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Contractor can face lawsuit despite using customer's specifications

A contractor who installs something exactly according to the customer's specifications is not necessarily off the hook if someone gets hurt, as a roofing contractor who worked on the Chicago White Sox's ballpark recently discovered.

In that case, a contractor installed a new roof at the stadium, historically known as the new Comiskey Park but officially known as "Guaranteed Rate Field." In 2013, a maintenance worker on the roof slipped and suffered serious muscle tears. The worker took the ballclub, the contractor and the manufacturer of the roofing product to court seeking compensation for his injuries. A lower court judge tossed the case out, ruling that he had no claim.

The worker appealed and an Illinois appeals court found that while neither the manufacturer nor the team could be held liable, the case could proceed against the contractor. The court held that the manufacturer gave the contractor sufficient warnings about the use of its product and the White Sox were reasonable to rely on contractor's expertise on roofing and safety materials. However, since the contractor took the team's input on specifications, plans and materials, and was ultimately responsible for the design, plan and installation, the court held that summary judgment (as to the contractor) was not appropriate.

Every case is different, but if you or someone close to you suffers injury that may be due to poor design or construction, talk to an attorney. If you have been injured in an accident that occurred while due to poor construction or design, call us at (413) 663-3200 to discuss whether you have a claim. Donovan O'Connor & Dodig, LLP has offices in North Adams, Pittsfield and Springfield, Massachusetts and Bennington, Vermont.

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