Abhe & Svboda, Inc. v. State of Michigan Department of Transportation, 2017 Mich. App. Lexis 1387 (August 29, 2017)

Contractor Abhe & Svboda, Inc. (“A&B”) entered into a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation (“MDOT”) to clean and paint a portion of the Mackinac Bridge, with a contract completion date of October 30, 2009.  A&B missed the completion date by 644 days.  MDOT, therefore, imposed liquidated damages in the amount of $3,000 per day for each day by which completion was delayed.
In the trial court, A&B argued that MDOT’s assessment of liquidated damages was improper because a portion of the delay was caused by MDOT’s failure to approve a prerequisite to the work (scaffolding) and because site conditions were substantially worse than reasonably anticipated.


Continue Reading Michigan Court of Appeals Holds That Contractor Who Failed to Timely Seek a Time Extension Is Barred From Contesting Liquidated Damages

Parkcrest Builders, LLC v. Hous. Auth. of New Orleans, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125012 (E.D. La. August 8, 2017)

The Housing Authority of New Orleans (“the Authority”) contracted with Parkcrest Builders, LLC (“Parkcrest”) to construct a public housing project.  The Project was delayed and the Authority terminated Parkcrest prior to completion, and entered into a Takeover Agreement with Parkcrest’s Surety.  The Surety retained Parkcrest to complete the work, and later notified the Authority that it had achieved substantial completion.  The Authority asserted deficient and incomplete items remained on the project, which the Surety refused to complete.  The Authority then solicited bids for the remaining work, and awarded the work to a replacement contractor.

Parkcrest sued the Authority for breach of contract and also asserted that any delays on the Project were excusable and, therefore, not subject to liquidated damages.  The Authority counterclaimed against Parkcrest for added costs to complete the project.  The Surety intervened, also seeking a ruling that all delays were excusable.  The Authority then counterclaimed against the Surety for completion costs.


Continue Reading Federal Court Holds That Under Louisiana Law, Actual Notice of Cause of Delay Satisfies Contractual Notice Requirement Despite Failure to Strictly Comply With the Notice Provision

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 7252 (4th Cir., April 25, 2017)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently addressed whether the City of Baltimore (the “City”) had abandoned a contractually required administrative dispute resolution process and relieved Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. (the “Contractor”) of any obligation to use the administrative dispute resolution process before seeking judicial review of the Contractor’s claims.

The City and the Contractor entered into two contracts (the “Contracts”) whereby the Contractor agreed to build certain parts of a wastewater treatment plant servicing the Chesapeake Bay. The Contracts stipulated that time was of the essence and permitted the City to assess liquidated damages if the Contractor failed to meet the specified completion date.  The Contracts also incorporated by reference the administrative dispute resolution process set forth in the City’s “Department of Public Works Specifications – Materials, Highways, Bridges, Utilities and Incidental Structures 2006,” known as the “Green Book,” which requires contractors engaged by the City in connection with public works projects to seek administrative review by the City’s Department of Public Works of any dispute related to their contracts before suing in court.


Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Contractor’s Complaint, Declining to Create ‘Ultra Vires’ or ‘Bias’ Exceptions to the Requirement That Contractors Exhaust Their Administrative Remedies Under Maryland Law Before Suing a Government Agency

Cleveland Construction, Inc. v. Kent State University
2010 Ohio 2906, 2010 Ohio App. LEXIS 2407 (Ohio Ct. App. June 24, 2010)

The Ohio Court of Appeals held that a contractor’s failure to submit claims in accordance with the contract’s dispute process and its failure to exhaust administrative remedies prescribed by statute would bar its claims regardless of assertions as to the futility or unfairness of such procedures.


Continue Reading Ohio Court Holds Contractor Claims Barred Because of Failure to Comply With Contract’s Claim Submission and Dispute Resolution Provisions

A. Hedenberg & Co., Inc., v. St. Luke’s Hospital of Deluth,
1996 Minn. App. LEXIS p. 379 (Minn. Ct. App. April 2, 1996)
In July 1992, St. Luke’s Hospital of Deluth (“Hospital”) contracted with A. Hedenberg & Co., Inc. (“Contractor”) to build a hospital addition. The contract provided for a 240-day construction period and allowed $500 per day as liquidated damages for work not completed within that time period. The contract also included a provision entitled “Claims and Disputes,” and defined claim as:

a demand or assertion by one of the parties seeking, as a matter of right, adjustment or interpretation of contract terms, payment of money, expenses and time or other relief with respect to the terms of the contract. The term “claim” also includes other disputes and matters in question between the Owner and Contractor arising out of or relating to the Contract. Claims must be made by written notice.


Continue Reading Minnesota Court of Appeals Affirms Summary Judgment rulings that the assertion of a right to liquidated damages was a "claim" under a contract and therefore governed under the time limits for asserting claims; and, an owner waived its right to enforce completion date by requesting changes in the construction after the scheduled completion date had passed

Holloway Constr. Co. v. Department of Transportation
218 Ga. App. 243, 461 S.E. 2d 257, 1995 Ga. App. LEXIS 693 (July 13, 1995).
One of several multiple prime contractors was not entitled to sue owner for delays attributable to other prime contractor — on theory of breach of implied or express obligation — in light of clear contractual provision stating that owner would not be liable for delays attributable to contractors. Contractor barred from pursuing claim for extended overhead and equipment costs allegedly attributable to owner-directed changes in the work and owner’s failure to make prompt decisions because contractor did not provide timely request for an extension of time in accordance with contract. 
Continue Reading Georgia Appeals Court Holds Contractor's Delay Claim Barred by Exculpatory Clause and Failure to Provide Timely Notice