US Supreme Court False Claims Act Decision in Escobar Has Significant Implications for Contractors

Marion T. Hack, Partner
John H. Conrad, Associate

On June 16, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the matter of Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016), changing the legal landscape for False Claims Act qui tam claims concerning the implied false certification theory of liability. This article will discuss the Escobar holding and examine relevant considerations for contractors in light of this ruling. Continue reading

Posted in False Claims Act

Eastern District of Pennsylvania Distinguishes Bilt-Rite in Dispute Involving Information Provided to Designers by Remedial Contractor

Elliott-Lewis Corp. v. Skanksa USA Bldg., Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59406 (E.D.Pa. May 4, 2016)

The Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held that the narrow exception to the economic loss doctrine carved out in Bilt-Rite Contractors, Inc. v. The Architectural Studio – where the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that architects and other design professionals may be held liable to third parties that rely to their detriment on false information provided in design documents by architects and other design professionals – does not apply to a contractor that supplied information to design professionals in connection with remedial work performed by the contractor. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Court of Appeals of Michigan Holds Contractor Cannot Recover Eichleay Damages from Supplier Absent Contractual Right and Proof that Delay in Delivery Caused an Actual Loss

ITT Water & Wastewater USA, Inc. v. L. D’Agostini & Sons, Inc., 2016 Mich. App. LEXIS 579 (March 17, 2016)

This action arises out of a contract dispute between plaintiff, ITT Water & Wastewater USA, Inc. (“ITT”), and defendant, L. D’Agostini & Sons, Inc./Lakeshore Engineering Services, Inc. Joint Venture (“D’Agostini”), related to ITT’s supply of eight water pumps to D’Agostini on a project to construct a sanitary and storm water treatment and pumping station.  D’Agostini filed a counterclaim against ITT, alleging that ITT’s late pump delivery delayed the project by 103 days.  The trial court granted ITT’s motion for partial summary disposition and ruled that D’Agostini could not rely upon the Eichleay formula for determining its alleged home office overhead damages.  The parties then dismissed, without prejudice, the remaining claims and D’Agostini appealed. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Tennessee Federal District Court Holds That Contractor May Pursue Both Breach of Contract Action in Federal Court and Lien Enforcement Action In State Court – Abstention Not Required

Summit Contracting Grp., Inc. v. Ashland Heights, LP,  2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60662 (M.D. Tenn. May 6, 2016)

Ashland Heights, LP (“Owner”) contracted with Summit Contracting Group, Inc. (“Contractor”) to construct an assisted living facility in Tennessee.  After completing the project, Contractor alleged that Owner had failed to pay Contractor in full for the work it performed; to make timely payments; to provide Contractor a time extension for inclement weather; and to deposit retainage into an interest-bearing escrow account as required by Tennessee’s Retainage Law.

Contractor filed a breach of contract and Retainage Law action in federal district court, seeking damages and litigation costs in excess of $1.5 million (the “Contract Action”).  Contractor concurrently filed a mechanic’s lien action in state court seeking enforcement of the lien in the amount of $1,074,688.74 (the “Lien Action”). Continue reading

Posted in Breach of Contract, Liens

Alert to Contractors – California Court of Appeals (2d App. Dist.) Rules Subcontractor Price in Proposal Containing Material Conditions Rejected By Contractor Not Enforceable Notwithstanding Contractor Reliance

Marion T. Hack, Partner

Flintco Pacific, Inc. v. TEC Management Consultants, Inc., 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 594 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. June 21, 2016)

There was an important California decision published on July 19, 2016 (decided June 21, 2016) regarding damages due to reliance on a subcontractor bid of which all General Contractors should be aware.  A general contractor can usually recover damages if a subcontractor does not honor its bid price; which price the general has relied upon in submitting its bid to the owner.  The Court of Appeals has set forth significant limitations on a general contractor’s recovery for damages usually founded under the theory of promissory estoppel. Continue reading

Posted in Promissory Estoppel, Subcontract, Uncategorized