Serving Illinois and Nationwide
Deposition 1 - deposition of witness in products liability case - Part 5
MR. HENDERSON: I think it was asked in almost those same words.
Q. Well, okay, I'm trying to understand here. You said that the police report and your report of May 15 cover all the bases for your evaluation of the components of the steering system. Did I understand that to be your testimony?
A. Ask that question again. I was looking.
Q. Sure. What's contained in your May 15, 2003, report and what's contained in the police report covers the entirety of the information that you've reviewed and addressed with regards to the examination or evaluation of the components of the steering system as it pertains to this case.
A. No. I've continued since the 15th and examined the vehicle and examined the building, and I've had other stuff. For instance, since that May 15th, I received these photos. Exhibit 20 that we were talking about, and talking about wheels and tires and whether they were on the vehicle, and these two photos I just saw last week when I was here, and carefully looking at these, the photos we talked about are not part of this vehicle, assuming this is the vehicle, because you can see different tread patterns.
So I think these photos that were taken by Mr. Kelsey or his representative, they're not of the subject vehicle.
Q. That's Exhibit 20?
A. That's Exhibit 20, yeah.
Q. Okay. In any event, what else -- what about the examination of the building refers to examining the steering components?
A. The examination of the building was to confirm its location relative to the road was to determine whether or not, quote, there was a curb to jump, which there isn't.
It confirms how much fence was damaged. Originally we had the note on the police report that the fence was damaged, but in the photograph that was taken there was no evidence of fence damage. But evidently after we talked to the person at the building, the fence damage was fixed immediately, and then the photograph obviously was taken after the fence was fixed.
But specifically it located the fence. It showed a relatively short distance of fence repaired, and it also showed me the construction of the building which allowed me to make the determination that this thing was a pretty immovable object.
It's a -- not a brick-veneered building. It's a block brick-veneered building. It's a cement block building below those brick, which is a pretty substantial building, and that's why it saw so much damage.
And the brick building, the damage to the brick building also is consistent with the brick transfer that you can gee on the edge of the fender and on the back part of the hood here indicating, yep, this is the vehicle that probably hit that because there's the brick damage on the vehicle as opposed to the color of the brick that's on the building.
MR. CARTER: I guess we should mark this. I don't know that these photographs have been identified before.
MR. HENDERSON: I think you may have given that to me. It's the Fierge yard's photo that was in the -- it was with the documents that showed the title to the vehicle and so forth.
MR. CARTER: Okay. Well, I don't recall seeing that, but let's go ahead and mark that.
(Exhibit No. 21 marked.)
BY MR. CARTER:
Q. So you're saying what's shown in 21, and I take it it's this discoloration above what's left of the left front wheel that you say is consistent with striking the brick in the building.
Q. Okay. Do you know whether that was done at the time of the accident or in subsequent movement of the vehicle?
Q. When was it done?
A. Time of the accident.
Q. How do you know that?
A. Because of the perch of the building, measuring the building, looking at the coloring of the building and looking at the vehicle today to determine that that's the paint from the red brick building that has been painted yellow or cream that was transferred onto the fender when it hit the building.
Q. Were there any white paint marks there that you saw on the vehicle?
A. It's not white.
Q. Well, I think it's painted white, isn't it?
A. No, it's cream color.
Q. Is there any cream-colored marks on the vehicle?
A. That's the transfer on the fender.
A. Well, you can see it there. I can show you a better picture here. I've got --
Q. Was this vehicle, what's displayed in Exhibit 21, damaged in transport or transition to Fierge Auto Parts, to your knowledge?
Q. In what way?
A. Don't know.
Q. You have no way of knowing?
A. No, because I don't have any pictures of it at the accident site.
Q. Do you have pictures of it before it was transported by Fierge? Excuse me. Do you have pictures of it before it was transported by Fierge?
A. Again, I'm going to tell you I don't know when any of these pictures were taken. They were just sent to me by Mr. Henderson, and he would send me some more and then he would send me some more. The only pictures that I knew when they were taken or who took them are my pictures, which were taken June 30th.
Q. Pictures that were taken before transport to Fierge would help you determine whether or not there was damage in transport of the vehicle displayed in Exhibit 21. Is that correct?
