Condominium Developers Suit Against Engineers for Equitable Indemnity

In Woodward-Gizienski & Associates v. Geotechnical Exploration, Inc. (1989) 208 Cal. App. 3d 64 [255 Cal. Rptr. 800], the developers of a condominium project settled claims asserted against them by a group of homeowners, then sued the homeowners' soils engineers for equitable indemnity. Division One of the Fourth District affirmed a judgment dismissing the action, explaining: "Equitable indemnification, allowing liability to be apportioned between wrongdoers based on their relative culpability, is premised on fairness. . . . the concern of the doctrine is to avoid the obvious unfairness which results when two negligent persons cause a loss, and one is required to bear the entire burden of the loss while the other is allowed to go 'scot free.' . . . the doctrine is not automatically available, however, for all tortfeasors who injure the same plaintiff; the courts evaluate the circumstances of the case to determine if its application is appropriate." (Id. at p. 67, citations omitted.)