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”

Maryland Appellate Court Holds Economic Loss Doctrine Bars Contractor’s Tort Claims Against Government’s Design Professional on Public Construction Project

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. v. Rummel Klepper & Kahl, LLP, 226 Md. App. 420, 130 A.3d 1024, 2016 Md. App. LEXIS 3 ( Md. Ct. Spec. App. Jan. 28, 2016)

The City of Baltimore retained a design professional, Rummel Klepper & Kahl (“RK&K”), to produce a design for construction of a wastewater treatment plant.  The City then invited bids for construction of the plant, and contractor Balfour Beatty Infrastructure (“Balfour Beatty”) was the successful bidder.  RK&K and Balfour Beatty each had a separate contract with the City, but did not have a contract with one another.  After alleged defects in RK&K’s design caused Balfour Beatty to incur delays and increases to the cost of its work, it sued RK&K, but not the City. Continue reading “Maryland Appellate Court Holds Economic Loss Doctrine Bars Contractor’s Tort Claims Against Government’s Design Professional on Public Construction Project”

Federal Court in Indiana Permits City to Sue Design Subconsultant Despite Lack Of Privity

City of Whiting, Indiana v. Whitney, Bailey, Cox, & Magnani, LLC, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150229 (N.D. Ind. Nov. 5, 2015)

The City of Whiting, Indiana (the “City”) contracted with American Structurepoint, Inc. (“Engineer”) to design a lakefront park that would protect its shoreline from erosion (the “Project”).  Engineer subcontracted with Whitney, Bailey, Cox, & Magnani, LLC (“Subconsultant”) to serve as the marine engineer for the Project (the “Subcontract”).  Pursuant to the Subcontract, Subconsultant designed a revetment to protect the Project shoreline.  The revetment failed, damaging the City’s property and necessitating remediation. Continue reading “Federal Court in Indiana Permits City to Sue Design Subconsultant Despite Lack Of Privity”