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Architects and Engineers as Experts

Frederic M.Wolfram

October 30, 2000

Though there is authority to the contrary, an expert should hold a license in the area in which he or she is testifying.

A witness who is to give an expert opinion about the standard of care within a particular licensed profession must be licensed in that same profession. See, e.g., Shook v. Herman, 759 S.W.2d 743, 747 (Tex.App.–Dallas 1988, writ denied); Tijerina v. Wennermark, 700 S.W.2d 342, 347 (Tex.App.–San Antonio 1985, no writ). This state requires a person to obtain a license to practice as an architect or registered mechanical engineer. See Tex.Rev.Civ.Stat.Ann. art. 249a (Vernon 1973); Tex.Rev.Civ.Stat.Ann. art. 3271a (Vernon 1968). These statutes make it illegal to engage in the practice of architecture or engineering without a license. See Tex.Rev.Civ.Stat.Ann. art. 249a, Sec. 1 (Vernon 1973); Tex.Rev.Civ.Stat.Ann. art. 3271a, Sec. 1.2 (Vernon 1968). The record reflects that neither Roberts nor Rumrill is a licensed architect or a licensed mechanical engineer. They are not competent to testify either as experts in the architectural or mechanical engineering professions or about the standards of care relating to those professions. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding their opinion testimony. See Downer v. Aquamarine Operators, Inc., 701 S.W.2d 238, 241-42 (Tex.1985); Milkie, 658 S.W.2d at 680. We overrule Prellwitz’s points of error one and two.

Prellwitz v. Cromwell, Truemper, Levy, Parker and Woodsmale, Inc. 802 S.W.2d 316, 317-18 (Tex.App.– Dallas 1990, no writ).

To qualify as an expert able to set the standard of care for a given profession, the witness must be licensed in the same profession. Prellwitz, 802 S.W.2d at 317; see, e.g., Shook v. Herman, 759 S.W.2d 743, 747 (Tex.App.–Dallas 1988, writ denied); Tijerina v. Wennermark, 700 S.W.2d 342, 347 (Tex.App.–San Antonio 1985, no writ).

Parkway Co. v. Woodruff, 857 S.W.2d 903, 919 (Tex.App.– Houston [1st Dist.] 1993) modified on other grounds 901 S.W.2d 434 (Tex. 1995).

Under Tex.R.Evid. 702 the defendant, as an architect, is not qualified as an expert on engineering and any opinion that he might render is not reliable, based on the following authorities.  Just as not every physician is qualified to testify as an expert in every medical malpractice case, not every mechanical engineer is qualified to testify as an expert in every products liability case.  Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 719 (Tex. 1998).  Architects may not testify in areas outside expertise. Moreover, they may not testify in areas that are within common knowledge of jury.

Moreover, the witness’s knowledge must assist the jury in evaluating and understanding facts and issues that are not within the jury’s common experience. Duckett v. State, 797 S.W.2d 906, 910 (Tex.Crim.App.1990); Lopez v. State, 815 S.W.2d 846, 849-50 (Tex.App.–Corpus Christi 1991, no pet.); Wade v. State, 769 S.W.2d 633, 635 (Tex.App.–Dallas 1989, no pet.). In Pierce v. State, 777 S.W.2d 399, 414 (Tex.Crim.App.1989), cert. denied, 496 U.S. 912, 110 S.Ct. 2603, 110 L.Ed.2d 283 (1990), the court held that an architect was not permitted to testify as an expert on perception and perspective. The appellant attempted to admit the testimony to show the suggestiveness of his lineup. The court found that perception and perspective were concepts understood by the jurors and therefore the witness’s testimony would not be of assistance to them. Id. at 414.

Negrini v. State, 853 S.W.2d 128, 131 (Tex.App.–Corpus Christi 1993, ).

In Watkins v. Telsmith, Inc., 121 F.3d 984 (5th Cir. 1997)(emphasis in original), a civil engineer was not allowed to testify on matters pertaining to mechanical engineering.

