Risk Transfer: The Souffle of Construction Litigation

Chocolate souffle

Risk transfer – like a good souffle – also requires planning, preparation, and the right ingredients.

December 13, 2022
Alexa Stephenson & Ivette Kincaid - Kahana Feld

Who does not love a good souffle?! Enthusiasts will know that a great souffle is not something you can obtain quickly. Rather, it is common in restaurants to order the souffle as dessert at the beginning of the meal because it takes an hour to bake. Risk transfer – like a good souffle – also requires planning, preparation, and the right ingredients.

In construction litigation, attorneys are often not retained until after the project has been completed for several years as the dispute between the homeowner and the general contractor or developer took time to escalate to formal litigation. A significant part of defense counsel’s legal analysis involves assessing and evaluating risk transfer opportunities. For example, in the case of a general contractor or developer who did not self-perform the construction work but instead retained subcontractors to do so, counsel will assess if risk can be transferred from the general contractor or developer to the subcontractors who performed the work which the homeowners allege is defective. In other words, a developer or general contractor can reduce their risk (i.e. liability and money owed) by transferring said risk (i.e. pointing the finger at) to a third party.

Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, just like the souffle making process, it is easier said than done. This task can be exceedingly difficult in the absence of contracts that contain strong indemnity and insurance provisions – the essential ingredients to effect risk transfer. Worry not! We have provided “baking” instructions for you below to help you get a great risk transfer souffle time and again.

Reprinted courtesy of Alexa Stephenson, Kahana Feld and Ivette Kincaid, Kahana Feld
Ms. Stephenson may be contacted at astephenson@kahanafeld.com
Ms. Kincaid may be contacted at ikincaid@kahanafeld.com


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