Court of Federal Claim Rejects Spearin Claim and Holds Contractor Responsible for Failure to Prevent Mold Growth

James Talcott Construction, Inc. v. United States, No. 14-427 C, 2019 BL 72711, at *1 (Fed. Cl. Mar. 4, 2019)

In May of 2010, the United States, acting through the Department of Defense (the “Government”) awarded a contract to James Talcott Construction, Inc. (“Talcott”) to replace existing housing for military families at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana.  Talcott was required to construct thirteen buildings, each comprising seventy housing units.  Each building was to be constructed with concrete foundations and wood framing, and the project’ design called for wooden floor joists and subfloor decking to be enclosed in crawlspaces.  The contract stated that the “structural drawings and specification represent the finished structure… [but] do not indicate the method of construction.  The contractor will provide all measures necessary to protect the structure during construction.”  The plans and specifications were silent as to ventilation of the crawlspaces.

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Posted in Breach of Contract, Contract Disputes Act, General Contractor | Tagged , , ,

District Court in Wisconsin Finds That Counteroffer and Repeated Negotiations Concerning a Construction Contract Do Not Create Contractual Relationship

Skyrise Construction Group, LLC v. Annex Construction, LLC, 2019 BL 55071 (E.D. Wis. Feb. 20, 2019)

Subcontractor Skyrise Construction, Inc. (“Skyrise”) sued general contractor Annex Construction, Inc. (“Annex”) for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of Wisconsin and Illinois trade practices statutes.  Skyrise primarily based its claims on an assertion that the parties entered into a subcontract, which Annex breached when it removed Skyrise from the project and completed the work with an alternative subcontractor.  Both Skyrise and Annex filed motions for summary judgment.  The District Court denied Skyrise’s motion and granted Annex’s motion.

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Posted in Breach of Contract, Negligence, Promissory Estoppel, Subcontract | Tagged , , , , ,

The Washington Court of Appeals Clarifies When the Statute of Limitations for a Negligence Claim Begins to Run Under the Discovery Rule

Dep’t of Transp. v. Seattle Tunnel Partners, 2019 BL 36988, 2 (Wash. App. Div. 2 Feb. 05, 2019)

On January 8, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the State of Washington reversed and remanded in part a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in a tunnel-boring construction case.  Specifically, the Court clarified that the three-year statute of limitations for negligence claims begins to run as soon as the aggrieved party becomes aware of the factual elements of the claims.  It does not matter whether the underlying cause of the claims remains disputed.

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Posted in Discovery, Negligence, Statute of Limitations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New York Appellate Court Holds That Affidavits Can Cure Pleading Defects and Extrinsic Evidence Permitted When Contract Clause Is Ambiguous

Servidone, Inc./B. Anthony Constr. Corp., J.V. v. State of New York, No. 2016-05238, 2019 BL 7232 (App. Div., 2d Dept. Jan. 09, 2019)

Servidone, Inc./B. Anthony Construction Corp., J.V. (the “Contractor”) and the New York State Department of Transportation (the “DOT”) entered into a construction contract to reconstruct and replace bridges on Route 59 in New York State. The Contractor retained L.M. Sessler Excavating & Wrecking, Inc. (the “Subcontractor”) to perform the demolition and disposal portion of the project.

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Posted in Affidavit of Merit | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

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

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.

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Posted in Arbitration, Termination | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,