Lawyer: First LEED-Related Lawsuit In U.S. Tip Of Iceberg

by | Jan 15, 2009

hammer1.jpgLawyers are advising green building proponents to do due diligence and pay attention to contracts in the wake of the first LEED-related lawsuit in the U.S., Daily Commercial News reports.

The Captain’s Galley in Crisfield Maryland was completed in 2006 and included green features intended to support LEED-silver certification. However, things turned sour when its general contractor, seeking payment, filed a $54,000 mechanic’s lien against Shaw Development.

Shaw responded with a counterclaim saying it lost money in state tax credits after the project was delayed for nine-months. The case was settled out of court last summer, but it has professional advisors saying green construction projects are ripe for litigation.

Yves Menard, a specialist in real estate and construction law with Borden Ladner Gervais, told Daily Commercial News that the case was more about construction delay than LEED. But Menard says with green projects, parties need to do due diligence to avoid liability with respect to certification or any other environmental aspects. He recommends owners and building professionals to vet all hires and verify any claims to green expertise.

In addition, Menard advices architects and other design professionals not to guarantee that buildings will meet certification. He says that professional liability insurance is unlikely to cover such guarantees.

Last December, AIG began offering green building coverage against “adverse publicity.”

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