Days after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic, governments from around the world scrambled to enact measures aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus. In the United States, cities and states have enacted travel restrictions, issued shelter-in-place orders, and directed nonessential businesses to shutter. While all aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus, these measures will have an immense disruptive impact on businesses and industries around the world — the construction sector included.

As notices concerning force majeure, changes in law, and change orders swirl, parties should prepare themselves for how these disputes will be managed and resolved. The COVID-19 outbreak will rapidly reshape how the construction sector does business. This article offers our insight into just once facet of the construction industry: alternative dispute resolution and how the COVID-19 outbreak has and will affect construction disputes going forward.
Continue Reading ADR for Construction Disputes During COVID-19: How to Manage Dispute Resolution Before and After the Dust Settles

With the signing of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation in August 2019, there has been a newfound focus on how parties can improve and expand the use of alternative forms of dispute resolution outside conventional litigation and arbitration proceedings.  Pepper Hamilton attorneys Albert Bates and R. Zachary Torres-Fowler contributed

SMJ Gen. Constr., Inc. v. Jet Commer. Constr., LLC, No. S-16785/16985, 2019 BL 131640 (Alaska Apr. 12, 2019)

In 2016, Jet Commercial Construction, LLC (“Jet”) entered into a subcontract with SMJ General Construction, Inc. (“SMJ”) to supply materials and labor for the construction of a restaurant in Hawaii.  The subcontract contained a dispute resolution provision that required the parties to first mediate any dispute and then submit it to arbitration if mediation was unsuccessful.  It also included a choice-of-law and venue provision designating Oklahoma Law and the courts of Cleveland County, Oklahoma for any lawsuits pertaining to the Agreement’s enforcement.

Continue Reading Alaska’s Supreme Court Holds That Executing a Settlement Agreement Releases Parties from Contractual Obligation to Arbitrate Disputes

A generation ago, mediation of construction disputes was unusual. Today, it is rare that a construction claim goes to trial without some effort at mediation first. Indeed, a substantial percentage of construction contracts require mediation as a precondition to filing suit or demanded arbitration.
Still, as pervasive as mediation has become, misperceptions about mediation persist among the contractor population generally.

What does a mediator decide? Who controls the proceedings? Is there such a thing as binding mediation? How confidential is confidential during and after a mediation?


Continue Reading What Every Contractor Needs To Know About Mediation