Texas District Court Rejects Rail Contractor’s Delay and Prompt Payment Claims and Awards Owner More Than $3 Million

Balfour Beatty Rail, Inc. v. The Kansas City Southern Railway Company, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39086 (N.D. Tex., March 25, 2016)

The contractor contracted with owner to install 65 miles of railroad track, for a price of $12,206,666.  The owner had engaged another contractor to grade and prepare the substrate for the railroad track, and was to furnish and deliver aggregate for track ballast and track rail material to various locations along the rail route.  The contractor’s scope included all other work.  The contractor fell behind in its work, and the owner hired additional contractors to complete a portion of its scope.  The contractor blamed the delays on the owner’s late delivery of aggregate and rail, and improper subgrade preparation under a theory of differing site conditions. It sought $4.35 million in unpaid change orders, delay damages, and penalties under Texas’ prompt payment statutes.  The owner in turn sought $2.6 million in completion costs and costs of wasted aggregate. Continue reading “Texas District Court Rejects Rail Contractor’s Delay and Prompt Payment Claims and Awards Owner More Than $3 Million”

Washington State Court Affirms $155M Jury Award Against Contractor and Surety Stemming from Claim of Default Due to Delayed Performance, Sustaining Denial of Contractor’s Differing Site Condition Defense

Joseph T. Imperiale, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Partner
James M. Kwartnik Jr., Pepper Hamilton LLP, Associate

King County v. Vinci Construction Grands Projects/Parsons RCI/Frontier-Kemper, JV, 2015 Wash. App. LEXIS 2735 (Nov. 9, 2015)

The Court of Appeals of Washington recently decided King County v. Vinci Construction Grands Projects/Parsons RCI/Frontier-Kemper, JV, a dispute between a joint venture contractor (the Contractor) and King County, Washington (the County). The dispute stemmed from problems that arose and significant delays that occurred during a major expansion of the County’s wastewater treatment system, known as the Brightwater project. The case illustrates the potential pitfalls of a contractor’s claim of differing site conditions. Continue reading “Washington State Court Affirms $155M Jury Award Against Contractor and Surety Stemming from Claim of Default Due to Delayed Performance, Sustaining Denial of Contractor’s Differing Site Condition Defense”

Federal Circuit Court Clarifies Standard for Establishing Government’s Breach of the Implied Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing in Addressing Claim for Differing Site Conditions

Metcalf Constr. Co. v. United States
742 F.3d 984 (Fed. Cir. 2014)

This action arose out of the design and construction of military housing units at a U.S. Navy facility in Hawaii.  Pre-bid documents for the project supplied by the government provided test information regarding soil conditions on the site.  The government also included a disclaimer that this information was “for preliminary information only” and the resulting contract required that the contractor conduct its own independent soil investigation.

Metcalf Construction Company (the “Contractor”) was awarded the contract.  When the Contractor conducted its independent soil investigation it discovered that the soil was not as represented.  The Contractor notified the government and discussions ensued.  In those discussions, the Contractor recommended a different design and construction approach to account for the newly uncovered conditions, while the government generally insisted on following construction requirements set out in the original contract.  After a year’s delay, the Contractor decided that the cost of waiting for the government to approve the design changes had become too high, and it began to implement those changes without a contract modification.  As a result, the Contractor spent approximately $26 million over the original contract amount to remedy the soil conditions and finish the project.

Continue reading “Federal Circuit Court Clarifies Standard for Establishing Government’s Breach of the Implied Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing in Addressing Claim for Differing Site Conditions”