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AMI 1204 Architect, Engineer—Standard of Care

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil AMI 1204
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2021 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 12. Construction
AMI 1204 Architect, Engineer—Standard of Care
An [architect][engineer] must possess and apply with reasonable care the degree of skill and learning ordinarily possessed and used by members of [his][her] profession in good standing, doing work similar to that shown by the evidence in this case. A failure to meet this standard is negligence.
[In determining the degree of skill and learning the law required of (defendant) (and) (in deciding whether (defendant) used the degree of skill and learning the law required of [him][her]), you may consider only the evidence presented by the (architects) (engineers) called as expert witnesses (and) (evidence of professional standards presented in the trial). In considering the evidence on any other issue in this case, you are not required to set aside your common knowledge, but you have a right to consider all the evidence in light of your own observations and experiences in the affairs of life.]
NOTE ON USE
The bracketed paragraph must be given unless the court determines that expert testimony is not necessary because the case falls within the common knowledge exception. If it is used, do not use AMI 104. Also use AMI 107 if the bracketed paragraph is given or if expert testimony is presented.
Do not use this instruction when the cause of action is based on breach of contract, but only when it is based on negligence.
COMMENT
The locality rule which applies to malpractice claims against medical care providers does not apply to malpractice claims against architects or engineers. Hill Const. Co. v. Bragg, 291 Ark. 382, 725 S.W.2d 538 (1987); Carroll-Boone Water Dist. v. M. & P. Equip. Co., 280 Ark. 560, 661 S.W.2d 345 (1983).
While no Arkansas case has specifically required that an instruction in a negligence case against an architect or engineer embody the professional standard of care set forth in this instruction, no criticism of such an instruction was mentioned in Hill Const. Co., supra, or Carroll-Boone Water Dist., supra, other than the criticism of the locality rule. This instruction is in line with the overwhelming weight of authority in other jurisdictions, as set forth in 3 A.L.R.4th 1023, “Necessity of expert testimony to show malpractice of architect,” and Stein, Construction Law, Vol. 2, § 5A.04[2], pp. 65-66.
In Clark v. Transcontinental Ins. Co., 359 Ark. 340, 197 S.W.3d 449 (2004), the Court held that a question of fact for the jury was presented when the plaintiff submitted an affidavit of an architect in opposition to a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant architect, which affidavit stated that the defendant architect failed to apply the knowledge and skill ordinarily used by a reasonably well-qualified architect. The Clark Court quoted 5 Am. Jur. 2d, Architects § 10 (1995), which provides:
In contracting for the provision of architectural services, an architect implies that he or she possesses and will exercise and apply skill, ability, judgment, and taste reasonably and without neglect. . . . The skill and diligence which the architect is bound to exercise are that ordinarily required of architects, and the efficiency of an architect in the preparation of plans and specifications is tested by the rule of ordinary and reasonable skill usually exercised by one in that profession.
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