liquidated damage provision

Hovas Constr., Inc. v. Western Line Consolidated School Dist.
2012 Miss. App. LEXIS 556 (September 14, 2012)

The Board of Trustees of Western Line Consolidated School District entered into a $450,000 contract with Hovas Construction, Inc. for an addition and renovation work at the O’Bannon High School in Washington County, Mississippi. The contract required that the project achieve substantial completion by June 6, 2008 and included a project delay liquidated damages provision providing for damages of $500 per day. The project achieved substantial completion on July 15, 2008, thirty-nine days late, and the School District withheld $19,500 from Hovas as substantial completion liquidated damages. Hovas filed suit in the Circuit Court of Washington County. The Circuit Court concluded the $19,500 withheld was appropriate because the liquidated damage provision was enforceable and that the School District suffered actual damages.


Continue Reading Mississippi Court of Appeals Reviews Relationship Between Actual Damages for Delay and Liquidated Damages

Excel Construction, Inc. v. HKM Engineering, Inc.
2010 WY 34 (Wyo. Mar. 23, 2010)

The Supreme Court of Wyoming recently reexamined its prior ruling barring a contractor’s assertion of negligence claims against design professionals economic loss rule.

The case pertained to a construction project for the replacement and improvement of water and sewer lines in the Town of Lovell, Wyoming. The Town of Lovell entered into an engineering services agreement with HKM Engineering, Inc. The Town also entered into a construction agreement with Excel Construction, Inc. No contract existed between HKM and Excel.


Continue Reading Supreme Court of Wyoming Declines to Modify Precedent Barring Claims by Contractor Against Design Professional Under the Economic Loss Rule

Bell BCI Co. v. United States
570 F.3d 1337 (Fed. Cir. Jun. 25, 2009)

Plaintiff, Bell BCI Company (Bell), a general contractor, sued the United States (the “Government”) for damages plus interest under the Contract Disputes Act for the unpaid balance of the contract price, unresolved change order claims, delay damages, labor inefficiency costs and profit thereon. Bell also asserted claims on behalf of five subcontractors.


Continue Reading U.S. Court Of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Rules Contractor Cannot Pursue Claims for Cumulative Impact, Holds Release Terms in Modifications Were Unambiguous

Bell BCI Company v. United States
81 Fed. Cl. 617; 2008 U.S. Claims LEXIS 116, (April 21, 2008)
Note: This case was affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded in Bell BCI Co. v. United States, 570 F.3d 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2009), to be discussed in a a future issue of Constructlaw.
Plaintiff, Bell BCI Company (Bell), a general contractor, sued the Government for $6,200,672 in damages plus interest under the Contract Disputes Act for unpaid balance of the price, unresolved changes, delay damages, labor inefficiency costs and profit thereon. Bell also asserted claims on behalf of five subcontractors.
Continue Reading United States Court Of Federal Claims Recognizes General Contractor’s Claim For Cumulative Impact Resulting From Many Modifications And Rejects Defense That Modifications Constituted Accord And Satisfaction

Metric Construction Co., Inc. v. United States
2008 U.S.Claims LEXIS 5 (Fed. Cl., Jan. 7, 2008)
Metric Construction was awarded the contract to construct a warehouse for the United States Army Corps of Engineers at an Air Force base in Utah. After the roof developed serious leaks, the Corps required Metric to replace the roof. Metric then submitted a request for equitable adjustment in the amount of $2,173,091.85 for costs incurred in repairing water damage caused by the leaks, replacing damaged property in the warehouse, and installing a new roof, under the theory that the Corps’ design specifications for the structural steel underlying the roof were defective, and that defective specifications and the Corps’ communications with Metric regarding the roof installation were misrepresentations on which Metric relied to its detriment.
Continue Reading Federal Claims Court Finds Contractor Entitled to Equitable Adjustment Based on Corps’ Defective Specifications and Misrepresentation

