Beacon Residential Cmty. Ass’n. v. Skidmore, Owings & MerrillAnnotate this Case
Defendants, two architectural firms, were the sole entities that provided architectural services for a collection of condominium units in San Francisco. The homeowners association sued several parties involving in the construction of the condominiums, including Defendants, alleging that negligent architectural design work performed by Defendants resulted in several defects. The trial court sustained a demurrer in favor of Defendants, determining that because the final decision regarding how the homes would be built rested with the owner, Defendants owed no duty to the future condominium owners. The court of appeal reversed, concluding that, under both the common law and the Right to Repair Act, Defendants owed a duty of care to the homeowners in this case. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an architect owes a duty of care to future homeowners in the design of a residential building where the architect is a principal architect on the project, and the duty of care extends to such architects even when they do not actually build the project or exercise ultimate control over construction; and (2) the complaint int his case sufficiently alleged the causal link between Defendants’ negligence and the condominium association’s injury.