Villanueva v. Reynolds, Smith & Hills, Inc., 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 1922 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. February 13, 2015)

The successor engineer is not responsible for all plans taken over, signed and sealed.

In this wrongful death action brought against an engineering firm that designed a roadway construction project, the trial court erred in weighing conflicting evidence on the firm’s motion for summary judgment based on its contention that the project was constructed using only plans signed by an engineer hired by the county. The decedent’s survivors presented evidence that there was uncertainty concerning the portion of the project that was completed prior to the submission of the county plans, and that some of the signage and pavement markings near the accident scene were constructed using the firm’s plans. The appellate court noted that a successor engineer’s signing and sealing of the design plans did not, as a matter of law, place full and exclusive responsibility for the plans on the successor engineer. The court noted that “[n]o statute or rule allows an original engineer to escape liability because a successor engineer signed and sealed a set of plans that altered and superseded the original engineer’s plans.”

Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2015

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