Aug 17, 2015
Is an expert’s report necessary before one can sue a professional engineer for malpractice?
Generally, Texas law does require that a person claiming malpractice against a professional engineer must also file an “expert report.” The Texas Legislature passed the following statute that gives professional engineer’s this added “defense”:
Sec. 150.002. Certificate of Merit.
(a) In any action or arbitration proceeding for damages arising out of the provision of professional services by a licensed or registered professional, the plaintiff shall be required to file with the complaint an affidavit of a third-party licensed architect, licensed professional engineer, registered landscape architect, or registered professional land surveyor who:
(1) is competent to testify;
(2) holds the same professional license or registration as the defendant; and
(3) is knowledgeable in the area of practice of the defendant and offers testimony based on the person's:
(E) training; and
(b) The affidavit shall set forth specifically for each theory of recovery for which damages are sought, the negligence, if any, or other action, error, or omission of the licensed or registered professional in providing the professional service, including any error or omission in providing advice, judgment, opinion, or a similar professional skill claimed to exist and the factual basis for each such claim. The third-party licensed architect, licensed professional engineer, registered landscape architect, or registered professional land surveyor shall be licensed or registered in this state and actively engaged in the practice of architecture, engineering, or surveying.
(c) The contemporaneous filing requirement of Subsection (a) shall not apply to any case in which the period of limitation will expire within 10 days of the date of filing and, because of such time constraints, the plaintiff has alleged that an affidavit of a third-party licensed architect, licensed professional engineer, registered landscape architect, or registered professional land surveyor could not be prepared. In such cases, the plaintiff shall have 30 days after the filing of the complaint to supplement the pleadings with the affidavit. The trial court may, on motion, after hearing and for good cause, extend such time as it shall determine justice requires.
(d) The defendant shall not be required to file an answer to the complaint and affidavit until 30 days after the filing of such affidavit.
(e) The plaintiff's failure to file the affidavit in accordance with this section shall result in dismissal of the complaint against the defendant. This dismissal may be with prejudice.
(f) An order granting or denying a motion for dismissal is immediately appealable as an interlocutory order.
(g) This statute shall not be construed to extend any applicable period of limitation or repose.
(h) This statute does not apply to any suit or action for the payment of fees arising out of the provision of professional services.
Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 150.002.