away that he is a very talented engineer, but above and beyond that, he has an amazing ability to convert technical terms into layman’s terms. And that’s not a skill you can come by easily.”
“As an attorney, I need to know the difference between theory and reality when it comes to the world of engineering. So for me, Don has always been very good at drawing that distinction. He recognizes when a theory just doesn’t fly, and when all of the theories behind the theories simply aren’t working. Basically, I can rely on him to strip it down and give me the truth rather than trying to go back to some academic assumption. ”
“There’s just a common sense expertise and professional judgment that Don has. If you’ve got a winner case, he’s the guy because you know you can trust him to go up on the stand and hold up. And if you’ve got a loser case, he’ll tell you right up front so you don’t waste your money. And you never have to worry that he’s bent or twisted all the facts to get the conclusion you wanted and that it’s all going to fall apart on cross-examination because he doesn’t go down that path. There have been several times when he has saved my client’s money by helping us see it’s better to conceded an issue rather than fighting a frivolous fight.”
“He also has a very good professional presence in the way he looks and acts, and he always sounds like he knows what he’s talking about…because he does. And I’m pretty sure that any technical argument I am going to try to make contrary to Don is probably not all that sound. But what’s equally important is that he knows when to stop talking. He doesn’t put his foot in his mouth.”
“On top of everything else, he’s even a very talented writer. When I’ve seen his reports both for me and on the other side, his report is consistent with his whole service. It’s on point and it’s as peril as need be, but it’s not a bunch of unnecessary nonsense. And more than most structural engineers, he has a really good sense of what repairs cost and will tell you the most efficient way to repair something. ”
“One last thing that counts for me is that Don is just a real pleasure to work with. Sometimes you get the PhD expert and you think “Ah geez, I’ve got to call that guy?” and you dread working with them. But a phone call with Don is always a pleasure. He can even tell me when I am wrong without offending me and is always anxious and willing to answer my questions. He’s not that “almighty” expert who thinks you’re the subordinate. He’s just a really good person.”
"Don Analyzes the Issues and If Something is Screwed Up He’ll Tell You and Then Guide You to the Best Solution"
President’s Advisory Council, Minnesota Lawyers Mutual Ins. Co.
Ohio Super Lawyer 2004-2010
Military: Captain, United States Air Force, 1970-1974
Martindale-Hubbell, AV® Peer Review Rated
Alton Stephens hires Don because he helps him assess
the strength & weaknesses of his case
“Don and I have worked on a number of cases together over the years. He’s a good, credible expert and somebody I really respect. It’s critical in construction cases to have an expert who can backup what they are saying, and for me, Don’s that guy.”
“I don’t merely want an expert witness who will testify for me one way or another. I want them to help me assess my case so I can recommend to my clients what their strengths and weaknesses are. Don doesn’t try to find out whatever you want him to say and then say it. He analyzes what the issues are, and then if something is screwed up he’ll point that out to you and guide you to the best possible solution.”
“It’s obvious he has the technical competence you need after talking to him for just a short while. But besides being very good at analyzing and reporting, he has also given us the tools we need to hold our own in mediation. I am not a structural engineer, so I can’t go in there and repeat everything effectively on my own. Don has help me articulate the technical arguments that I need to get across and prepared me to take a deposition of another expert.”
“Another strength I value about Don is how he exhibits a professional demeanor and carries himself very well in a deposition. Even the other parties in the lawsuit respect Don. They know if we have Don as our expert they can’t just ignore us. They know if we come into a courtroom with an expert like him, he can be persuasive in front of a jury. He has jury appeal.”
“To sum up everything I know about Don he has experience, integrity, respect, and competence. He’s diligent and always does a good job. It’s that simple. Experts don’t win cases. Experts help lawyers win cases, and he has certainly contributed in the resolution of our cases.”
"Every Case Don Has Worked Settled and That’s Added to the General Success of My Reputation"
Brzytwa, Quick & McCrystal LLC
John Brzytwa likes Don because he isn’t an expert prima donna
“I’ve known Don for almost 10 years now. He came highly recommended to me, and I can now recommend him highly to anyone in need of a structural engineer expert witness.”
“I can tell you without equivocation that the thing I enjoyed the most working with Don was how prompt and open he was to educate his lawyer. He’s always really good about advising me and making sure I understand instead of only providing an expert witness testimonial. Every case he has worked with us on has been able to settle, and that’s added to the general success of my reputation as an attorney.”
“A lot of the experts out there can be real prima donnas and sometimes tough to schedule or get a hold of. Don couldn’t have been more open. I honestly used him recently on a structural issue on my own house, and he again proved to be really attentive. He’s readily accessible as issues arise and responds promptly every time.”
“Don has very impressive analytical and investigative skills, but he also has a great talent for composing and presenting his findings in a way that everybody can understand. There’s no doubt he’s helped make my job easier by focusing on the things that are pivotal and not wasting time trying to prove he knows everything. He cuts to the chase. He’s efficient and available, and as a result I’m never left to speculate.”
“Overall, the best way I can describe Don is very powerful, knowledgeable, articulate, and a real gentleman. Where I need someone to give an opinion that only a construction engineer can give, it will always be Don, and I’m confident that anyone else in my position who has worked with him would say the same thing.”
"When You Need an Expert to be Your Partner"
Robison, Curphey & O’Connell
Tom focuses on commercial disputes, F.E.L.A., personal injury, product liability, construction litigation, and intentional tort. He represents clients in both state and federal courts throughout Ohio, including extensive appellate work.
