Construction Law Blog

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Court of Appeals rules that one party cannot have unilateral right to select arbitrators

Date: February 13, 2008  /  Author: Brett Hill  /  Categories: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)  /  Comments (0)

This week the Washington Court of Appeals ruled that arbitration clauses that provide only one party to the agreement the sole right to select the arbitrators are unenforceable.  The clause permitted one party to select arbitrators from its own affiliated entities.  Although the case arose out of a real estate brokerage contract the court's holding would apply to construction contracts with similar language as well.  Here is a link to the case

Seattle School District in Race Against Rising Construction Costs

Date: January 26, 2008  /  Author: Ryan Sternoff  /  Categories: Construction News and Notes  /  Comments (0)

Rising construction costs from China's demand for steel and concrete, the regional condominium-building boom and the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. have caused the Seattle School District to accelerate the schedule on several projects, but not without community concern. Courtesy of The Seattle Times.

American Safety v. City of Olympia

Date: January 9, 2008  /  Author: John Ahlers  /  Categories: Rants and Raves  /  Comments (0)
American Safety v. City of Olympia case (see Attached Article) increases the contractor's burden in recovering valid claims for changes (due to design revisions, differing site conditions or owner directed upgrades) . Not only must the contractor strictly comply with the notice requirements, if the contractor believes that the owner has relaxed the notice requirements, the Supreme Court has ruled the only way the contractor can be sure that the written notice requirements have been waived is to get that waiver in writing. The effects of this decision are going to be far reaching and severe, increasing the costs to owners to perform construction work by increasing the paperwork burden and the level of acrimony on a project site. Generally, claim notices are not well received by project owners and as contractors become more astute and document cost increases on the job with claim notices, the paper wars will be fought, to the disadvantage of both the contractor and the owner. Here are a number of practical implications that this decision will have on both contractors and owners:

RAVES FOR IDAHO CONTRACTOR FIGHTING BACK ON ALLEGED DEFECTIVE CONSTRUCTION CLAIM

Date: January 9, 2008  /  Author: John Ahlers  /  Categories: Rants and Raves  /  Comments (0)
According to a lawsuit filed in Blaine County, Idaho, Tom Hanks ("Hanks") (the actor) and his wife Rita Wilson ("Wilson") hired Storey Construction, Inc. in 2001 to build a luxury home in Sun Valley, Idaho. The home was completed in 2002, and the movie star couple moved in. The contractor was not paid for the work it performed and filed a lien on the home, which culminated in an arbitration in 2003.

Memorable Quotes

Date: January 8, 2008  /  Author: John Ahlers  /  Categories: Memorable Quotes  /  Comments (0)
Here are some profound words from our founding father Benjamin Franklin for the New Year. 

Andriew v. Covey - Counterclaims Not Permitted in Frivolous Lien Proceeding

Date: January 3, 2008  /  Author: Brett Hill  /  Categories: Damages, Liens/Bond Claims  /  Comments (0)

Washington's lien statute provides a specific frivolous lien proceeding for parties seeking to challenge a lien. In this case, the party defending its lien in the frivolous lien proceeding alleged a counterclaim, for money owed, against the party who initiated the frivolous lien proceeding. The Court of Appeals held that counterclaims were not permissible in a frivolous lien proceeding.

Diamaco, Inc. v. Mettler - Prevailing party on bond and retainage claim entitled to an award of attorneys fees

Date: January 3, 2008  /  Author: Brett Hill  /  Categories: Damages, Liens/Bond Claims  /  Comments (0)
In this case, the Court of Appeals held that the prevailing party in a lawsuit against a payment bond and retention is entitled to an award of its attorneys fees. However, the amount of attorney fees recoverable against the bond and retainage is in the trial court’s discretion.

Keever & Assocs. v. Randall

Date: January 3, 2008  /  Author: Brett Hill  /  Categories: Damages  /  Comments (0)
In Keever & Assocs. v. Randall, 129 Wn. App. 733, 119 P.3d 926 (2005), the Division Three Court of Appeals held that a general contractor was not entitled to be compensated for an administrative supervision fee as an actual cost in a cost-plus contract.

LRS Elec. Controls v. Hamre Constr. - Pre-Claim Notice Requirements on Public Projects

Date: January 3, 2008  /  Author: Brett Hill  /  Categories: Claims, Damages, Liens/Bond Claims  /  Comments (0)
Court clarifies pre-claim notice requirements for sub-tier subcontractors on public projects. All sub-tier subcontractors must provide the pre-claim notice in order to preserve their claim against the bond and retainage for materials supplied to the project.

American Safety v. City of Olympia

Date: January 3, 2008  /  Author: Brett Hill  /  Categories: Change Orders, Claims, Damages  /  Comments (0)
Court of Appeals clarifies waiver of contractual provisions post Mike M. Johnson. This case is no longer good law, please refer to the Supreme Court's ruling (discussed above) that overruled this case.