: Your memnaof 21 May 1969 to EMB
in which you ask the following question -
If the District issued a permit to a company
to build a dike or levee according to standards
adopted by the Southwest Florida Water Manage-
ment District, is the company which builds
the dike or levee relieved of liability to the
District if the dike breaks?
A company which builds a dike or levee according
to standards adopted by the District is relieved
of liability to the District if the dike breaks.
REASONING : General American rule is that a contractor that
has followed plans and specifications furnished
by the contracted, architect, or engineer, and which plans and
specifications have proved to be defective or insufficient, will
not be responsible to the contracted for loss or damage which
results solely from the defective or insufficient plans or
specifications, in the absence of any negligence on the contractor's
part. 3ALR 3rd 1397.
Filbert -v- Philadelphia -37A.545, in this case
the City sought to require the contractor to rebuild a reservoir
so that it would not leak. The Court held that the contractor
did not warrant the reservoir to be a perfect one. The work was
done in exact accordance with the plans and specifications and the
defect was not due to defective material or workmanship. Therefore
the contractor was not liable for the defects ini the reservoir
when he constructed the reservoir in compliance with the plans
Bradford Builders, Inc. -v- Sears, Roebuck & Co.
270 Federal 2nd 649 (U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit, 1959), appeal from U. S. District Court for the Southern
District of Florida. This case, using Florida law, held if the
contractor is bound to build according to plans and specifications
of the owner, contractor will not be responsible for consequences
of defects in the plans and specifications.
McRainey -v- Langston, 110 So 536. This appears
to be the leading case in Florida on this point and it held that
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where a builder performs his work strictly in accordance with
plans and specifications, it is not liable for defects in the
work due to such plans and specifications.
Based on these cases I feel that if the
Southwest Florida Water Management District adopts standards
for construction of dikes or levees and then issues a permit
to a company to build a dike or levee according to these
specifications or standards, the company is relieved of liability
for defects in these standards if he builds the dike or levee
in conformance with the standards and there is absence of any
negligence on the contractor's part.
SJune 3, 1969