Construction Law Blog

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Stop Payment Notice - Is It Subject To A Constitutional Attack?

Date: December 26, 2013  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Notice Issues, Liens/Bond Claims, Claims  /  Comments (1)

Lien Claimants Have a Right to be Paid Directly from the Construction Loan on Private Projects.  This process is commonly referred to as a "Stop Payment Notice."

U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Forum-Selection Clauses in Construction Subcontracts are Enforceable Absent Extraordinary Circumstances

Date: December 24, 2013  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Contracting, Construction News and Notes  /  Comments (0)

On December 3, 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled that, except in extraordinary circumstances, a lawsuit filed in a federal District Court other than the one identified in a forum selection clause must be transferred to the specified court.

Why a Washington False Claim Act Should Not Apply to Construction Contracts - Part II

Date: December 19, 2013  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation, Claims  /  Comments (0)

This is the second part of the two-part blog urging lawmakers to vote against a False Claims Act in Washington.

Why a Washington False Claims Act Should Not Apply to Construction Contracts - Part I

Date: December 17, 2013  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Recent Legislation, Claims  /  Comments (0)

We can expect the perennial False Claims Act bill to be on Washington lawmakers' 2014 legislative agenda again this year.  This is part one of a two-part blog urging lawmakers to vote against passage of a False Claims Act pertaining to construction in Washington.

More Confusion Over Independent Duty Doctrine - Washington Supreme Court Deeply Divided

Date: December 12, 2013  /  Author: Paul R. Cressman, Jr.  /  Categories: Construction Defect, Damages, Construction News and Notes  /  Comments (0)

In a suit by landowners against an engineering firm hired to help develop their real property, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed the trial court and Court of Appeals' refusal  to dismiss the landowners' claims for negligence and negligent misrepresentation, holding that (1) to determine whether a duty arises independently of the contract, the Court must first know what duties have been assumed by the parties within the contract; and (2) the Court could not say whether the engineering firm had an independent duty to avoid professional negligence because there were genuine issues in dispute, but that the engineering firm did have a duty to avoid misrepresentation that arose independent of any contract.

Unbalanced Bids and Bid Protests

Date: December 10, 2013  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction Bidding, Contracting, Construction News and Notes  /  Comments (0)

We have written a number of blogs addressing unbalanced bids:  Unbalanced Bids & Schedule of Values Part I and Part II.  An unbalanced bid is one offering unreasonably low prices on certain bid items and compensating for those unreasonably low prices by unreasonably high prices on other bid items.  An unbalanced bid may give a contractor a substantial advantage in the bidding process not enjoyed by other bidders.  However, an owner considering an award to a contractor that has submitted an unbalanced bid may not be awarding the contract to the lowest responsive bidder.

Contractor May Sue Construction Lender for Unjust Enrichment Based on Lender's Verbal Assurance of Payment

Date: December 5, 2013  /  Author: Bruce A. Cohen  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes, Liens/Bond Claims, Damages  /  Comments (0)

The law allows a party to bring a claim for unjust enrichment to recover the value of a benefit retained even in the absence of a contractual relationship.  On construction projects, the lender typically has a contract (loan agreement) only with the project's owner and is normally insulated from suit from the project's general contractor or subcontractors.  However, as a recent unpublished case from Division III of the Court of Appeals demonstrates that an exception to this general rule exists when the lender provides assurance of future payment to the contractor to secure continued performance.

More Washington Infrastructure Projects On The Horizon - Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan

Date: December 3, 2013  /  Author: John P. Ahlers  /  Categories: Government Contracts, Construction News and Notes, Rants and Raves, Recent Legislation  /  Comments (0)

Governor Jay Inslee recently spoke in Ellensburg, Washington and emphasized the need for more infrastructure projects in the state of Washington.[i]  Speaking to a largely Eastern Washington agricultural audience, the Governor emphasized that the State's roads "need work," and if they do not get it soon, farmers trying to move their crops to market will definitely notice.  "I am here to report to you we are in deep, deep trouble," Inslee said in his keynote address to the Annual Economic Outlook Conference at Central Washington University.[ii]  Inslee, citing the collapse of the I-5 bridge in Skagit County several months ago, along with cuts to bus service across the state, indicated that more drivers are now on the road.  He stressed the need for a bipartisan transportation funding package for maintenance.

Court of Appeals Denies Admissibility of Subcontract Safety Provision in Worker Death Case

Date: November 26, 2013  /  Author: Douglas Roach  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes, Claims, Employment  /  Comments (0)

Recently, Division III of the Court of Appeals reversed a jury verdict in favor of a general contractor in a case where a subcontractor's employee was killed on the job.

SUSPEND Act: Congress Debates Dramatic Overhaul of Suspension and Debarment Procedures

Date: November 21, 2013  /  Author: Matt Paxton  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes, Regulatory Administration, Government Contracts  /  Comments (0)

In response to reports by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and Wartime Contracting Commission highlighting weaknesses in the suspension and debarment (S&D) offices of civil agencies, Congress has pushed for a significant overhaul of the suspension and debarment procedures applicable to federal contractors.