Architectural Professional Liability - Expert Investigation Expert Article

In this case, a patron at a nightclub climbed up on top of a 3 foot high speaker box platform and danced off the edge. Many people were sued. Robson Forensic was engaged after it was claimed that the developer's architect, who reviewed the tenant drawings for the club, should have required guard rails around the top of the platform.

Night Club Architectural Liability

Fall From 3' High Speaker Box Platform at Night Club

A patron at a nightclub climbed up on top of a 3 foot high speaker box platform and danced off the edge. Many people were sued. The club was a tenant at a Trade Center Development. We were engaged after it was claimed that the developer’s architect, who reviewed the tenant drawings for the club, should have required guard rails around the top of the platform.

The defendant architect was a large firm who had been responsible for the overall design of the Trade Center. They also assisted the developer by reviewing design plans for tenant spaces. The nightclub and platforms had been designed by another design architect and the defendant architect reviewed the drawings submitted by the designer.

We reviewed the same drawings. Although the platform in question appeared on the construction drawings, an 18” high access “step” only appeared on an “interior furnishings” drawing. We showed how, based on the designer’s drawing information, that the defendant architect could not have concluded the platform was to be accessible as part of the dance floor.

We then described the standard of care for an architect performing these services: reviewing tenant drawings at a project of this sort. This includes evaluating ADA compliance, egress, fire safety, and design conformity with the “Trade Center” Guidelines. It did not include questioning the designer or tenant to see if they intended patrons to dance on speaker enclosures.

We helped the defendant architect’s attorney prepare to depose the Plaintiff’s architectural expert, and he was able to elicit admissions that the defendant architect had not breached any applicable standards of care. The defendant architect was released for a nominal, nuisancevalue amount while other parties paid a structured settlement in excess of $5.25 million.

Contact an Expert

The premises safety team at Robson Forensic investigates matters involving the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of residential, institutional and commercial premises. All of our experts are highly qualified, but depending upon the unique facets of your case, one expert may be better suited to assist with your investigation.

Related

View All Articles

Building Guardrail Failures

By Mark Duckett
Expert Article

In this article, structural engineer, Mark Duckett provides an introduction to building guardrail failures from the perspective of a structural engineer. Building Guardrail Failures Form vs. Function…

Property Maintenance Standards for Premises Safety

By Albert J. Kerelis, Jr.
Expert Overview

This article discusses the standard of care for exterior property maintenance as it relates to premises liability disputes. Adequate maintenance should account for both preventive and unplanned…