Igel Prevails on Appeal

Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter

In a previous issue (October, 1996), it was noted that general contractor Peterson Construction and its excavation subcontractor George Igel & Co. prevailed in their jury trial against a vocational school district whose building "settled" on soft soils. The school district appealed the decision and the Madison County Court of Appeals recently upheld the jury verdict and decisions of the trial court in all respects. The Central Ohio Joint Vocational v. Peterson Construction Company, Case No. CA 97-05-24, July 13, 1998.

The Court of Appeals, in formulating its opinion, placed great emphasis on a change order signed by all parties, stating that they were to follow the directions of the soil engineer.

The clear lesson of this case is that contractors and subcontractors who receive direction from owners or their architects and engineers that is arguably different than the plans and specifications must be sure to memorialize these deviations in written, signed change orders.