HB554 was introduced March 15.  It would enact section 153.81 of the Revised Code to provide limitations of indemnification on public contracts with professional design firms.  An architect or engineer only would have to indemnify the public agency “for the proportionate share of the tortious conduct.”  Historically, design professionals face exposure of unlimited indemnification for design claims, which require defense even if found ultimately not liable. In addition, insurance is available only for the limited design work, when claims often go beyond.

Complicating the issue, once a design professional retires, the “claims-made” insurance is not available, exposing the retiree to unlimited, uninsured liability.

The legislation is assigned to the House Civil Justice Committee and is pending its first sponsor hearing.