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The Bedwell Company v. Camden County Improvement Authority

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 14, 2014

THE BEDWELL COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMDEN COUNTY IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY, HDR ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS, P.C., ARCHITECTS ENGINEERS PLANNERS, P.C., Defendants, CAMDEN COUNTY IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY, Crossclaimant,
v.
HDR ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS, P.C., Cross Defendant, CAMDEN COUNTY IMPROVEMENT AUTHORITY, Counterclaimant,
v.
THE BEDWELL COMPANY, Counter Defendant.

BERKOWITZ & ASSOCIATES, PC, Steven A. Berkowitz, Esq., Marlton, NJ., Counsel for Plaintiff/Counter Defendant The Bedwell Company.

PARKER MCCAY P.A., Elyse G. Crawford, Esq., Richard W. Hunt, Esq., Marlton, NJ., Counsel for Defendants/Crossclaimant/Counterclaimant Camden County Improvement Authority.

TESSER & COHEN, Francis A. Kirk, Esq., Hackensack, NJ., Counsel for Defendant/Cross Defendant HDR Architects and Engineers, P.C.

OPINION

JOSEPH E. IRENAS, District Judge.

This breach of contract and business torts dispute comes before the Court on HDR Architects and Engineers, P.C.'s ("HDR") motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). HDR seeks dismissal of those claims asserted against it by Plaintiff The Bedwell Company ("Bedwell").[1]

HDR served as the architect on a construction project that became known as the Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (the "Project"). Bedwell served as one of the Project's contractors. According to Bedwell's complaint, HDR's defective designs caused damages in excess of $3 million, rendering the architecture firm liable in tort.

In response, HDR argues the economic loss doctrine precludes Bedwell's claims, and in the alternative, the factually deficient complaint fails to set forth all the claims alleged.

For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant in part and deny in part HDR's motion.

I.

On September 8, 2006, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey ("UMDNJ") contracted with HDR to design a medical school in Camden, N.J. (the "Design Agreement"). In December of 2009, UMDNJ assigned the Design Agreement to Rowan University. Rowan immediately demanded that the Project increase from five stories to six. (Compl. ¶ 12)

In April of 2010, Camden County Improvement Authority ("CCIA") became the exclusive development and contracting agent for Rowan. CCIA agreed to oversee the design and construction of the Project.

In July of 2010, CCIA contracted with Joseph Jingoli and Son, Inc. ("JJS") to serve as the Project's construction manager. (Compl. ¶ 18)

In September of 2010, deeming the design documents sufficiently complete, CCIA put the base structural portion of the Project out to bid. (Compl. ¶ 19) Bedwell bid on a portion of the construction referred to as the Foundations and Structural Steel. CCIA accepted the bid. Bedwell and CCIA entered into a contract on October 25, 2010 (the "Foundations Contract").[2] (Id. ¶ 21)

Deeming the remaining design documents sufficiently complete, CCIA put the latter stages of construction out for bid. Bedwell again submitted the winning bid, and entered into a second contract with CCIA on February 28, 2011 (the "Construction Contract").[3]

HDR was aware that the design documents it authored would be used by contractors such as Bedwell to estimate costs and dates of completion. (Compl. ¶ 35) From the inception of construction, however, defects in the design documents caused unexpected costs and numerous delays. (Id. ¶ 52)

The documents underlying the Construction Contract proved particularly troubling: 212 Requests for Information ("RFI's") and 469 Change Order Proposals ...


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