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How Much Control Is Too Much Control? Federal Court in Florida Holds Designers' Supervision of Project and Issuance of Design Documents Creates Control Over-And Potential Tort Liability To-Project Contractors

Suffolk Constr. Co. v. Rodriguez & Quiroga Architects Chtd., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42652 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 15, 2018)

Author: John J. Gazzola

5/03/2018

Read the full post at Constructlaw

How Much Control Is Too Much Control? Federal Court in Florida Holds Designers' Supervision of Project and Issuance of Design Documents Creates Control Over-And Potential Tort Liability To-Project Contractors

This case arises out of the design and construction of a science museum in Miami, Florida (the Project). Museum of Science, Inc. (MSI), the Project owner, executed several agreements relating to the Project, including: (i) an agreement with Defendant Rodriguez and Quiroga Architects Chartered (R&Q) to serve as executive architect; (ii) an agreement with Defendant Grimshaw Architects P.C. (Grimshaw) to serve as the design architect; (iii) a construction services contract with Plaintiff Suffolk Construction Co. (Suffolk); and (iv) a direct contract with Suffolk’s subcontractor, Plaintiff Baker Concrete Construction, Inc. (Baker) for construction services after MSI terminated Suffolk for convenience. After execution of these agreements, R&Q executed contracts with Defendant Fraga Engineers, LLC (Fraga) for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design services, and with Defendant DDA Engineers, P.A. (DDA) for structural design and engineering services.

Suffolk and Baker (collectively, Plaintiffs) filed suit for negligence against R&Q, Grimshaw, Fraga, and DDA (collectively, Defendants), claiming that by issuing deficient design documents, Defendants breached their duties owed to Plaintiffs causing Plaintiffs to incur economic losses. All Defendants but R&Q moved to dismiss the claims, arguing that they had no supervisory role or control over Plaintiffs, as demonstrated by the fact that their contracts with MSI did not designate them as “supervisory architects,” and thus, owed no duty to Plaintiffs.

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