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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Minnesota Bridge Collapse Victims Sue Consultant and Contractor for Breach of Contract

Minneapoliscityseal1_2A bridge collapse sounds like an foray into tort law. And the attorneys for victims of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis are suing two private companies (a consultant who anlyzed the bridge and the contractor) for negligence. But they are apparently also suing for breach of contract. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

The victims' attorneys say the companies' contracts with the Minnesota Department of Transportation required them to protect the public, and those hurt by the collapse have standing to sue over the breach of that protection.

Sounds like an intended third party beneficiary analysis. Actually, while not squarely analogous, it sounds like Illustration 10 to Restatement Second section 302:

10. A, the operator of a chicken processing and fertilizer plant, contracts with B, a municipality, to use B's sewage system. With the purpose of preventing harm to landowners downstream from its system, B obtains from A a promise to remove specified types of waste from its deposits into the system. C, a downstream landowner, is an intended beneficiary under Subsection (1)(b).

See, in contract law, it all comes back to the chickens.

[Meredith R. Miller]

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