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Litigating Professional Liability Claims in Construction Projects

Emerging Theories of Recovery, Insurance Coverage, Best Practices for Pursuing and Defending Claims

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 Thursday, December 20, 2018

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide construction practitioners with insight on litigating and defending professional liability claims in complex construction projects. The panel will discuss theories of liability and best practices in pursuing and defending claims against professional service providers as defined by the AIA and courts. These include design professionals, engineers and construction managers (both at-risk and not at-risk).


Commercial construction projects involve considerable risk. The higher degree of complexity involved in a project, the higher the risk to the parties involved, and the greater likelihood that one or more of the parties will face a professional liability claim. Often, one alleged defect in the construction or job-site event will give rise to claims of professional liability against multiple parties involved in the project. While design professionals are clear and frequent targets, claims frequently arise against construction managers, land surveyors, and other vendors performing services requiring advanced skill or professional training.

Practitioners defending or pursuing these claims must appreciate the extensive interplay between the various parties, scopes of work, schedules involved, and the essential evidentiary elements for recovery. Unlike common claims of liability where duty, breach, causation, and damages can be established without the use of an expert, professional liability claims require expert testimony to develop critical elements of the claim.

Counsel must pay particular attention to insurance coverage for the claim. Factors like the scope of coverage, coverage period (occurrence or claims-made), and eroding limits have a substantial impact on the strategies for prosecuting or defending a claim.

Listen as our panel of experienced construction litigators offers expert guidance on handling professional liability claims, the complexities of discovery, and practical insight on resolving matters at various stages of a project’s completion.



  1. Anatomy of a professional liability claim
    1. The parties
    2. Theories of liability
    3. Establishing proof
      1. Duty/standard of care
      2. Breach of standard
      3. Causation
      4. Damages
  2. Defense strategies
  3. Insurance coverage
  4. Practical considerations


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Emerging theories of professional liability
  • Strategies for maximizing coverage for asserted claims
  • Best practices for navigating complex discovery issues


David M. Adelstein

Kirwin Norris

Mr. Adelstein represents general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, developers, associations,...  |  Read More

McConnell, Vic
Vic L. McConnell

Smith Cashion & Orr

Mr. McConnell represents owners, developers, contractors and design professionals with a concentration in the areas of...  |  Read More

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