P.A.L. Environmental Safety Corp. v. North American Dismantling Corp. Et Al., No. 19-11630, 2020 BL 198779 (E.D. Mich. May 28, 2020)

A Michigan federal court partially granted Consumers Energy Company’s (“CEC”) motion to dismiss P.A.L. Environmental Safety Corporation’s (“PAL”) complaint alleging numerous causes of action in connection with its suit against CEC and contractor North American Dismantling Corporation (“NADC”) for outstanding payment stemming from asbestos abatement work at a CEC-owned power plant in Essexville, Michigan (the “Power Plant”).

According to the decision, CEC, as owner, and NADC, as prime contractor, entered into a written contract whereby NADC agreed to abate, dismantle, and demolish the Power Plant.  In turn, NADC subcontracted with PAL to perform abatement of all asbestos containing material at the Power Plant.  While the subcontract price was $7,996,331, PAL alleged entitlement to an adjusted price of $23,841,833 in unpaid labor and materials for its asbestos abatement work.  Specifically, PAL alleges that it performed additional work not accounted for in the subcontract including fly ash and coal dust removal, refractory brick abatement, and extra asbestos removal.

While PAL’s complaint included numerous counts against Defendants NADC, CEC, and labor and material payment bond surety North American Specialty Insurance Company (“NASIC”), the opinion is most notable for its treatment of CEC’s motion to dismiss several counts against it including: (i) quasi-contractual claims; (ii) a third-party breach of contract claim; and (iii) a negligent misrepresentation claim.
Continue Reading Michigan Federal Court Permits Subcontractor’s Quasi-Contractual Claims to Proceed Despite Existence of Express Contract Covering the Same Subject Matter

Skyrise Construction Group, LLC v. Annex Construction, LLC, 2019 BL 55071 (E.D. Wis. Feb. 20, 2019)

Subcontractor Skyrise Construction, Inc. (“Skyrise”) sued general contractor Annex Construction, Inc. (“Annex”) for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of Wisconsin and Illinois trade practices statutes.  Skyrise primarily based its claims on an assertion that the parties entered into a subcontract, which Annex breached when it removed Skyrise from the project and completed the work with an alternative subcontractor.  Both Skyrise and Annex filed motions for summary judgment.  The District Court denied Skyrise’s motion and granted Annex’s motion.

Continue Reading District Court in Wisconsin Finds That Counteroffer and Repeated Negotiations Concerning a Construction Contract Do Not Create Contractual Relationship

Harakas Constr., Inc. v. Metro Gov’t of Nashville, 2018 Tenn. App. LEXIS 45 (Tenn. App. January 29, 2018)

 BK Partners LLC (“BK”) sought to build a condominium complex in Davidson County.  This required an upgrade to the existing public sewer system.  Therefore BK and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (“Metro”) entered into an agreement whereby Metro agreed to contribute $200,000 to the cost of the sewer upgrade with BK responsible for the actual construction.  BK hired Harakas Construction, Inc. (“Harakas”) to upgrade the system (the “Project”).  Metro was not a party to that contract (the “Contract”).

Harakas encountered unforeseen soil conditions, which resulted in two change orders that increased the Contract amount.  Under the Contract, Metro was not required to authorize change orders; nevertheless, Metro was involved in the discussions.  Harakas performed the extra work and achieved substantial completion.  However, after a defect was discovered in the upgraded system, Metro refused to fund the Project.  When BK failed to pay Harakas, Harakas sued both Metro and BK.  Against Metro, Harakas claimed promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment.  The trial court granted Metro summary judgment based on sovereign immunity.


Continue Reading Sovereign Immunity Bars Contractor’s Claims for Unjust Enrichment and Promissory Estoppel Against City Government on Semi-Public Project

Flintco Pacific, Inc. v. TEC Management Consultants, Inc., 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 594 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. June 21, 2016)

There was an important California decision published on July 19, 2016 (decided June 21, 2016) regarding damages due to reliance on a subcontractor bid of which all General Contractors should be aware.  A general contractor can usually recover damages if a subcontractor does not honor its bid price; which price the general has relied upon in submitting its bid to the owner.  The Court of Appeals has set forth significant limitations on a general contractor’s recovery for damages usually founded under the theory of promissory estoppel.


Continue Reading Alert to Contractors – California Court of Appeals (2d App. Dist.) Rules Subcontractor Price in Proposal Containing Material Conditions Rejected By Contractor Not Enforceable Notwithstanding Contractor Reliance

DCK TTEC, LLC v. Postel Industries, Inc., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 2775 (3d Cir. Feb. 25, 2015)

This action arose out of the construction of two maintenance hangars at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Arizona (the “Project”).  The Navy hired DCK TTEC, LLC (“DCK”) as the general contractor for the construction of the Project.  In November 2010, Postel Industries, Inc. (“Postel”) submitted a bid to DCK to supply and erect fabricated steel for the Project, and in May 2011, Postel and DCK met and signed a letter of intent.


Continue Reading Third Circuit Holds Subcontractor To Its Proposal On Grounds of Promissory Estoppel