ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Construction Contracts that Kill

Property development is often considered a way for local communities to earn more taxes and evolve with times in general.  But when construction and other development is approved in geologically risk areas such as flood zones and things go awfully wrong, is this a mere property and contracts issue, or may criminal liability lie?

In France, the answer is the latter.  The former mayor of the small French seaside town La Faute-sur-Mer  was just sentenced to jail for four years for deliberately hiding flood risks so that he and the town could benefit from the “cash cow” of property development, a French court has held.  His deputy mayor received a two-year sentence in the same plot.

In 2010, the cyclone Xynthia hit western Europe and knocked down seawalls in the French town, leading to severe floods and 29 deaths. 

Wait… a cyclone in France?  Yes.  Climate change is real and it’s here.  Unless we do something about it (which apparently we don’t), things will only get worse.  As on-the-ground steps that could prevent extreme results such as the above are often simply ignored or postponed while more and more research is done and money saved at various government scales, lawsuits will necessarily follow.  The legal disciplines, including contracts law, will have to conform to the new realities of a rapidly changing climate.  For starters, we need to seriously question the wisdom and continued desirability of constructing more and more homes in coastal and other flood prone areas.  Ignoring known risks is, well, criminal.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/contractsprof_blog/2015/02/construction-contracts-that-kill.html

Commentary, Current Affairs, Government Contracting, Labor Contracts, Science | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bfae553ef01b8d0d4727b970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Construction Contracts that Kill:

Comments

Post a comment

If you do not complete your comment within 15 minutes, it will be lost. For longer comments, you may want to draft them in Word or another program and then copy them into this comment box.