• California Court of Appeal Confirms Design Professionals May Bear Liability Under SB 8OO and Tort Theories for Defects in Their Work
  • December 28, 2012 | Authors: Stephen J. Henning; Keith Smith
  • Law Firms: Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman LLP - Los Angeles Office ; Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman LLP - Riverside Office
  • On December 13, 2012, the California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, filed its opinion in the matter of Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP.  The case involves whether a design professional owes a duty to a homeowners' association and its future residents in the design of a residential project.  The lower court initially sustained a demurrer by design professional Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP, to the homeowner's association's Third Amended Complaint on the basis that a design professional owes no duty of care to the homeowner's association or its members under common law or Senate Bill 800.  The trial court found that a homeowner's association may not base a claim against a design professional on negligent design but rather must show the design professional had "control" in the construction process.  The Court of Appeal disagreed and reversed, holding that a design professional does owe a duty of care to the third party purchasers of condos.