Western District of Virginia Confronts Several Legal Issues That Frequently Impact Multi-Party Construction Disputes – Economic Loss, Damage to Other Property, Third Party Beneficiary Status, Warranties, Subrogation, and Third-Party Joinder

Allstate Insurance Company v. Structures Design/Build, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34349 (WD VA March 17, 2016)

This construction dispute case arises from a failed pipe connector that caused water damage to a facility and insured personal property, which Hillel at Virginia Tech, Inc. (“Hillel”) owned in Blacksburg, Virginia. Hillel contracted Structures Design/Build, LLC (“Structures”) to design and construct the facility. Structures, in turn, subcontracted PJ Little Plumbing, Inc. (“PJ”) for plumbing and mechanical installation. PJ purchased the failed pipe connector from CMC Supply, Inc. (“CMC”). Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”) insured Hillel for the damage to the facility and the personal property.

As Hillel’s subrogee, Allstate filed a complaint against Structures and PJ. Allstate sued Structures for various state law claims. It sued PJ for negligence and breach of express and implied warranties. PJ filed a third-party complaint to join CMC on a breach of implied warranty theory. PJ and CMC moved to dismiss the claims against them. Continue reading “Western District of Virginia Confronts Several Legal Issues That Frequently Impact Multi-Party Construction Disputes – Economic Loss, Damage to Other Property, Third Party Beneficiary Status, Warranties, Subrogation, and Third-Party Joinder”

Florida Appeals Court Holds Contractor and Engineering Firm Entitled to Summary Judgment on Personal Injury Claim Where Owner Accepted Project with Open and Obvious Defect

Transportation Eng’g, Inc. v. Cruz, 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 18273 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. Nov. 7, 2014)

The Florida Department of Transportation (“DOT”) hired Transportation Engineering, Inc. (“TEI”) to design, and D.A.B. Constructors, Inc. (“DAB”) to install, median guardrails along the Florida Turnpike.  After the installation project, a woman was killed when a vehicle in which she was a passenger struck an uncushioned guardrail end in a “clear zone,” an area next to a road where drivers can attempt to regain control of errant vehicles.  The woman’s estate filed suit against DOT, TEI, and DAB, alleging, in relevant part, that TEI and DAB negligently designed and constructed the guardrail ends without “crash cushions.”

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Massachusetts Supreme Court Holds Economic Loss Rule No Bar to Condo Trustees’ Claim for Damages to Common Areas Caused By Building Defects

Wyman v. Ayer Properties, LLC, 469 Mass. 64,  2014 Mass. LEXIS 524 (July 10, 2014)

The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the economic loss rule, which bars recovery of tort damages from the negligent supplier of a defective product when there is no claim of personal injury or damage to other property, does not apply to claims asserted by a condominium association or similar condominium organization seeking compensation for damage to common areas of a condominium building caused by defective construction.

This case arises out of a dispute between the Market Gallery Condominium Trust, the trustees responsible for management of a condo building, and Ayer Properties, the developer and builder of the condo building, after the trustees observed that Ayer had negligently constructed the window frames, the exterior brick masonry, and the roof of the building. The trustees commenced an action alleging that the negligent construction caused damage to both the common areas and the residential units in the building.

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