The Court of Appeals Holds That Indifference to Safety Satisfies the Standard for a Willful Violation Under WISHA
May 16, 2022 — Cameron Sheldon - Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC
In March 2022, the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division One, issued Marpac Constr., LLC v. Dep’t of Lab. & Indus., No. 82200-4-I, 2022 WL 896850, at *1 (Wash. Ct. App. Mar. 28, 2022) holding Marpac Construction, LLC (“Marpac”) liable for three willful Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act of 1973 (WISHA) violations pertaining to safe crane operation near energized power lines.
Marpac was the general contractor on an apartment complex construction project in West Seattle. The worksite had high voltage power lines running throughout the site. Seattle City Light had flagged some with a 10-foot offset, but none of the other power lines were flagged. Marpac’s superintendent assumed that the lines were between 26 kilovolts (kV) and 50 kV based on their connection to the lines flagged by Seattle City Light. The superintendent never called Seattle City Light to check the voltage of the lines and the lines remained above ground.
In September 2016, a subcontractor began work on the project’s structural foundation. The subcontractor expressed concerns about working around the power lines, but Marpac promised it was working on mitigation of the power line hazard and directed the subcontractor continue working. At one point, the subcontractor’s employees had to move the crane and concrete forms away from the power lines to allow a cement truck to park in its place. The crane’s line contacted the power lines, causing serious injuries to two of the subcontractor’s employees. Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Cameron Sheldon, Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC
Ms. Sheldon may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Lawyer's Perspective on Current Issues Dominating the Construction Industry
March 28, 2022 — Melanie A. McDonald - Saxe Doernberger & Vita
Some of the hot topics dominating the construction industry today include the impacts of COVID-19, government testing and vaccine mandates, cyber security, and the evolving role of general counsel. This article provides a summary review of those topics.
a. The Economic Impact of COVID-19 for Project Owners
Project owners have been placed in a precarious position because courts across the country have almost unanimously ruled that insurance carriers are not liable for COVID-19-related business income losses.1 While project owners have sought alternative ways to mitigate losses resulting from COVID-19, many of these efforts have been negated by the exponential increase in materials costs.2 Thus, it remains unclear what, if any, solutions project owners have at their disposal. Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Melanie A. McDonald, Saxe Doernberger & Vita
Ms. McDonald may be contacted at MMcDonald@sdvlaw.com
Mediation in the Zero Sum World of Construction
September 26, 2022 — Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings
Construction is a zero sum game. What do I mean by that? I mean that even where you, a construction professional with a great construction lawyer, have reviewed and edited a subcontract presented to you or provided a well-drafted contract to the other party that contains an attorney fees provision, every dollar that you spend on litigation is a dollar less of profit.
Couple the fact that no construction company can or should bid or negotiate work with an eye toward litigation (aside from having a well written contract that will be enforced to the letter here in Virginia). Particularly on “low bid” type projects, contractors and subcontractors cannot “pad” their bids to take into account the possibility of attorney fees, arbitration, or litigation. Furthermore, the loss of productivity when your “back office” personnel are tied up dealing with discovery, phone calls, and other incidents of litigation that do nothing but rehash a bad project and increase the expense sap money from the bottom line. While the possibility of a judgment including attorney fees may soften this blow, you are still out the cash.
All of this said, if you are in commercial construction for any significant period of time disputes will arise and I have discussed the process in some detail at other places here at Construction Law Musings. As a construction litigator, I am fully aware of this fact of life. Efficient management of these disputes is key, particularly when they escalate to the point where some form of outside “help” (read arbitrator or judge) is necessary.
Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
Mr. Hill may be contacted at email@example.com
Include Contract Clauses for Protection Against Ever-Evolving Construction Challenges
May 30, 2022 — Michael Henry & Kevin J. Riexinger - Construction Executive
The first quarter of 2022 provided a valuable glimpse into some of the major issues the construction industry can expect to continue impacting jobsites for the rest of the year.
Early in the pandemic, construction was not immune from the shut-downs that swept across market sectors. Workers were staying home to shield themselves and their families from the COVID-19 virus (and variants). This caused delays with construction projects and failures to meet negotiated benchmarks or deadlines. Contractors were left to wonder whether they remained obligated to perform under their contracts, or whether COVID-19 allowed them to invoke force majeure clauses. Over the past two years, there has been much debate about whether force majeure clauses encompass COVID-19 risks.
Traditionally, force majeure is only invoked for significant weather events or natural disasters. Unsurprisingly, outcomes of legal actions regarding COVID-19 and force majeure varied by state and by contract. It didn’t take long for contractors to seek a more predictable and certain solution.
Reprinted courtesy of Michael Henry & Kevin J. Riexinger, Construction Executive
, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.
Mr. Riexinger may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Henry may be contacted at MbHenry@tcco.com Read the full story...
