Louisiana Construction Litigation Attorney Law Firm
Our construction team includes a lawyer who is also a Professional Engineer, a distinct advantage when we represent contractors, design professionals and others in the industry facing difficult litigation. Having this kind of technical insight and experience helps us retain and manage the right experts, thoroughly investigate a claim and build a solid strategic plan for resolution of the case. Clients in the construction industry rely on us for help with a wide range of issues, including design and construction defects, construction delay claims, design professional malpractice, and equipment and product failures. We represent:
- Architects, engineers, and land surveyors
- Contractors and subcontractors
- Vendors and material suppliers
- Developers and owners
- Project construction managers
- Product and equipment manufacturers
- Insurance companies
We help a broad range of local, regional, national and international clients in the state and federal courts of Louisiana, at trial, on appeal and in the mediation and arbitration of contentious and potentially costly disputes. We have a decades-long relationship with some of our clients. Keogh Cox excels at efficiently managing large, complex, multi-party cases, using sophisticated paperless document review and management software systems and knowledgeable personnel to keep our clients well informed and their matters moving forward. Clients like us for our professional and intellectual approach to the problem.
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Recent experience highlights
Client Story: Keogh Cox Garners Dismissal for Contractor by Showing Limited Contract Scope of Duties
Where we started: Our client, a contractor with a broad scope of engineering, procurement and construction management responsibilities, was sued for injuries to a subcontractor’s employee caused by the contractor’s alleged negligence and safety violations at its chemical plant. Our roadmap: The issues included whether a court may rely on the contract terms between the parties to determine the existence and scope of duties owed. The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted our summary judgment motion dismissing all claims against the contractor. The Court reasoned that the subcontractor’s contract with the owner expressly assigned it the exclusive and sole responsibility to ensure that its employees complied with the owner’s safety requirements. Further, our client’s contract with the owner did not include any supervisory oversight or safety obligations. Resolution: The Court agreed with our argument that the contractor owed no obligation to the plaintiff because the terms of the contract, which excluded any such obligation, determined the scope of liability. Accordingly, all claims against our client were dismissed. Foster v. Sasol N. Am., Inc., No. 2:13 CV 2813, 2015 WL 338988, (W.D. La. Jan. 26, 2015).
Client Story: A Favorable Settlement for Industrial Pipe Supplier – Thanks to Pre-trial Motions and Strong Expert Analysis
Where we started: Our client was an international distributor of stainless steel fittings used in construction of industrial facilities. The contractor responsible for a multi-million dollar chemical plant expansion project sued the distributor for significant costs associated with replacement of pipe and fittings and project delays, after testing revealed a single cracked fitting had been installed in the massive piping system. Our roadmap: The issues included assignment of rights from another distributor in the chain of sale, redhibition, sales and contract law, products liability and tort law. The case also involved technical issues, including the manufacturing process and physical behavior of stainless steel, which were addressed by metallurgical and mechanical engineering experts. Through the use of a Daubert motion and other pre-trial motions to limit the plaintiff’s expert testimony, we narrowed the complex issues for trial and highlighted weaknesses in the plaintiff’s case. Performance Contractors, Inc. v. Great Plains Stainless, Inc., 2012 WL 5398534 (M.D. La. Nov. 2, 2012). Resolution: Our strategy resulted in a more favorable settlement for our client to avoid costly expert discovery.
Client Story: Analysis of Complex Issues Results in Summary Judgment
Where we started: Keogh Cox represented a major engineering firm that was under contract with an oil refinery owner to provide technical services, engineering, procurement and construction services, which included a broad scope of services for project management and safety review. The suit was filed by three workers who were injured during turnaround work at the refinery coker unit when a steam valve blew out. The suit involved a multi-million dollar claim against multiple defendants, a cross-claim by the plant owner for defense and indemnity, and multiple cross-claims among the other defendants. The contracts between the various parties were lengthy and complex. Federal safety and state statutory employer provisions also applied. Our roadmap: Our client was sued for failure to inspect, warn and supervise, and other alleged safety violations that appeared initially to fall within the client’s broad scope of contractual services. By carefully analyzing the contract scope of services and causes of the accident, we were able to show that the accident did not result from any breach of contract duty by our client. Accordingly, we filed a summary judgment motion. Resolution: Summary judgment was granted in the early stages of litigation, which avoided significant discovery expenses.
