Way back on August 13, GBLU’s inaugural post focused on the impending green building litigation and factors that would cause the litigation. One of the factors that was described focused on parties’ financial expectations: “Parties undertaking green building projects for purely financial reasons will expect to make a profit.” In order to make a profit from a green building, the project typically has to be certified. Thus, it was anticipated that green building litigation would most likely occur when a project failed to achieve certification.
Not surprisingly, we now have an example of green building litigation arising from this very scenario. On February 16, 2007, Shaw Development, L.L.C. (Shaw Development) filed a counter-complaint against Southern Builders, Inc. (Southern Builders) in the Circuit Court of Somerset County, Maryland arising from, in part, the projects failure to achieve LEED Silver certification. While the case never proceeded to trial, Shaw Development’s counter-complaint is instructive as to the future of green building litigation. Our next three GBLU posts will look at the Shaw Development v. Southern Builders case in detail:
• Monday we will review the facts
• Wednesday we will review the contract
• Friday we will review the causes of action
• Next Monday we will review the damages and provide some tips to avoid this type of litigation
The facts are similar to most construction projects. Prior to the lawsuit, Shaw Development purchased property in Somerset County, Maryland and retained Southern Builders to construct a condominium project on the property. In the counter-complaint, Shaw Development alleged, among other things, that Southern Builders failed to construct the condominium project in a good and workmanlike fashion and, as a result, the project did not achieve USGBC LEED Silver certification.
The contract between two parties is key to determining liability between two parties undertaking a green building project. Check back Wednesday when we review the contract between Shaw Development and Southern Builders.
- The Anatomy of America’s First Green Building Litigation (gbNYC)
- The First LEED Lawsuit…Great…. (Real Life LEED)
- Open the Floodgates: The Era of Green Building Litigation (Greener Buildings)