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?

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

COVID-19 has created a severe disruption to the construction industry. Certain jurisdictions, including Boston, San Francisco and Pennsylvania, have placed restrictions on construction projects deemed “nonessential” and require waivers for certain projects to continue. Owners, contractors, suppliers and others may currently have more questions than answers. This article addresses some important concerns, and provides links to additional resources that more specifically address these concerns.
Continue Reading COVID-19 and the Construction Industry: Important Considerations

This article was originally published in the April 2020 issue of ConsensusDocs Construction Law. It is republished here with permission.

State and local governments throughout the country continue to issue orders in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Many states have ordered the shutdown of all businesses, with various exceptions such as businesses that are “essential” and/or “life-sustaining.” Each jurisdiction has provided a list and/or guidance on what kinds of businesses must close and what can remain open. Pepper Hamilton continues to monitor these orders and update its “COVID-19 – State Business Impact Tracker” map, an interactive tool that shows shutdown orders by state. The Business Impact Tracker can be accessed at https://covid19.pepperlaw.com/.

Whether construction projects can continue is an ever-changing issue. In some jurisdictions, such as Boston, all construction projects were shut down. In other locations, whether construction can continue may depend on the county, or even city, where the project is located and/or the type of project. However, those supplying labor, materials and/or equipment to construction projects should closely monitor how their projects are being impacted, including whether and when to exercise statutory remedies available, e.g., ‘ lien, stop payment notice and/or bond rights. In many states, the statutory deadlines to assert these rights are triggered by “completion” of a project.
Continue Reading Continuous Cessation of Labor on Construction Projects Can Trigger Statutory Remedy Deadlines

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?

Rad and D’Aprile, Inc. v. Arnell Construction Corp, No. 502464/14, 2019 BL 131606 (NY. Sup. Ct. April 3, 2019)

In June of 2001, Arnell Construction Corp. (“Arnell”) entered into a prime contract to build two sanitation garages in Brooklyn for the New York City Department of Sanitation (the “City”).  Arnell subcontracted the project’s masonry work to Rad and D’Aprile, Inc. (“Rad”).  After execution of the subcontract, Rad was informed that the start of work would be delayed because the City had not yet obtained ownership or access to all portions of the site.  When its work did commence, only limited portions of the site were available.  This caused inefficiencies in Rad’s work and caused it to incur increased costs.

Continue Reading New York Court Holds Contractor’s Failure to Timely Pass Through Subcontractor Delay Claim to the Owner Constitutes Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

Maxum Indemnity Co. v. Robbins Co., P.C., No. 1:17-CV-01968, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57729 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 28, 2018)

On March 21, 2018, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio granted a motion for judgment on the pleadings in favor of Maxum Indemnity Co. and declared that Maxum has no duty to defend or indemnify The Robbins Company in an international arbitration initiated by a third-party, JCM Northlink, LLC.

Robbins is a designer, manufacturer, and supplier of tunnel-boring machines (“TBMs”) and was engaged by JCM to supply a TBM for Seattle’s Northgate Link Extension project to add additional light rail lines to the city’s existing public transportation system.  Maxum insured Robbins under two commercial general liability policies in connection with the Northgate Link Extension project.

Continue Reading Boring Through the Details: U.S. District Court Declares Boring Company Dispute Not Covered by Insurance Policies

Fid. & Deposit Co. of Md. v. T

ravelers Cas. & Sur. Co. of Am., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162265 (D. Nev., September 21, 2018)
Clark County School District (“CCSD”) hired Big Town Mechanical (“Big Town”) as general contractor to perform HVAC upgrades at five schools.  Big Town in turn hired F.A.S.T. Systems (“FAST”) to complete low-voltage work at the schools.  Big Town obtained performance bonds from Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America (“Travelers”) and FAST obtained performance bonds from Fidelity & Deposit Company of Maryland (“F&D”).

Following FAST’s default on its subcontracts, F&D opted to complete FAST’s work and hired a substitute subcontractor, Perini.  In May 2012, Perini notified Big Town that it had “substantially completed” all of FAST’s work.  After Big Town refused payment, F&D filed suit against Big Town and Travelers in early 2013.  In May of 2013, CCSD rejected Big Town’s final payment application, stating that the project was incomplete and claiming there were significant defects in the work.  CCSD then sued Travelers seeking specific performance and liquidated damages for delay.  Travelers eventually settled CCSD’s suit but through its counterclaim sought reimbursement from F&D for its settlement plus costs expended to complete the project.
Continue Reading Concurrent Delay: Surety—Standing in the Shoes of Subcontractor—Is Barred From Asserting Defense of Concurrent Delay Because Subcontractor Failed to Seek a Time Extension as Required by the Subcontracts

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

Wood Elec., Inc. v. Ohio Facilities Constr. Comm’n, 10th Dist. Franklin No. 16AP-643, 2017-Ohio-2743, 2017 Ohio App. Lexis 1745 (May 9, 2017)

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (“OFCC”), together with a school district, an architect, and a construction manager, issued an invitation for bids to build a school. Three prime contractors were chosen: a general contractor, a mechanical contractor, and an electrical contractor, Wood Electric (“Wood”).

The general contractor failed to meet the contractual milestones for either temporary enclosure or full building enclosure, significantly delaying Wood’s work. Wood notified the OFCC of the likely impact on its work soon after the general contractor failed to meet the first milestone, and requested an extension of its own deadlines. The OFCC denied Wood’s request. Wood then requested an extension of time in which to prepare, substantiate, and certify a formal claim, which the OFCC also denied.  Wood hastened to submit a timely claim, projecting an impact of $207,467.57, and reserving its right to supplement the claim when the full impact on its work became known.

When OFCC denied Wood’s claim, Wood sued OFCC in the Court of Claims.  At trial, OFCC acknowledged that Wood had a proper claim, but disputed the $254,027 amount, which included $35,006 for home office overhead.  Wood’s expert testified that he had calculated the home office overhead using the “HOOP” formula adopted by the Ohio Department of Transportation.  The trial court ultimately entered judgment in favor of Wood for the full amount of its claim.


Continue Reading Ohio Appeals Court Holds That Contractor Who Seeks Application of HOOP Formula to Calculate Home Office Overhead Need Not Prove The Conditions Precedent For Application of Eichleay Formula