Shamrock Construction Co., Inc. was the general contractor for a Hibernia Bank in New Orleans. The architect was Sizeler Architects and the landscape architect was Daly-Sublette Landscape Design & Development, Inc. Shamrock subcontracted the landscaping work to Paradise Gardens Landscaping, Inc. The plans and specifications required sprinkler heads were to be installed at least four inches from the sidewalk pavement. A few years after completion of the work, Mrs. Lingoni was injured when she tripped over a pop-up sprinkler head. She sued Hibernia, Sizeler, Daly-Sablette, Shamrock and Paradise Gardens. Shamrock and Paradise Gardens, along with Sizeler and Daly-Sublette, moved for summary judgment. The district court granted the motions. Mrs. Lingoni appealed.
The primary focus of the motion of Shamrock and Paradise Gardens was L.R.S. 9:2771. The statute provides that a contractor shall not be liable for destruction or deterioration of or defects in any work constructed, or under construction, by him if he constructed, or is constructing, the work according to plans and specifications furnished to him which he did not make or cause to be made, and if the destruction, deterioration or defect was due to any fault or insufficiency of the plans or specifications. Mrs. Lingoni contended her liability expert established the sprinkler head was actually positioned less than one inch from the paved walkway, and was not positioned correctly. The affidavits and deposition testimony provided by Shamrock and Paradise Gardens established the sprinkler heads, when installed, were placed according to the plans. They contended Mrs. Lingoni did not offer any evidence to refute that which established they complied with the plans and specifications. The court of appeal found the evidence submitted by Shamrock and Paradise Gardens was credible and well documented, and Mrs. Lingoni failed to produce factual support sufficient to establish she would be able to satisfy her evidentiary burden at trial. The countervailing affidavit of her expert did not create a genuine issue of fact for trial. The judgment in favor of Shamrock and Paradise Gardens was affirmed.
As to the motion of the architects, Sizeler and Daly-Sublette, the court of appeal found there was no evidence presented indicating there was any design standard that should have been followed, and a layperson could not infer, applying a common sense standard, the design was faulty. Mrs. Lingoni’s liability expert was not an architect, and offered no testimony on the standard of care which was owed by the architects. Additionally, her liability expert testified the sprinkler head apparently malfunctioned since it was in the up position when she tripped. There was nothing in the record to indicate the cause of the accident was related to design negligence or the architects breached any duty to Mrs. Lingoni. Judgment in favor of the architects was affirmed. Lingoni v. Hibernia National Bank, 2009-0737 (La. App. 4 Cir. 3/3/10), 33 So.3d 372, writ denied, 2010-0714 (La. 5/28/10), 36 So.3d 255.