Blindly Relying on Public Adjuster or Loss Consultant’s False Estimate Can Play Out Badly
May 03, 2021 — David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates
Insurance policies, particularly property insurance policies, have a concealment or fraud provision that, in essence, gives the insurer an out if the insured submits a fraudulent claim, a false claim, or conceals material facts. Unlike a traditional fraud claim where a party needs to prove intent, the provision is broad enough that it does not require any intent behind making a false statement. See Mezadieu v. Safepoint Ins. Co., 46 Fla.L.Weekly D691c (Fla. 4th DCA 2021). For this reason, and as exemplified below, do NOT blindly rely on a public adjuster or loss consultant’s estimate that contains false statements because those false statements, particularly if you know they are false, can play out badly for you! Review the estimate and ask questions about it to make sure you understand what is being included in the loss or damages estimate.
In Mezadieu, a homeowner submitted a claim to her property insurance carrier due to a second-floor water leak emanating from her bathroom. She submitted an estimate from her public adjuster that included damages for her kitchen cabinets directly below the second-floor bathroom, as well as other items on her first-floor. Her carrier denied coverage based on the exclusion that the policy excludes damage caused by “[c]onstant or repeated seepage of water or steam…which occurs over a period of time.” Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
So You Want to Arbitrate? Better Make Sure Your Contract Covers All Bases
August 16, 2021 — Stephanie Nolan Deviney - ConsensusDocs
As a General Contractor, you may prefer to arbitrate any contractual disputes rather than engage in protracted litigation. Many Courts favor arbitration clauses and will enforce them if there is a sufficient reason to do so. However, there are several issues that a General Contractor should consider when including an arbitration clause in its construction agreement with its client. When an arbitration clause is not properly crafted, questions can arise as to who must arbitrate? Who decides whether to arbitrate? Who selects the arbitrator? What will the subject matter of the arbitration be? A look at a recent case in Pennsylvania highlights the need for properly crafted arbitration clauses.
A Recent Case Highlights The Importance Of Arbitration Clauses
In TEC Construction, LLC v. Greg Rich and Lora Rich filed in the Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, TEC Construction, LLC (“TEC”) and Greg and Lora Rich (the “Riches”), entered into a Construction Agreement with an arbitration clause. Specifically, the parties to the Construction Agreement, TEC and the Riches, agreed to arbitrate any disputes with the American Arbitration Association. Five subcontractors completed the work under the Construction Agreement but none of the subcontractors agreed to arbitrate. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Stephanie Nolan Deviney, Fox Rothschild LLP (ConsensusDocs)
Ms. Deviney may be contacted at email@example.com
Details of Sealed Whistleblower Charges Over Cuomo Bridge Bolts Burst Into Public View
March 22, 2021 — Richard Korman - Engineering News-Record
Tappan Zee Constructors, the consortium that built the big New York Hudson River crossing that opened in 2018, is embroiled in another lawsuit related to the bridge.
Reprinted courtesy of Richard Korman, Engineering News-Record
Mr. Korman may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the full story... Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of
Construction Contractors Must Understand Retainage In 2021
May 24, 2021 — Ed Williams - Construction Executive
Retainage has become a vital part of the contracting and construction process. If defined precisely, retainage is a practice of withholding a particular percentage of the payment until the project is delivered.
However, the practice can turn to be a challenge for small contractors, as it is laid over a lack of trust in the potential and abilities of a contractor, which might cause financial downtime at the later stages of the project when contractors need to pay bills.
Since 2020 proved to be a tough year for the entire construction industry, project owners, general contractors and construction firms new to the industry must understand what exactly retainage is. It is equally important for small contractors and subcontractors to understand the right way to manage the retainage.
Reprinted courtesy of Ed Williams, Construction Executive
, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of
Alert: AAA Construction Industry Rules Update
June 07, 2021 — Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings
The American Arbitration Association has made some needed updates to their Construction Industry Arbitration and Mediation Rules, effective July 1, 2015. Among the changes listed at their website are:
Read the court decisionRead the full story...
- A mediation step for all cases with claims of $100,000 or more (subject to the ability of any party to opt out).
- Consolidation and joinder time frames and filing requirements to streamline these increasingly involved issues in construction arbitrations.
