Rinehart v. Morton Bldgs., Inc.Annotate this Case
The Rineharts contracted with Morton Buildings for a preengineered building to serve as their personal residence and business location for their business, Midwest Slitting. Upon disputes regarding the structure's quality, the Rineharts and Midwest Slitting sued. A jury found for the Rineharts on several of their claims and for Midwest Slitting on its negligent misrepresentation claim. The court of appeals affirmed and granted the Rineharts appellate attorney fees. Morton appealed, arguing that the economic loss doctrine, which originated with product liability litigation to prohibit tort claims when the only damages were to the product itself, should extend to bar the negligent misrepresentation claim in this case. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the judgment in favor of Midwest Slitting on its negligent misrepresentation claims, holding that the economic loss doctrine does not bar negligent misrepresentation claims because the duty at issue arises by operation of law, and the doctrine's purposes would not be further by extending it to such claims; and (2) reversed the appellate attorney fee award because the Court could not determine from the record whether the court of appeals included time and expenses in the award not reimbursable under the applicable statute. Remanded.