Standard of Care

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estefanchanning

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Standard of Care

Postby estefanchanning » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:35 am

Consider: Tom hires Bob, a handyman, to build his house. Bob builds the house. The house has defects. Tom sues.

Do we hold Bob to a special duty of care? i.e., a professional builder's duty of care? Or, do we apply the normal standard duty of care?

I'm pretty sure the answer is, we hold him to the normal duty of care. But I can't find any case law that addresses this topic.

(In a more abstract way, I'm asking: Do we hold a non-expert to an expert standard for performing the expert task? Assume no fraud, illegality, bad faith etc)

sparty99

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Re: Standard of Care

Postby sparty99 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:47 am

estefanchanning wrote:Consider: Tom hires Bob, a handyman, to build his house. Bob builds the house. The house has defects. Tom sues.

Do we hold Bob to a special duty of care? i.e., a professional builder's duty of care? Or, do we apply the normal standard duty of care?

I'm pretty sure the answer is, we hold him to the normal duty of care. But I can't find any case law that addresses this topic.

(In a more abstract way, I'm asking: Do we hold a non-expert to an expert standard for performing the expert task? Assume no fraud, illegality, bad faith etc)


It's simply negligence. There should be plenty of cases on this topic. Call west law and pick a state and ask to do a resarch on the standard of care in construction defect cases or maybe look at the restatement of torts 414 which is a related issue to see if you can find cases that address this issue.

gregfootball2001

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Re: Standard of Care

Postby gregfootball2001 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:17 pm

sparty99 wrote:
estefanchanning wrote:Consider: Tom hires Bob, a handyman, to build his house. Bob builds the house. The house has defects. Tom sues.

Do we hold Bob to a special duty of care? i.e., a professional builder's duty of care? Or, do we apply the normal standard duty of care?

I'm pretty sure the answer is, we hold him to the normal duty of care. But I can't find any case law that addresses this topic.

(In a more abstract way, I'm asking: Do we hold a non-expert to an expert standard for performing the expert task? Assume no fraud, illegality, bad faith etc)


It's simply negligence. There should be plenty of cases on this topic. Call west law and pick a state and ask to do a resarch on the standard of care in construction defect cases or maybe look at the restatement of torts 414 which is a related issue to see if you can find cases that address this issue.

I'd say that like most things in law, it depends. It would depend not only on Bob's qualifications (can he be considered an expert in any field, or here, multiple fields if he did the electrical, the plumbing, the roofing, etc.), but on the defect itself. If he's a licensed plumber, and his work was out of code, or worse dangerous, I could see a professional negligence claim because he didn't perform to the standard of a reasonable plumber.

It also depends on the claim itself. If the defect is that pipes are literally sticking out of walls, or when the hot water is turned on the toilet flushes, that could be ordinary negligence - no reasonable person would build it that way. If the issue is that the p-trap is 3 inches too close to the washer, which creates issues with possible flooding (and as a result the room was flooded), that could be a professional negligence issue, and we'd need an expert to say why it's wrong.



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