Liability Claims Against Architects, Engineers and Construction Design Professionals

Navigating Evolving Theories of Liability and Defenses, Minimizing Risk Through Contract Provisions and Project Documentation

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


Conducted on Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Recorded event now available


This CLE webinar will provide counsel with a review of the scope of risks facing architects, engineers and construction design professionals, discuss recent trends and developments in theories of liability and defenses, and provide proactive approaches to minimize the risk of liability through effective contract provisions and project documentation.

Description

Innovations in project delivery models, including design/build, building information modeling (BIM), integrated project delivery (IPD), and green construction, have presented significant new challenges for design professionals and a varied landscape of potential pitfalls and claims.

Recent trends in the expansion of liability claims include an increase in fiduciary claims against architects and engineers. Claimants carefully parse the design professional’s engagement letter for language that may be used to imply a fiduciary relationship.

Generally, third-party tort claims against design professionals for defective design are precluded by the economic loss rule. However, the application of the economic loss doctrine to the construction arena is evolving and court interpretation of the rule and its exceptions vary significantly from state to state.

Through careful contract drafting and negotiations, counsel can identify and minimize certain risks by clearly defining the scope of professional services, limiting liability to third parties, disclaiming warranties, requiring additional insured endorsements, and attempting to limit contract damages.

Listen as our authoritative panel of construction practitioners looks at the scope of risks facing architects, engineers and construction design professionals, and discusses recent case law developments in theories of liability and defenses. The panel will impart practical approaches to minimize the risk of liability through effective contract provisions and project documentation.

Outline

  1. Overview of scope of risks in various project delivery methods
    1. Design/build
    2. BIM
    3. IPD
    4. Green/sustainable
  2. Theories of liability
    1. Contractual
    2. Tort
    3. Breach of fiduciary duties
    4. Third-party beneficiaries
    5. Trends in expansion of liability
  3. Defenses
    1. Economic loss doctrine
    2. Statute of limitations/repose
    3. Comparative negligence
    4. Trends in liability defenses
  4. Minimizing risk through contractual and project documentation

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How have project delivery models that integrate design professionals into the construction process impacted the scope of design professional liability?
  • What case law developments have resulted in the adoption of a fiduciary duty obligation for design professionals?
  • How is the economic loss doctrine being applied in the construction defect arena?
  • How can design liability for construction claims be minimized through strategic project documentation?

Faculty

David M. Adelstein, Partner
Kirwin Norris, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Mr. Adelstein represents general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, developers, associations, suppliers, sureties, and owners in a myriad of construction matters including, without limitation, construction/design defect claims, schedule-based claims (including inefficiency, lost productivity, and acceleration claims), bid protests, payment disputes, lien and bond claims, liability and property insurance issues, and a host of other issues that affect the construction industry. He prepares and negotiates construction contracts for clients utilizing AIA, EJCDC, and AGC industry form documents, as well as contracts that are not based on an industry form document.

John D. Broghammer, Partner
Greve Clifford Wengel & Paras, Sacramento, Calif.

Mr. Broghammer specializes in insurance coverage disputes and the representation of design professionals. His practice area has focused on civil litigation with emphasis on the representation of architects and engineers in construction defect litigation and the defense of public entities and corporations in landslide and flood claims. He advises and counsels design professionals in all aspects of contract preparation, risk allocation and insurance issues. Mr. Broghammer regularly lectures and writes on these items and how design professionals can work to effectively represent their clients while protecting their own interests for risk allocation, construction defect claims and contract disputes. 


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