Liberty Mutual Insurance Company

Aquatherm, LLC v. CentiMark Corp, 2019 BL 13240 (D. Utah Apr. 12, 2019)

Stag II Lindon LLC and Stag Industrial Inc. (collectively “Stag”) owned a building in Lindon, Utah.  Stag contracted with CentiMark Corp. (“CentiMark”) to perform work on the building’s roof.  CentiMark’s work required it to manipulate, move, and reinstall existing heating cables on the roof.  Shortly after completion of the work, in March of 2014, a fire occurred on the roof which was traced to the location of heat tape, which CentiMark had removed and replaced.

Continue Reading District Court in Utah Grants Summary Judgment for Contractor Against Insurance Subrogation Claim Based on Contractual Waiver Provision and Statute of Limitations

Connelly Constr. Corp. v. Travelers Cas. & Surety Co. of Am., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123009 (E.D. Pa. July 24, 2018).

This post was published in the October 4, 2018 issue of eNews published by National Association of Credit Management (NACM).

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of General Services undertook a project for the construction of a new maximum security prison facility in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  Walsh Heery Joint Venture (“WHJV”) was the prime contractor and it retained Connelly Construction Corporation as its masonry subcontractor.

The prime contract permitted the Commonwealth to withhold retainage from WHJV until completion of the project.  Similarly, the subcontract permitted WHJV to withhold retainage from Connelly in proportion to the retainage held by the Commonwealth.  The subcontract also included a pay-if-paid clause under which Connelly agreed that it was not entitled to payment unless, as an express condition precedent, WHJV was paid by the Commonwealth.

Completion of the project was delayed for more than two years.  As a result, the Commonwealth continued to withhold retainage from WHJV, and WHJV thus withheld more than $200,000 in retainage from Connelly, long after Connelly completed its scope of work.
Continue Reading Federal Court in Pennsylvania Holds Pay-If-Paid Clause Unenforceable Where Prime Contractor’s Inadvertent Delays Contribute to the Owner’s Withholding of Payment

G&G Mech. Constructors, Inc. v. Jeff City Indus., Inc., No. WD80840, 2018 Mo. App. LEXIS 271 (Mar. 20, 2018)

This case arose out of a project in Columbia, Missouri on which Jeff City Industry, Inc. (“JCI”) was the general contractor and G&G Mechanical Constructors, Inc. (“G&G”) was a subcontractor.

The draft subcontract contained an interest provision which provided that overdue payments “shall bear interest at the annual rate of 18% or the highest rate allowed by law, if lower. Retainage shall not be held out of payment.”  JCI struck through this provision, wrote “5% Retiange [sic]” in the margin, initialed it, and sent it to G&G.  G&G also initialed the revision.

When JCI failed to pay G&G for its work, G&G sued JCI for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violation of Missouri’s Prompt Pay Act.  A jury returned a verdict against JCI, and the trial court entered a judgment against it which included prejudgment interest at the rate of 9% pursuant to Missouri Revised Statute § 408.020.
Continue Reading If You Want to Avoid Prejudgment Interest You Have to Expressly Say So in the Contract, Merely Striking the Interest Provision From the Contract May Not Work

King Cnty. v. Vinci Constr. Grands Projets/Parsons RCI/ Frontier-Kemper, JV, No. 92744-8, 2017 Wash. LEXIS 743 (July 6, 2017)

King County contracted with three construction firms (collectively, “VPFK”) to construct a tunnel.  The contract required substantial completion by November 14, 2010 (the “contract time”).  It also required VPFK to secure a performance bond from five surety companies, under which the sureties were to remedy any default in VPFK’s performance.

VPFK experienced difficulties with its tunnel-boring equipment and was unable to dig nearly as fast as estimated.  When it became clear that VPFK would not achieve substantial completion by the contract time, King County declared VPFK in default.  The sureties refused King County’s request for a cure, arguing that because the contract time had not passed, no default had yet occurred.

King County filed a breach of contract action against VPFK and the sureties, who denied coverage and adopted all of VPFK’s defenses.  A jury found in favor of King County and awarded nearly $130 million in damages.


Continue Reading Sharply-Divided Washington Supreme Court Holds That Sureties, Like Insurers, Must Pay Attorney Fees to Prevailing Parties When They Wrongfully Deny Coverage