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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.

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

Strickland v. Arch Ins. Co., No. 17-10610, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 504 (11th Cir. Jan. 9, 2018)

Strickland provided sand to a paving company (“Douglas”) for a Georgia Department of Transportation (“GDOT”) road improvement project (the “Project”).  Arch Insurance Company (“Arch”) issued payment and performance bonds on Douglas’s behalf.  In 2007, GDOT declared Douglas in default and removed it from the Project.  In accordance with the performance bond, Arch arranged for a third-party contractor to complete Douglas’s work on the Project. Strickland did not supply sand after Douglas’s removal.
In August 2010, GDOT determined that the Project was substantially complete, and in September 2010, performed final inspection and generated a punch list.  Arch’s contractor completed the punch list by September 2011.  In March 2012, GDOT accepted Project maintenance responsibilities because the Project had been satisfactorily completed as of September 2011.  GDOT made semi-final payment to Arch in July 2012.

In September 2012, Strickland sent a demand for payment on Arch’s payment bond.  Arch acknowledged the claim and asked for additional documentation.  Strickland did not respond.  In 2014, Strickland learned that GDOT was preparing to close out the Project and filed a lawsuit against Arch.


Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Holds That the Statute of Limitations on Payment Bond Claim Under Georgia Law Commences at Substantial Completion Rather Than Final Acceptance

Team Contrs., L.L.C. v. Waypoint NOLA, L.L.C., No. 16-1131, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162172 (E.D. La. Oct. 2, 2017).

Waypoint NOLA (“Waypoint”) was the owner of a hotel construction project in New Orleans (the “Project”).  Waypoint contracted with Team Contractors (“Team”) to serve as the Project general contractor and HC Architecture (“HCA”) to serve as the Project architect.  HCA, in turn, subcontracted with KLG to prepare the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (“MEP”) plans.

HCA delivered a complete set of specifications, including KLG’s MEP plans, to Team, and Team began work.  It was later discovered that the MEP plans did not comply with code requirements.  Team was forced to remove and reconstruct the MEP work before proceeding with its work as scheduled.
Team filed suit for breach of contract against Waypoint and for negligence against Waypoint, HCA, and KLG.  Team alleged it experienced delay and incurred damages when it was forced to remove and reconstruct the MEP work.  Its damages included extended home office overhead related to the delay.  Team’s expert used the Eichleay formula to calculate these damages.


Continue Reading Federal Court Holds That, Under Louisiana Law, a Contractor Need Not Show a Total Work Stoppage to Recover Extended Home Office Overhead Under Eichleay

King Cnty. v. Vinci Constr. Grands Projets/Parsons RCI/ Frontier-Kemper, JV, No. 92744-8, 2017 Wash. LEXIS 743 (July 6, 2017)

King County contracted with three construction firms (collectively, “VPFK”) to construct a tunnel.  The contract required substantial completion by November 14, 2010 (the “contract time”).  It also required VPFK to secure a performance bond from five surety companies, under which the sureties were to remedy any default in VPFK’s performance.

VPFK experienced difficulties with its tunnel-boring equipment and was unable to dig nearly as fast as estimated.  When it became clear that VPFK would not achieve substantial completion by the contract time, King County declared VPFK in default.  The sureties refused King County’s request for a cure, arguing that because the contract time had not passed, no default had yet occurred.

King County filed a breach of contract action against VPFK and the sureties, who denied coverage and adopted all of VPFK’s defenses.  A jury found in favor of King County and awarded nearly $130 million in damages.


Continue Reading Sharply-Divided Washington Supreme Court Holds That Sureties, Like Insurers, Must Pay Attorney Fees to Prevailing Parties When They Wrongfully Deny Coverage