LEED Certification Litigation: Emerging Risks

Minimizing Liability Through Green Building Contracts and Effective Insurance Coverage

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will prepare counsel for architects, contractors and building owners to identify and minimize LEED certification litigation risks. The panel will provide best practices to mitigate risk during construction contract negotiation and drafting—and when evaluating insurance coverage.


Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification has changed the expected standard of care for the construction industry and has increased business and legal risks for architects, contractors and building owners.

Contractors and architects that promise to design or build to LEED certification standards may be sued for breach of contract if the building fails to obtain certification. Buildings that are designated LEED-certified that do not deliver energy efficiency or reduce costs also face litigation risks.

The most effective way for contractors and architects to minimize their exposure to LEED certification lawsuits is to explicitly define and assign responsibility for meeting green building goals in the building contract and to obtain adequate insurance to protect against losses.

Listen as our authoritative panel of construction attorneys explains the litigation risks inherent in building to meet LEED certification standards. The panel will provide best practices for green building contract negotiation and drafting and evaluating and selecting insurance coverage.



  1. Recent (limited) litigation and regulatory trends
    1. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc., et. al. v. Weyerhaeuser Company (Montgomery County, Md., 2011)
    2. Shaw Development v. Southern Builders (Somerset County, Md., 2007)
    3. Northland Pines High School certification challenge
    4. United States Green Building Council (USGBC) recent regulatory activity
  2. Litigation risks
    1. For developers
    2. For contractors and design professionals
    3. Risks of designing to LEED standards without certification v. pursuing LEED certification
  3. Contract drafting strategies for counsel to owners, contractors, architects and engineers
    1. Designate which party is responsible for designing and building to LEED standards
    2. Specify which party is responsible for LEED reporting and documentation with USGBC
    3. Specify how damages will be determined
    4. Addressing consequences of decertification and certification expiration
    5. Consider using AIA Documents and Consensus Documents that address green building
    6. Green building insurance coverage and other related coverages


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the current litigation trends surrounding building construction projects under LEED certification standards?
  • What are the specific litigation risks for contractors, architects and building owners involved with green building?
  • How can construction counsel use contract language and insurance coverage to mitigate the risks of LEED litigation?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Patrick J. Perrone
Patrick J. Perrone

K&L Gates

He concentrates his practice on construction and engineering matters. He is an experienced trial attorney who has...  |  Read More

Bruce W. Merwin
Bruce W. Merwin

Haynes and Boone

He has 35 years of experience working on complex real estate transactions, with a particular emphasis in...  |  Read More

Bradley S. Carson
Bradley S. Carson

Haynes and Boone

He helps clients buy, sell, lease, and finance commercial real estate. In addition to traditional sales, leases, and...  |  Read More

James d'Entremont
James d'Entremont

Moore Thompson and Lee

His diverse practice has provided him with extensive experience representing businesses, insurers, trade associations...  |  Read More

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