A. Might. Hell, here are two, page 15, top picture shows the paint transfer from the brick, and it shows it's horizontal, which is consistent with the direction that you expected to see, and page 28 also shows you same thing.
Q. These are in photographs that you took?
A. That's the evidence on the vehicle today. It's still there.
Q. Okay. Which one on 28 are you looking at?
A. The bottom one.
Q. And where is it you say there's evidence of paint transfer?
A. In the upper right-hand corner.
Q. Okay. And do you know whether that was put there at the time of the collision or at some subsequent time?
A. That was there at the time of the collision.
Q. Do you have any indication from some other source that it was there at the time of the collision prior to you taking these photographs about two weeks ago or a week ago?
MR. HENDERSON: Other than --
MR. HENDERSON: Other than the earlier one he just showed you?
A. Yes, the other one shows us that it's there.
Q. Exhibit 21. Yes?
A. Yes, but it's not a close-up showing it.
Q. And you referred also to 15.
A. I think so.
Q. The upper one.
A. The upper picture, yes.
Q. Okay. You've examined the building. You've examined the vehicle. You did not -- did you look at any of the components of the steering system?
A. Are we going to kick that around all day? I have not seen steering components, no.
A. The individual components were not available. Let's not ask that question again, okay? You've asked it 16 times.
Q. They had been lost, altered or destroyed. Is that correct?
A. I don't know what happened to them.
Q. They were unavailable for examination.
A. The 17th time, that's correct.
Q. Those components would have been available for examination at the time that the photographs taken in Exhibit 21 were made; isn't that correct?
A. It appears that they would have been there, yes.
Q. The steering box is -- you said that was absent.
A. Yes, it was absent.
Q. Is there a device that is located in or ties into the steering box called the sector shaft?
Q. And what is the function of the sector shaft?
A. The sector shaft is the part that has a partial gear on it that the rack teeth operate on. As you screw the ball screw into the rack piston on that particular steering gear, it moves a nut up and down and that nut has teeth on it. Those teeth operate on a sector shaft, and they turn the sector shaft or the Pitman shaft, it has two names, called a Pitman shaft because it attaches to the Pitman arm, they're one and the same, and it causes the shaft to rotate.
It's a gearbox because it's working with gears, and it's translating motion in a 90-degree direction.
Q. That allows you to direct which way the wheels will turn, left, right or staying forward?
A. The system is designed that that is the driver, through the steering linkage, to turn the wheels right or to the left, yes. But that particular gear in that car is a hydraulically self-contained, power-assisted steering gear so the operator has power assist also.
Q. If a product like that failed, it would require what you told me earlier today, probable fatigue failure analysis.
A. How far are you going to reach, for crying out loud?
Q. Hell, just as far as you, I guess. I don't know.
A. What's the load in the steering gear going down the road at 35 miles an hour going straight down the road?
Q. Don't know.
A. Does Mr. Kelsey know? He obviously has got your questions for you.
MR. HENDERSON: Just answer the question.
A. There is no load in that steering gear under this driving mode. If you're going to break the steering gear, it's going to be because you whapped something, and it gets driven back up through the system.
Q. Is there no circumstance under which the steering gear could fail because of an inherent metal fatigue failure?
A. In this instance, absolutely could not happen.
Q. Hell, you're assuming that it didn't happen because of your analysis of what this case is. I'm asking you could it have occurred.
MR. HENDERSON: I think he answered the question.
Q. Could it occur generally?
Q. It would never be able to occur?
A. I can't say never because, if you have an accident, repair the vehicle and you damage the steering gear and then send it out, it could occur. But to take a vehicle, a relatively new vehicle with that steering gear in it and have a fatigue failure in it, that's dreaming in a crystal ball and nobody else's. Certainly not. And I know that steering gear, sir. It was made by General Motors.
Q. And we know their products never fail.
A. That's not true. If that's true, I would have never had a job.
MR. CARTER: I don't think I have any more.
MR. HABECKER: I've got just a few follow-up questions.
