• Obtained defense verdicts on behalf of a national engineering firm in three cases involving alleged design defects in the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s Light Rail Transit system. Two cases involved falls by pedestrians at a crossing or platform and the third involved a serious accident involving a pedestrian at a crossing.
  • Successfully obtained the dismissal of a structural engineering firm from a lawsuit involving severe injury to pedestrian who was injured while utilizing a crosswalk on the traffic detour set up during bridge closure. Through discovery, Burns White was able to establish that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) general conditions discussing responsibility for safety of the traveling public did not extend to bridge designers.
  • Successfully represented a quasi-public agency in litigation concerning the total reconstruction of approximately nine miles of Interstate highway, including geotechnical issues of roadway design and construction, limiting contractor’s damage award to $74,000 on a $17,800,000 claim.
  • Obtained a partial summary judgment on behalf of an engineering firm based on a contractual limitation of liability. As a result, damages were limited to less than 10% of what the plaintiff was initially seeking.
  • Obtained dismissal of an engineering firm based upon preliminary objections to a contractor complaint alleging the engineering firm breached a contract by improperly diverting funds to a third party and refusing to remit monies owed to the contractor for services rendered in a municipal improvement project.
  • Obtained a $1.3 million award on behalf of a national engineering firm in a case against PennDOT in the Pennsylvania Board of Claims. The dispute involved acceleration by PennDOT of the design work performed by the engineering firm.
  • Extensively litigated and ultimately reached a favorable mediated settlement in a matter involving the design of a proposed municipal solid waste landfill. The claimed damages greatly exceeded the available policy limits. In this matter, a claim for lost profits pushed the plaintiff’s initial settlement demand over $30 million. Mediation was conducted by the court resulting in a satisfactory settlement slightly in excess of $1 million.
  • Awarded a directed verdict following a three-week jury trial in which it was alleged that the design professional was at fault for difficult asbestos abatement work, other design deficiencies and faulty work coordination at a major school renovation involving a historic building.
  • Successfully represented an architectural firm in a case involving renovation and new construction of a local high school campus. The matter was a complex proceeding involving the consolidated claims, counterclaims and cross-claims of four involved parties. There were multiple claims relative to allegedly defective design, contractual interpretation and contractor’s delay claims. The claims against the architectural firm were well in excess of the available coverage of $1 million. Although there were significant liability issues caused by the architectural firm’s structural sub-consultant on the project, a favorable result was obtained including the recovery of $200,000 on the design professional’s counterclaim against the school district.
  • Successfully defended existing Pennsylvania law absolving design professionals of site safety responsibility absent contractual duty to the contrary. The appellant sought to have the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overrule the Pennsylvania Superior Court’s decision holding that design professionals do not have a duty, and consequently no liability, for job-site injuries unless they assume responsibility by contract or conduct. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.
  • Represented an engineering firm against claims that a phase II site investigation failed to reveal contamination below the ground. The defense required joining a third party who was a culpable successor to the party that caused the pollution. The case settled with a favorable contribution from the engineering firm and the cleanup of the property.
  • Successfully defended an environmental remediation firm against allegations that its faulty design and construction of wells for pump and treat groundwater remediation were improperly installed, permitting hazardous levels of TCE to migrate via a preferential pathway to the deep aquifer, thereby worsening on-site contamination.
  • Extensively litigated and ultimately reached a favorable mediated settlement in a matter involving the design of a proposed municipal solid waste landfill. The claimed damages greatly exceeded the available policy limits. In this matter, a claim for lost profits pushed the plaintiff’s initial settlement demand over $30 million. Mediation was conducted by the court resulting in a satisfactory settlement slightly in excess of $1 million.
  • Defended mechanical engineering firm against claims of design and operational deficiencies related to update of existing HVAC system in large downtown hotel/office tower.
  • Successfully represented an architectural firm against a catastrophic personal injury claim filed by a demolition worker who suffered serious injuries when the hotel’s plaster ceiling fell and crushed him while performing demolition work. The plaintiff filed suit in Philadelphia County against the owner of the project, the architectural firm that designed the project, the general contractor and a sub-contractor. Burns White’s motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of the architectural firm was granted and the architectural firm was dismissed from the case. The case ultimately settled for in excess of $3.5 million.
  • Successfully defended a nationally known architectural firm in multiple delay claims arising from an award-winning complete renovation of one of the country’s oldest resort-hotels.
  • Successfully defended a national engineering firm in an arbitration filed by a large multinational corporation involving allegations that the engineer’s design of a pharmaceutical plant contained errors and omissions resulting in damages in excess of $5 million. The operation of the facility called for the design and installation of a number of specialized reactor vessels serviced by over 71,000 linear feet of cast iron, Teflon™ lined and fiberglass-lined pipe. A significant portion of the claim involved the three-dimensional modeling program that was used to configure, place and route the pipe.
  • Represented an engineering firm in connection with a claim of approximately $750,000 arising from the design of a dam and an emergency concrete spillway. The plaintiff alleged that the emergency concrete spillway had to be demolished and replaced due to deficiencies in construction and design. The case was resolved by settlement in an amount less than 10% of the total claim. The contribution from the engineer was less than half of the settlement amount.
  • Represented a structural engineering firm in connection with a claim in excess of $10 million arising from the construction of silos at a power plant. The structural engineer performed services for the contractor retained to construct the silos. The contractor had its contract terminated by the owner of the project. The contractor alleged that its inability to perform was due to design errors. The claim resolved through settlement with a minor contribution from the structural engineer.
  • Negotiated a favorable settlement [3.5% of total claim] on behalf of a major petrochemical engineering facility for alleged design deficiency centering on the interface between existing plant structural steel and piping, and major capacity expansion, at a gasoline manufacturing facility on the Gulf coast.
  • Successfully removed a case to a binding arbitration forum and argued no liability where a homeowner alleged that structural damage to his home was caused by the home inspector’s negligence for failing to warn and/or identify issues beneath the foundation.
  • Represented a New York structural engineering firm that was involved in litigation over the design and construction of a high-end single-family residence in Pittsburgh. The case, from the insured’s perspective, involved the propriety of a structural design that was required by the unconventional juxtaposition of design elements for the building.
  • Successfully defended an architectural firm against errors and omissions claims relative to the design of a condominium project. Matter resulted in an award of unpaid architectural fees.
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