Berschauer-Phillips Construction Co. v. Seattle School District No. 1
In Berschauer-Phillips Construction Co. v. Seattle School District No. 1, 124 Wn.2d 816, 881 P.2d 986 (1994), the Supreme Court of Washington held that the economic loss rule does not allow a general contractor to recover purely economic damages from a design professional in tort.
The Court explained:
"We so hold to ensure that the allocation of risk and the determination of potential future liability is based on what the parties bargained for in the contract. We hold parties to their contracts. If tort and contract remedies were allowed to overlap, certainty and predictability in allocating risk would decrease and impede future business activity. The construction industry in particular would suffer, for it is in this industry that we see most clearly the importance of the precise allocation of risk as secured by contract. The fees charged by architects, engineers, contractors, developers, vendors, and so on are founded on their expected liability exposure as bargained and provided for in the contract." (124 Wn.2d at 826-27, 881 P.2d at 992.)