Donovan Hatem LLP Earns Victorious Ruling for Client Accused of Intentional Interference of Home Renovation

Donovan Hatem LLP is pleased to announce a decision in favor or our client, (Architect), affirming a grant of summary judgment by the Norfolk Superior Court.

Our client was engaged by the (co-defendant) homeowners in connection with a multi-million dollar renovation of a home residence. The (Homeowner)’s engaged a general contractor to perform the renovation. The (Homeowner) specifically requested the architect to review the GC’s bills; he concluded, on every occasion, that they were being overbilled. Eventually, the (Homeowner) terminated the GC. The GC then brought suit against the homeowners for breach of contract, and also asserted claims against the architect for intentional interference with contractual relations, and for the violation of MGL ch. 93A.

Jon C. Cowen of Donovan Hatem argued on summary judgment that the claim should be dismissed because there was no evidence of an “improper motive or means,” a required element on a claim for intentional interference with contract. The trial court, and the Appeals Court agreed. An excerpt of the ruling is below:

“(Architect) was specifically hired by the (Homeowner) to review (Contractor)’s spreadsheets and to provide his advice. While (Architect) was critical of (Contractor)’s billing practices in e-mails to the (Homeowner), the record does not support an inference that (Architect) communicated his concerns to the (Homeowner) for a reason other than to fulfill his professional obligation consistent with the (Homeowner)’s wishes.” (p. 13)

The Appeals Court gave careful consideration to both the facts and legal precedent in reaching its decision.

We’re pleased with the result as this case will be a helpful precedent in defending similar claims against design professionals.

This decision was also covered in Mass Lawyers Weekly: