Much has been written about whether and how COVID-19 qualifies as a force majeure event, and some additional information can be found here. But typical force majeure provisions entitle contractors to only schedule relief. While force majeure clauses may limit exposure to liquidated or consequential damages for delays, contractors who incur increased costs resulting from COVID-19 related delays should carefully evaluate the entirety of their contractual rights to not only an extension of time, but also recover prolongation costs. To assist in this endeavor, this article looks beyond force majeure to other potentially relevant contractual provisions. Potential remedies under the various contractual clauses discussed below will depend on the specific contractual language and project-specific facts.
Continue Reading COVID-19 and the Construction Industry: Looking Beyond Force Majeure to Recover Time and Costs for Delay

This article was originally published on December 3, 2019 on ConsensusDocs. It is reprinted here with permission.

Construction contracts often include a “no damage for delay” clause that denies a contractor the right to recover delay-related costs and limits the contractor’s remedy to an extension of time for noncontractor-caused delays to a project’s completion date. Depending on the nature of the delay and the jurisdiction where the project is located, the contractual prohibition against delay damages may well be enforceable. This article will explore whether an enforceable no-damage-for-delay clause is also a bar to recovery of “acceleration” damages, i.e., the costs incurred by the contractor in its attempt to overcome delays to the project’s completion date.

Continue Reading Does a No-Damage-for-Delay Clause Also Preclude Acceleration Damages?

Chinese Hosp. Ass’n v. Jacobs Eng’g Grp., Inc., 2019 BL 330340, 2 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 03, 2019)

This case arises out of the alleged breach of contract and defective design for the construction of a new hospital in San Francisco.  During construction, property owner and plaintiff Chinese Hospital Association (“Chinese Hospital”) became aware of alleged defects involving the designs provided by its subcontractor, architect-defendant Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. (“Jacobs”).  Chinese Hospital terminated its contract with Jacobs for convenience mid-construction.

Continue Reading Owner Did Not Waive Right to Damages by Terminating Design Contract for Convenience

Skanska USA Building, Inc. v. J.D. Long Masonry, Inc., No. 1:16-cv-00933, 2019 BL 336852, (D. Md. Sept. 9, 2019)

On September 9, 2019, a Maryland federal court awarded Skanska USA Building, Inc. (“Skanska”) compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, and litigation expenses including attorney and expert fees in its suit against subcontractor J.D. Long Masonry, Inc. (“Long”) for defective masonry work at a Johns Hopkins University research facility.

Continue Reading Maryland Federal Court Upholds Contractual Indemnity Clause and Awards Judgment Interest and Attorneys Fees in Masonry Suit

  1. Lost profits, not part of unpaid contract balance, may be recoverable as consequential damages in contract claim, but cannot be included in lien. TSP Services Inc. v. National-Standard, LLC, 2019 BL 340267 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 10, 2019)

National-Standard, LLC contracted TSP Services, Inc. for asbestos abatement, demolition, restoration, and disposal of scrap steel

Gainesville Mech., Inc. v. Air Data, Inc., No. A19A0518., 2019 BL 229069 (Ga. Ct. App. June 19, 2019)

The First Division of the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed a superior court’s decision to confirm an arbitration award against Appellant Gainesville Mechanical, Inc. (“Gainesville”) because Gainesville failed to show that the arbitrator manifestly disregarded the law governing the “modified total cost” approach to damages.

Continue Reading Georgia Court of Appeals Affirms Superior Court’s Confirmation of Arbitration Award, Finding That Arbitrator Did Not Manifestly Disregard Law Governing the “Modified Total Cost” Approach to Damages

Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC v. Ohio Valley Coal Co., 2019 BL 99544 (Ohio Ct. App. Mar. 21, 2019)

Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (“Columbia”) operated a high-pressure gas pipeline.  A portion of pipeline crossed land for which Ohio Valley Coal Company (“OVC”) and Consolidated Land Company (“Consolidated”) held interest rights in the underlying coal.  Columbia undertook measures to protect its pipeline from subsidence damage that OVC’s subterranean coal mining was certain to cause.  An Ohio appellate court held that OVC and Consolidated were liable to Columbia for those preventative measures.

Continue Reading Ohio Appellate Court Finds That Coal Mining Entities Are Liable to Pipeline Operator for Preventative Measures to Protect Against Subsidence Damages

Cont’l Res. v. P&P Indus., LLC, 2018 N.D. Lexis 20 (January 22, 2018)

In 2013, Continental Resources Inc. (“Continental”), an oil producer doing business in North Dakota, entered into a master servicing agreement, governed by Oklahoma law, with United Oilfield Services (“United”).  According to the contract, United agreed to provide transportation, water hauling, and related support services to Continental in support of Continental’s ongoing operations in North Dakota.  The contract also contained the following termination provision: “[I]t being understood and agreed that either party hereto may cancel this Contract by giving the other party thirty (30) days written notice of such cancellation.”

Approximately a year after the parties signed the contract, Continental alleged that United (i) violated state and federal limits and regulations regarding the number of hours a truck driver may drive, (ii) violated Continental’s policy limiting the number of hours an employee could work in a day, and (iii) engaged in improper and fraudulent billing.  Following its discovery of United’s alleged misconduct, Continental terminated its contract and filed suit against United and other related entities.


Continue Reading Supreme Court of North Dakota: Where Contract Provided That Either Party Could Cancel Upon 30 Days’ Notice, the Non-Breaching Party Seeking Lost Profits Could Only Recover the Lost Profits it Would Have Earned During the Notice Period