EXAMINATION BY MR. HABECKER:
Q. Have you ever testified on behalf of a plaintiff in an automobile products liability case?
A. A number of years ago in Philadelphia.
Q. What were the facts of that case?
A. It was a steering claimed failure, and it was a steering failure that caused an accident. And I testified that the failure was caused by lack of maintenance, and it was a tie rod separation on a vehicle, and it was an old vehicle, and the vehicle went across the road to the left and I think it hit an abutment or something. It was a Chevrolet pickup.
Q. Who retained you in that case?
A. I really don't know the circumstances totally. At the time I was employed by General Motors, and it was the second time around. We tried the case, I was the defense expert, and there was some agreement that I don't understand or whatever, but the attorney for General Motors agreed with the plaintiff that I would come back and testify for him in the second trial.
The attorney that was working for us has passed away. Like I said, it was several years ago, and he was an elderly fellow at the time.
Q. Is that the only case you've testified for plaintiff's side in a products case?
A. It's the only one that's vivid in my mind, but, you know, I have obviously testified several times as an adverse witness situation called by the plaintiff. I That's the only one I can think of. There may have been one other one.
Q. Do you remember the name of the case? I
A. Marilyn Long versus some equipment company.
Q. And this was venued in Philadelphia?
A. Yes. And Don Matusow was the lawyer for the plaintiff, and he's with Jerry Litvin's law firm because I've had several cases against him.
Q. On how many cases have you been a consultant in or testified in in which spoliation -- the issue of spoliation was raised by the automobile manufacturer?
A. I can't answer that. I don't know, because in many instances, that would be an issue that was addressed before I would get involved in the issue. That was always the lawyer's end of the battle.
Q. I'm just asking you instances that you know where spoliation was an issue and it was an issue being raised by the auto manufacturer. Is it more than five?
A. Let's put it this way. It's more related to the claims analysis I did with ESIS, so that work I've done since 1994 till a couple of years ago when GM took it all back in-house.
But the issue that would be primarily raised, I would raise it with the claims administrator, who would work with a local attorney. and I wasn't involved in testifying about it. And out of all the work I did in that claims analysis, we didn't end up -- I didn't end up actually going to trial or to arbitrations very often.
Q. Let's not talk about testifying in trial.
Q. Just how many times during your career has, to your knowledge, has spoliation been an issue raised by the automobile manufacturer?
A. I can't answer your question.
Q. Well, are we talking about less than 100? more than 100?
A. I would say, you know, you're trying to play the typical game. Very few cases. Maybe a half a dozen.
A. That's an estimated guess.
Q. Are you aware -- well, have you actually testified in court in a situation where spoliation was an issue raised by the automobile manufacturer in the state of Illinois?
Q. Do you remember the name of the case?
Q. Do you remember the approximate time period?
Q. When you say “maybe,” are you remembering a certain case or are you just trying to be safe?
A. There was a case that I can't quote by name, and I was shown it many years ago and I don't remember why. Whether it's spoliation or whether it's something else, and it might have been spoliation that made the determination; might be.
Q. Do you know what it was that you said that --
A. No, I don't.
Q. -- Drew someone's interest to it?
A. No, I don't. All I remember is there's something in Illinois. I'm fairly confident it was Illinois.
Q. What's your understanding as to where this vehicle came to rest right after the impact?
A. I understand the tow truck driver claims it was basically pointed at the building, perpendicular to the building; in other words, it hit the building and it swung around in a counterclockwise motion, which is what it would have done.
Q. And from what are you basing that opinion? Where did you acquire that knowledge?
A. I think it came from Mr. Henderson.
Q. Okay. The police report didn't show that, did it?
A. Correct, it does not. But the physics of the collision, that's the way it would go.
Q. So the vehicle was back out in the street?
A. Probably, because it's a lot longer than it is from the edge of that road to the building.
Q. You don't know how far the front end of the vehicle was from the building when it came to rest.
Q. When were you first contacted by Mr. Henderson to discuss this case?
A. Sometime prior to May, but I don't know. I'd have to go through all that and see if there's a letter to tell me. It's not been -- it hasn't been a year.
Q. Hell, if you've got something that would help you answer the question, take a look.
A. I don't know if I do or not. He sent me this material in April of this year, on April 29th. So my best guess would be sometime in April he called me.
Q. This question may have been asked at the beginning of the deposition, and I didn't write down your answer. What is the -- what is your definition as to what is meant by the term “crashworthiness”?
