On some projects, conflicts arise between an owner and its various design professionals, including its architect. Should an owner opt to terminate its architect, the parties' rights will be dictated by their agreement. Therefore, an owner should be mindful of the following when negotiating such an agreement.
In recent years there has been a trend in the U.S. Courts that despite common law and/or contractual indemnities, a developer/owner of property cannot seek indemnification and/or contribution from its architect if the building, as designed and built, is not compliant with the ADA or the FHA. This is a troubling development as owners rely on their professionals to design a building that is compliant with law. To suddenly tell an owner, that even despite a contractual indemnity from its architect, the owner will remain liable without recourse against others for such violations, is causing much debate and concern.
Move over LLC, LLP and P.C., come January 1, 2012, you might start to see some new initials following the names of design professional firms in New York State.