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Bob Gallagher has represented construction clients on projects up to $4.5 billion and in dispute proceedings across 31 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, South America, the Middle East, Europe, and Australia.

Roy Allan Slurry Seal, Inc. v. American Asphalt South, Inc., 2017 Cal. LEXIS 1024 (Cal. February 16, 2017)

This tort lawsuit relates to a dispute over the bidding process on several public works contracts in California. Between 2009 and 2012, American Asphalt outbid Roy Allan Slurry Seal and Doug Martin Contracting on 23 public works contracts for the application of slurry seal to roadways in five California counties.

Allan and Martin suspected that American illegally underbid them, and they sued American for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. They alleged that American illegally under-paid its employees to ensure that it won the bid as the lowest “responsible” bidder.  Allan and Martin alleged that but for American’s illegal conduct, they would have been awarded the contracts because they were the second lowest bidders.

The trial court dismissed Allan and Martin’s complaint holding that it failed to state a viable claim for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage. The appellate court reversed the trial court, but American appealed to the Supreme Court of California.


Continue Reading Supreme Court of California Holds That a Losing Bidder on a Public Works Contract Cannot Sue the Winning Bidder for Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage

Port of Houston Auth. of Harris Cnty. v. Zachry Constr. Corp., 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 13306 (Tex. App. Houston 14th Dist. Dec. 15, 2016)

This contract dispute dates back to 2004, when the Port of Houston Authority contracted with Zachry Construction to build a shipping wharf in Harris County, Texas. Zachry’s bid proposed, as part of its means and methods, building the wharf “in the dry” by using a frozen earthen wall to seal out water from the construction area. Several months into the project the Port Authority decided to extend the wharf. Zachry again proposed freeze-wall technology for the extension, and the parties entered into a change order.
The Port Authority then refused to approve Zachry’s frozen wall design, and directed Zachry to either present an alternative design or alternate means of mitigating risk. Unable to identify a viable alternative design, Zachry switched from the frozen wall design and completed the construction “in the wet.”


Continue Reading Texas Court of Appeals Holds That Owner’s Change to Contractor’s Means and Methods Resulted in a “Breach,” Instead of a “Change” Subject to the Changes Clause

Allstate Insurance Company v. Structures Design/Build, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34349 (WD VA March 17, 2016)

This construction dispute case arises from a failed pipe connector that caused water damage to a facility and insured personal property, which Hillel at Virginia Tech, Inc. (“Hillel”) owned in Blacksburg, Virginia. Hillel contracted Structures Design/Build, LLC (“Structures”) to design and construct the facility. Structures, in turn, subcontracted PJ Little Plumbing, Inc. (“PJ”) for plumbing and mechanical installation. PJ purchased the failed pipe connector from CMC Supply, Inc. (“CMC”). Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”) insured Hillel for the damage to the facility and the personal property.

As Hillel’s subrogee, Allstate filed a complaint against Structures and PJ. Allstate sued Structures for various state law claims. It sued PJ for negligence and breach of express and implied warranties. PJ filed a third-party complaint to join CMC on a breach of implied warranty theory. PJ and CMC moved to dismiss the claims against them.


Continue Reading Western District of Virginia Confronts Several Legal Issues That Frequently Impact Multi-Party Construction Disputes – Economic Loss, Damage to Other Property, Third Party Beneficiary Status, Warranties, Subrogation, and Third-Party Joinder

DVBE Trucking and Construction Co., Inc. v. McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90052 (N.D. Cal. July 10, 2015)

This payment dispute case arises out of a Veterans Affairs (“VA”) construction project located in Palo Alto, California.  McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. (“McCarthy”) was the prime contractor, Federal Insurance Company and Travelers Casualty and Surety provided the performance and payment bonds on behalf of McCarthy mandated by the Miller Act, and DVBE Trucking and Construction Company, Inc. (“DVBE”) was McCarthy’s subcontractor.  Section 11.1 of DVBE’s subcontract required that, for any dispute involving the VA, it would follow the dispute resolution procedures agreed to by McCarthy in its contract with the VA, and agreed to be bound by the result of any such dispute resolution procedures to the same degree as McCarthy.


Continue Reading Federal District Court in California Holds that Subcontract Provision Binding Subcontractor to Result of Dispute Resolution under Prime Contract Was Not an Effective Waiver of Miller Act Rights

Marenalley Constr., LLC v. Zurich American Ins. Co. and Nason Constr. Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30968 (E.D. Pa. March 13, 2015)

This payment dispute case arises out of a Veterans Affairs (“VA”) construction project located in Philadelphia. Nason was the general contractor, Zurich was Nason’s surety, and Marenalley was Nason’s subcontractor. Marenalley’s subcontract required it to pursue any claim related to the project through the administrative disputes resolution process provided by Nason’s prime contract with the VA before bringing suit against the project’s bond.  The prime contract’s administrative dispute resolution process clause incorporated the terms of the Contract Disputes Act (the “CDA”).


