Coalview Centralia, LLC v. Transalta Centralia Mining LLC, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185914 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 30, 2018)

This case involves a dispute over Coalview Centralia, LLC’s (“Coalview”) performance of environmental cleanup work at a coal mine and associated power plant near Centralia, Washington.  TransAlta Central Mining (“TCM”) hired Coalview to remediate and restore three waste coal slurry impoundment ponds.  In general terms, Coalview agreed to dredge the ponds, extract the coal fines for use in the power plant, and deliver the remaining slurry for final disposal.  Coalview was to submit monthly invoices – and to be paid – based on the weight of slurry removed or the weight of usable coal recovered, whichever is greater.

The Master Services Agreement (“MSA”) between TCM and Coalview provided, in pertinent part, that: (1) TCM had 30 days to “dispute” an invoice and explain the reasons for its dispute; (2) the parties had a one-year period to correct invoice “inaccuracies”; and (3) “[n]otwithstanding any disputes … contractor and owner shall diligently proceed with performance of this Agreement.”
Continue Reading Federal Court Enjoins Owner From Withholding Payment of Disputed Invoices Based on Contract Provision Requiring Parties to “Diligently Proceed With Performance” Notwithstanding Any Dispute

RSP Architects, Ltd. v. Five Star Dev. Resort Communities, LLC
306 P.3d 93 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2013)

This action arose from a payment dispute on a construction project where an architectural firm, RSP Architects, Ltd. (“RSP”), contracted with a developer, Five Star Development Resort Communities, LLC (“Five Star”), to provide architectural services for a development known as the Palmeraie (the “Project”). Pursuant to the architectural services contract (the “Architectural Agreement”), RSP was tasked with several different duties, including “construction administration,” “overall coordination,” and “conceptual design” related to the Project. For its services, RSP was to receive approximately $3,000,000. Prior to completion, however, RSP ceased work on the Project and sued Five Star, alleging, among other claims, a violation of Arizona’s Prompt Payment Act, A.R.S. § 32-1129 et seq. (the “PPA”).Continue Reading Arizona Court of Appeals Rules Prompt Payment Act Does Not Apply To Design Professionals When Performing Normal Architectural and Engineering Services

Weigand Construction Co., Inc. v. Stephens Fabrication, Inc.
2010 Ind. App. LEXIS 1109 (Ind. Ct. App. June 25, 2010)

Ball State University (BSU) contracted with Weigand Construction Co. (“Weigand) to act as the general contractor for its Music Instruction Building project. Weigand subcontracted the structural steel work to Stephens Fabrication, Inc. (“Stephens”). Stephens was to manufacture the steel, perform certain engineering and prepare shop drawings. Stephens contracted with sub-subcontractors, Argo and Wilson, to perform the engineering and prepare the shop drawings.Continue Reading Indiana Court Holds Subcontractor Subject to Prime Contract Claim Notice Requirement via Flow-Down Provision – Its Claims Were Presented Too Late

GEM Industrial, Inc. v. Sun Trust Bank
2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31042 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 31, 2010)

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio denied a contractor’s claims against a project’s lenders, where the contractor’s claims were based on the lender’s representations that the contractor would be paid.

GEM Industrial was the mechanical contractor for the construction of an ethanol production plant owned by GOE Lima, LLC. Due to budget overruns and cash flow problems, GOE fell behind on monthly payments to GEM. Eventually, GOE requested that GEM enter into a formal payment deferral. Before agreeing to the deferral, GEM asked to meet with representatives of the project’s debt and equity investors, SunTrust Bank and Paladin Homeland Security Fund, LP and Paladin Capital Group, LLC to confirm that sources of funding were available to pay construction costs. GEM asserts that, during its calls with SunTrust and Paladin, representatives for both entities promised and assured GEM that it would be paid for both its already completed work and its work going forward on the plant. After its calls with SunTrust and Paladin, GEM agreed to the payment deferral and continued to perform its mechanical work at the plant.Continue Reading U.S. District Court in Ohio Rejects Claims Against Lenders Based on Theory That They Induced Contractor to Continue to Perform by Representing and Promising That It Would Be Paid

Boro Construction, Inc. v. Ridley School Dist.
2010 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 124 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Mar. 8, 2010)

