Gov. Wolf’s businesses closure orders and the business waiver process recently came under fire from the Western District of Pennsylvania Federal Court and the Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. Gov. Wolf’s prior orders forced nearly all activities of the construction industry to cease in-person operations. Continue Reading Governor Wolf’s Life-Sustaining Business Orders and Waiver Process Under Fire

On August 6, President Trump issued an executive order banning WeChat, a Chinese app developed by parent company Tencent Holdings Ltd. that combines the capabilities of other social media, ride sharing, and payment apps. The ban could potentially affect all forms of businesses, including global construction, manufacturers, and equipment suppliers performing business in China and the U.S. WeChat, with its over one billion users, is indispensable to some businesses, especially to those in China because mobile payment apps like WeChat reign supreme over other payment forms, and WeChat is now used as a primary means to communicate.

Continue Reading The WeChat Ban: Where We Are Now and How May It Impact International Construction, Manufacturers, and Equipment Suppliers

On September 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit addressed the perennially thorny issue of whether the courts or arbitrators retain the authority to resolve questions involving the enforceability of arbitration agreements. In MZM Construction Company, Inc. v. New Jersey Building Laborers Statewide Benefits Funds,[1] the Third Circuit held that the courts must decide questions of arbitrability in cases where a party challenges the validity of the underlying contract that contains the arbitration agreement — even when the putative arbitration agreement refers these questions to the arbitrators. The court’s decision highlights the complexities associated with the enforcement of arbitration clauses and the limits to a party’s ability to compel arbitration. Continue Reading Not So Severable After All: Third Circuit Lets Courts Determine Arbitration Agreement Existence When Underlying Contract’s Validity Is Challenged

When is it going to return to “normal”? We all have been asking that question. Well, for the construction industry, it may never return to “normal.” COVID-19 may have permanently changed the landscape of the construction industry in many ways. Depending on your perspective, many changes could be for the better. We may have to alter how we do business to address some new issues and business concerns. Here are just a few issues that the pandemic has brought to the forefront of our industry. Continue Reading Subtle (and Not So Subtle) Effects of COVID-19 on the Construction Industry

Albert Bates and R. Zachary Torres-Fowler were published in gar insight with their article, “GAR Know How Construction Arbitration.”

This chapter summarizes issues commonly raised during international construction arbitrations seated in the United States or governed by U.S. laws. This chapter should be a useful resource for those seeking to better understand the interplay between U.S. laws and international construction arbitration.

Albert Bates, Jr. and Danielle J. Volpe were published in Mealey’s International Arbitration Report with their article, “Zooming Ahead: Challenges and Considerations for Virtual International Arbitration Proceedings in the Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Danielle Volpe is a former associate of Troutman Pepper who recently became the General Counsel of Posillico Construction.

In the July 2020 edition of Mealey’s International Arbitration Report, Albert Bates Jr., a partner in Troutman Pepper’s Pittsburgh office and head of the firm’s International Construction Projects Practice, offers his thoughts on developments in the field of international arbitration and the question of whether practitioners expect parties to continue to utilize the traditional international arbitration seats (e.g., London, Paris, Singapore, New York) or shift toward new jurisdictions. As Mr. Bates explains in this piece, with some minor exceptions, it appears unlikely that international arbitration users will trend away from the traditional international arbitration seats and that the United States will remain an important hub for international arbitration.

On June 8, 2020, Level 10 Construction, LP (“Level 10”), a construction company hired by Sea World San Diego (“Sea World”), filed a Complaint in California federal court alleging that Sea World is withholding over $3.2 million dollars in payments from Level 10. In the Complaint, Level 10 alleged that Sea World has declined to issue payments until the Sea World park reopens. Sea World has remained closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19. Continue Reading Level 10 Construction v. Sea World LLC: Can Force Majeure Save Sea World?