Williams received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineeringfrom Mississippi State University in 1949 and was a registered  professional engineer. He was a B-17 pilot in World War II, and as a part of his duties served as a maintenance supervisor. His work in that capacity at least tangentially exposed him to the use of conveyors. Later, he worked for Boeing in facility engineering and tool design. Williams also served with the Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1960’s. He worked for the Mississippi Highway Department for two periods totaling approximately seven years. In addition, Williams taught drafting, surveying, structural design and engineering materials at Northwest Mississippi Junior College.

Williams testified that he had extensive experience in building roads and bridges and other structural engineering projects, in all of which he observed conveyors in use. For the Army, Williams participated in setting up a gravel wash facility. There was a portable conveyor at that wash plant, but he could not remember how the conveyor arm was supported. Williams had seen conveyors using hydraulic cylinders, outriggers, and stop plates or bars, but none using two wire ropes. He could neither remember many of the types and brands of conveyors that he had worked with nor clearly describe whether his work directly utilized conveyors.[FN2] Williams did not know if any conveyors were built in 1943 using his alternative proposed design.

He also stated that he was familiar with the safety factors employed in using wire rope and has tested the strength of wire rope. Williams used his education in materials strength and structural design, information that was “common knowledge” among engineers, and his experience with conveyors to analyze the design in question. He considered the problem “not really enough to be a good engineering project.”

Williams lacks education in mechanical engineering, and his experience in machine design is limited to a project he conducted in one of his engineering classes in which he designed the base of a chair. He has never designed a conveyor, although he claimed to have designed “nuts and bolts and that kind of thing one at a time.” Williams has performed accident reconstruction for three conveyor cases, but only one was a belt conveyor; in those cases, he investigated whether the conveyors should have been designed with guards to prevent workers from being caught in the conveyor.

W.V. Dorsaneo, Texas Litigation Guide, § 114.10 (2000)(emphasis added) summarizes the current law on expert witnesses as follows:

Improper Witness or Testimony

[1] Unqualified Expert

[a] Qualifications in General

A witness is considered an expert, and allowed to express an opinion as such, only if the witness is sufficiently qualified by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education to assist the trier of fact with scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge in the form of an opinion or otherwise [ T.R. Evid. 702 ]. Usually, the qualifications of a person as an expert in some field are not open to debate; on the other hand, opposing counsel may propose as an expert a person who lacks the necessary education or experience to qualify as an expert or to express an opinion on a specific topic. The deficiency may be challenged either by voir dire examination when the witness is called to testify, or by pretrial motion in limine to suppress the witness’s testimony [see º 114.110[2]]. Although the burden to show the witness’s qualifications as an expert is on the offering party [ United Blood Services v. Longoria, 938 S.W.2d 29, 31 (Tex. 1997) ], the party challenging the expert must be prepared to demonstrate, from the purported expert’s deposition or by other means, that the witness does have the required expertise to testify as intended. To support a motion in limine to suppress expert testimony, the movant should offer evidence that the witness’s background does not indicate a special expertise to express an opinion on the specific issue before the court [ Broders v. Heise, 924 S.W.2d 148, 153 (Tex. 1996) –mere fact that witness is medical doctor does not qualify witness to testify on all medical questions]. For example, the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the testimony of an engineer who was shown to be experienced in designing and testing fighter planes and missiles, but who was not shown to have any training or experience in the design or manufacture of automobiles or of the automobile components that were relevant to the case [Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 719 (Tex. 1998) –“Just as not every physician is qualified to testify as an expert in every medical malpractice case, not every mechanical engineer is qualified to testify as an expert in every products liability case”]. In another case, the court of appeal ruled that a clinical psychiatrist was not properly qualified to testify as to whether it was in the best interest of a child to terminate the parent-child relationship, when there was no evidence in the record showing that the psychiatrist had training or experience with termination of parent-child relationships. In the face of a proper challenge, the court said, an expert must be proved to be qualified in the specific issue before the court [ In re M.D.S., 1 S.W.3d 190, 203 (Tex. App.–Amarillo 1999, no pet. h.) –although psychiatrist was not properly qualified, admission of testimony was harmless error because even without testimony record contained sufficient evidence to support trial court’s findings]. The importance of a relationship between the witness’s background and the topic to be addressed is frequently involved in cases involving opinions on subpar professional conduct [see [b], below] and causation [see [c], below]. General challenges to the qualifications of a person as an expert may be made, but they are usually less successful because there are no definitive guidelines to determine whether a witness’s education, experience, skill, or training qualifies that person as an expert [see, e.g., America West Airlines, Inc. v. Tope, 935 S.W.2d 908, 918-919 (Tex. App.–El Paso 1996, no writ) –clinical social worker qualified as psychologist]. For example, objections are often made that the proposed expert does not hold a certain professional license and is thus not qualified to express an opinion about the conduct of a person in that profession. However, unless provided otherwise by statute [see [d], below], the better reasoned decisions do not require that a person hold a professional license to so testify. Rather, if the witness has acquired through any number of means a specialized knowledge that will help the trier of fact examine the evidence, the witness may testify based on that knowledge [ Southland Lloyd’s Ins. Co. v. Tomberlain, 919 S.W.2d 822, 828 (Tex. App.–Texarkana 1996, no writ) –insurance instructor without agent’s license; cf., Prellwitz v. Cromwell, Truemper, et al, 802 S.W. 2d 316, 318 (Tex. App.–Dallas 1990, no writ) –without license as architect or engineer, witnesses not shown to be otherwise qualified on standard of care of those professions]. For the proponent of the expert testimony, the key to qualification of the expert is evidence that the witness has had sufficient experience with the matter at hand, whether by education, training, research, or actual involvement, as to have acquired a superior knowledge to draw valid conclusions from the known facts and circumstances [see, e.g., Honeycutt v. Kmart Corp., 1 S.W.3d 239, 242-244 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 1999, no pet. h.) –safety engineer was qualified to testify as to cause of accident because of study and experience of how humans act and react to certain situations; Ponder v. Texarkana Memorial Hosp., Inc. 840 S.W.2d 476, 477-478 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 1991, den.) –non-physician, but with doctorate in neuroscience, having researched causes of neurological injuries and taught neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and neurochemistry was qualified as expert on cause of brain damage); Petrolia Ins. Co. v. Everett, 719 S.W.2d 639, 641 (Tex. App.–El Paso 1986, no writ) –experience qualified witness despite lack of formal education; Walter Baxter Seed Co. v. Rivera, 677 S.W.2d 241, 244 (Tex.App.–Corpus Christi 1984, ref. n.r.e.) –experience qualified witness to give opinion on cause of crop damage)].

[b] Opinions on Standard of Care

On the premise that the witness’s specialized knowledge must relate to the particular issue facing the jury [ Broders v. Heise, 924 S.W.2d 148, 153 (Tex. 1996) ], an expert may not be qualified to state an opinion regarding a professional’s standard of care unless the expert’s background clearly evidences an understanding of the standard [Ponder v. Texarkana Memorial Hosp., 840 S.W.2d 476, 477-478 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 1991, den.); cf. Porter v. Puryear, 262 S.W.2d 933, 936 (Tex. 1953); see also Hersch v. Hendley, 626 S.W.2d 151, 154-155 (Tex. App.–Fort Worth 1981, no writ)–orthopedic surgeon could testify on standard of care for podiatric surgery since it was “common throughout medical profession”]. Thus, a witness, although holding degrees in bacteriology, anthropology, and public health was not qualified to testify on the standard of care for the blood-banking industry, because evidence showed that the witness was not a doctor, did not consider himself an expert in blood banking, hematology, or immunology, never worked for a blood bank, never took any courses on blood banking, and never published any articles related to blood banks [ United Blood Services v. Longoria, 938 S.W.2d 29, 30-31 (Tex. 1997)]. In other words, the background information about the witness, submitted to oppose a motion in limine made to suppress the witness’s expert opinion, must establish such education, training, or experience as to support the trial judge’s conclusion that the witness has, in fact, a specialized knowledge of the care required [see, e.g., Hall v. Huff, 957 S.W.2d 90, 100-101 (Tex. App.–Texarkana 1997, den.) –internist who had taught several nursing courses was qualified on nursing care; Silvas v. Ghiatas, 954 S.W.2d 50, 57-58 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 1997, den.) –orthopedic surgeon qualified on radiology standards].

[c] Opinions on Causation

An expert witness may be called to testify as to the cause of an occurrence made the basis of litigation. The fact that the issue is an ultimate issue to be decided by the trier of fact does not, in and of itself, render the opinion inadmissible [ T.R. Evid. 704 ; Louder v. DeLeon, 754 S.W.2d 148, 148-149 (Tex. 1988) ]. However, when challenged by a motion in limine or otherwise, the proponent must show  that the witness has sufficient qualifications to demonstrate a specialized knowledge that will assist the jury in their determination of the issue [ T.R. Evid. 702 ]. There is no “bright-line” test for an expert’s qualifications to testify on causation. A detailed description of the witness’s experience, training, and education should be put forward, preferably by deposition testimony, for the trial judge to make the initial determination. If the judge is of the opinion that the witness is qualified, the deficiencies in the witness’s background to the contrary can be brought to the jury’s attention by cross-examination of the expert at trial in an effort to lessen the weight and credibility of the testimony. In any event, it is unlikely that an appellate court will find harmful error or that the trial judge abused discretion in allowing the expert’s opinion in a close case. The problem of qualifications required for an expert’s opinion on causation is best exemplified in cases in which an automobile collision was investigated by a police officer or other investigator [see, e.g., Sciarrilla v. Osborne, 946 S.W.2d 919, 921-923, 925-926 (Tex. App.–Beaumont 1997, den.) –qualifying young DPS trooper for causation opinion resulted in three separate opinions of appeals court]. The reported cases have both allowed opinion testimony by police officers with only the usual police training in accident investigation [see, e.g., DeLeon v. Louder, 743 S.W.2d 357, 359 (Tex. App.–Amarillo 1987), den. 754 S.W.2d 148 (Tex. 1988) ; see also Trailways, Inc. v. Clark, 794 S.W.2d 479, 483 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 1990, den.) ], and disapproved of the admission of such causation opinions unless the investigator possessed specialized scientific training in accident reconstruction [see, e.g., St. Louis Southwestern R. Co. v. King, 817 S.W.2d 760, 763 (Tex. App.–Texarkana 1991, no writ) ; see also Lopez v. Southern Pacific Transp. Co., 847 S.W.2d 330, 334-335 (Tex. App.–El Paso 1993, no writ) –finding abuse of discretion in allowing opinion of ordinary police officer]. The difficulty in determining when a witness is qualified to give an expert causation opinion persists despite the Beaumont Court of Appeal’s earlier pronouncement that “[a]s for regular police officers, sheriffs, mechanics etc., it generally may be said that they lack such training and experience as would qualify them to make a scientific analysis from physical evidence, regardless of how many accident scenes one may have examined” [ Clark v. Cotton, 573 S.W.2d 886, 887 (Tex. App.–Beaumont 1978, ref. n.r.e.) ].

