Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Building Inspector Found to Be Immune From Claims of Negligence

In the case of Brown v. Taylor Construction and Demolition, No. 13-CV-2727 (C.P. Lacka. Co. April 2, 2020 Nealon, J.), the court addressed a request from a building official for a finding of immunity from claims liability relative to residential construction work.

According to the Opinion, residential property owners, who allegedly suffer damage as a result of negligent construction work by a contractor, filed suit against the contractor and the entity that was hired to act as the borough’s building construction code official to perform inspections and to grant approvals for construction activities upon request by the contractor. 

The Plaintiffs alleged that the contractor completed substandard work without requesting any inspection or obtaining the proper approvals of the work completed. 

The Plaintiffs separately asserted that the building official was allegedly negligent in conducting inspections and in failing to issue stop work orders.

The case came before the court by way of a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the building official. The building official asserted that he was immune from liability under the International Residential Code and the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act. 

Judge Nealon noted that, under the International Residential Code, a building construction code official is immune from liability for any act or omission in the discharge of his or her official duties for the borough which occurred while acting “in good faith and without malice.” 

The court noted that, in this matter, the records lacked any evidence to support a claim that the borough construction code official acted with any malice or bad faith. 

Accordingly, the court held that it was free and clear from doubt that the building construction code official was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. As such, summary judgment was granted.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

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