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Jane has substantial experience representing owners, EPC and general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, equipment manufacturers, and building product and material suppliers in disputes arising from a variety of industrial, commercial, and multifamily residential construction projects, including advanced metering infrastructure installations, airports, churches, condominiums, dams, highways, hotels, parking garages, pipelines, power plants, and water and wastewater treatment plants.

Bank of America, N.A. v. ASD Gem Realty LLC, 205 A.D.3d 1, 164 N.Y.S.3d 566 (2022).

ASD Gem Realty LLC and ASD Diamond, Inc. (together, ASD or Owner) contracted Sweet Construction Corp. (Sweet) to renovate a commercial space in Manhattan’s Diamond District (the Project). ASD solicited proposals for the supply and installation of partitions in the space (the Work) and ultimately directed Sweet to hire Arenson Office Furnishings, Inc. (Arenson). Arenson subsequently entered into a subcontract with Sweet to complete the Work (the Subcontract).

Continue Reading NY Appellate Court Reaffirms Pay-When-Paid Provisions Are Void as Against Public Policy

DonRob Invs., L. P. v. 360 Residential, LLC, 870 S.E.2d 874 (Ga. Ct. App. 2022)

This case arose from a failed real estate transaction. DonRob Investments LP and Donald Robinson Investments, Inc. (collectively DonRob) agreed to sell, and 360 Residential LLC, 360 Sugar Hill LLC, and 360 Capital Company LLC, (collectively 360) agreed to purchase 12 acres (Site) of a 37-acre parcel of property in Sugar Hill, GA (the Agreement). The Site was in the middle of the parcel and flanked by two sections over which DonRob was to retain ownership. 360 planned to build apartments on the Site. DonRob planned to develop the other two sections into townhomes and commercial units.

Continue Reading GA Court of Appeals Enforces Contract Clause, Excluding Liability for Incidental Damages Where Specific Performance Is Ordered

Taylor Morrison of Tex. Inc. v. Caballero, No. 01-20-00800-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 1870, 2022 WL 839429 (Mar. 22, 2022)

Gary and Kelley Caballero contracted to purchase a new home to be constructed by Taylor Woodrow and Taylor Morrison of Texas, Inc. (Taylor). The contract contained an agreement to arbitrate any disputes with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).

Continue Reading Texas Court of Appeals Enforces Arbitration Agreement Provision Delegating Issues of Arbitrability to Arbitrator

Gables Construction, Inc. v. Red Coats, Inc., No. 23, 2020 BL 193791, 2020 MD LEXIS 264 (Md. May 26, 2020)

Upper Rock II, LLC (“Upper Rock”) contracted Gables Construction, Inc. (“GCI”) to construct a multi-building apartment complex in Rockville, Maryland (the “Project”) per the terms of the American Institute of Architects (“AIA”) A102TM-2007, Standard Form Agreement Between Owner and Contractor and AIA A201TM – 2007, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction.  The General Conditions required Upper Rock to purchase and maintain a property insurance policy.  It also contained a waiver of subrogation provision under which Upper Rock waived all rights against GCI and other Project participants for damages caused by fire to the extent covered by insurance.
Continue Reading Maryland Court Holds No Right of Contribution Where a Waiver of Subrogation Precludes Common Legal Responsibility

Precision Hydraulic Cylinders, Inc. v. Manufacturing. Technology, Inc., No. 7:18-CV-203-FL, 2019 BL 344743, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156670 (E.D.N.C. Sept. 13, 2019)

Precision Hydraulic Cylinders, Inc. (“Precision”) issued a series of purchase orders to Manufacturing Technology, Inc. (“MTI”) to weld steel components together to create hydraulic cylinders. MTI agreed to develop welds for Precision’s small and large cylinders under two separate purchase orders.

Continue Reading North Carolina Federal District Court Dismisses Tort Claims Based on Same Duty and Breach Alleged in Plaintiff’s Contract Claims

Construction disputes frequently require companies to engage third-party consultants to analyze and opine on such issues as delays, defects in workmanship or materials, and deficiencies in payment— even before they anticipate litigation.  Construction companies should keep in mind that materials they provide consultants, and materials that consultants generate, can in certain circumstances be discoverable in

SM Architects, PLLC v. AMX Veteran Specialty Servs., LLC, 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 9203 (November 8, 2018)

AMX Veteran Specialty Services, LLC (“AMX”) filed a demand for arbitration alleging professional negligence against SM Architects, PLLC (“SMA”).  A Texas statute requires a plaintiff in an action or arbitration involving architectural services to file a certificate of merit affidavit by a third-party licensed architect in support of its claims.  AMX attempted to meet this requirement by attaching an unsigned letter by an architect to its demand.

