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Houston Partner Explains New Statute on Limitations on Contractors’ Liabilities and Responsibilities for Design Defects

Background
On June 16, 2021, Texas Senate Bill 219/House Bill 1418 was signed in to law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and will be part of Chapter 59 of the Texas Business & Commerce Code. This Bill will have a great impact on industry contractors and subcontractors as it addresses limitations on contractors’ liabilities and responsibilities for certain types of defects, and is set to be effective on September 1, 2021.

S.B. 219 amends current law relating to civil liability and responsibility for the consequences of defects in the plans, specifications, or related documents for the construction or repair of an improvement to real property or of a road or highway.

Summary
A contractor would be required to disclose in writing the existence of any known defect in the plans, specifications, or other design documents discovered by the contractor before or during construction. Subject to other qualifying language in this statute, a contractor is not responsible for the consequences of design defects in and may not warranty the accuracy, adequacy, sufficiency or suitability of plans, specifications or other design documents provided to the contractor by a person other than the contractor’s agents, contractors, fabricators or suppliers or its consultants, of any tier.

In her most current Litchfield Alert, “Change in Texas Civil Liability Related to Construction Law“, Houston partner Ellen G. Tagtmeier describes the details of the Bill that goes into effect on September 1, 2021. To read the content of Senate Bill 219, please see Ellen’s complete Alert, here.

Ellen’s construction litigation experience includes representing of sureties, owners, general contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers, suppliers, architects and engineers in contract formation and in lawsuits. Her legal practice includes prosecuting insurance defense claims, and litigating commercial, real estate, products and transportation claims. Ellen is a native Houstonian and has extensive trial, appellate case, mediation and arbitration experience in state and federal courts.