Langlois Lawyers has a $15 million professional liability claim dismissed

February 13th, 2023

Langlois Lawyers has successfully represented the interests of the engineering firm CIMA Québec S.E.N.C. (“CIMA”) in an action seeking $15,400,000 of damages following a 2012 explosion at a plant belonging to Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (“BRP”).

After having indemnified BRP, its insurers brought a subrogatory action against CIMA, who provided services in the field of oil equipment. The insurers allege that CIMA was at fault in its 1997 design of a gasoline dispensing system at BRP’s research centre. This action was also filed against Garda Security Group Inc. (“Garda”), who was responsible for ensuring the safety of the building at the time of the explosion.

The main issue in the action against CIMA was the qualification of the workshop, where the gasoline dispensing system was located, as a “hazardous location” within the meaning of the regulations in force at the time of the design, as well as the consequences of BRP’s subsequent modifications to this dispensing system. The Superior Court rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that the workshop was a “hazardous location” and concluded, moreover, that they could not seek CIMA’s professional liability on the basis of an alleged design defect in its plans, considering that they had been significantly altered by BRP. In this regard, the Court recalled that an engineer is only responsible for the project he designs, not for a modified and weakened version of his initial design.

In sum, the Court concluded that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated any fault on the part of CIMA and that, furthermore, the allegations made were met with sound and complex arguments regarding the lack of causality. In addition, the Superior Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence of damages. Consequently, the court rejected the $15M dollar action brought against CIMA. The lawsuit against Garda was also dismissed. 

The Langlois team representing CIMA was composed of Richard Provost, Jean-François Landry, Alexandra Dorval and Susy Borges.

Access the complete decision here – available in French only

T +1 438 844-7800
M +1 514 951 0553