A. Crashworthiness is a term that's applied to a vehicle that reports to the performance of the vehicle in an accident and how well it protects the occupants. It's related to occupant, occupant injury versus the accident type of thing. And the crashworthiness of the vehicle is dictated by some of the requirements from the Federal Government on motor vehicle safety standards.
Q. Has the term “crashworthiness” been in use for a number of years? If so, do you remember its origins?
A. Well, no. I can tell you for a number of years it's been involved because the question asked earlier about accident causation, and I separated out accident causation between the design defect because it wasn't crashworthy. We're not contending the vehicle -- accident causation is not a point in contention but the construction and testing and design of the vehicle is.
That's a different kind of an engineering approach and different type of situation that I'm -- and I'm involved in those not very often, but I have been involved in those situations.
The other aspect of what you're going on is they condemn the design because it doesn't handle properly, i.e., the Corvair litigation. But crashworthiness is basically based on the performance of a vehicle in an accident and how it affects the occupants.
MR. HABECKER: I don't have any more questions.
MR. CARTER: No, I'm done.
EXAMINATION BY MR. HENDERSON:
Q. One of your opinions in this case is that the vehicle reasonably protected the occupant in this accident from a design point of view. Is that correct?
Q. Part of your file was the shop manual for this particular vehicle and some sketches or diagrams from that.
Q. You were questioned about what your general procedure would be when you were provided with a component that was thought to be defective or caused an accident or an injury. Correct?
Q. In an instance where the question is whether some component failed, what issue or regimen with respect to the analysis --
A. Well, certainly the easiest thing to have would be the actual component itself, but when you get into accident reconstruction situations and you evaluate all the data and if you have sufficient experience looking at vehicles, vehicle performance, knowing what vehicles do and don't do and so forth, you just take what data is available and see if you can come to a conclusion.
Q. And, in this particular case, is it your opinion that sufficient data was available, including the renting of the vehicle that you inspected, to determine, with a reasonable degree of engineering certainty, that there was no manufacturing defect or design defect that caused this vehicle to go to the left and to hit the building?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Is it your understanding, from reviewing Mr. Kelsey's deposition, that he also thought that the vehicle was reasonably crashworthy?
A. Yes, I believe he stated that.
Q. Had you been sent the photographs, police report, and information about Mr. Miller's testimony about the defendants in this case, would you have told them that you didn't believe they had a case to pursue?
Q. One of the educational efforts undertaken by General Motors was to instruct people not to slam on their brakes in an emergency situation. Is that correct?
Q. Is it your experience, however, that it's a natural human tendency to put on the brake if the vehicle performs unusually and one is awake?
A. Well, that's been observed by many people, including myself, in test situations. We've deliberately run those test situations through, again, with people -- we did that back in the middle '60s, but I think that's -- in the accident investigation manuals and so forth that's a pretty well-established fact. And that's why there has been a lot of training programs and there is schools now that teach you not to do that and also why they came along with antilock brakes.
Q. One of Mr. Kelsey's opinions -- by the way, did this vehicle have antilock brakes?
A. I don't know.
Q. One of Mr. Kelsey's opinions is that the evidence that he has reviewed indicates that it would be -- that it was inconsistent with that evidence to say that Mr. Miller fell asleep before the vehicle went to the left. What does your investigation of the materials disclose?
A. Well, I don't know whether Mr. Miller fell asleep or not. All I know that there's nothing on this vehicle to indicate any product problem, and the path of the vehicle, the load mechanism on the vehicle said that it went to the left to get to the other side of the road and then it was straightened out and went into the building straight.
That can only be done when the steering system is working, and the only way that it can happen to the steering system is if the operator is turning the steering wheel. Whether he does it voluntarily or involuntarily, I don't know. I just know what the vehicle will do and what has to happen to it and what the evidence shows that's what happened to the vehicle.
So Mr. Miller, whether he's alert or what, here steered the vehicle to the left to get him off the road, and then he straightened the vehicle up to get it to go right and go head on into the building.
Q. Mr. Kelsey indicated that he is of the opinion that, when somebody falls asleep at the wheel, the vehicle goes to the right rather than to the left. What is your opinion?
