Construction Law Blog

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Boeing's Infrastructure in Everett is Expanding

Date: April 7, 2015  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Construction Bidding, Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves  /  Comments (0)

Construction has started at Boeing’s $1 billion 777X Wing Plant in Everett after months of site preparation.  When the new wing building is complete in 2016, workers will start fabricating the central parts of the 777X’s new carbon composite wings.  The building will be the largest single structure under construction in Washington this year.  At its peak, construction will employ 1,200 people, and consume 31,000 tons of steel and 17,000 tons of concrete.

Is Arbitration Truly Confidential?

Date: April 2, 2015  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Construction Discovery, Out of the Ordinary, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Rants and Raves  /  Comments (0)

A recent Southern District of New York ruling addressed the issue of public access to arbitration awards.  The case involved a motion to confirm an arbitration award and a joint request from the parties to “seal” various documents relating to the arbitration.  Sealing of court records prevents public access and ensures the proceedings remain confidential. 

Proposed Revision of Washington's Limited Liability Company Act - SB 5030

Date: March 31, 2015  /  Author: Lawrence S. Glosser  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

The Washington Limited Liability Company Act (the “Current Act”) was first adopted in 1994.  It has been revised several times in order to address specific issues, most recently in the 2014 Regular Session of the Legislature.  The Current Act has not been the subject of comprehensive review and revision since its original enactment.  The experiences of other states, and the experiences of business attorneys in Washington, have shown that the Current Act should be updated and modernized.  The bill pending in the current legislative session was developed under the auspices of the Washington State Bar Association Business Law Section and is intended to make the Limited Liability Company Act more flexible and user-friendly, and to eliminate or modify provisions that create unnecessary problems for business people forming and operating LLCs.

The basic features of the proposed legislation are summarized in a memorandum from the Business Law Section and Partnership and LLC Law Committee, which is available here.  The legislative history and the entire proposed bill is available here.

Lien Rights for Tenant Improvements

Date: March 24, 2015  /  Author: Scott R. Sleight  /  Categories: Claims, Liens/Bond Claims  /  Comments (0)

When analyzing liens related to tenant improvements performed pursuant to a contract between a tenant and contractor, we are frequently asked whether the lien attaches just to the tenant’s leasehold interest (i.e., the value of the lease) or whether the lien can also attach to the landlord’s fee interest in the real estate where the leased premises are located.  Landlords want protection from liens, whereas contractors want lien rights against both the leasehold interest and the landlord’s fee interest in the property because liening the fee interest will likely place additional pressure on the tenant to resolve the lien and because the fee interest typically provides greater security.  Washington’s lien statute and several cases provide guidance.

Construction Law and Immigration Law Intersect

Date: March 19, 2015  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves, Employment  /  Comments (0)

As construction lawyers, we rarely have an opportunity to dabble in the area of immigration law, but immigration affects contractors.  For example, the SkyRise Tower (“SkyRise”) stands at the center of Biscayne Bay in Miami, and is being financed by foreign investors who have at least $500,000 to fund the project.  Similar to the Statue of Liberty, SkyRise will be the gateway to U.S. Citizenship – not for the tired, poor, and huddled masses, but for rich foreign investors seeking a green card.

Infrastructure Banks - Another Funding Mechanism for the U.S. Ailing Infrastructure?

Date: March 12, 2015  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

State and local infrastructure banks are again in the spotlight with the State Transportation and Infrastructure Financing Innovation Act (“STIFIA”), which Representatives Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Janice Hahn (D-Calif.) recently introduced into Congress.  The concept of state infrastructure banks has been around for many years.  These banks work to provide loans, construction debt financing, or lines of credit for infrastructure projects in various local areas.  STIFIA is designed to amend a federal highway bill already in effect: the Moving Ahead   for   Progress   in   the   Twenty-First Century Act (known as “MAP-21”).  STIFIA would put the projects and their financing in the hands of state and local governments, which are more familiar with the needs and priorities in those areas than the federal government.

The Lighter Side of Infrastructure

Date: March 5, 2015  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Out of the Ordinary, Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Memorable Quotes, Rants and Raves, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

Late night host of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver, took us on a tour of the Nation’s infrastructure on Monday night.  The deplorable state of U.S. infrastructure has been the subject of a number of Ahlers & Cressman posts (It’s Time to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure – A Prospective Presidential Candidate Has an Idea!; Public-Private Partnerships:  Completing Infrastructure Projects Without Public Funds; More Washington Infrastructure Projects On The Horizon – Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan; Hurricane Sandy A Wake Up Call To Strengthen U.S. Infrastructure – A Topic Lost In The Recent Presidential Campaign; Private Investors Testify that the US Infrastructure Bank is Key to Attracting Private Capitol for Public Works; New ASCE Report:  Old U.S. Infrastructure is Costing the Public Billions; China’s Road-Building Pace Leaves U.S. In The Dust; Now That The Republicans Have Taken Over the House – What Does That Spell For Infrastructure Investment?; Infrastructure Investment Gets Boost From The Daily Show with John Stewart; Call For Boost to Infrastructure Investment$4 Billion National Infrastructure Bank Proposed by President Obama; Water Main Break Highlights Need for Infrastructure Investment; Chelan Washington’s wooden pipes emphasize the need for radical infrastructure upgrades; Pew Research Gives Washington State An “A” For Infrastructure Government Performance).  Oliver in 30 minutes gave viewers the comedic side of the sorry state of the U.S. infrastructure and convinces us that infrastructure is worth talking about.  One of his memorable lines was:  The average U.S. dam is 52 years old and has “something deeply broken inside” – “like Botox users and clog dancers.”

Utility Contractor Cited for Workplace Safety Violation Fails to Establish Infeasibility Defense

Date: March 3, 2015  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Comments (0)

On March 24, 2014, Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the citation by the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) of a contractor who operated within 10-feet of an energized lines without taking mitigating measures, and rejected the contractor’s “infeasibility defense.”

Legislative Update: Venue for Lawsuits Against Counties (HB 1601)

Date: February 27, 2015  /  Author: Brett M. Hill  /  Categories: Recent Legislation, Construction News and Notes, Government Contracts  /  Comments (0)

Home field advantage matters in sports, and it also matters in litigation.  In litigation, many battles are fought over the location where a dispute is to be decided and who is tasked with deciding the outcome of the dispute.

Determining the Severity of WISHA Violations

Date: February 24, 2015  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Department of Labor & Industries, Regulatory Administration  /  Comments (0)

The Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act of 1973 (“WISHA”) is a statute that empowered the Department of Labor and Industries (“L&I”) to create and enforce safety and health regulations for nearly all employers and employees in the state.  WISHA was the first fully-operational state safety and health program approved by the federal government.  Under WISHA, L&I may conduct investigations into employers that it believes to be in violation of a safety of health statute or regulation, and issue a citation.  These citations are posted at or near the place of violation, and also are posted online as a matter of public record.