District Court in Utah Grants Summary Judgment for Contractor Against Insurance Subrogation Claim Based on Contractual Waiver Provision and Statute of Limitations

Aquatherm, LLC v. CentiMark Corp, 2019 BL 13240 (D. Utah Apr. 12, 2019)

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John H. Conrad

Stag II Lindon LLC and Stag Industrial Inc. (collectively “Stag”) owned a building in Lindon, Utah.  Stag contracted with CentiMark Corp. (“CentiMark”) to perform work on the building’s roof.  CentiMark’s work required it to manipulate, move, and reinstall existing heating cables on the roof.  Shortly after completion of the work, in March of 2014, a fire occurred on the roof which was traced to the location of heat tape, which CentiMark had removed and replaced.

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Subcontract Provision Requiring Subcontractor to Pass Through its Claims Does Not Prevent the Subcontractor From Suing to Recover Against Miller Act Bond

Pinnacle Crushing & Constr. LLC v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67965 (W.D. Wa. Apr. 23, 2018)

The Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”), as owner, and Cherokee General Corporation (“CGC”), as prime contractor, entered into a contract (the “Contract”) in connection with work at the Yakima Training Center (the “Project”).  CGC subcontracted with SCI Infrastructure (“SCI”) for certain work related to the Project (the “SCI Subcontract”), and SCI subcontracted with Pinnacle Crushing & Construction, LLC (“Pinnacle”) (the “Pinnacle Subcontract”).  CGC obtained a Miller Act payment bond (the “Bond”) from Hartford Insurance Co. (the “Surety”) to provide coverage for labor and materials supplied in carrying out the work.

After the Corps terminated the Contract with CGC, CGC submitted a claim under the Contracts Disputes Act.  As required by the SCI Subcontract, CGC asserted SCI’s pass through claims against the Corps, which included amounts allegedly owed to both SCI and Pinnacle.

Separately, SCI and Pinnacle sued CGC and the Surety to recover under the Bond for the work they performed under the subcontracts, but for which CGC had not paid them. Continue reading “Subcontract Provision Requiring Subcontractor to Pass Through its Claims Does Not Prevent the Subcontractor From Suing to Recover Against Miller Act Bond”

Supreme Court of Vermont Holds That Contractor Waived its Right to Challenge the Validity of Arbitration Agreement by Actively Participating in the Arbitration for Six Months Before Raising an Objection

Adams v. Barr, 2018 VT 12, 2018 Vt. LEXIS 10 (VT 2018)

On February 24, 2016, Barr Law Group (“Barr”) filed a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association to recover $40,000 in unpaid legal fees from its client, Adams Construction VT, LLC (“Adams”).  Adams responded by filing an answer and counterclaim, seeking to recover $97,000 in damages from Barr.  Thereafter, Adams and Barr each actively participated in the arbitration, including arbitrator selection, preliminary conferences, extensive discovery and motion practice over a period of more than five months.  At the request of Adams, the matter was set for a three day hearing.

In October of 2016, just one week before the three day hearing was set to begin, Adams filed an objection and motion to dismiss the arbitration, arguing that the arbitration clause in its fee agreement with Barr was unenforceable.  Specifically, Adams argued that Barr, as Adams’ counsel, owed a fiduciary duty and ethical obligations that required it to disclose to Adams the rights it would forego by signing the agreement.  According to Adams, Barr had failed to explain the legal implication of the arbitration clause and failed to advise Adams to obtain independent counsel before signing the agreement.  However, Adams’ objection and motion to dismiss was the first time it had raised any objection to the arbitration proceedings.   Continue reading “Supreme Court of Vermont Holds That Contractor Waived its Right to Challenge the Validity of Arbitration Agreement by Actively Participating in the Arbitration for Six Months Before Raising an Objection”