Construction Law Blog

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Limitation of Liability, or Who's Left Holding the Bag

Date: July 22, 2014  /  Author: Blake Koerner  /  Categories: Contracting, Damages  /  Comments (0)

The Limitation of Liability Clause is an increasingly important aspect of contracts involving design professionals. The Clause provides a cap on damages in the event of a breach. On its face the Limitation of Liability Clause seems to be one-sided and out of place in an agreement between responsible professionals. However, it appears with significant regularity and understanding its effect is essential for the project owner.

Public Agencies May Soon Be Required to Accept Retainage Bonds

Date: July 17, 2014  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Comments (0)

Most public works construction projects in Washington require public agencies to withhold a certain percentage of each progress payment as retainage until the completion of the project.  In Washington, retainage of 5% is established as a trust fund for the protection of potential claimants, including subcontractors, suppliers, and laborers.  Once a retainage bond is submitted in lieu of the public agency withholding retainage, any retainage previously withheld is released, and any future payments are for the full amount.

Ways to Make the Construction Dispute Resolution Process More Efficient and Less Expensive - Part II

Date: July 10, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves, Claims  /  Comments (0)

This post is Part II of our discussion on resolving construction disputes less expensively and more efficiently. Read Part I here. Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution that is particularly well suited to construction disputes.  Here are some tips on how lawyers and stakeholders can make things move quicker in arbitration:

Ways to Make the Construction Dispute Resolution Process More Efficient and Less Expensive – Part I

Date: July 8, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves, Claims  /  Comments (0)

This post is the first of two blogs about making the dispute resolution process more efficient in construction-related matters. In our view, construction is well suited to streamlining the resolution process, particularly when experienced lawyers and judges / arbitrators are involved.

Surety and General Contractor Awarded Attorneys’ Fees in Defense of Bond and Retainage Claim by Union Benefit Trust

Date: July 3, 2014  /  Author: Bruce A. Cohen  /  Categories: Claims, Damages, Liens/Bond Claims, Construction News and Notes, Government Contracts  /  Comments (0)

Washington’s bond and retainage statutes provide for an award of attorneys’ fees, but only to the claimant party if it prevails on its claims.  See RCW 39.08.030 and RCW 60.28.030. However, in a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the surety and general contractor found a way around the “one way” attorneys’ fee provisions in the bond and retainage statutes by successfully utilizing Washington’s public works offer of settlement statute (RCW 39.04.240) to obtain an award of attorneys’ fees against the claimant, a union benefit trust.

Top 10 Construction Industry Contract Provisions - Consequential Damages - Part II

Date: July 1, 2014  /  Author: James R. Lynch  /  Categories: Contracting, Construction News and Notes, Damages, Claims  /  Comments (0)

This is Part II of the fourth post in our "Top 10 Construction Contract Provisions" series.  Part II discuss the various categories of damages flowing from a breach of contract and conclude with examples of how parties can limit these damages to reflect their agreed allocation of risk.  Read Part I here.

Top 10 Construction Industry Contract Provisions – Consequential Damages – Part I

Date: June 26, 2014  /  Author: James R. Lynch  /  Categories: Contracting, Construction News and Notes, Damages, Claims  /  Comments (0)

This is Part I of the fourth post in our “Top 10 Construction Contract Provisions” series.  As a powerful mechanism to control contract risk, increase predictability, and reduce the cost and complexity of potential disputes, we frequently recommend that our clients’ contracts include a mutual waiver of consequential damages.  Part I explains the significance of such a clause and the risk a contractor assumes without it.

Householder Exemption Does Not Excuse Subcontractor Performing Unlicensed Electrical Work on a Residential Project Owned by General Contractor

Date: June 24, 2014  /  Author: Paul R. Cressman Jr.  /  Categories: Regulatory Administration, Construction News and Notes, Department of Labor & Industries  /  Comments (0)

On April 28, 2014, Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals held that the householder exception of RCW 19.28.261(6) does not permit a subcontractor to perform unlicensed electrical work on a residential project owned by a general contractor.

Montana Contractor Gets Misled by Engineers and Misses Notice Deadline

Date: June 19, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Comments (0)

This is the story of a highway contractor who likely had a valid claim, but who relied on verbal representations by the engineers and filed its claim too late.  As a result, the Court ended up denying the contractor's claim on grounds of untimely notice, which serves as a great reminder that failing to adhere to the contract's notice provisions - particularly when the contract contains a forfeiture clause - is oftentimes fatal to the contractor's successful prosecution of an equitable adjustment.

Nine Firm Members Recognized as Super Lawyers or Rising Stars

Date: June 17, 2014  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves  /  Comments (0)

Ahlers & Cressman PLLC attorneys have again been recognized as "Super Lawyers" and “Rising Stars” in Washington for 2014.