Slower than the Storm

In a poll released today by Monmouth University, only 10% of the residents surveyed indicated that they had fully recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed are dissatisfied by the progress made to date. Perhaps the Governor should change his campaign slogan to “Stronger than the Storm – Slower than Molasses.”

There are many factors involved in the recovery. One of them is building inspections and related activities that are performed by licensed architects and engineers. According to Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, there were hundreds of these professionals who were willing to do this work on a pro bono basis, but felt they were unable to because of the potential for liability lawsuits.

To that end, Greenwald will introduce, in the lame duck session, a bill to shield these professionals from certain lawsuits, although not in certain cases involving negligence and acts of omission.

Flanked by Jack Purvis, President of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (to Greenwald’s left in the video), and Robert Thiel, President of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers, Greenwald described the need for the bill at a press conference today in Trenton.

What do you think, Blue Jersey? Is this bill a good idea? Will it speed up recovery in a future natural or man-made disaster? Have you had personal experience with Sandy recovery? Are we too much of a litigious society or do we still need to maintain the same level of consumer protection?

Comment (1)

  1. carolh

    As a licensed engineer, I carry liability insurance already, so I am covered. This bill seems very specific – almost as if the engineers and architects will be covered for a specific time as  if they were government temporary employees – although unpaid.

    I am concerned that incompetence may harm some folks.  There should be some recourse if a professional makes a mistake – some way to make sure the State Board is aware of it and if that professional, no matter how good-hearted, is incompetent, they are censured somehow.  Witness the disaster on the Boardwalk because the building should not have had its electric turned on yet. It doesn’t matter if you get paid or not, if you are a licensed professional, you should always be held to a high standard and be responsible for what you do.

    It worries me whenever folks are allowed to be absolved of responsibility – especially when public health and safety is involved.  It is asking for trouble.


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