Claims – A&E Prof Liability

November 8, 2017

San Francisco’s leaning tower of lawsuits

Source:, November 5, 2017
By: Jon Wertheim

It’s a story as old as cities themselves: prosperity comes to town and triggers a building boom. In modern San Francisco, rows of skyscrapers have begun lining the downtown streets and recasting the skyline, monuments to the triumph of the tech sector. Leading this wave, the Millennium Tower. 58 stories of opulence, it opened in 2009 to great acclaim, then the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi. Though priced in the millions, the inventory of posh apartments moved quickly. Yet for all its curb appeal, the building has, quite literally, one fundamental problem: it’s sinking into mud and tilting toward its neighbors. Engineering doesn’t often make for rollicking mystery, but San Francisco is captivated by the tale of the leaning tower and the lawsuits it’s spawned. It’s a story positioned — albeit at an angle — somewhere between civic scandal and civic curiosity, an illustration of what can happen when zeal for development overtakes common sense.…

November 8, 2017

Hopkins School District Settles Tech Center Lawsuit with Engineering Firm

Source:, November 8, 2017
By: Tammy Holloway

The Hopkins County School District has reached a settlement in its lawsuit against Associated Engineers involving the old Tech Center along Grapevine Road.

Nearly six years after construction was halted on the building, the board has reached an agreement with the engineering firm hired by the district for design, geotechnical services and construction of the project, the board announced at a meeting held Monday night.

In July 2012, the board filed a lawsuit againt Associated Engineers and Travelers Property Casualty Company in an effort to recover the cost of remediation of the abandoned site due to unstable subsoil conditions.

In a statement by board attorney, Michael A. Owsley, the settlement amount was $600,000. The agreement was made because Associated Engineers has limited insurance coverage, and with the added cost of litigation the district believes it could not recover a larger amount.…

November 8, 2017

Can an architect be held liable for defects in construction?

Source:, November 7, 2017
By: Sean M. Golden, Vandeventer Black

It is common on commercial construction projects for the owner to hire the architect to perform services during construction, in addition to designing the project. Among other things, the architect’s construction phase services will typically consist of periodic observations and evaluations of the progress of the construction work. An architect may be charged with observing the work to determine whether or not the building is being constructed in accordance with the contract documents, including the drawings the architect has prepared.

When there are defects in the construction, an owner may attempt to hold the architect liable (usually in addition to the contractor) for said defects, even if there are no errors or omissions in the architect’s design or specifications. The theory behind such an assertion is typically that, even if the defect was caused by the contractor, the architect was charged with observing the work and should have called out the contractor’s defect and seen that it was corrected.…

October 10, 2017

Risk Management 101: Tailor Your Construction Insurance Requirements to the Discipline so You Don’t Get Taken to the Cleaners

Source:, October 3, 2017
By: James P. Bobotek, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

In the world of construction, whether you’re a lender, owner, contractor or subcontractor, your success hinges largely on risk management. While there’s no substitute for sound business and construction practices (such as proper preconstruction planning, proven construction means and methods, use of experienced personnel, and stringent safety programs), among the most important project risk allocation tools are the contracts governing the various parties’ rights and obligations. Within those contracts, risk is primarily allocated through indemnity and insurance requirement provisions. When preparing insurance requirements for construction-related contracts, it is crucial to ensure these pieces are well-fitted and comfortable, like a good piece of tailoring. This requires the indemnity and risk obligations associated with each project discipline to be clearly identified and addressed.

Design professional contract requirements should include auto and commercial general liability, workers’ compensation/employer’s liability and, most importantly, professional liability coverages. Pay particular attention to the limits of the professional liability coverage; requiring excess limits for this coverage may be appropriate depending on the project’s size. Consider requiring that the coverage be “project specific,” either through a separate project policy or sublimits applicable only to the project. For large projects, a lender may consider requiring, or an owner may consider obtaining, owner’s protective professional insurance coverage, which indemnifies the owner directly for losses arising out of professional negligence of architects/engineers exceeding the limits available under the architects’/engineers’ own professional liability policies.…

October 9, 2017

Architect, builder — not taxpayers — should pay $21M-plus stadium-repair bill: IGF owner

Source:, April 23, 2017
By: Jeff Hamilton

Triple B Stadium Inc., the company that owns and manages Investors Group Field, says it doesn’t believe taxpayers should be footing the bill for ongoing repairs at the stadium, which have now hit $21.4 million.

Those costs, said Triple B chairman Andrew Konowalchuk, should be the responsibility of the architect and contractor, a belief reflected in Triple B’s lawsuit against the two parties (builder Stuart Olson and architect Ray Wan) that is still open in the courts.

“As that lawsuit is ongoing, Triple B will limit its public comments on the issues that are before the court,” Konowalchuk said in an email Thursday. “We are confident that those issues will be resolved appropriately through an open and transparent judicial process.”

