Of recent interest to architects, engineers and owners, Governor Scott signed into law an act relating to design professionals which limit their individual liability in certain circumstances. The new statute created by this law is section 558.0035, but it also modifies several other sections. Up until the passing of this law, an individual design professional, even when providing work product for the benefit of his/her employer, was individually liable for any claims relating to errors and omissions made by the individual. The new law provides that the design professional is not individually liable for damages occurring related to the individual’s work product when five criteria are met.

  • First, the employer must have a contract with the claimant.
  • Next, the individual employee cannot be named as a party to that contract.
  • Additionally, that contract must include a statement in oversized print that “Pursuant to section 558.0035 an individual employee or agent may not be individually liable for negligence.”
  • The business entity must have professional liability insurance for the exemption to apply.
  • Finally, all of the claimant’s damages must by purely economic as the exemption does not extend to personal injury or property damage.

The law defines a “business entity” as any corporation, limited liability company, partnership, limited partnership, proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, self-employed individual or trust. However, the law does not alter the law with respect to these entities, thus a partner in a partnership will likely still be individually liable for his/her own errors and omissions as well as the errors and omissions of the partnership’s professional employees.

As with almost any new law, it will take time before we know how the courts will interpret these provisions. As a result, we suggest that you review your forms of contract and the status of claims in pending or anticipated cases with your attorney.