Going green: 7 ways the growing marijuana industry may affect design professionals

Conflicting laws between the federal and state governments create many unknowns for all aspects of the expanding marijuana industry—including construction and design. Although to date, there’s only one documented insurance claim in the Schinnerer program related to the design of a marijuana facility—that’s yet to be resolved—design and construction experts are assessing how the industry... Continue Reading →

New California law and uninsured defense obligations

California recently enacted a law that appears to lessen significantly the burden of indemnity provisions in contracts governed by the state’s laws. The goal of the legislation was to remove the immediate duty by design professionals to defend public and private clients. That duty was based on the mere involvement of the design professional on a project even... Continue Reading →

Arbitration vs. litigation: the endless debate

The Schinnerer professional liability program strongly supports alternative forms of dispute resolution. One method that aims to reduce the cost and time of a dispute is the use of arbitration. The arbitration of claims, however, is not always in the best interest of design professionals. In litigation, judges’ decisions are constrained by statutory and case... Continue Reading →

Jury or judge—which to choose?

Design professionals are often asked during contract negotiations to waive their right to a jury trial. For many years, this was not an issue because it was believed that judges reached better decisions in cases involving design professionals because the facts were too technical for a jury to understand. However, litigation in recent years has... Continue Reading →

Scaffolding collapse

Three employees of a contractor were injured when scaffolding failed under the weight of a concrete slab that was being poured. The injured workers, unable to sue the contractor because of workers’ compensation protections, filed suit against the owner, architect, and engineer. The suit against the owner was dismissed because the owner had surrendered the... Continue Reading →

Defamation claims

A recent case in Massachusetts illustrates the importance of stating professional opinions as opinions and not facts. In this case, a homeowner hired a firm to investigate the cause of a leaky roof. The investigator stated that the roof had been installed over a fiberboard roof insulation that was soaking wet. The homeowner sued the... Continue Reading →

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