Neiman v. Leo A. Daly Co. affirms Completed and Accepted Doctrine in favor of an Architect
In Neiman v. Leo A. Daly Co., No. B234537, the Second District Court of Appeals ruled on plaintiff’s personal injury action against an architect for sustaining injuries after falling on the stairs at a theater on a community college campus, that was designed by the architect. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the architect. The Court held that 1) once work has been completed and accepted by the owner, the contractor is not liable to third parties for patent defects; and 2) the defendant met its burden on summary judgment of establishing the affirmative defense of the completed and accepted doctrine.
Under the completed and accepted doctrine, once work as been completed and accepted by the owner, the contractor is not liable to third parties for patent defects. In this action, the plaintiff did not allege that the architect was negligent in preparing the plans and specifications, but instead claimed the architect was negligent in failing to see and notify the owner and contractor that the contrast marking stripes required by the plans for the theatre and by the California Building Code, were not placed on a set of stairs. In this instance, the completed and accepted doctrine was extended from the benefit to a contractor who actually builds a project, to an architect who did no actual construction but instead designed and oversaw the project.
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