BCC Appellate Court Victory

 Burke Cromer Cremonese secured a complete victory for a design professional in a case involving a pipeline spanning West Virginia and Pennsylvania.  The Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s October 2016 grant of summary judgement in favor of the design professional.  In so ruling, the Third Circuit held that plaintiff-appellant could not assert a negligent misrepresentation claim against a design professional for their failure to identify all foreign crossings on a project when the contract with the owner only required the design professional to identify above-ground foreign crossings.   Finding that a “design professional’s liability to a contractor arises from the design professional’s breach of its contract with the owner.”  Further holding that a design professional who signs a contract with an owner does not “assume duties of unknown scope owed to third-party contractors.”

While the Third Circuit did not reach these two issues, Judge Bissoon also dismissed plaintiff’s claim at the district court level because (1) plaintiff filed the claim outside the applicable statute of limitations period, and (2) plaintiff did not justifiably rely on Trico’s services in preparing its bid (a necessary element of a negligent misrepresentation claim).  Plaintiff claimed damages in excess of $100 million dollars. 

Read the Federal Circuit’s order here.  

The Burke Cromer Cremonese team responsible for the district court and appellate court victory included Michael Cremonese, Katherine Wrenshall, and Alexandra Farone.