Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. v Guar. Co. of N. Am. USA, 2019 BL 97923 (Colo. App. Mar. 21, 2019).

This construction dispute involved rights and obligations under a performance bond supplied for an office building construction project in Denver, Colorado.  Whiting-Turner Contracting Company was the general contractor, and it subcontracted Klempco Construction to construct an anchor system for the project’s underground parking garage.  Klempco provided performance and payment bonds for the project from Guarantee Company of North America USA (“GCNA”).  When Klempco fell behind schedule, it stopped paying its sub-subcontractors and directed Whiting-Turner to assume responsibility for its work and sub-subcontractors.

Continue Reading Colorado Court of Appeals Finds Contractor Satisfied Conditions Precedent Under Performance Bond

Team Contractors, LLC v. Waypoint Nola, LLC, No. 16-1131, 2019 BL 96133 (E.D. La. Mar. 20, 2019)

The Eastern District of Louisiana recently denied the motion of a prime contractor (the “Contractor”) for summary judgment on its breach of contract claim against the owner (the “Owner”) of a construction project in New Orleans (the “Project”) where the primary issue involved whether a suspensive condition was enforceable.

Continue Reading Federal Court in Louisiana Upholds Suspensive Condition Not Subject Solely to Owner’s Whim

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

R&O Constr. Co. v. MBA Gen. Contracting, LLC, No. 1:18-cv-00042, 2019 BL 98680 (D. Utah Mar. 21, 2019)

On March 21, 2019, a Utah federal court granted Defendants MBA General Contracting, LLC and Cory Martin’s motion to dismiss R&O Construction Company’s claim for attorney fees.
R&O, as general contractor of a construction project, entered into two subcontracts with MBA to perform concrete work.  The first subcontract, entitled Master Subcontract Agreement, outlined general obligations between the parties.  The second, entitled Work Authorization Document, outlined more specific obligations.  R&O asserted various causes of action against MBA arising from MBA’s alleged breach of the subcontracts, including a claim for attorney fees.  MBA moved to dismiss the attorney fees claim, arguing that neither subcontract provides for such an award.

Continue Reading Utah Federal Court Dismisses Claim for Attorney Fees Finding That Neither the Indemnification Provision nor the Failure-To-Perform Provision Applies to a Lawsuit Between Contractor and Subcontractor

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

Hagen Constr. Inc. v. Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., No. JKB-18-1201, 2019 BL 36862 (D. Md. Feb. 04, 2019)

This case arises out of the construction of a pediatric outpatient center in southern New Jersey.  Plaintiff subcontractor Hagen Construction, Inc. (“Hagen”) filed suit in New Jersey state Court against defendant general contractor Whiting-Turner Construction Co. (“W-T”), seeking reimbursement for labor inefficiency costs incurred as a result of W-T’s alleged project mismanagement.  Hagen claimed it incurred additional costs to repeat work and remobilize to multiple areas because it was not afforded unimpeded access or timely supply of necessary materials and information.  Once the case was removed and transferred to Maryland federal Court, W-T moved for partial summary judgment on the portion of Hagen’s breach of contract claim reflecting labor inefficiency costs.
Continue Reading Federal Court in Maryland Holds Subcontractor Waived Right to Bring Labor Inefficiency Claim Despite Voicing ‘Expression[s] of Frustration’ and ‘General Complaints’ of Mismanagement Throughout Project

U.S. Pipelining LLC v. Johnson Controls, Inc., No. 16-00132 HG-RLP, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150767 (D. Haw. Oct. 31, 2016)

This action arose out of the renovation of a condominium complex on Maui (Project). Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) was the general contractor and U.S. Pipelining LLC (USP) was a subcontractor. While the parties disputed who was ultimately responsible for obtaining a license for the work, the Subcontract included a provision that required USP to “obtain[] all licenses and permits required for the prosecution of the Work.” Nonetheless, USP performed its work without obtaining a license from the State of Hawaii. During the Project, a dispute arose between the parties. USP filed a complaint alleging various claims against JCI and others, seeking payment for the additional work it allegedly performed.

Chapter 444 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (the “Statute”) requires contractors to obtain a license before performing any renovation work on real property.


Continue Reading Federal Court in Hawaii Holds that an Unlicensed Subcontractor May Pursue Contract Claims Against Contractor Notwithstanding Statute Precluding Unlicensed Contractors from Recovering in a Civil Action

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

Zacherl, Inc. v. Flaherty Mechanical Contractors, LLC, 131 A.3d 1030, 2016 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 22 (Jan. 6, 2016)

The West Allegheny School Board (the “School Board”) voted to approve the School District’s (the “District’s”) plan to renovate its high school building (the “Project”).  The District contracted with Flaherty Mechanical Contractors, LLC (“Flaherty”) to act as the prime contractor.  Flaherty submitted the names of its subcontractors for the School Board’s review.  When the School Board raised no objections to Flaherty’s submission, Flaherty subcontracted with F. Zacherl, Inc. (“Zacherl”) to perform sheet metal work at the Project.

During the Project, the District made timely payments to Flaherty, but Flaherty failed to make timely payments to its subcontractors, including Zacherl.  The District terminated Flaherty’s contract in part as a result of Flaherty’s payment issues.  Flaherty, in turn, terminated Zacherl’s contract.


Continue Reading Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Holds Enforceable School District’s Oral Promise to Pay Subcontractor for Returning to Job after Prime Contractor’s Termination

Davis Group, Inc. v. Ace Electric, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83368 (M.D. Fla. June 26, 2015)

This action arose out of a construction project to build a new Radar Approach Control Facility at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina (“Project”). The United States Army Corps of Engineers (“COE”) contracted with general contractor Davis Group, Inc. (“TDG”) to construct the Project. TDG entered into a subcontract with Ace Electric, Inc. (“Ace”) to perform the electrical work on the Project (the “Subcontract”).

The Subcontract included various provisions addressing delays in completion of the work. In particular, the parties agreed that Ace was entitled to a reasonable extension of time and/or additional compensation if its work was delayed, through no fault of Ace, by the COE, TDG or other subcontractors. If on the other hand, Ace was responsible for a delay in completion of the work, then the parties agreed that Ace would “reimburse [TDG] for the entire cost and expense suffered or incurred as a result of” the delay, including any liquidated or other damages the COE might assess against TDG for delays to the Project as a whole. The Subcontract further provided that, if “such damages are caused by [Ace] and another person or entity,” TDG could “reasonably apportion such damages between the parties, and any such apportionment shall be final and binding upon [Ace].”


Continue Reading Federal District Court in Florida Holds that Contract Provision Giving General Contractor Discretion to Apportion Damages Does Not Confer Authority to Determine That Subcontractor Caused Delay