Thursday, September 11, 2008

Turning the lawyers loose on enivronmentalism

The Journal Record, an Oklahoma City business news paper, currently has several articles online about the potential for litigation over the so-called "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" or LEED program.

According to one article, "Losing green on green projects: In a fertile ground for lawsuits, lawyers spot LEED project pitfalls":
As LEED projects proliferate, lawyers foresee an era of green-construction lawsuits.

“If you’re selling this thing to your senior management because it’s good for the environment, it’s good for the community, and it’s the right thing to do, then when you eventually get beyond the love affair, this thing better produce,” said Donald Murano, a plaintiffs lawyer in St. Louis who serves on a risk-management task force with the Green Building Initiative, a nonprofit organization in Portland, Ore. “Over the next five or 10 years, you’ll see an exponential growth in litigation.”

Lawyers expect more lawsuits as building owners realize a green stamp of approval translates into good public relations, higher rents and tax breaks. When contractors or design professionals fail to deliver, owners may seek payback.

Frank Musica is a risk-management lawyer with Victor O. Schinnerer & Co. Inc., the largest underwriter of professional liability insurance in the country. He said green-related claims are increasing against architects and engineers insured by his Chevy Chase, Md.-based company.

“When a developer has a problem with a project, he’s going to claim a number of things,” Musica said, “including, ‘You told me I’d get a certification, and I’m not getting it.’”
Also online:
Proof after plaques: Buildings may have to perform for LEED

Force of nature: Green building migrates toward mandatory as governments embrace LEED

Skeptics turn up heat on LEED ratings
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