Construction Law Blog
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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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.