- New preliminary hearing rules to provide more structure and organization to get the arbitration process on the right track from the beginning.
- Information exchange measures to give arbitrators a greater degree of control to limit the exchange of information, including electronic documents.
- Availability of emergency measures of protection in contracts that have been entered into on or after July 1, 2015.
- Enforcement power of the arbitrator to issue orders to parties that refuse to comply with the Rules or the arbitrator’s orders.
- Permissibility of dispositive motions to dispose of all or part of a claim or to narrow the issue in a claim.
Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
Mr. Hill may be contacted at email@example.com
Contractors Pay Heed: The Federal Circuit Clarifies Two Important Issues For Bid Protestors
September 13, 2021 — Andrew Balland - ConsensusDocs
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) recently decided two cases that are relevant to many disappointed offerors considering a bid protest. One decision rendered in March 2021 confirmed the authority of the United States Court of Federal Claims (COFC) to hear a protest based on an agency’s breach of an implied-in-fact contract. A second decision issued in February 2021 reversed a COFC decision from last year regarding the timeliness requirements to obtain a CICA stay and their interplay with Department of Defense (DoD) enhanced debriefing regulations.
Federal Circuit Confirms The Court Of Federal Claims’ Jurisdiction Over Procurement-Related Implied Contract Claims
When a contractor’s bid protest is denied by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the unsuccessful protestor may challenge the GAO’s decision as arbitrary and capricious in an action before the COFC. While 28 U.S.C. § 1491(b)(1) authorizes the COFC to hear such procurement-related challenges, § 1491(a) also permits the court to adjudicate claims against the United States based on any express or implied contracts. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Andrew Balland, Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP
Attorneys' Fee Clauses are Engraved Invitations to Sue
April 19, 2021 — David M. McLain – Colorado Construction Litigation
As we start another trip around the sun, hopefully you are in the process of updating your form contracts, including purchase and sale agreements and express written warranties. Because the law and litigation landscape continually changes, it is a good practice to periodically update the forms you use in order to give yourself a fighting chance if and when the plaintiffs' attorneys come knocking on your door. As you engage in this process, I hope that you will take a critical look at whether your contracts include a prevailing party attorneys' fees clause and, if so, whether you should leave it in there.
In Colorado, parties are entitled to recover attorneys' fees only if provided for by statute or by contract. Historically, plaintiffs' attorneys relied on two statutes, the Colorado Consumer Protection Act and Colorado's Statutory Interest statute, to recover attorneys’ fees in construction defect cases. In 2003, the Colorado legislature capped treble damages and attorneys' fees under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act at $250,000, effectively restricting plaintiffs' attorneys from relying on the CCPA to recoup their attorneys' fees, especially in large cases. In 2008, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its decision in Goodyear v. Holmes, stating that plaintiffs can only claim prejudgment interest under Colorado's Statutory Interest statute, in cases where they have already spent money on repairs, not when they are suing for an estimate of what repairs will cost in the future. Without either the CCPA or the prejudgment interest statute to recover attorneys' fees, plaintiffs' attorneys most often now rely on the prevailing party attorney fee clause in contracts between the owner and builder, or in the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions in situations where a claim is prosecuted by an HOA. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of David McLain, Higgins, Hopkins, McLain & Roswell
Mr. McLain may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Reynolds Selected as Prime Member of ADTA
April 05, 2021 — Rachel Tallon Reynolds - Lewis Brisbois
Seattle Partner Rachel Tallon Reynolds was recently selected as a prime member of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (ADTA), an exclusive designation bestowed upon only one lawyer per one million population for each city, town, or municipality.
The ADTA is a select group of diverse and experienced civil defense trial attorneys whose mission is to improve their practices through collegial relationships, educational programs, and business referral opportunities, while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and ethics. ADTA members possess the highest skill level of civil defense trial attorneys.
Moreover, because ADTA invites only one defense trial attorney to be its prime member per one million in population for each city, town, or municipality across the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, France and The United Kingdom of Great Britain, as well as Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, a prime membership represents the high regard in which that defense trial attorney is held by his or her peers in the defense trial bar of their city and state or province. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Rachel Tallon Reynolds, Lewis Brisbois
Ms. Reynolds may be contacted at Rachel.Reynolds@lewisbrisbois.com