Construction Law Blog

Blog Disclaimer: The content provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The information provided is intended for general information which may or may not reflect the most current developments. Read More

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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.

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.