In Bart Reed’s recent column, “Why You Should Pay Attention to Indemnity Clauses in Construction Contracts,”published in the Daily Journal of Commerce, outlines the significance of recent changes to Washington State law that clarify the enforceability of broad exculpatory indemnity clauses in construction and motor carrier transportation contracts.

In Washington, RCW 4.24.115 renders broad exculpatory indemnity clauses in construction and “motor carrier transportation” contracts – wherein the indemnitee seeks to indemnify against liability resulting from its sole negligence – against public policy, void and unenforceable. As of June 7, the Washington Legislature has made the following changes to the statute to expand protection against these types of indemnity clauses:

·         Extending protection against “sole negligence” indemnity agreements to design professionals (specifically including architects, engineers, landscape architects and land surveyors).

·         Clarifying the term “indemnify” to include “the duty and cost to defend.” 

·         Expanding protection against these indemnity agreements to include construction, design or motor transport services.

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