Legal Question in Business Law in Virginia

25 year old walk in refrigeration unit at a county school. Electrical contractor did a electrical service upgrade and replaced a main panel. The phasing was wrong on the electricians work. They fiqured it out rather quickly and corrected. However during this time of operation the compressor in the walk in refrigeration unit was running backwards (due to phase reversal) and overheated to the point of blowing of the refrigerant charge via a safety relief device and mechancially seizing the compressor motor. Does the electrical contractor have the responsibility to provide and install new compressor and refrigerant charge. The estimate for this repair is likely $6000-$9000.00..

This machine is probablly not worth $2000.00 due to its age...How does this work....?

Asked on 11/08/19, 5:12 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jonathon Moseley Jonathon A. Moseley

Well it depends upon what your written contract says with the contractor, but basically yes.

The answer is yes for negligence or malpractice or breach of contract they would be responsible for the direct immediate consequences of their failure to do their job correctly.

The usual problem is that if there is any kind of contract -- including just language at the bottom of a form -- it often LIMITS their liability.

So the basic answer is yes.

But most contracts reduce that responsibility.

So you have to check with ANY and ALL documents you had with them, and not just the ones you remember off the top of your head.

Note: Virginia has a rule that a lawsuit is either contract or tort. So when I list negligence and malpractice, that would be in the absence of a contract. Virginia allows one or the other, not both in a lawsuit

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Answered on 11/08/19, 7:49 am

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