NOTE: This item was originally posted by the AGC Inland Northwest Chapter in an email sent April 9, 2012.
The Washington State Supreme Court recently took the position requested by three AGC Chapters in a recent court case and ruled that contractors are not precluded from suing project owners in court for fraud, even where a contract exists between the parties.
On March 29, 2012, the court issued its ruling in the Elcon Construction vs. Eastern Washington University case. While Elcon did not get the trial they sought, the court did endorse the request sought by AGC’s Washington, Inland Northwest, and Oregon-Columbia chapters under an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief. In the case, the Court overruled a decision by a lower court that stated contractors could not bring fraud claims in tort against construction project owners because the contractor’s only remedy should be those available under the contract.
This ruling is a substantial victory for the entire construction industry and provides much needed protection from unscrupulous project owners. For more information, please see the report from Rob Crick about the Court’s decision. Read the Courts opinion here.