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Limits of Liability and Standard of Care

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Dear Colleagues,             January 23, 1997
On Saturdays, January 11 and 18, 1997, I attended an excellent ASCE San
Francisco Section, Continuing Education Committee seminar on the subject:
"The Legal Aspects of Civil Engineering."   This seminar covered the
subjects:
1. An Introduction to Engineering Liability, 2. Effective Risk
Management/Loss Prevention, 3. Claims/Loss Prevention and Risk Management, 4.
Getting Paid, 5. Dispute Resolution Processes - Mediation, Arbitration,
Litigation, 6. Business and Personal Planning to Reduce Liability,  and 7.
Bankrupcy: An Introduction.

A comprehensive set of seminar notes is available from San Francisco Section,
American Society of Civil Engineers, 74 New Montgomery Street, Suite 230, San
Francisco, CA 94105-3411 for a cost of $35.00, which includes shipping and
handling. Telephone 415-546-6546.

In the session on Loss Prevention and Risk Management conducted by David A
Ericksen, Severson & Werson, he handed out an excellent paper entitled "Five
Steps to Effective Risk Management/Loss Prevention" which is included in the
seminar notes.  He discusses "Limitation of Liability" and "Standard of
Care."   Under "Standard of Care", he states: "Absent implied or express
provisions to the contrary, design professionals are required only to provide
their services with the degree of skill and care ordinarily exercised by
reputable practitioners of the profession practicing in the same locality
under similar circumstances."   When asked what is the level of the expertise
of the "reputable practitioners", he told us it was the "C student", not the
"A student" or the most expert practitioner in the locality.  Of course, in
the real world if the case goes to trial, then the "Standard of Care" is
usually determined by the testimony of expert witnesses.

Frank E. McClure  FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)aol.com