One of the more complicated forms of business litigation involves cases linked to construction projects. Even small builds tend to involve a lot of folks, including designers, architects, property owners, renters, and contractors. A problem that makes construction litigation especially is that everyone is quick to call out, "Not it!"
Before you can move forward with litigation, at least one individual or entity has to be named as the defendant. Here is a look at how different parties might end up being on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
Designers and Architects
The first place people often look for problems on a project is the plans. Architects, in particular, are licensed professionals who carry malpractice insurance. That means they generally make tough targets because they're highly aware of their possible legal exposure every time they tackle a job.
Cases against designers and architects usually center on questions about whether a similarly qualified professional would accept the choices they made. This doesn't necessarily mean an expert witness would say they would have done it differently. Instead, it simply means they would say in a deposition that a qualified person would not have let the project move forward with the defects that were present in the plans.
Property Owners and Renters
Generally, cases targeting property owners are focused on the collection of payments. It's not uncommon for a contractor to place a lien on the building in order to force litigation and try to recover what they're owed. Cases involving tenants operate in a similar manner, but the lien will usually be against equipment that's at the property. Designers and architects may bring these kinds of cases, but they're pretty rare because projects don't usually fall apart quite that early.
When outside parties bring cases, they often target landowners. This is largely due to the impulse to start at the top of the food chain.
A contractor can have a lot of exposure during construction litigation. Plaintiffs may bring cases against contractors for misrepresenting their abilities, using the wrong materials, implementing plans poorly, and negligently handling worksite safety.
Licensed contractors who handle dangerous materials, such as demolitionists, are often open to strict liability for the damage they cause. For example, a contractor responsible for an explosion at the site that sets the project back for months may find themselves on the hook for covering all of the costs. Unsurprisingly, these parties tend to be well-insured.
For more information, contact a lawyer who works in construction litigation.Share
12 May 2020
Like many people, I once found learning about law very intimidating. My brother went to law school and I remember glancing through a few of his books and wondering if I was actually reading English due to all of the legal jargon in them! However, when I ended up in a sticky legal situation due to accidentally breaking a small law I didn't know existed, I realized that I needed to learn more about the law, so I could make sure to follow it precisely in the future. My brother helped to break down some complicated legal concepts to me, and I have since been studying up online. I want to post what I have learned and continue to learn about law in the future on my new blog, so my knowledge cannot only help myself, but also help others!