by: Anthony Sallah
On June 30, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of an architecture and design firm. The D.C. Circuit held that a general contractor’s breach of contract claim was barred by the statute of limitations, and that the contract’s indemnification clause did not apply as between two contracting parties.
In Hensel Phelps Construction Company v. Cooper Carry, Inc., a design firm initially entered into a design agreement with an owner. Roughly two years later, the owner entered into a design-build agreement with contractor Hensel Phelps and assigned its rights and obligations under the original design contract to Hensel Phelps, with the design firm retaining complete design coordination. Less than six months later, the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs informed the design firm that its design was not in compliance with the local fire code, which Hensel Phelps contended required significant excess changes in mechanical and electrical scopes.
After unsuccessful attempts to mediate, Hensel Phelps brought the designer to federal court, asserting a breach of contract claim along with an indemnification claim. The district court granted summary judgment for the designer on both issues, holding that the […]