* * *

[2] Unreliable Opinion of Expert

[a] Opinion Based on Scientific Knowledge

Evidence Rule 702 permits “scientific knowledge” to be presented by opinion or inference from a qualified expert only when it would assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue [ T.R. Evid. 702 ]. The Texas Supreme Court has interpreted the rule to mean that a qualified expert’s scientific knowledge, although relevant to the issues before the court, is not admissible unless it is reliable [ E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co. v. Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549, 556 (Tex. 1995) ]. The threshold requirements of relevance and reliability apply to all expert testimony, and are not limited to evidence of scientific theories or concepts that are novel or unconventional [ Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 721-722, 726 (Tex. 1998) –trial court was required to determine whether engineer’s testimony concerning defects in automobile seat belt was reliable; see [b], below]. On the other hand, while the scientific evidence must be shown to be reliable, the adoption of broadly worded Evidence Rule 702 eliminated any prior requirement that an expert’s opinion had to be based on a technique or principle generally accepted in the relevant scientific community [ E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co. v. Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549, 556 (Tex. 1995), following Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 113 S. Ct. 2786, 125 L. Ed. 2d 469, 480 (1993) –interpreting Federal Rule of Evidence 702, essentially same as Texas Rule of Evidence 702]. To preserve a complaint that scientific evidence is unreliable, a party must object to the evidence before trial or when the evidence is offered [ Maritime Overseas Corp. v. Ellis, 971 S.W.2d 402, 409 (Tex. 1998) –party could not later complain that scientific evidence was unreliable and hence “no evidence” for purposes of appellate review]. When a proper challenge is made by an opponent of the proposed testimony, by trial objection or pretrial motion [see § 114.111[2]–motion in limine to suppress expert’s opinion], the trial judge must determine the preliminary question of the testimony’s reliability by reviewing the evidence outside the presence of the jury [ T.R. Evid. 104(a); E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co. v. Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549, 556 (Tex. 1995) ]. In this role as the so-called “gate-keeper” to prevent inadmissible evidence from reaching the jury, the trial judge is not called upon to determine the truth or falsity of the evidence or to decide on the credibility of the witness. Rather, the judge is to determine the reliability of the scientific principles and methodology underlying the expert’s conclusions [see E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., Inc. v. Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549, 557 (Tex. 1995) ]. In discharging this duty as gatekeeper, the court must first determine how the reliability of particular testimony is to be assessed. The criteria for assessing relevance and reliability vary depending on the nature of the evidence [ Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 726-727 (Tex. 1998) ]. The Texas Supreme Court has set out the following factors to guide courts in cases involving scientific evidence. These factors are non-exclusive, and the court should consider other factors that are helpful in determining reliability [ E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., Inc. v. Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549, 557 (Tex. 1995) ]:

