Why the Need for a Certificate of Merit in Texas?

Professionals such as engineers, architects, and even land surveyors, require highly-specialized knowledge, skills, and methods to ply their trade.

So it’s entirely possible that laymen may not fully understand the duties and standard-of-care owed by a professional to his clients.

Therefore, the Texas courts require that a fellow professional evaluate the evidence that supports a finding a negligence against a fellow professional.

While this is burden for the plaintiff – it helps eliminate frivolous lawsuits – and likely lowers the cost of our services to the Public by reducing the chance of a negligence lawsuit against the engineer, architect, and even land surveyor.

What Are the Requirements for a Third-Party Licensed Professional?

Not just anyone can write an affidavit / certificate of merit against a professional. This is especially true since Title 6 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code was re-written a few years ago. Specifically, the third-party affiant must meet three criteria:

  1. The affiant is competent to testify.
  2. The affiant holds the same professional license or registration as the defendant, here as a Texas Registered Professional Land Surveyor.
  3. The affiant practices in the area of practice of the defendant and offers testimony based on the person’s knowledge, skill, experience, education, training, and practice.
The affidavit is often overlooked by the plaintiff during their search for a Registered Professional Land Surveyor. The RPLS“…shall be….actively engaged in the practice of architecture, engineering, or surveying.” What exactly does it mean exactly? It means, that only professional surveyors with field experience need to apply. 

What Makes a Great Certificate of Merit?

  • It’s Objective: The Standard of Care is Set by Case Law, Statutes, and Texts
  • It’s Fair: Once the Standard is Set, Did the Defendant Meet or Fall Below It? 
  • It’s Written in Plain English: Sometimes professional surveying terms are required, but this report is clear, concise, and not written to prove the vocabulary of the writer. 
  • It’s Written by Someone That Does the Same Work Everyday

Civil Practices and Remedies Code

Where can I get more information on Texas Statutes and Regulations?

Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors