Design Professionals

Design Professionals

MMP&S is a nationally recognized leader in the defense of design professionals, including architects, engineers, surveyors, interior designers and special inspectors. Our attorneys are well-versed in the technical issues inherent in A&E claims, as well as the unique legal standards and defenses available to our professional clients. We have a strong track record of motion wins based on statutes of limitations, absence of duty/privity, economic loss doctrine, common law indemnification and strict liability.

MMP&S has extensive experience in representing many of the largest architectural and engineering firms in the country. It is our ability to manage and control not only the initial investigation but also the critical interplay between the design and construction sides during the course of a litigation that sets us apart. We have the technical proficiency to efficiently review and analyze the voluminous project files from multiple parties, and we have a deep bench of experts in areas such as architecture, engineering, construction delays, cost estimating and accessibility to narrow the issues and hone our defenses.

In addition to guiding our clients through litigation, mediation and arbitration, we regularly counsel our clients and insurance carrier partners on risk avoidance strategies. Our many years of practice in this area of professional liability has resulted in the development of seminars for design professionals regarding contract reviews to help avoid claims and other measures of improving practices and procedures. We are also frequently retained as pre-claim and monitoring counsel to develop strategies for early resolution of professional claims.

Recent Results

MMP&S Obtains Dismissal of Complaint Against Architectural Firm - 2020

In Guo Giang Cai v. First Gardens Corporation, MMP&S obtained dismissal of Plaintiffs’ complaint based upon Plaintiffs’ failure to state a cause of action against our client, an architectural firm.

Plaintiffs alleged that they suffered property damage in their apartment as the result of alteration work performed on their cooperative unit. Plaintiffs asserted a cause of action for negligence against multiple defendants, including the architectural firm, relying on the legal theory of res ipsa loquitor in lieu of allegations that the architectural firm failed to comply with the standard of care. However, a departure from the standard of care is a necessary element of a claim for professional negligence.

In moving to dismiss, we argued that res ipsa loquitor relates to sufficiency of proof of a cause of action but does not modify the elements required to plead a cause of action. The Court agreed, holding that because Plaintiffs could not rely upon res ipsa loquitor to avoid pleading the elements of a cause of action and failed to plead that the architectural firm’s services deviated from the accepted standard of care, Plaintiffs failed to state a cause of action for negligence against the architectural firm.

Summary Judgment Obtained for Architecture and Engineering Design Firm - 2019

In Volin v. Gulfstream Park Racing Association, Inc., et al, MMP&S successfully obtained Summary Judgment for our client, an architecture and engineering design firm. The action was a personal injury lawsuit alleging a negligence count against our client for the negligent design/construction of a set of steps at a large casino/racetrack. Although the insured was hired to draft construction and engineering documents for particular aspects of the property as part of a remodel, the scope of work did not include any obligations with regard to the subject steps. Additionally, our client completed its scope of work for the project 12 years before plaintiff brought suit against it. MMP&S filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that there was no duty or breach, and further, that Florida’s statute of repose barred suit. After hearing oral argument from all parties, the Court granted Summary Judgment in favor of our client.

MMP&S Obtains Voluntary Dismissal for Soil Testing and Engineering Firm - 2019

In Heron Bay Community Association, Inc. v. WCI Communities, LLC et al, MMP&S successfully obtained a voluntary dismissal for our client, a soil testing and engineering firm, in connection with a complex construction defects suit regarding the Heron Bay Community, a large 2200-acre residential development located in the cities of Parkland and Coral Springs, Florida. Our client was named as a defendant, under a theory that they negligently caused or contributed to several construction defects including several instances of concrete and asphalt cracking and defective storm water drainage systems throughout thirty-one of Heron Bay’s subdivisions. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that the engineering firm failed to inspect, test, monitor and certify the construction work for the entirety of the Heron Bay Community. Through discovery, it became evident that Plaintiff’s claims were baseless, and our client had in fact only provided soil and concrete testing on a limited number of Heron Bay’s subdivisions and was not responsible for the vast majority of the broad allegations made by the Plaintiff. Further, none of the physical defects to the asphalt, concrete, and drainage systems throughout the property could logically derive from our client’s scope of work. MMP&S presented this defense to the plaintiff and successfully negotiated a voluntary dismissal following a mediation where the plaintiff openly apologized to MMP&S and our client for including them in the matter.

AIA Honors MMP&S Partner, Rich Davies - 2019

This year, one of our own, Rich Davies, partner and co-founder of our Pennsylvania office received one of the highest honors the American Institute of Architects (“AIA”) can bestow upon a person who is not an architect – the designation as Honorary Member, one of only three such designations made in this country this year.

Rich was recognized for his long service to the architectural and engineering professions through his educational, lobbying, advocacy and defense work.

Rich’s designation further cements our firm as “The Firm” for the representation of architects and engineers and we congratulate Rich.

MMP&S Obtains Three Voluntary Dismissals in Three Related Actions Involving Engineering Firm - 2019

In Baker et. al. v. Hardesty & Hanover, LLC, et. al., MMP&S successfully obtained three voluntary dismissals for our client, an engineering firm, in connection with three related, yet independently filed, cases. Two of these cases were for personal injuries and one case was a wrongful death action. These three actions arose out of a singular boating accident wherein six teenagers (five passengers and one driver) collided with a bridge located in South Florida. All three Plaintiffs were minor children at the time of the incident. Our client was named as a defendant, along with other engineering/contracting companies and several municipalities, under a theory that these entities negligently maintained and/or operated the subject bridge. During our investigation, it became evident through analyzing applicable contract language and through conversations with our client that the engineering firm did not have any duties with regard to the subject bridge. MMP&S served each plaintiff’s attorney with a motion for sanctions, pursuant to Florida Statutes § 57.105, setting forth the argument that the lawsuits were frivolous. Prior to the expiration of the “safe harbor” timeframe set forth within the motion for sanctions, all three Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit against our client.