Construction Law Blog

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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.

Suit Against Limited Liability Company Held to Be Time Barred When Brought More Than Three Years After Dissolution: Certificate of Dissolution Requirement Not Retroactive

Date: June 12, 2014  /  Author: Paul R. Cressman Jr.  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation, Claims  /  Comments (0)

On March 13, 2014, Division III of the Washington Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's refusal to dismiss of a suit by homeowners against a developer as untimely when it was brought more than three years after the developer dissolved its limited liability company.

Unlicensed Subcontractor Not Precluded From Recovering Against Miller Act Bond

Date: June 10, 2014  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Comments (0)

On April 29, 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a California law limiting the right of an unlicensed contractor to maintain an action for collection of unpaid services did not apply in an action to recover against a Miller Act Bond.

Lawyer is Duped: Arranges Client Loans to Secure Nigerian Inheritance

Date: June 5, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Rants and Raves, Out of the Ordinary  /  Comments (0)

These posts are filled with stories of unwary contractors and engineers getting trapped by contract pitfalls.  In the interest of equal opportunity for all, we thought our readers might enjoy a story of a lawyer in Iowa who got hoodwinked out of significant amounts of money and suspended by his bar association to boot.

Top 10 Construction Industry Contract Provisions - Liquidated Damages

Date: June 3, 2014  /  Author: James R. Lynch  /  Categories: Contracting, Delay Claims, Damages  /  Comments (0)

This is the third post in our "Top 10 Construction Contract Provisions" series.  Read our prior blog articles about Scope of Work and Indemnity clauses.  Both a sword and a shield, a well-crafted liquidated damages clause can significantly simplify one of the most common sources of construction disputes-delay-and, in some cases, even keep disputes from boiling over into litigation or arbitration.

Federal Contractor Has No Claim Against the Government When State Agency Disrupts Construction

Date: May 29, 2014  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Claims, Delay Claims, Construction News and Notes, Contracting, Construction Bidding, Government Contracts  /  Comments (0)

Contractors often mistakenly believe that events and conditions beyond their control on a construction project are compensable.  Construction contracts are risk-shifting documents.  The terms and conditions of the contract control which party bears the risk for such things as differing site conditions, weather, and interference by outside third parties.  In most contracts, weather delays are not compensable; however, differing site conditions are generally compensable in most public and many private contracts.  When an outside state agency interferes and disrupts the construction project, the entity that bears the risk for that event is controlled by the terms of the contract.

The Emergence of Lean Construction and its Legal Consequences

Date: May 22, 2014  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Rants and Raves, Construction News and Notes, Contracting, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)  /  Comments (0)

Lean Construction is a way to design production systems in order to generate the maximum possible value by minimizing waste of materials, time, and effort.  With Lean Construction, the focus is having work flow reliably and predictably on the construction site.  This is possible only through the collaboration of all project participants during the early stages of the project.  With improved communication and collaboration, the likelihood of claims for delay or changed conditions is lessened.

Seattle Tunnel Partners' Plan to Fix Bertha

Date: May 20, 2014  /  Author: James R. Lynch  /  Categories: Rants and Raves, Construction News and Notes, Government Contracts, Out of the Ordinary  /  Comments (0)

The Ahlers & Cressman blog has been following with great interest the SR 99 viaduct replacement project and the saga of Bertha the Tunnel Boring Machine – whose online profile lists "Sunlight" among her "Dislikes" (more accurately, it is her only listed dislike). Recent articles include Bertha and Brenda: Two Sisters with Different Attributes and Big Bertha Stuck- Differing Site Condition Principles Revisited.

Another Reason for General Contractors to Think About Professional Liability Insurance

Date: May 15, 2014  /  Author: Masaki Yamada  /  Categories: Claims, Department of Labor & Industries, Construction News and Notes, Contracting, Notice Issues  /  Comments (0)

Many contractors now carry professional liability insurance in addition to their commercial general liability insurance because of the prevalence of alternative procurement delivery methods, such as general contractor/construction manager and design-build contracts.  In the wake of the recent Washington Supreme Court decision in W.G Clark Constr. Co. v. Pac. Nw. Reg'l Council of Carpenters, ___ P.3d ___ (Docket No. 88080-8) (2014), a decision by the United States District Court of Western Washington may give general contractors who do not already carry professional liability insurance another reason to think about procuring such insurance.  Read more about the W.G. Clark Constr. Co. decision here.