Continue Reading U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Holds Subcontractor’s Miller Act Suit Not Subject to Stay Pending Prime Contractor’s Prosecution of Claim Against Government

Frontier Contr. Inc. v. Allen Eng’g Contr., Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136474 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 2014)

Frontier Contracting Inc. (Frontier) entered into a teaming agreement with Allen Engineering Contractor, Inc. (Allen) to complete two U.S. Federal Highway projects in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  During the course of the projects, disputes arose and Allen refused to issue full payments to Frontier.  Frontier then filed a complaint against Allen alleging, in part, a Miller Act claim.


Continue Reading U.S. District in California Discusses Distinctions between Joint Ventures and Subcontractor Relationships for Miller Act Purposes

Technica LLC v. Carolina Casualty Ins. Co., 749 F.3d 1149,2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8023 (9th Cir., April, 29, 2014)

This payment dispute arose out of the ICE El Centro SPC – Perimeter Fence Replacement/Internal Devising Fence Replacement federal project in California.  Candelaria was the prime contractor.  Candelaria entered into subcontract with Otay, who contracted with Technica to act as a sub-subcontractor.  After submitting invoices for labor, material and services, Technica received only partial payment for its work.

Technica filed a Miller Act claim authorized by federal statute  to recover the outstanding amount owed on its sub-subcontract against Candelaria’s payment bond.  Candelaria and its surety filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the California Business and Professions Code precludes any contractor from maintaining a collection action, unless the contractor was licensed during the performance of the contract.  Since Technica lacked a California contactor license, the district court held that Technica could not pursue a Miller Act claim.


Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holds Subcontractor’s Lack of License Required By California Law Did Not Bar Its Pursuit of Federal Miller Act Claim

Metcalf Constr. Co. v. United States
742 F.3d 984 (Fed. Cir. 2014)

This action arose out of the design and construction of military housing units at a U.S. Navy facility in Hawaii.  Pre-bid documents for the project supplied by the government provided test information regarding soil conditions on the site.  The government also included a disclaimer that this information was “for preliminary information only” and the resulting contract required that the contractor conduct its own independent soil investigation.

Metcalf Construction Company (the “Contractor”) was awarded the contract.  When the Contractor conducted its independent soil investigation it discovered that the soil was not as represented.  The Contractor notified the government and discussions ensued.  In those discussions, the Contractor recommended a different design and construction approach to account for the newly uncovered conditions, while the government generally insisted on following construction requirements set out in the original contract.  After a year’s delay, the Contractor decided that the cost of waiting for the government to approve the design changes had become too high, and it began to implement those changes without a contract modification.  As a result, the Contractor spent approximately $26 million over the original contract amount to remedy the soil conditions and finish the project.


Continue Reading Federal Circuit Court Clarifies Standard for Establishing Government’s Breach of the Implied Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing in Addressing Claim for Differing Site Conditions

Lydon-Millwright, Inc. v. Ernest Bock & Sons, Inc.
2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65019 (E.D. Pa. May 7, 2013)

This case arises out of a construction project at the Philadelphia International Airport to install a baggage handling system. Bock was the general contractor. Bock contracted Lydon to install the mechanical portion of the baggage handling system. The parties’ purchase order required Lydon to submit a release of liens and claims with each monthly payment application. Over the course of the project, Lydon submitted 54 payment applications, all of which contained the required release of liens and claims.


Continue Reading U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Denies GC’s Motion for Summary Judgment, Holding Issue of Fact Existed as to Whether GC’s Conduct During Settlement Discussions Waived Its Right to Rely on Claim Releases Submitted with Monthly Invoices

Lasalle Group, Inc. v. JST Properties, LLC
2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83548 (S.D. Mich. July 29, 2011)

LaSalle, as general contractor, obtained a contract for construction of a school building in Gulfport, Mississippi. LaSalle subcontracted the concrete work on the project to Gulf Coast. American Contractors Indemnity Company (“ACIC”) provided performance and payment bonds to support LaSalle’s obligations under the subcontract.


Continue Reading U.S. District Court in Michigan Denies Performance Bond Claim for Contractor’s Failure to Meet Conditions Precedent – Also Holds that Surety May Proceed with Overpayment Defense and Counterclaim