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The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal recently considered whether a construction contractor could assert a claim against a design professional, with whom it did not have a contract, for damage resulting from design errors. The court held that absent privity of contract, the contractor may not assert a cause of action against the design professional based on breach of contract, but the contractor was not precluded from asserting a cause of action in tort based upon alleged negligence[1].

If that pithy Appeals Court case seems complex, it is. The court basically decided that because there was no written contract, the contractor cannot sue for a breach of contract. However, the court did say that he can sue for negligence in design. But how would a contractor know about these minute technical differences that can win or lose a case? An experienced construction law appeals attorney can make all the difference. For more information on why you need a construction law attorney, see [Why Do I Need A Construction Lawyer?].

The courts in New Orleans have laid down standards that must be met for them to consider an appeal. “The test for determining whether an interlocutory judgment may cause irreparable injury is whether any error in the judgment may be corrected as a practical matter on appeal following the determination of the merits[2].”

Your appeals attorney should be able to correctly draft, file and litigate through the requirements found in the Appellant’s Brief Preparation Checklist.

Construction law appeals can be complex due to unique characteristics and facets of the industry. For example, those who have provided labor or materials to a construction project, but have not received full payments, may file a Mechanic’s Lien, which must be addressed in an appeal. For more information on Mechanic’s Liens and Louisiana Lien Law, see [Mechanic’s Liens]. Also, there are strict requirements forchange orders and the consequences for deviation from the requirements can have important legal penalties which can affect an appeal.

For the best results with your Louisiana Construction Law Appeal, contact the experienced attorneys at Smiley Law.

[1] Greater Lafourche Port Commission v. James Construction Group, LLC, 2011-1548 (La.App. 1 Cir. 9/21/12), 2012 WL 4320228.

[2] In re Depland, 2003-0385 p. 2 (La. App. 4 Cir. 8/6/03), 854 So. 2d 438, 440; White Oak, Inc. v. Katz & Simone, 515 So. 2d 476, 476-77 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1987).

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