A. It all depends on what the operator does at the steering wheel.
Q. Have you known of occasions in -- which vehicles have gone to the left when people have fallen asleep at the wheel?
A. Well, let's back up. I know of several occasions where the vehicle has gone to the left. Some instances there's been indications of the driver sleeping. There have been other reasons for it to go to the left. They tend -- in general for inattention several vehicles will drift off to the right. That's a pretty well-established situation too. But the vehicle path is hard to determine when the operator is sleeping or inattentive.
Q. You were asked how many seconds from the time the vehicle first veered to the left until it collided with the building, and I think you were unable to give a precise answer to that. Does it depend, to some extent, on the distance the vehicle traveled?
A. Yes. If you're traveling 44 feet per second, in ten seconds you travel 440 feet. So you're traveling a football field plus, and measuring the actual accident scene, there's 110 feet of fence that could have been hit by the vehicle, and we know that there was only about 20 feet of fence that was replaced.
So we know that the vehicle didn't get involved in the fence until it was almost a car length away from the building. Now, had he been way back down the road and come across the road and come across the road at, say, 200 feet, we would have seen more fence damage.
The only thing the fence damage tells us that he's straightening that out just about one car length, but whether he's driving along the edge of that road for some distance and drifts in or whether he has crossed the road, we just don't know.
The thing that we have is just the description by the operator that said that he made a normal move across, which is going to take some considerable distance because it's going to take, you know, several seconds for that to occur.
So the accident where he actually lost his intended direction was probably back before that street, which was -- I forget the dimension now. It's about 100, 200 feet back.
Q. Mr. Shafer's statement talked about a broken sign post. Did you note on the diagram, which is in your file, the location of any portions of a sign post?
A. We just noted the posts that were there. There was one post right up against the building, that, in my opinion, would have been a fence post.
Then we came back down the path of travel and up to the street, I don't know the name of that street, but there's a street before we get there, and there are remnants of two pieces of pipe in the ground that you can find and those are back before you even get to the fence. They're over 100 feet away from the area.
That's the only remnants of anything that could have been a sign post, but I don't know what those posts were.
Q. If, in fact, there was a sign post down and the remnants that you saw were from that sign post, would that indicate that the -- would that be consistent with your estimate of the angle at which Mr. Miller hit the building?
A. Hell, it would be consistent with the fact that he was driving parallel with the road there for quite awhile before he got to the building, because that was, like I said, it was a -- several hundred feet back. It was before the fence portion that he hit was available. The fence actually at 110 feet went back up towards the building.
Q. We took about a half-hour break for you to go through your photos and mark specific photos that pertain to each of the number of opinions that have been disclosed in this case. You weren't asked about all of them, but you do have post-its, do you not, on the photographs that you have made with respect to those particular opinions?
Q. You said at one point that you would have to do an extreme accident reconstruction to come any closer than the plus or minus five degrees with respect to the angle of contact between the vehicle and the building.
Are you confident that your analysis allows you to state that angle with a reasonable degree of engineering certainty?
A. Yes. The damage to the vehicle demonstrates that, and it's pretty -- pretty well outlined in the letter I sent you on May 15.
Q. There were some questions by counsel that you had no idea when parts were removed from the vehicle.
Do you recall seeing some records from the auto salvage dealer in Quincy showing that certain parts were sold from the vehicle --
Q. -- At certain different times?
Is it your experience that parts that are sold by a salvage dealer generally are parts that have not failed in an accident?
Q. You mentioned the possibility of several adverse consequences that could occur when a tie rod broke. Are there also consequences that are nonadverse?
A. Yes. I think I started out saying that the vehicle could probably go straight, probably would, under this set of circumstances.
Q. During your career, has it been your custom and practice to review what evidence is available in order to formulate opinions with respect to the performance of a vehicle or components in an accident?
Q. You mentioned that there were occasions when you would actually get to the accident scene while the vehicle was still there. Out of 1,000 cases, how many times would that occur?
A. About half.
Q. Okay. That doesn't --
A. That's usually when I was working with the police departments that I'd get right to the vehicle.
Q. And when vehicles are towed from scenes, is it unusual for a tow truck operator to toss pieces that he finds laying around the vehicle into the back seat or front seat of the vehicle and tow it off to the salvage yard?
Q. Is that customary?
A. Yes. I think today's market most places require the truck driver to clean the area up.
Q. Are you -- you indicated that the tread pattern shown on the Fierge photo appear to be different from the three tires and wheels shown in Mr. Kelsey's photograph. Correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. Are you comfortable that the components that you examined and photographed of this vehicle and that are contained in your photographs are, in fact, parts that were from this particular vehicle?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you can say that with a reasonable degree of engineering certainty?
A. Yes. Many of them had part numbers on them that were -- had the Chrysler emblem on them, the five-star emblem and the Chrysler-type part number.
Q. Has it been your experience that, when a forensic engineer sends a technician out to take photographs of a vehicle for a case that he's working on, that the expectation is that the photographs will be of the parts of that vehicle?
A. Well, yeah, but I would have -- like I said, I've only done it a couple of times, and normally what I would do when I take a technician and let the technician take pictures, but I take him along and tell him where to take pictures.
Q. You were asked a number of general questions about what systems you wouid investigate if you were looking at a claim of a potential steering loss.
Q. Are you comfortable that you reviewed sufficient information in this case to arrive at the opinions that you have -- that are contained in your expert witness disclosure with a reasonable degree of engineering certainty?
Q. You read the deposition testimony of Officer Ott.
Q. Did he indicate that he marked on the police report that the driver was asleep or unconscious based on information the driver gave to him?
MR. HENDERSON: That's all I've got.
FURTHER EXAMINATION BY MR. CARTER:
Q. This Exhibit 10, are you using this to support your opinion about the deformation of the vehicle supports the theory that the vehicle struck in the manner that it did?
Q. What are you using it for?
A. I'm using it to demonstrate to help illustrate to Mr. Henderson the type of materials that I have in my background to show him why I made that statement.
Q. Is this what you would call a frontal, single-car crash or single-vehicle crash situation?
A. This is what I called a frontal, offset-barrier crash, yes.
Q. Is that the same as single-vehicle crash?
A. Well, it's a single vehicle, yes.
Q. So I'm looking at Table 10. Is that something that would be analyzing what the similar circumstances --
A. I'd have to read some more to see, but it may be. It may be. But that isn't the item that I was showing to Mr. Henderson.
Q. Okay. Hell, can I have that back, please.
A. I haven't reviewed that article.
Q. All right. Well, it says “Direct Damage in Frontal, Single-Car Crashes.”
A. Yeah, but it doesn't tell what the obstacle hit is.
Q. Well, it says -- the article starts at page 54 and I'm looking at what is Table 10 at page 61. The article appears to end at page 63, They're apparently comparing offset testing with what Mercedes had done with the full frontal crash testing because the article is entitled “Offset Frontal Impacts: A Comparison of Real-World Crashes With Laboratory Tests.”
So looking at this Table 10, it says “Direct Damage in Frontal, Single-Car Crashes,” and under the column it has “Direct Damage” and it has “Distributed, All Towaways, No. 173,” and that says “23 percent.”
Does that mean 23 percent of all vehicles involved in the tests showed damage across the whole front end?
A. Again, sir, the article speaks for itself. I haven't reviewed the article.
Q. Okay. And it shows different delta-Vs. Delta-Vs are what?
A. Change of velocity of the vehicle in the crash.
Q. And what determines the delta-v?
A. The delta-V is determined by the abruptness of the stop.
Q. So the more immovable the barrier, the greater the delta-v?
A. The more immovable the barrier, the greater the delta-V.
A. If you stop right now, the delta-V is very high. If you stop in ten feet the delta-V is much lower.
Q. In this particular case the delta-V would have been higher as opposed to lower. Correct?
A. Relative to what, sir?
Q. Well, I mean, if you compare it with all barriers in which something would be striking -- I think you said earlier this was a very solid barrier that the vehicle struck.
A. It would be, because of the amount of the vehicle involved, the delta-V is going to be a little lower.
MR. HENDERSON: If you're through with that, can I see it?
Q. Do you have any information that the scene of the occurrence or the area surrounding it that you evaluated on July -- what was it, June 30 or July 1?
