Boston Office Obtains Favorable Outcome for Design Professional

Boston, Mass (March 18, 2019) - Boston Partners Kenneth B. Walton and Courtney Longo and Associate Oliver J. Vega obtained a favorable decision from the Massachusetts Appeals Court on behalf of a design professional in a suit arising out of defective work. The plaintiff brought suit after a newly installed septic system at his home in Nantucket, Massachusetts failed. The plaintiff alleged that our client, a surveyor who designed the new septic system, breached contract and was negligent in the design of the new septic system. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the contract required our client to supervise the work of the contractor who was ultimately responsible for the septic system’s eventual failure.

We moved for summary judgment, arguing that nothing in our client’s contract obligated them to supervise or be responsible for the work of the contractor and, in any event, that the plaintiff failed to prove that our client breached the professional standard of care. The trial court agreed and granted our motion.

Thereafter, an appeal was filed with the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which affirmed the trial court’s allowance of our motion for summary judgment. In noting that there was no basis for a breach of contract or negligence claim against our client, the Appeals Court held that our client only had a legal duty to perform the services outlined in its contract, and that no expert evidence was obtained to prove that the professional standard of care was breached.  

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