Gov Scott Approves Design Professional Limitation of Liability Act
Governor Scott signed into law the “Design Professional Limitation of Liability Act.” This new law gives design professionals immunity from tort damages as long as the services are being rendered as part of a professional services contract that has specific waiver language written into the contract. The design professionals affected are licensed engineers, interior designers, surveyors, architects, landscape architects, and geologists. The act takes effect on July 1, 2013.
Required Waiver in Florida Professional Services Contracts
Needless to say, any licensed design professionals who practice in the state of Florida should familiarize themselves with the act and its specific requirements. For example, in order to be able to enforce the protections of the new act, your professional services contract must “include a prominent statement, in uppercase font that is at least 5 point sizes larger than the rest of the text, that, pursuant to this section, an individual employee or agent may not be held individually liable for negligence.” It’s unlikely that the new law will be applied to professional service contracts entered into before the law takes affect because they do not contain this required waiver.
Bill Summary – SB 286
Design Professional Limitation of Liability Act
The following is the Bill Summary from the Florida Senate web site:
The bill permits a design professional employed by a business entity, or an agent of the entity, to be immune from tort liability for damages occurring within the course and scope of the performance of a professional services contract if:
The contract is made between the business entity and a claimant or another entity for the provision of services to the claimant;
The contract does not name an individual employee or agent as a party to the contract;
The contract prominently states that an individual employee or agent may not be held individually liable for negligence;
The business entity maintains any professional liability insurance required under the contract; and
Any damages are solely economic in nature and do not extend to persons or property not subject to the contract.