Utah Digs Deep and Finds “Design Defect” Includes Pre-Construction Geotechnical Reports

Report on typewriter

The Hayes case demonstrates that subrogation professionals must always be mindful of economic loss issues when evaluating claims and determining recoverable damages.

November 19, 2021
Kyle Rice - The Subrogation Specialist

The Supreme Court of Utah recently found that an incorrect pre-construction geotechnical engineering report is a “defective design.” Thus, actions arising from an incorrect geotechnical report are appropriately governed by Utah’s Economic Loss Statute (Statute), Utah Code Ann. § 78B-4-513(1).

Hayes v. Intermountain GeoEnvironmental Servs. No. 20190764, 2021 UT 62, 2021 Utah Lexis 144, arose out of a suit filed by homeowners Kim and Nancy Hayes (the Hayeses). The Hayeses’ home was part of the Quail Hollow subdivision in Layton, Utah, which was developed by K.C. Halls Construction, Inc. (K.C. Halls). Prior to construction, K.C. Halls contracted with Intermountain GeoEnvironmental Services, Inc. (IGES) for a geotechnical report of the planned development to comply with the requirements of Layton City. The report found that “the subject site is suitable for the proposed construction” and made recommendations to ensure foundational integrity for future construction. The Hayeses ultimately purchased a lot from an agent for K.C. Halls and hired Bob Stevenson (Stevenson) to construct the home. About 14 months after the completion of construction, the Hayeses noticed cracking in their foundation walls.

Mr. Rice may be contacted at ricek@whiteandwilliams.com



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