Construction Law Blog

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The Prompt Payment Act Obligation is Not Triggered When the Owner Holds Less Retention from the General Contractor

Date: October 20, 2016  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Government Contracts, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Contracting, Construction News and Notes, Memorable Quotes, Rants and Raves, Claims  /  Keywords: The Prompt Payment Act Obligation is Not Triggered When the Owner Holds Less Retention from the General Contractor 1  /  Comments (0)

Most states have laws known as “prompt payment” statutes which govern the timing of payments on public works projects from project owners to general contractors, and from general contractors to subcontractors.  The purpose of these statutes is to ensure that contractors and subcontractors who may have less leverage than the project owners and prime contractors, respectively, are paid for their work on a timely basis.

Oregon Court of Appeals Rules That Negligent Construction (Construction Defect) Claims Are Subject to a Two-Year Statute of Limitations

Date: October 13, 2016  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves, Construction Defect, Claims  /  Comments (0)

Statutes of limitations are distinct from statutes of repose.  There is a lot of confusion between the two.

Generally, a statute of limitations is a law which sets the maximum period of time which one can wait before filing a lawsuit, depending on the type of case or claim.  The periods vary by state and by type of claim.  Most states also employ a “discovery rule,” which provides that the statute of limitations does not “accrue” until such time as the plaintiff knew or should have reasonably known that the injury or property damage has occurred.

Defend Trade Secret Act of 2016–-Federalizing Trade Secret Law

Date: October 5, 2016  /  Author: Erin M. Stines and Reed Cahill  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves, Recent Legislation, Employment  /  Comments (0)

The Defend Trade Secret Act of 2016 (DTSA) was signed into law on May 11, 2016, and became effective immediately. The DTSA allows an owner of a trade secret to sue in federal court for trade secret misappropriation. Previously, only state law governed civil misappropriation of trade secrets. While the DTSA largely mirrors the current state of the law under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), adopted by 48 states, including Washington, there are some additions found in the new law.

Waiving Workers’ Compensation Immunity for Indemnity: Demystifying a Common and Scary-Looking Contract Term

Date: September 28, 2016  /  Author: James R. Lynch  /  Categories: Contracting, Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves, Indemnity, Claims, Employment  /  Keywords: Waiving Workers’ Compensation Immunity for Indemnity: Demystifying a Common and Scary-Looking Contract Term 2  /  Comments (0)

Parties to a construction contract are often skeptical of terms in bold fonts, capital letters, or underlining, and especially terms requiring separate signatures or initials.  A natural assumption is that such terms must be harmful if they require such emphasis.  This concern is further heightened when the term involves complex areas of law, or waivers of rights that the party may not fully understand.  In such cases, a little knowledge can go a long way.

Commercial Drone Use – FAA Clarifies Rules

Date: September 21, 2016  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Construction Bidding, Regulatory Administration, Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves  /  Keywords: Commercial Drone Use – FAA Clarifies Rules 3  /  Comments (0)

Construction contractors increasingly use drones to monitor and document progress on construction sites.  Drones are becoming more and more common place in construction.  One of our clients, an excavation contractor, uses a drone to fly the project before the bid.  The contractor then uses the data gathered from the drone to create a topographic map, inputs the design elevations and plans in a computer, and calculates the quantities as a check of the owner takeoffs.  This is an inexpensive check on quantities, which provides the contractor with a leg up in the bidding process.

Ahlers & Cressman Announces New Partners

Date: September 14, 2016  /  Author: A&C Crew  /  Categories: MBE/DBE/WBE, Out of the Ordinary, Construction News and Notes, Memorable Quotes, Rants and Raves  /  Keywords: Ahlers & Cressman Announces New Partners 4  /  Comments (0)

Ahlers & Cressman has announced the promotion of Ellie Perka and James Lynch to partner of the firm.  Both attorneys have demonstrated excellence and dedication in helping the firm’s clients resolve complicated construction disputes, and the firm is pleased to announce their joining the firm as partners.

Breach of Implied Warranty Under Attack; Contractor Organizations Urge the Supreme Court Not to Change the Longstanding Law—Review Denied

Date: September 8, 2016  /  Author: John P. Ahlers and Ceslie A. Blass  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Construction Bidding, Contracting, Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves, Damages, Claims  /  Keywords: Breach of Implied Warranty Under Attack 5  /  Comments (0)

In June 2006, King County awarded VPFK (Vinci Construction Grands Projects, Parsons RCI, Frontier-Kemper) a Brightwater Project tunneling work contract.  The County specified which boring machine (the Slurry Tunnel Boring Machine “STBM” method) was to be utilized in performing the work.  During performance, VPFK’s progress was substantially slower than anticipated because the County-specified STBM method was not suitable for the work to be performed under the soil conditions.  The STBM ultimately failed, and VPFK’s performance was behind schedule.

Mandatory Attorneys’ Fee Award for Actions Brought Under the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act

Date: August 31, 2016  /  Author: Lindsay K. Taft  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves, Recent Legislation, Damages, Claims  /  Keywords: Mandatory Attorneys’ Fee Award for Actions Brought Under the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act 6  /  Comments (0)

In Washington, RCW 19.122 (the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act or “Call Before You Dig” statute) provides for the protection of underground utilities.  The statute was recently updated in 2013 and provides that homeowners and contractors must call “811” to schedule a “utility locate” prior to commencing any excavation.  Failure to do so can result in steep penalties, as well as a mandatory fee award for the prevailing party.

Practical Advice: Indemnification and Additional Insured Issues Revisited

Date: August 24, 2016  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Contracting, Construction News and Notes, Indemnity, Claims  /  Keywords: Practical Advice: Indemnification and Additional Insured Issues Revisited 7  /  Comments (0)

Lawyers love writing about indemnification.  There are seventeen blog articles on our website alone that deal with the subject.  Before you click out of this email in disgust that we are rehashing a stale topic, this post contains some practical advice for contractors and subcontractors dealing with the perplexing issues of indemnification and additional insured provisions.

Two Firm Members Among the “Best Lawyers in America”

Date: August 17, 2016  /  Author: A&C Crew  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes  /  Keywords: Two Firm Members Among the “Best Lawyers in America” 8  /  Comments (0)

We are excited to announce that John P. Ahlers has been selected as a “Lawyer of the Year” in Construction Law, and John P. Ahlers and Paul R. Cressman, Jr. have been selected as “Best Lawyers in America” in Construction Litigation by Best Lawyers for 2017.  Best Lawyers has recognized Mr. Ahlers and Mr. Cressman as “Best Lawyers in America” since 2007 and 2013, respectively.