A. July 1. Well, June 30th and July 1.
Q. -- Is in the same condition today as it was at the time of the occurrence here?
Q. What's that information?
A. Except for the fence, it's the same.
Q. Are you telling me -- who told you that?
A. The -- I don't know if it was the owner. It was somebody associated with the building.
Q. Okay. The question was not just the building or the fence; the question was the surrounding area.
A. Yeah, we talked about the sidewalk and the area around the building. Nothing has changed, and it's obvious nothing has changed in that area. Nobody has worked on that road, I can tell you that.
Q. Okay. Who was the gentleman that gave you the information that nothing has changed down there in six years?
A. I don't remember his name.
Q. When did you talk to him?
A. On July 1.
Q. What did he have to say to you? What were your questions to him and what were his answers?
A. I asked him whether the building had anything done to it; he said no. I went into the building to see the construction of the building, and he commented that the interior of the building hadn't been touched, and there wasn't any damage to the interior of the building that I could see.
But by virtue of lifting the tiles in the ceiling, I could see how the building was constructed, and that was my primary revisit purpose. And he made the comment that they had done nothing to the outside of the building, except that they had had the fence repaired, and the rest of the area, the sidewalk area and the street and all that kind of -- it was pretty obvious that it's been in that condition that we saw it in for quite awhile.
Q. Did you ask him about that or did you just ask him about the building?
A. I don't recall that.
Q. Okay. You don't recall any information he gave you about anything other than the building and the fence. Is that correct?
A. Well, we talked about other things, but they weren't related to this accident.
Q. Okay. So do you have any information from any other source about this area surrounding the building at the accident scene other than your conclusion that nothing's been done down there for six years?
A. No. I only have my observation and my photographs and the video that I took of the area.
Q. Okay. Exhibit 8 is a document which shows what?
A. It shows the steering linkage on the vehicle and the components, and then I have penciled in some other components and sent it to Mick.
Q. What have you penciled in?
A. I've penciled in a wheel and tire and the spindle area, penciled in the general location of the frame and the upper spring seat and the coil spring, and then I've kind of sketched in a cowl area, windshield area, and basically showing that the line of force is down the wheel right down the A-pillar, and it goes along with a photograph that I sent him where I've drawn that line on the photograph on an exemplar '97 truck.
Q. So this document, which we've marked 8 and has your drawing on it, is to display your opinion of this line of force?
A. To show where the physical evidence on the vehicle shows the line of force went down the vehicle, yes.
Q. Okay. Any other purpose served by Exhibit 8?
A. Well, it also shows the general arrangement of the steering linkage.
Q. Okay. Anything else?
A. Shows the configuration, the general location of the front axle.
Q. The steering linkages are the -- strike that.
The device in the middle above is called what?
A. That's a depiction of the steering gear, sir.
MR. CARTER: I don't have any more.
MR. HABECKER: No questions.
MR. HENDERSON: Okay. We'll reserve.
FURTHER DEPONENT SAYETH NOT SIGNATURE RESERVED
ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT RULE 207(b) CERTIFICATE
I, Christie C. Stephens, a Certified Shorthand Reporter and officer of the Court in and for the State of Illinois, DO HEREBY CERTIFY that, pursuant to notice, there came before me on the 7th day of July, A.D. 2003, at 227 Northeast Jefferson Street, Peoria, Illinois, the following named person, to wit:
GERALD A. CONFER, P.E., a witness, called by the plaintiff, who was by me first duly sworn to testify to the truth and nothing but the truth of his knowledge touching and concerning the matters in controversy in this cause, and that he was thereupon carefully examined upon his oath and his examination immediately reduced to shorthand by means of stenotype by me; and that the foregoing is a true record of the testimony given by the witness.
I FURTHER CERTIFY that signature of the witness to the foregoing deposition was not waived and that any changes made by the witness are appended hereto in the form of a Supreme Court Rule 207(a) Statement.
I FURTHER CERTIFY that I am neither counsel for nor related to counsel for any of the parties to this suit nor am I in any way related to any of the parties to this suit, nor am I in any way interested in the outcome thereof.
I FURTHER CERTIFY that my certificate annexed hereto applies to the original transcript and copies thereof, signed and certified by me only. I assume no responsibility for the accuracy of any reproduced copies not made under my control or direction.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand at Morton, Illinois, this 14th day of July, A.D. 2003.