MATHERLY LAND SURVEYING, INC. V. GARDINER PARK DEVELOPMENT
TORTS: LEGAL NEGLIGENCE; INDEMNITY
CIVIL PROCEDURE: STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
OPINION OF THE COURT BY SCOTT
DATE RENDERED: 08/23/2007
SYNOPSIS: Engineering and Land Surveying (as a part of the engineering services) are professional services under KRS 413.245 and although damages were not EXACT they did not toll the statute of limitations.
Gardiner hired Matherly to design sewers and roads for a subdivision. Gardiner alleged that Matherly’s work was incorrect and hired other companies to finish the subdivision project. Gardiner also alleged that their attorneys committed malpractice by allowing the statute of limitations to run. The trial court granted the Matherly’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that Gardiner’s claims were barred by KRS 403.245, Kentucky’s one-year professional services statute of limitations. The Trial court reasoned that Matherly performed engineering services that were supervised by a professional–the engineer. The Court of Appeals reversed on the grounds that Matherly also performed land surveying, which it opined was NOT a professional service and under KRS 413.245. Kentucky Supreme Court disagreed and held that Matherly held itself out as a professional engineering firm and had a professional engineer overseeing work on the ENTIRE project–even the land surveying. In addition, Gardiner believed Matherly was going to perform engineering services. The Supreme Court held that both the engineering and land surveying by Matherly were "professional" and subject to KRS 413.245. The court also held that Gardiner’s action was time barred and even if the exact damages may not have been known. Lastly the court rules that KRS 413.120 does not apply because this action is not an indemnity action.
Digested by Paul O’Bryan
O’Bryan & Denbow