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Architects Face Negligence Litigation Alone, Contractor To Arbitrate

Monday, August 01, 2011 03:01 am


Dispute Resolution

Waynesborough Country Club of Chester County v. Diedrich Niles Bolton Architects, Inc. v. Ehret Construction Co. Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. Lexis 52445 (D. Pa. May 17, 2011)

After construction defects emerged, an owner sued both the architects and the contractor. But the contractor's solid arbitration provision kept it out of the litigation fray.

Waynesborough Country Club (Waynesborough) experienced ongoing leaks and other problems after a renovation project to its clubhouse. It sued the project architects for professional negligence and contract breach due to design flaws and negligent oversight of construction. It then attempted to add the general contractor, Ehret Construction Inc. (Ehret), to its suit. (The architects had already sued Ehret themselves, blaming the problems on the contractor's construction services.) However, Ehret successfully thwarted Waynesborough's effort by pointing out that all its claims against Ehret were subject to arbitration in accordance with the parties' contract.

Waynesborough argued that the arbitration clause contained in the parties' original contract didn't preclude litigation related to defective work performed under a later agreement, executed in 2007, which contained no equivalent arbit [...]

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