Konowalchuk was responding to a Free Press request for an update on ongoing repairs at IGF, and information on current and projected costs of the work. The Free Press reported the details of a public tender — dated last July — for extensive work to be done, much of which Konowalchuk has confirmed.…

October 9, 2017

Investors Group Field repairs will take 2 more years to complete

Source:, April 13, 2017
By: Bartley Kives

This spring’s work on Winnipeg stadium deficiencies to wrap up in May; new rapid-transit station opens in July

Repairs to the faulty concrete and drainage at Winnipeg’s Investors Group Field will take two more years to complete, but the stadium’s owner is promising there will be no conflicts with events at the four-year-old football stadium.

Construction crews working on deficiencies at the 33,500-seat stadium will wrap up their latest round of repairs in May, the non-profit entity Triple B Stadium said in a statement Thursday.

The home of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers has been plagued with concrete, drainage and other issues since it opened in May 2013. The problems spawned a lawsuit between Triple B Stadium — which represents the city, province, University of Manitoba and Winnipeg Football Club — and both stadium contractor Stuart Olson and architect Ray Wan.

It also led the province to guarantee $35 million worth of loans to begin repairs. To date, $21.4 million has been spent on this work, Triple B Stadium chair Andrew Konowalchuk said in a statement.…

October 9, 2017

Insurance Coverage – Analysis of Professional Liability Exclusion

Source:, September 28, 2017

Energy Insurance Mutual Limited v. ACE American Insurance Company

Court of Appeal, First District (July 11, 2017)

This case involves an insurance coverage dispute arising from an explosion that occurred when an excavator struck an unmarked petroleum pipeline.

Kinder Morgan, Inc. owns and operates oil and gas pipelines. Comforce Corporation is a staffing company that supplied two temporary employees to work as construction inspectors for Kinder Morgan. Kinder Morgan selected and trained the inspectors.

On November 9, 2004, an excavator punctured a high-pressured petroleum line owned by Kinder Morgan. An explosion occurred and killed five individuals and injured four others. Cal/OSHA conducted an investigation and concluded the primary cause of the accident was a failure to properly mark the petroleum pipeline. Cal/OSHA issued two “serious willful” citations to Kinder Morgan due to its employee’s failure to mark the location of the pipeline prior to excavation. Numerous wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits were filed against Kinder Morgan and Comforce, alleging that the explosion was caused by the parties’ negligence in failing to mark the location of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and failing to properly supervise contractors.…

September 29, 2017

UCF sues over defects to football stadium

Source:, September 29, 2017
By: Mary Shanklin

The University of Central Florida’s football stadium has some problems, according to a construction-defect lawsuit the school filed against architects and contractors.

Nicknamed the Bounce House when it opened a decade ago because it shifted slightly as fans jumped in unison, the venue’s metal framing for seating now has “defects and deficiencies” according to the university’s complaint filed this month. in Orange County Circuit Court. The school cited defects with “other framing accessories” in the stadium, too, although it did not elaborate on those in the lawsuit.

UCF has filed a lawsuit to hold the companies involved in constructing the stadium accountable for their role in creating premature wear of the steel,” spokesman Chad Binette said. “We contend that it is requiring more maintenance than it should for its age and use.”

UCF owns Spectrum Stadium and oversaw construction of the 45,000-seat arena together with the Golden Knights direct support group.…

September 29, 2017

Foundation flaws at center of lawsuit filed by Keller school district

Source:, September 29, 2017
By: Sandra Engelland

It was a few years ago when maintenance workers and staff at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School began to notice problems.

Cracks in the walls. Doors that would stick. Heaving sidewalks and widening gaps and cracks in visible parts of the concrete slab.

Now, 11 years after the Keller district’s school opened in north Fort Worth, officials say the problems are much worse than the structure’s age and have filed a lawsuit against the firms that designed and built the $23 million school.

The culprit, according to the lawsuit, is a faulty foundation.

No extensive repairs have been required to date at Trinity Meadows, said Hudson Huff, director of facilities services for the Keller school district. But some work may be needed in the next five years, Huff said.

Officials say it was necessary to file a suit to protect the school district’s interests.…

September 28, 2017

Officials say Oroville Dam’s design and construction caused spillway failure

Source:, September 6, 2017
By: Mary Tyler March

Dive Brief:

  • Months after a spillway failure forced the temporary evacuation of 188,000 Sacramento, CA, area residents, independent safety experts say poor design and construction, as well as inadequate inspections, caused February’s collapse at the Oroville Dam, The Mercury News reported.
  • Thin concrete, insufficient foundations and ill-placed drains caused water to seep through cracks and seams in the dam. Officials said the state could have found such faults if it had used contemporary engineering standards to inspect the 50-year-old structure, though that still could not have corrected the initial problems.
  • The Association of State Dam Safety and the U.S. Society on Dams are performing an independent review of the incident to inform other dam managers of failure warning signs. State and federal teams are also investigating the collapse.