Architects and engineers are required to perform their activities in a meticulous manner. Failure to adhere to design regulations or building statutes may result in a professional liability. Professional liability cases against design professionals typically involve a faulty physical structure. Such architectural and engineering errors may result in claims of a breach of contract, breach of warranty, or negligence. The harm may include financial damages or even personal injury.
In Texas, a person who files a claim for construction damages from the professional services by a licensed architect or engineer is required to include a certificate of merit with the original petition. The affidavit is crucial to discourage petty claims and provide validity to the basis of the lawsuit. The certificate of merit is an affidavit carried out by a third-party licensed architect, professional engineer, landscape architect, or professional land surveyor who:
- is competent to testify
- holds the same professional license or registration as the defendant
- practices in the area of practice of the defendant and offers testimony based on the person’s knowledge, skill, experience, education, training, and practice
The certificate of merit must be filed along with the original petition. The only exception to this requirement is when the statute of limitation is set to expire within 10 days of the date of filing and because of the time restraint, the plaintiff states the affidavit could not be timely prepared to meet the applicable deadline. In such cases, the plaintiff has 30 days after initially filing the lawsuit to file the supplemental certificate of merit.
If you are looking to assert a claim or defend against a potential design lawsuit, it is important to consult with an experienced construction attorney. We welcome you to contact us at 713-572-4900.