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Construction litigation spurred by case in civil court

In California and elsewhere, a single incident often involves several different areas of the law. A case in another state was filed by the spouse of a man who was killed in a bicycle accident in 2016. Approximately three years later, the decedent’s wife filed a wrongful death claim against a roofing and construction company, alleging that the defective design of a drainage grate caused her husband’s accident and death.  

The construction company has since sued the subcontractor who was responsible for road repairs on the project. In March, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that, although the construction company may not sue the subcontractor for negligence or breach of contract, its claims of equitable indemnification, breach of warranty and additional issues may continue. The drainage grate had bars that ran parallel (instead of perpendicular) to the road, which the decedent’s wife asserted in her wrongful death claim, had caused her husband’s bike wheel to dip between the bars, resulting in his death.  

Construction litigation involving subcontractors is often complex 

The company that is named as the defendant in the wrongful death claim has since commenced a lawsuit against the subcontractors who were responsible for labor and materials on the drainage grate project. The construction company also filed a lawsuit against the company that designed the work. What the outcome of this litigation will be remains to be seen.  

In this case, the construction company must prove in court that the companies who designed the work and performed the labor should be held accountable for damages. The construction litigation is separate from the wrongful death claim, although the two cases have key factors that intersect. In similar cases, it is typically helpful to consult with an attorney who is well-versed in construction and contract law before heading to court.