Homeowner whose house was damaged by a landslide filed negligence lawsuit against a geotechnical engineer who performed a Geotech investigation for the homebuilder/contractor. The contractor was out of business and couldn’t be sued.  Trial court dismissed the lawsuit based the application of the economic loss rule.  This rule applies in this case where there was no privity of contract between the litigating parties.  It “prevents recovery in tort of damages for purely economic loss.”  On appeal, the homeowner argued that the rule should not have been applied because they are seeking damages to tangible property and not purely economic loss.

In this case, the appellate court reversed the summary judgment and held that the economic loss rule was inapplicable because the damages sought were for property damage and not purely economic losses.  Breazeale v. Infrastructure & Development Engineering, Inc., 2022 WL 17830622 (Ohio 2022).


About the author: Article written by J. Kent Holland, Jr., a construction lawyer located in Tysons Corner, Virginia, with a national practice (formerly with Wickwire Gavin, P.C. and now with ConstructionRisk Counsel, PLLC) representing design professionals, contractors and project owners.  He is founder and president of a consulting firm, ConstructionRisk, LLC, providing consulting services to owners, design professionals, contractors and attorneys on construction projects.  He is publisher of ConstructionRisk Report and may be reached at Kent@ConstructionRisk.com or by calling 703-623-1932.  This article is published in ConstructionRisk Report, Vol. 25, No. 3 (March 2023).

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