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Subcontractor Status Doesn't Excuse Third-party Damage

Sunday, November 04, 2007 12:57 pm

Subcontractor Status Doesn't Excuse Third-party Damage

A U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania ruled that a subcontractor could not claim he was "merely a subcontractor" following orders to absolve himself of negligence for a project that caused third-party flooding.

Warren Baringer was hired to clear and grub wooded land for construction of a development near a creek. At the general contractor's direction, he performed this work before the planned construction of a temporary detention basin to catch water runoff had taken place, contrary to the construction sequence approved by the town.

A few months after Baringer finished clearing the land, a severe rainstorm caused a bridge to collapse downstream, thereby damming the creek and leading to extensive flooding in nearby properties. A jury found the owners, general contractor and Baringer liable for the damage based on the theory that excess runoff from the construction site caused the erosion that ultimately resulted in the flooding.

The j [...]

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