Dr. David Niebuhr has over 20 years experience in the field of metallurgical engineering. He has worked on numerous failure analysis projects and provided guidance as a technical advisor and expert witness. His experience includes academic and industrial research of real-world engineering challenges. He has authored over a dozen technical publications and worked on technologies ranging from hard disk drives to railroad track wear.
- Failure Analysis
- Professional Engineering
- Q: Please list your professional accreditations, degrees, licenses, and certificates granted:
- A: 1993 -- B.S. Materials Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
1997 -- Ph.D. Materials Science & Engineering, Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology*, Portland, OR
(*Now known as Oregon Health Science University)
Professional Engineer (Metallurgy), California License # MT1957
- Q: Please list your affiliations or memberships in any professional and/or industry organizations:
- A: ASM, Failure Analysis, Thermal Spray, Materials Characterization
- Q: Please list any teaching or speaking experience you have had, including subject matter:
- A: 2015- Present: Adjunct Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
2007- 2011: Adjunct Professor, Physics & Chemistry, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
2007 -2010: Lecturer, Physics & Chemistry, Cuesta Community College, San Luis Obispo, CA
1999- 2006: Assistant Professor, Materials Engineering, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
Courses ranged from Sophomore to Graduate level in subjects including:
Failure Analysis, Physical Metallurgy, Corrosion, Tribology, Electronic Materials, Non-destructive Evaluation (NDE), Materials Characterization, Vector Statics, Design of Experiments, Heat Transfer, Chemistry & Physics for Engineers.
Almost every course included a laboratory component to bridge the theoretical to the practical
- Q: On how many occasions have you been retained as an expert?
- A: My work as an expert witness began in 2003 when I was retained by the DA of San Luis Obispo County to aid in the investigation of a triple vehicular homicide involving a horse that fell out of a trailer on a freeway. Since then I have been retained in over 40 legal matters. These include criminal, civil, and subrogation cases. My assignments ranged from providing expert reports through testifying in court and aiding in appeals.
- Q: For what area(s) of expertise have you been retained as an expert?
- A: I am primarily retained for determining the root cause of failure (at a system or component level) of a device and to evaluate the design vis-a-vis recognized industry standards. This has included consumer products, industrial machinery, biomedical implants, technology, aviation, electronic devices, and heavy industry/infrastructure to name a few. I have also been retained in patent cases, injury, and fraud where the design, selection, and behavior of an alloy, plastic, etc. are called into question. Subject matter expertise includes physical metallurgy, fracture/fatigue, wear/tribology, corrosion, materials characterization, and nondestructive evaluation. To see more examples please visit my website.
- Q: In what percentage of your cases were you retained by the plaintiff?
- A: 60% My approach to accepting work is based on two factors, 1) Do I have the required skills needed to evaluate the science/engineering in question to represent my client? and 2) Will my client respect my integrity and accept my opinion, even if it is not in favor of the case? If both are yes, then I know I will be a good fit.
- Q: In what percentage of your cases were you retained by the defendant?
- A: 40% - Again, my decision does not depend on the side of the courtroom my client sits.
- Q: On how many occasions have you had your deposition taken?
- A: Between 2003 to 2020 I have been deposed 15 times.
- Q: When was the last time you had your deposition taken?
- A: In 2020 I was deposed in two cases, one in July and the other in September
- Q: On how many occasions have you been qualified by a court to give expert testimony?
- A: I was qualified as an expert in every case that went to trial and for three that settled on the eve of trial
- Q: On how many occasions have you testified as an expert in court or before an arbitrator?
- A: Five in total. I have testified in one criminal case and four civil cases, two of the civil cases were in federal court.
- Q: For how many years have you worked with the legal industry as an expert?
- A: I began working as an expert witness in 2002. I had been consulting for 2 years already while working as a professor of materials engineering
- Q: What services do you offer? (E.g.: consulting, testing, reports, site inspections etc.)
- A: My firm provides full support in any legal case. We conduct site inspections, evaluate data, generate (and refute) expert reports, and provide technical expertise from filing to verdict. We have relationships with numerous labs to provide material analysis and testing as needed. We can store evidence and maintain the chain of custody. We have worked with other engineers when needed to provide the expertise we did not possess in-house. Please contact us for more information.
- Q: What is your hourly rate to consult with an attorney?
- A: We charge $300 / hour for all engineering / legal work, We offer free, no obligation consultations to all potential clients.
- Q: What is your hourly rate to review documents?
- A: Our rate is $300/hr for all engineering and legal work
- Q: What is your hourly rate to provide deposition testimony?
- A: Deposition testimony is billed at $350/hr, including any deposition preparation
- Q: What is your hourly rate to provide testimony at trial?
- A: Trial testimony is billed at $350/hr, including pre-trial review
- Q: Please list any fees other than those stated above (E.g.: travel expenses, copy fees, etc.)
- A: Expenses are billed at cost + a 10% administrative fee. This is includes travel copies, lab fees; mileage is $0.65 per mile, travel time is negotiable based on distance travek=l is generally billed at half full rate and is negotiable depending on distance and duration.
Available Upon Request