Minnesota Engineers Found Not Liable for Professional Negligence: Boiler System Met Standard of Care, No Damages

Practice Area(s): Construction

Lawyer(s): Michael D. Hutchens Elizabeth S. Poeschl

Office(s): Minneapolis

Date: Oct 1 2016

Arbitration award to defendant engineers: no professional negligence or breach of warranty

Plaintiff was an owner of a new $20M private high school. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant engineer’s negligent caused an alleged failure of the heating system in that upscale school.  Plaintiff specifically alleged that Defendant acted negligently by (1) allowing a contractor to install a boiler that did not comply with the engineer’s design specifications, or (2) specifying a boiler system that was less than what Plaintiff was required to receive under the terms of the contract. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant’s negligence caused the entire boiler and heating system to be defective, thereby causing the Plaintiff to incur a significant amount of damages to replace the entire boiler system. Defendant denied all of Plaintiff’s claims.  Defendant presented evidence at the arbitration which proved that (1) Defendants did not breach its engineering standard of care by allowing contractor to use the specific boiler system; (2) Defendant’s design specifications complied with the industry standard; and (3) Plaintiff was not damaged by the use of the boilers, which Plaintiff agreed to have installed in its building. Defendant’s case at arbitration was based on relevant documents, testimony by its engineering witnesses, and testimony from various experts. After the arbitration, the arbitrator returned a complete defense verdict of no negligence or breach of warranty.

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