Texas Supreme Court Briefing, Black + Vernooy Architects v. Smith

The Texas Supreme Court recently refused to hear a further appeal in the case of Black + Vernooy Architects v. Smith, 346 S.W.3d 877 (Tex. App.—Austin 2011, pet. filed).

The case concerned whether and to what extent architects performing contract or construction administration are responsible to third-party house guests injured by purely construction defects. The plaintiffs filed a motion for rehearing October 12, 2012.

Allensworth & Porter drafted an amicus brief in the Austin Court of Appeals on behalf of the Texas Society of Architects and the Texas Council of Engineering Companies, Inc.

Although a three-judge panel of the Austin Court of Appeals initially held that the architect owed a duty to a house guest injured by a construction defect, the entire Court later reversed itself on rehearing, holding that the architect owed no such duty.

If the Supreme Court hears the case, it will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the extent of the legal duties owed by design professionals to the public.

[Update 11/1/2012 by Will Allensworth]:  On August 31, 2012, the Texas Supreme Court denied the petition for review.  However, petitioners filed a motion for rehearing on October 2, 2012.

[Update 4/1/2013 by Will Allensworth]:  On March 22, 2013, the Texas Supreme Court denied the petitioners’ motion for rehearing.  The effect is that the Austin Court of Appeals’ decision is final.