Favorable settlement directly reflected the lack of liability aided by Don’s expertise
“When a structure collapsed and my client was named a co-defendent, I was referred to Don Leinweber for his structural engineering expertise.
The large property damage, loss of business and wrongful death suit required swift action.
All parties were placed on notice of the event and invited to come to the scene and inspect the condition of the site after the collapse and prior to further changes being made.
Don was immediately available, traveled to the site and spent 3 days inspecting the scene, taking photographs and measurements.
There were 6 other experts on site but Don took the lead to reach agreement with all other parties, their counsel and retained experts for protocol of inspection and preservation of evidence….that’s when I knew I had the best guy!
With his eyes on the scene, he came to a quick conclusion about what happened and guided me through it from an engineering standpoint.
Once suit was filed against my client, Don helped me develop the defense, review and analyze evidence and prepare for expert reports from opposing parties.
With exposure over $7 million in property damage and a wrongful death suit, evidence never showed my client played a role in the collapse and I was able to put my best foot forward.
Don was a partner with me from the day we were retained till the day of settlement.
He is the first guy at the top of my list to refer to any attorney involving a structural engineering case.”
My knowledge as an expert witness is assembled from over 40 years of structural engineering. For the past 30 years I’ve owned an engineering firm.
Leinweber Engineering, LTD. was established in 1979. The firms’ core philosophy is to provide high quality structural design and construction documents that are developed with a concern for the program of the owner, the aesthetic of the architect, blended with sensitivity to the constructability problems of the contractor. The loyalty that has been expressed through the years by our staff strengthens communication with our clients and our ability to meet their deadlines.
Since commencement our goal has been to provide excellent structural consulting services covering a wide range of composition, structural materials in many regions of the United States. The following is a brief list of some of those projects.
Witness Experience Builds on Design Experience
CONCRETE, CAST IN PLACE, POST TENSIONED
CONCRETE, CAST IN PLACE, CONVENTIONAL
MASONRY, MULTISTORY LOAD BEARING
STRUCTURAL STEEL, MULTISTORY
RENOVATION AND RECONSTRUCTION
I began my studies at the University of Dayton majoring in physics with minors in mathematics and philosophy. After pursuing these studies for three years I chose a more practical application of physics available in the field of engineering. My application was accepted at Case Institute of Technology (now CWRU) and in 1965 I received my Bachelor of Science in Engineering.
Other Significant Projects
I was involved in several major projects during his 14 years with other local firms before beginning my practice in 1979. One of those projects include the design of the structural concrete office building and multistory structure below the stage at Blossom Music Center as well as foundations for the Main Arch and its supporting columns. Another notable project was personal involvement in the structural recovery of the Bond Court Hotel (Sheraton Cleveland City Center) after the disastrous construction fire in 1974.
Since beginning the firm in 1979 there has been several notable projects some of which are listed above. In addition to building structures, I have worked with Sculptor David Davis, on his 30 foot tall civic sculpture “Applause” located in Sarasota, Florida as well as other sculptures in Florida and Ohio. Also, I worked with the team of Sculptor George Rickey for his mobile sculpture “Triple L Eccentric Gyratory Gyratory III” located at 9th and Euclid in Cleveland, Ohio.
I was formerly a member of the combined committee for National Masonry Code (ACI 530/ASCE 5/TMS 402) “Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures” and provided structural assistance to the Cleveland Restoration Society.
I hold a certificate from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTISE
My particular expertise is as a structural consultant specialized in the design of building structures. I have over 55 years of experience in this field. This design experience covers structures in all primary building materials and on a wide range of projects.
I have performed structural designs on buildings over twenty stories tall, prominent monumental sculptures and amusement park rides. I have provided structural consulting services on significant historic preservation projects and complex renovation projects.
Renovation and stabilization of building structures in distress and demolition of structures requiring particular attention has also been an aspect of my structural consulting practice. Restoration of major structures such as the derelict Powerhouse in the Cleveland Flats, Ohio C Barber Barn in Barberton, Ohio and portions of the Fawcett Stadium at the National Football Hall of Fame are included in the Restoration work. Demolition of the 18 story Omni Hotel at the Cleveland Clinic, a complex cast in place post tensioned concrete structure is one of the major structures on which I provided structural consulting. Other controlled demolition projects include a multistory precast concrete parking garage at the Cleveland Clinic, removed to make room for the Heart Center, and the severing and removal of a portion of the Cleveland Technology Center, formerly the Frankelite Corporation on Rockwell Ave in Cleveland. I have also participated in the stabilization of several major structures placed in jeopardy due to construction missteps or mishaps.
I have served as a member on the ACI 530 Committee for over ten years. This committee is responsible for the Building Code and Specification for masonry structures. I have particular expertise in the design and performance of post-tensioned concrete structures and have made a presentation to the ACI 423 Post-Tensioned Concrete Committee.
I am presently registered and have provided structural consulting service in seventeen states. This national practice has provided me with experience in the major national building codes and regional variations.
I have maintained my professional skills through participation in various continuing education programs including technical and legal presentations.
I have a good reputation for integrity and honesty in my professional practice. I pride myself and my organization in being responsive to construction issues that help keep a project on budget and on schedule.I will bring this experience, integrity and responsiveness to the Structural Consulting process.
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