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

Aspic Eng’g & Constr. Co. v. ECC Centcom Constructors LLC, No. 17-16510, 2019 BL 26363 (9th Cir. Jan. 28, 2019)

Aspic Engineering and Construction Company (“Aspic”), a local Afghan subcontractor, entered into multiple subcontracts with ECC Centcom Constructors and ECC International (“ECC”), the prime contractor, to construct buildings and facilities in Afghanistan.  The subcontracts contained terms and conditions “applicable to all U.S. Government subcontracts,” and mandated that Aspic owed ECC the same obligations that ECC owed to the federal government.  The subcontracts also incorporated multiple Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) clauses, including FAR 49.2 through 49.6, which govern the recovery of expenses in the event a contractor is terminated for convenience, i.e. required documentation and procedures.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Finds Arbitration Award Is ‘Irrational’ Because It Disregards the Contract’s Plain Text Simply to Reach a Just Result

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

Securiforce Int’l America, LLC v. United States, 125 Fed. Cl. 749 (March 21, 2016)

Plaintiff Securiforce International America, LLC (“Securiforce”) was awarded a contract by the Defense Logistics Agency Energy (“DLA Energy” or the “agency”) to deliver diesel fuel and gasoline to eight Department of State sites in Iraq.  But, within three months of the award, the agency partially terminated the contract for the convenience of the government.  The remainder of the contract was terminated for cause shortly thereafter.

As a result of its termination, Securiforce submitted claims to DLA Energy’s contracting officer, seeking, among other things, a declaration from the contracting officer that the termination for convenience was invalid and constituted a breach of contract.  The contracting officer denied the claims.


Continue Reading Court of Federal Claims Rules Contracting Officer’s Failure to Exercise Independent Business Judgment Renders Partial Termination for Convenience an Abuse of Discretion and Breach, but Holds Subsequent Termination for Cause of Remainder of Contract to Be Appropriate

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

Butch-Kavitz, Inc. v. Mar-Paul Co., Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160652 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 1, 2015)

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (the “Owner”) entered into a contract (the “Contract”) with Mar-Paul Company, Inc. (“Mar-Paul”) for $3,381,000.00, under which Mar-Paul would serve as general contractor on a construction project for renovations to a building at the Tobyhanna Army Depot in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania (the “Project”).  In turn, Mar-Paul entered into a subcontract (the “Subcontract”) with Butch-Kavitz, Inc. (“Butch-Kavitz”) for $452,000.00, under which Butch-Kavitz would perform the electrical and generator work in connection with the Project.


Continue Reading Federal Court in Pennsylvania Holds That Contractor’s Nominal Underpayment of Progress Payments Does Not Relieve Subcontractor’s Duty to Perform

SAK & Assocs. v. Ferguson Constr., Inc., 189 Wn. App. 405 (Wash. Ct. App. 2015)

Ferguson Construction, Inc. (“General Contractor”) entered into a fixed sum contract (the “Subcontract”) with SAK & Associates (“Subcontractor”) to provide concrete materials and paving services (the “Work”).  The Subcontract included a termination for convenience clause providing that General Contractor could terminate Subcontractor for convenience upon written notice.  After Subcontractor completed 24 percent of the Work, General Contractor terminated Subcontractor.  General Contractor paid Subcontractor 24 percent of the fixed contract price for the work Subcontractor actually completed.


Continue Reading Washington State Court Upholds Termination For Convenience Clause in Subcontract – Partial Performance Provides Adequate Consideration to Make Contractor’s Promise Not Illusory

Vanguard Constr., Inc. v. United States, 2015 U.S. Claims LEXIS 1158 (Fed. Cl. Sep. 8, 2015)

The United States Air Force (the “Government”) entered into a contract with Vanguard Construction, Inc. (“Contractor”) to replace a roof (the “Contract”).  The Contract incorporated by reference portions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

Contractor’s demolition of the existing roof revealed that a significant section of the roof stem wall was missing.  The Contract did not address the contingency of a missing stem wall.  Contractor sent the Government several letters asking for guidance on how to proceed, including a request for information on structural requirements for building a stem wall.  The Government refused to provide the requested information, asserting that the terms of the contract allocated to the Contractor the risk of dealing with latent or unanticipated site conditions and the burden of devising a solution to the problem.


Continue Reading Court of Federal Claims Holds Contractor’s Duty to Continue Performance Under Disputes Clause May Be Excused Where Government Fails to Provide Information Necessary to Continue Performance

Milton Reg’l Sewer Auth. v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155419 (M.D. Pa. Nov. 3, 2014)

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled that multiple instances of incomplete and/or defective performance by a contractor did not amount to a material breach so as to excuse the owner from providing notice and an opportunity to cure prior to termination.


Continue Reading U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Dismisses Owner’s Claim Against Performance Bond Surety – Repeated Instances of Poor Performance By Contractor Were Not So Material As to Allow Owner to Terminate Without Providing Cure Notice

Utility Line Services, Inc. v. PVR Marcellus Gas Gathering, LLC
Court of Common Pleas for Delaware County, Pennsylvania, No. 12-4322

On April 17, 2014, a Delaware County, Pennsylvania, jury awarded contractor Utility Line Services, Inc., a $24.3 Million verdict against PVR Marcellus Gas Gathering, LLC, for breach of a contract for construction of a natural