Uniwest Rides Again (or, Are Architects Subject to Va. Code Section 11-4.1?)

Horse rider with American flag riding over grass

A recent case out of the Eastern District of Virginia Federal District Court examined a provision in a contract between a designer/architect and a contractor or owner on a project.

October 16, 2018
Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings

In 2010, the Virginia Supreme Court held in Uniwest Const., Inc. v. Amtech Elevator Servs., Inc., that Va. Code Sec. 11-4.1 renders completely void and unenforceable any indemnification provision in a construction contract between a contractor and subcontractor that seeks to indemnify the indemnified party from its own negligent acts. In short, the Virginia Supreme Court stated that such overly broad provisions violate Section 11-4.1.

A recent case out of the Eastern District of Virginia Federal District Court examined a provision in a contract between a designer/architect and a contractor or owner on a project. In Travelers Indem. Co. of Conn. v. Lessard Design Inc. the Court examined the application of Section 11-4.1 to the following provision of a design contract where Lessard, the indemnitor, agreed to:

[i]ndemnify, defend and hold the Owner, Owner’s Developer, and Owner’s and Owner’s Developer’s wholly owned affiliates and the agents, employees and officers of any of them harmless from and against any and all losses, liabilities, expenses, claims, fines and penalties, costs and expenses, including, but not limited to reasonable attorneys’ fees and court costs relating to the services performed by the Architect hereunder . . .

Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com



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