What is the Economic Loss Doctrine in Missouri

Oct 30 2023      On Behalf of  David M. Duree & Associates, P.C.      Economic Loss Doctrine

The Economic Loss Doctrine, a pivotal legal concept in Missouri, holds significant implications for construction cases. Understanding this doctrine is paramount for anyone navigating the intricacies of construction law, especially in disputes concerning financial damages.

Recovery Theories

Construction law is a multifaceted area that offers various recovery theories for aggrieved parties. One of these theories, the economic loss doctrine, stands out as a notable barrier to recovery in many construction cases. At its core, this doctrine does not allow a tort action when the losses are purely economic. This distinction is crucial, as it can often determine the viability and potential success of a claim.

Purely Economic Loss

In the realm of construction, purely economic loss claims often revolve around financial damages that aren’t tied to physical injuries or property damage. The economic loss doctrine plays a pivotal role in these claims, often barring recovery when damages don’t result from a breach of contract. For instance, if a contractor’s delay causes a project owner to lose rental income, this would be considered a purely economic loss. Such claims are frequently contested in Missouri courts, and the doctrine can serve as a deciding factor in many rulings.

Breach of Contract

Breach of contract claims in construction are straightforward in concept but can become complex in execution. These claims arise when one party fails to fulfill their contractual obligations, leading to financial losses for the other party. The economic loss doctrine’s influence here is nuanced; while it may bar tort claims for purely economic damages, it doesn’t necessarily preclude recovery under a breach of contract theory. Numerous Missouri cases highlight this interplay, underscoring the doctrine’s importance in shaping legal outcomes.

Professional Services

Professional services in construction—ranging from architectural design to engineering consultancy—are not immune to the reach of the economic loss doctrine. Professionals may find themselves liable for economic losses caused by their negligence or errors. However, the doctrine might restrict such claims to the contractual realm, preventing aggrieved parties from pursuing tort-based remedies. Several Missouri cases delve into this area, exploring the boundaries of liability for professionals in the construction industry.

Insurance Coverage

The ramifications of the economic loss doctrine extend even to the domain of insurance. Construction cases often involve claims against insurance policies, especially when economic losses are at stake. However, the doctrine can influence the scope and validity of such claims. Insurance policies might explicitly address or exclude coverage for purely economic losses, and understanding this interrelation becomes crucial for claimants. A myriad of Missouri cases offer insights into how insurance coverage intertwines with the economic loss doctrine, shaping the landscape of recoverable damages.

Contact a St. Louis Construction Accident Lawyer Today

Navigating the maze of the Economic Loss Doctrine in Missouri construction cases can be daunting. Whether you’re grappling with purely economic loss claims, breach of contract issues, or concerns related to professional services and insurance coverage, expert guidance is indispensable. With over 40 years of experience, David M. Duree & Associates, P.C., stands ready to assist you. Reach out to tap into decades of legal expertise and ensure your interests are robustly represented.

To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (618) 628-0186 or contact us online.