Client Story: Keogh Cox Garners Dismissal of Engineer by Showing Limited Contract Scope of Duties
Where we started: The owner/purchaser of a newly constructed apartment complex sued our client, the civil engineer responsible for site design services, and the contractors responsible for construction of the site improvements when a large section of the retaining wall built along a coulee (large drainage canal in Cajun country) collapsed and a large portion of the parking lot subsided. Our roadmap: We filed a summary judgment motion arguing that our engineer client’s scope of services, while broadly inclusive of most aspects of the site design, excluded design of the retaining wall and included only limited design of the parking lot pavement. Resolution: The Court granted the motion and dismissed the engineer from the suit where plaintiff was seeking over a million dollars for the repair costs.
Client Story: Favorable Settlement for Architect in Major Suit Involving Water Intrusion
Where we started: Keogh Cox represented an architect in a suit by a public university against multiple parties, including the developer, design firms and contractors. The claims involved significant water intrusion in a newly constructed student housing complex, and separate insurance and FEMA claims related to hurricane damage. The dispute involved multiple suits and arbitrations in more than one state and in federal court, and two dozen experts retained by the various parties. Our roadmap: We worked with other counsel whose clients’ interests were aligned with ours to obtain a stay of the litigation proceedings against the designers and develop joint defenses and rebuttal to the expert reports, to be used in mediation. Resolution: We obtained a favorable settlement as the result of a joint mediation of all parties in the dispute – before any formal discovery in our suit and before having to retain our own experts.
Client Story: Keogh Cox Uses Knowledge of Construction Issues to Advantage in Hurricane Damage Litigation
Where we started: Keogh Cox defended an excess property insurer against a claim for over $10 million in hurricane damage to plaintiff’s properties that included over 50 buildings, as well as alleged bad faith claims, where the initial repair estimates placed the claim value well below the underlying policy limits and the plaintiff’s appraisal and structural engineer’s scope of work were called into serious question. Our roadmap: We used our firm’s talents in handling both insurance bad faith claims and construction issues to develop strong support for our position as to the proper repair scope, and an effective litigation strategy using pre-trial discovery and summary judgment motions to position the case for a favorable settlement. Resolution: After exposing the flaws in the work scope and inconsistencies in plaintiff’s statements regarding the property damage, we were able to obtain a settlement for a fraction of the claimed damages and avoid a trial where the exposure was significant.
More Details about Construction Law
Our efficient and effective use of experts and management of the large volume of documents and information involved are some of the things that distinguish our construction law team. Having decades of construction law experience gives our clients a head start in finding a technically sound plan to achieve the earliest and best resolution. We also have significant experience handling such issues as:
- Construction defect claims
- Design errors and omissions claims
- Delay and acceleration claims
- Breach of contract and warranty claims
- Complex construction contract disputes
- Construction accidents
- Contract and indemnity claims, and application of Louisiana anti-indemnity statutes
- Prescription and peremption of claims against designers and contractors under Louisiana law
- Material, product and equipment defects
- Underground utility/pipeline damage claims
- New Home Warranty Act claims
- Public and Private Works Act claims and liens
- Public Bid Law disputes
- Construction insurance claims
- Representation of contractors and design professionals before the State Licensing Boards
In addition, members of our construction law team continuously track and monitor the state legislature and case law updates, both in Louisiana and elsewhere, as well as other legal developments, through such organizations as the National Association of Professional Engineers and Louisiana Engineering Society.