In All Fairness: Illinois Appellate Court Finds That Arbitration Clause in a Residential Construction Contract Was Unconscionable and Unenforceable
August 22, 2022 — Gus Sara - The Subrogation Strategist
In Bain v. Airoom, LLC, No. 1-21-001, 2022 Ill. App. LEXIS 241, the Appellate Court of Illinois (Appellate Court) considered whether the lower court erred in enforcing an arbitration clause in a construction contract between the parties and, as a result, dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The Appellate Court found that even if the arbitration clause was enforceable, the appropriate action would have been for the court to stay the lawsuit, as opposed to dismissing the case entirely. The Appellate Court then considered the language of the arbitration clause and found that several provisions were substantively unconscionable, which rendered the entire arbitration clause unenforceable. The Appellate Court reversed the lower court’s decision compelling arbitration and reinstated the plaintiff’s complaint.
In 2018, the plaintiff, Ms. Bain, a disabled senior citizen, hired the defendant, Airoom, LLC (Airoom), to renovate her home. Airoom provided its “Cash Sales Contract,” which included a binding arbitration clause. The clause required that any dispute arising or relating to the contract be resolved by binding arbitration through the American Arbitration Association (AAA), using the Construction Industry Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures (Construction Industry Rules). Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Gus Sara, White and Williams
Mr. Sara may be contacted at email@example.com
Massachusetts Federal Court Rejects Adria Towers, Finds Construction Defects Not an “Occurrence”
July 03, 2022 — Eric B. Hermanson & Austin D. Moody - White and Williams
In an important ruling for insurers, U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris found that Massachusetts does not follow the position taken in Cypress Point Condo Association v. Adria Towers, LLC, 226 N.J. 403, 418 (2016), i.e., it does not hold that "faulty workmanship claims [should be recognized] as ... an 'occurrence,' thus triggering coverage, 'so long as the allegedly defective work [was] performed by a subcontractor rather than the policyholder itself."
Instead, Judge Saris reaffirmed earlier Massachusetts authority holding faulty work is not an "occurrence" for coverage purposes,
and found this authority applied whether or not the work in question was subcontracted.
In the alternative, Judge Saris found, even if a contractor's faulty work could be deemed an an "occurrence," such work did not constitute covered "property damage," because none of the alleged damage was "outside the scope of the work that Tocci was contractually required to fulfill as general contractor."
Reprinted courtesy of Eric B. Hermanson, White and Williams
and Austin D. Moody, White and Williams
Mr. Hermanson may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Moody may be contacted at email@example.com
Read the full story...
Gordon & Rees Ranked #4 of Top 50 Construction Law Firms in the Nation by Construction Executive Magazine
July 11, 2022 — GRSM Construction Team - Gordon & Rees Construction Law Blog
Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani has been ranked as the No. 4 construction law firm in the nation by Construction Executive in the magazine’s 2022 ranking of The Top 50 Construction Law Firms™. As the only law firm with offices and attorneys in all 50 states, Gordon & Rees’ construction group (with over 150 construction lawyers) delivers maximum value to our clients by understanding their business and combining the resources of a full-service national firm with the local knowledge of a regional firm.
Led by Allen Estes and Angela Richie, the construction lawyers at Gordon & Rees are uniquely situated to serve our construction clients. We have attorneys with professional training and practical experience in related fields such as engineering and construction management, as well as lawyers with leadership experience in various construction industry related trade associations, legal advisory committees and government agencies. “If a client is looking for a legal partner in multiple states who understands their business, Gordon & Rees is that partner,” said Angela Richie. Read the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of GRSM Construction Team, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani
Newmeyer Dillion Attorneys Named to 2022 Southern California Rising Stars List
June 13, 2022 — Newmeyer Dillion
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – June 8, 2022 – Prominent business and real estate law firm Newmeyer Dillion is pleased to announce that partner Jason Moberly Caruso
and associate Jessica Garland Daley
have been selected to the 2022 Southern California Rising Stars list by Super Lawyers. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected to receive this honor. The attorneys will be recognized in the June 2022 issues of Super Lawyers Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine and Orange Coast Magazine.
Jason Moberly Caruso is a partner in the Newport Beach office. Jason's practice focuses on land use, "contaminated sites" environmental legal work, complex litigation, and appellate matters. This is the fifth consecutive year Jason has been honored.
Jessica Garland Daley is an associate in the Newport Beach office. Jessica's practice focuses on litigation in the areas of employment law and construction law. This is the first year Jessica has been selected.
About Newmeyer Dillion
For over 35 years, Newmeyer Dillion has delivered creative and outstanding legal solutions and trial results that achieve client objectives in diverse industries. With over 60 attorneys working as a cohesive team to represent clients in all aspects of business, employment, real estate, environmental/land use, privacy & data security and insurance law, Newmeyer Dillion delivers holistic and integrated legal services tailored to propel each client's operations, growth, and profits. Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, with offices in Walnut Creek, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, Newmeyer Dillion attorneys are recognized by The Best Lawyers in America©, and Super Lawyers as top tier and some of the best lawyers in California and Nevada, and have been given Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review's AV Preeminent® highest rating. For additional information, call 949.854.7000 or visit www.newmeyerdillion.com.