Case Caption: A. Susan Miller v. V.I. Wheel Estate, LLC d/b/a Peppertree TerraceCase Number: SCT-CIV-2020-0007Date: 10/18/2021Author: Cabret, Maria M. Citation: 2021 VI 19Summary: In an appeal from orders granting summary judgment for the defendant in two negligence actions for lack of expert evidence to establish the issue of proximate causation of damage following a hurricane that hit a mobile home park on St. Croix where the plaintiffs leased space, the Superior Court did not err in holding that expert testimony was required in case No. 2020-0007, but erred in finding that expert testimony was required in case No. 2020-0008. Applying V.I. Rules of Evidence 701 and 702, expert testimony was required in the first case – which presented several technical issues related to the metallurgical properties of straps and anchors used to secure mobile homes to their pads, including standards in the mobile home trailer industry, the size, strength and metallurgic composition needed to withstand hurricane force winds, and whether the defendant’s unit on one lot in the park met those standards. In the second case, however, where there was testimony that the straps on the mobile home at issue were so rusted and rotted that they had completely broken off – and were no longer securing that home – a lay jury could clearly understand this kind of testimony without expert assistance. Thus, the metallurgical properties of the straps are not at issue in the second case. Therefore, summary judgment dismissing the first action for lack of proffered expert proof is affirmed, but summary judgment is reversed in the second case, which is remanded to the Superior Court for further proceedings.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion