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Member Achievement and Case News: Featured

Road Designer SJ Reversed

Sunday, February 18, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tom Jensen
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Architect designed erosion control system for road construction project. Architect determined that silt fencing was not required in one area of the site because the roadside ditch was there to catch runoff surface water from adjacent fields and drain it away from the roadway pavement. A motorist at night encountered mud on the road, he lost control and crossed over into the oncoming lane and was killed.  Evidence showed mud was construction site washout. Estate sued alleging architectural malpractice. Trial court entered SJ for architect because estate's expert testified the erosion control measures were "defective" but not "unreasonably defective." In Smith v. Walsh Constr. Co., 2018 WL 794801 (Ind. App. Feb. 9, 2018) SJ was reversed, the court noting that "unreasonably defective" was not a test of the SOC. "By designating expert evidence that [architect's] erosion control measures were defective and that a reasonable designer would have included better erosion control measures in its plans, the Estate created a genuine issue of material fact as to whether [architect] breached its duty."          

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