Case Davis v. Baugh Contractors

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CaseDavis v. Baugh Contractors

CaseDavis v. Baugh Contractors

Majorreasons for the decision

Thereare three major reasons for the court’s decision. First, thedoctrine of completion and acceptance was based on privity rule thathad been long abandoned. Privity rule held that a contractor was onlyliable to the purchaser (Andersson,2007). Consequently,the court ruled that the doctrine was outmoded. Secondly, thedoctrine of completion and acceptance was consistent with the notionof intervening cause, which had been invalidated. The interveningcause concept held that owners’ failure to correct a dangerouscondition could be considered an intervening cause to cut off thebuilder’s liability (Andersson,2007). Third,the judges asserted that the increase in complexity of constructionrenders owners incapable of detecting substandard performance(Meiners,2011).

Effectof the new rule of liability

Thenew rule given by the Washington High Court shifted the liability ofa negligent work from the land owners to the independent contractors,even after the owner inspects and accepts the work. This implies thatindependent contractors will remain liable for any damages thatresult from their negligence after submitting the project to theowner. In addition, the new ruling suggests that the contractorshould be held liable to a third party even if the contract was doneaccording to the owner’s specifications and plan (Vance,2008).


Althoughit is the role of the legislature to make laws, waiting for thelawmakers to change the doctrine of completion and acceptance wouldface two challenges. First, the legislative process would take longerto pass a bill that amends the concept, which means that the pendingcase and similar cases that would be taken before the court wouldstill be based on the outmoded law. Secondly, the lack of politicaldecisiveness among the lawmakers might make them fail to prioritizethe need to change the outmoded concept (Narits,2004).


Andersson,R. (2007). The Washington Supreme Court abandons the completion andacceptance doctrine. ConstructionLaw,36 (1), 1-2.

Meiners,E. (2011). Thelegal environment of business.Stanford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Narits,R. (2004). Good law making practice and legislative draftingconforming to it in the republic of Estonia. JuridicaInternational,9, 4-13.

Vance,K. (2008). Washingtonmold litigation.Spokane, WA: Kelley Vance Law Firm.