Spearin Doctrine – a Landmark Construction Law Case

Have you ever had a project you were building according to plans and specifications and it just couldn’t be built the way they drew it up?

George B. Spearin did in Brooklyn, New York.  He sued the federal government in 1918 and won – click here to see it in Wikipedia.

Runjob has a client who did too.

Our client was required by the Owner to build the building foundation utilizing a particular construction method:  jet grout. Jet grouting is a procedure which mixes cement and water underground to both serve as groundwater control and as a stable foundation for a building.  it is meant to develop a homogeneous mass of cement and soil.  Our client, the general contractor, determined that the medium in which the jet grout was being installed was hard rock – not soil.  As a result, there was never a chance of producing this homogeneous mass of soil and cement (because cement cannot be mixed into hard unyielding rock).  The general contractor was unable to efficiently control groundwater and lost a good deal of time and money on this component of the work.

They successfully argued that the Spearin Doctrine was applicable.  And won.

There are other aspects of the Spearin Doctrine that may apply to design/build contractors.  Read more here.

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