AMX twice amended its demand.  It attached to its second amended demand a signed certificate of merit affidavit by the same architect.  The affidavit was substantially similar to the original unsigned letter, but with added information regarding SMA’s alleged negligence.

SMA moved to dismiss AMX’s claims for failure to comply with the certificate of merit requirement.  SMA argued that the unsigned letter submitted with AMX’s first demand for arbitration was not an affidavit, and that the affidavit filed with its second amended demand was ineffective because its failure to file an affidavit contemporaneously with the first-filed complaint could not be cured by amendment.  The arbitration panel denied SMA’s motion.
Continue Reading Although Texas Statute Expressly Allows an Immediate Interlocutory Appeal of Any Decision Granting or Denying a Motion to Dismiss Based Upon the Certificate of Merit Requirement, There Is No Jurisdiction for an Interlocutory Appeal of an Arbitrator’s Decision on That Issue

Charlotte Student Hous. DST v. Choate Constr. Co., 2018 NCBC LEXIS 88 (N.C. Super. Ct. Aug. 24, 2018).

This case arose from the construction of a student apartment complex known as Arcadia.  The plaintiffs, Arcadia’s current owner and landlord, asserted breach of warranty, negligence, and fraud claims against Arcadia’s original owner, the architect, the general contractor, and two subcontractors, alleging that defects in Arcadia’s design and construction caused millions of dollars in repairs and lost rent.

The general contractor, Choate Construction Company, and its geotechnical engineering subcontractor, Geoscience Group, moved to dismiss all claims asserted against them on the ground that they were subject to arbitration.  Choate and Geoscience pointed to arbitration clauses in their contracts with the original owner, both of which required all claims “arising out of or related to” those contracts to be arbitrated before the AAA in accordance with its Construction Industry Arbitration Rules.

The plaintiffs argued that the arbitration clauses were not binding on them because the contracts that contained them were not assigned to plaintiffs when they purchased Arcadia. They also argued that their tort claims were not subject to the arbitration clauses.
Continue Reading Arbitration by Estoppel: North Carolina Court Holds That Arbitration Clauses Bind Nonsignatories Who Seek to Enforce the Contracts in Which the Clauses Appear

Manley Architecture Grp., LLC, v. Santanello, 2018 Ohio App. LEXIS 2372 (June 7, 2018)

Dr. Steven A. Santanello (“Santanello”) contracted with Manley Architecture Group, LLC (“MAG”) to design and manage the construction of a large home, riding barn, pond, tennis court and outdoor pool.  Santanello acted as his own general contractor.

During construction, problems arose with the barn roof, and Santanello stopped paying MAG’s and his subcontractors’ invoices.   MAG advanced $55,557.68 to Santanello’s subcontractors to induce them to complete the project.  MAG later filed a breach of contract action against Santanello seeking to recover these advances.

Santanello filed a counterclaim for breach of contract, alleging that MAG breached its obligation to properly manage the construction of the barn, ultimately necessitating the replacement of the roof.  After a bench trial, the trial court found that both parties had breached the contract.  The parties cross-appealed.

Continue Reading Ohio Court of Appeals Rules That Architect’s Authority Does Not Extend to Advancing Payments to Subcontractors, and Architect’s Liability Does Not Extend to Guaranteeing Subcontractors’ Work

G&G Mech. Constructors, Inc. v. Jeff City Indus., Inc., No. WD80840, 2018 Mo. App. LEXIS 271 (Mar. 20, 2018)

This case arose out of a project in Columbia, Missouri on which Jeff City Industry, Inc. (“JCI”) was the general contractor and G&G Mechanical Constructors, Inc. (“G&G”) was a subcontractor.

The draft subcontract contained an interest provision which provided that overdue payments “shall bear interest at the annual rate of 18% or the highest rate allowed by law, if lower. Retainage shall not be held out of payment.”  JCI struck through this provision, wrote “5% Retiange [sic]” in the margin, initialed it, and sent it to G&G.  G&G also initialed the revision.

When JCI failed to pay G&G for its work, G&G sued JCI for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violation of Missouri’s Prompt Pay Act.  A jury returned a verdict against JCI, and the trial court entered a judgment against it which included prejudgment interest at the rate of 9% pursuant to Missouri Revised Statute § 408.020.
Continue Reading If You Want to Avoid Prejudgment Interest You Have to Expressly Say So in the Contract, Merely Striking the Interest Provision From the Contract May Not Work