Contractors Beware – Maryland’s Economic Loss Doctrine is Alive and Well

Donald A. Rea
Published February 23, 2016

Maryland recently reaffirmed application of the “economic loss doctrine” to damages sought in construction disputes in Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. v. Rummel Klepper & Kahl, LLP, No. 496, Sept. Term 2014, 2016 WL 360875 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Jan. 28, 2016).  Thus, while some jurisdictions permit a contractor’s cause of action against a design professional/engineer for negligence arising from defective plans and specifications, even in the absence of contractual privity, Maryland is not one of them.  Maryland steadfastly holds to the economic loss rule, which does not permit a cause of action for purely economic losses (such as delays or problems caused by defective plans) in the absence of direct contractual privity or its equivalent between the construction contractor and the design professional.

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