1. The extent to which the theory has been or can be tested.

2. The extent to which the technique relies on the subjective interpretation of the expert.

3. Whether the theory has been subjected to peer review or publication.

4. The technique’s potential rate of error.

5. Whether the underlying theory or technique has been generally accepted as valid by the relevant scientific community.

6. The non-judicial uses that have been made of the theory or technique.

In Robinson, the Texas Supreme Court was dealing with a horticulturist’s use of comparative symtomology to testify that the defendant’s fungicide damaged the plaintiff’s crops. In a later case, the Court applied the Robinson factors to a medical expert’s testimony based on epidemiological studies to show a connection between birth defects and the anti-nausea drug Bendectin [ Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals v. Havner, 953 S.W.2d 706, 714, 724-730 (Tex. 1997) ]. In that case, the Court concluded that the expert’s methodology was not shown to be valid and was therefore unreliable and “no evidence” of causation. Among the factors detracting from the reliability of the studies were that the results were never replicated, that the studies were made solely for litigation, and not otherwise published or subjected to peer review. Moreover, the expert’s opinion testimony was also based on animal studies having no logical relation to human usage. Finally, the epidemiological studies’ showing of an association between limb reduction disease and the drug had a confidence interval that was too low, and failed to show that the risk of disease was at least doubled when the suspected cause was evaluated [ Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals v. Havner, 953 S.W.2d 706, 724-730 (Tex. 1997) ]. The Texas Supreme Court has made clear that the Robinson factors are not applicable in every case. Many types of scientific testimony may be offered in a case, including testimony based on the so-called “soft” sciences, such as psychiatry and psychology. While the Robinson rule that expert testimony must be shown to be reliable applies to all types of scientific testimony, the six Robinson factors cannot logically be applied to all types of scientific testimony [ Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 726-727 (Tex. 1998) –although mechanical engineering is scientific in nature, Robinson factors were not helpful in determining whether testimony by mechanical engineer was reliable; see also S.V. v. R.V., 933 S.W.2d 1, 40-42 (Tex. 1996) –Cornyn, J., concurring, suggesting that Robinson factors were clearly inapplicable to test psychiatric evidence of repressed memory]. Before the Gammill decision, the courts had struggled to apply the Robinson factors in cases that did not involve “hard” science [see, e.g., America West Airlines, Inc. v. Tope, 935 S.W.2d 908, 918 (Tex. App.–El Paso 1996, no writ)–involving clinical psychologist’s “eclectic method” of determining mental anguish; Nations v. State, 944 S.W.2d 795, 801-802 (Tex. App.–Austin 1997, ref.) –reluctantly applying similar factors announced by Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Kelly v. State, 824 S.W.2d 568, 573 (Crim. App. 1992), to test psychologist’s opinion on fallibility of eyewitness testimony; Forte v. State, 935 S.W.2d 172, 176-178 (Tex. App.–Fort Worth 1996, ref.) –applying Kelly factors to psychologist’s testimony but with opposite result]. Following Gammill, courts must determine in each case how the reliability of particular testimony is to be assessed. The court’s determination of reliability is reviewed on an abuse of discretion standard [Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 726-727 (Tex. 1998) ]. The Court indicated that the trial court’s consideration should be whether “there is simply too great an analytical gap between the data and the opinion proffered” [Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 726-727 (Tex. 1998)–quoting General Electric Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136, 118 S. Ct. 512, 519, 139 L. Ed. 2d 508 (1997) ]. This “analytical gap” may exist either because f unreliability of the underlying scientific concepts or techniques (in which case the Robinson factors are likely to be appropriate), or because of a failure to show that the expert’s conclusions are supported by the underlying observations or tests [ Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 13, 727-728 (Tex. 1998) –expert’s opinions were unreliable because they were “little more than `subjective belief or unsupported speculation’ ”; cf. Honeycutt v. Kmart Corp., 1 S.W.3d 239, 243-244 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 1999, no pet. h.) –testimony of safety engineer was considered reliable when his opinions were based on his study of how humans react in certain situations, and his testimony explained relationship between general safety principles and cause of accident; City of Harlingen v. Estate of Sharboneau, 1 S.W.3d 282, 285-288 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 1999, no pet. h.) –testimony of real estate appraiser was considered reliable when he described his method and its general utility in appraisal process]. The Court further noted that the trial court’s gatekeeping function does not supplant cross examination. While cross-examination is the appropriate means of attacking admissible evidence, the availability of cross-examination does not relieve the trial court of its threshold responsibility to ensure that an expert’s testimony is both reliable and relevant [ Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 728 (Tex. 1998) ].

[b] Opinion Based on Technical Expertise or “Specialized Knowledge”

Under Evidence Rule 702, an expert witness may testify based on “scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge” [see T.R. Evid. 702 ]. Expert opinions based on technical or specialized knowledge are treated no differently from opinions based on scientific knowledge [ Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 726 (Tex. 1998) ]. Thus, as for scientific knowledge [see [a], above], the trial court must make a preliminary determination that the testimony is both relevant and reliable. The court should not follow the six Robinson factors when these are inappropriate to the subject matter, but should determine how the reliability of the particular testimony is best assessed [ Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 726-727 (Tex. 1998) –“Rule 702’s fundamental requirements of reliability and relevance are applicable to all expert testimony offered under that rule”; see also Dico Tire, Inc. v. Cisneros, 953 S.W.2d 776, 784-786 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 1997, den.) –in case decided before Gammill, court of appeals ruled that engineer’s opinion based on technical expertise could be found to be reliable evidence without resorting to inquiries suggested by Robinson]. This approach makes it unnecessary for the court to make the sometimes difficult determination whether certain knowledge is scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge [see Gammill v. Jack Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 726-727 (Tex. 1998) —Court perceived mechanical engineering as scientific in nature]. When the issue involves only general knowledge and experience rather than technical expertise or specialized knowledge, it is error to admit expert testimony on the issue. For example, in an intentional infliction of emotional distress case, the court should not admit expert testimony as to whether the defendant’s conduct is extreme and outrageous; this question is within the province of the jury to decide [ GTE Southwest, Inc. v. Bruce, 998 S.W.2d 605, 619-620 (Tex. 1999) –although admission of expert testimony was error, error was harmless].