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that where a contractor failed to submit an application for final payment, a school district was excused from its duty to tender final payment. At the same time, the Court held that the school district was not entitled to attorney’s fees pursuant to language in the contract’s no damage for delay clause because the clause specifically stated that the contractor was only required to reimburse the agency if it “loses [the] litigation,” and in this case, the contractor defeated some of the agency’s counterclaims.Continue Reading Pennsylvania Court Requires Strict Compliance With Conditions Precedent to Payment on Public Contract; Construes Attorneys Fee-Shifting Provision in “No Damage for Delay” Clause

Universal Concrete Products Corp. v. Turner Construction Co.
595 F.3d 527 (4th Cir. Feb. 19, 2010)

Universal Concrete Products Corp. (“Universal”) sued Turner Construction Co. (“Turner”) for breach of contract and several other claims seeking payment for $885,507 worth of precast concrete work Universal had completed at the Granby Tower construction project in Norfolk, Virginia (“Project”).

Universal had entered into a written subcontract with Turner for the installation of precast concrete at the Project. Turner had a prime contract with the project owner’s to provide general construction work on the Project. The Project fell through in March 2008 when the owner could no longer finance it. By that point, however, Universal had already substantially completed all of its work at the Project. Turner, however, had not paid Universal for any of the work performed because Turner had not yet been paid by the owner. When Universal sought payment from Turner for the work performed, Turner refused citing a pay-when-paid provision in the subcontract.Continue Reading U.S. Court Of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Holds Pay-When-Paid Clause Valid and Enforceable, Excusing General Contractor From Paying Subcontractor Until Payment Received From Owner

S&B/BIBB Hines PB3 Joint Venture v. Progress Energy Florida, Inc.
2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 2875 (11th Cir. Feb. 11, 2010)

S&B/BIBB Hines PB3 Joint Venture, S&B Engineers and Contractors, LTD (“S&B) agreed to perform engineering, procurement and construction on a fixed-price basis (the “Contract”) for two electric generating plants in Polk County for the project owner and defendant, Project Energy Florida, Inc. (“Project Energy”). During the course of construction, four hurricanes struck Polk County resulting in a shortage of labor and materials and a corresponding increase in the cost of construction for S&B. S&B sought approximately $40 million in additional compensation as a result of this extraordinary event. S&B’s claim for additional compensation was denied by Project Energy and S&B filed suit. The district court dismissed the majority of S&B’s breach of contract and other claims on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion holding that the fixed price Contract precluded additional compensation beyond the Contract price.
Continue Reading U.S. Court of Appeals for 11th Circuit Upholds Dismissal of EPC Contractor’s Claim for Damages Caused by Four Hurricanes, Concluding That Terms of Force Majeure Clause Barred Recovery of Increased Costs

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

Addicks Services, Inc., Appellant v. GGP-Bridgeland, LP
2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 2623 (5th Cir. Feb. 8, 2010)

Plaintiff, Addicks Services, Inc. (“Addicks”) sought damages for extra work and delay costs incurred while performing land improvement work for a residential development in Texas. Addicks’ claims were denied by the district court because Addicks executed monthly waivers and releases to receive progress payments which waived their claims for extra work and delay costs.Continue Reading U.S. Court of Appeals for 5th Circuit Holds Contractor’s Claims Barred By Waivers Submitted With Monthly Pay Requests

Goldsmith Assoc., Inc. v. Del Frisco’s of Philadelphia, Inc.
2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92193 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 1, 2009)

Grasso Holding Acquisition, Inc. (“Grasso”) entered into a lease with Del-Frisco’s of Philadelphia (“Del-Frisco’s”) to occupy and renovate the bottom floors of the Packard Building in Philadelphia, PA for use as a restaurant. Building owners, Chest-Pac Associates, Inc. (“Chest-Pac”) and Grasso, reserved the right to review and approve the designs for the renovation. Once the lease expired, the renovation improvements were to become the sole property of Chest-Pac and Grasso. After negotiating the lease, Del-Frisco’s contracted with Lorient, LLC to serve as the general contractor for the renovations. Lorient then subcontracted with Plaintiff, Goldsmith Associates, Inc. (“Goldsmith”) to provide the electrical work. Goldsmith submitted invoices in the amount of $1,835,110.87 but was allegedly only paid $734,879.30. Goldsmith commenced an action against Del Frisco’s, Chest-Pac and Grasso, asserting a claim of unjust enrichment, and seeking to recover $1,100,231.57 in unpaid work. The defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint as legally insufficient.
Continue Reading U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania Rejects Subcontractor’s Unjust Enrichment Claim Against Owner: Standards For Unjust Enrichment Claims Reviewed