1800 Ocotillo, LLC v. WLB Group, Inc.
2008 Ariz. App. LEXIS 9 (Jan. 29, 2008)
The Court of Appeals of Arizona held that a state statute prohibiting design professionals for contracting for indemnity for their sole negligence does not as matter of law prohibit the use of limitation of damages provisions in professional service contracts.
In 1998, a real estate developer, 1800 Ocotillo, undertook the development of a townhouse project in Phoenix that bordered the Arizona Canal. Developer hired an engineering-architectural firm, The WLB Group, to perform surveying, engineering and landscape architecture services on the project. Developer had its design-build contractor sign the contract with the engineering-architectural firm, which included a limitation of damages provision limiting its exposure to the amount of its fees. While the parties never specifically discussed this provision, the entire contract was incorporated into a supplemental contract between the Developer and the engineering architectural firm approximately two years later.
Continue Reading Arizona Court Enforces Limitation of Damages Provision in Engineering Agreement

ACE Constructors, Inc. v. U.S.
2007 U.S. App. Lexis 22309 (Fed. Cir. September 19, 2007)
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a contractor’s claim for additional compensation due to differing site conditions.
ACE Constructors, Inc. (“Contractor”) entered into a contract with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (“Government”) to build a structure designated as the Ammo Hot-Load Facility, at Biggs Army Airfield at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. The project included construction of a loading area for cargo planes, various roadways, buildings, a storage pad, a loading apron, and a taxiway for airplanes. The site contained hills and other terrain that needed to be excavated, leveled, and filled. The bid solicitation materials included architectural drawings and engineering specifications prepared for the government by the engineering firm of Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc., which plans were incorporated into the contract.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Court Of Appeals Upholds Claim For Differing Site Conditions

U.S. ex. rel. Straightline Corp. v. American Casualty Corp.
2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50688 (N.D. W.Va 2007)
The United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia held that a “pay-if-paid” clause was not a valid defense to a Miller Act claim. Straightline, involved a contract dispute between a general contractor’s surety (“surety”)

Hutton Contacting Company, Inc. v. City of Coffeyville
2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 9914, (10th Cir., April 30, 2007)
Contractor contracted to construct power and fiber-optic lines for the City. Upon completion of the project, the City refused to pay the final balance of the contract price, claiming that it was entitled to the funds as liquidated damages because the project was not completed on time. The Contractor sued to obtain the unpaid contract balance. The trial court ordered the City to pay the Contractor the retainage due minus $85,000 in liquidated damages. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, applying Kansas law, considered: 1) whether the contract’s force-majeure clause excused the Contractor for delays caused by late deliveries from its pole supplier; 2) whether the contract’s liquidated-damages provision was enforceable; and 3) whether the contract’s liquidated damages provision allowed the District Court to apportion delays between the Contractor and the City.
Continue Reading Tenth Circuit Holds Supplier Delay Does Not Excuse Contractor Delay Under Force Majeure Clause; Holds Liquidated Damages Provision Allows For Apportionment Of Damages Where Owner Responsible for Some Delays

Menorah Home and Hosp. for the Aged and Infirm v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co.
2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27684 (E.D.N.Y., April 13, 2007)
The District Court for the Eastern District of New York held that a liquidating agreement between an Owner and a Surety was valid and enforceable, even though it permitted the Owner to retain any recovery it obtained from the third-party, rather than having money pass-through to the surety.
The case arose out of a project to build and renovate facilities for Menorah Home and Hospital for the Aged and Infirm (“Owner”). The Owner entered into a contract with J.A. Jones Construction Group, LLC (“Jones”) for the Project. When Jones defaulted, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (“FFIC”), Jones’ surety, took over and completed the Project. The Owner subsequently sued FFIC alleging that FFIC had breached its performance bond obligations by failing to complete the Project in a timely manner and correct deficiencies in the work performed by Jones.
Continue Reading NY District Court Enforces Liquidating Agreement Between Owner And Surety That Permitted Owner To Retain Recovery Obtained From Third Party To Satisfy Owner’s Claim For Damages Against Surety