Best Practices Construction Law

Best Practices Construction Law

Best Practices Resources

Matt has written articles and given presentations on all aspects of construction law. Find a resource here.

Top Posts

Best Practices top posts include claims preparation, contract drafting, and litigation pitfalls. You don’t want to miss these ones.

Matthew DeVries

Matt is a construction & litigation attorney at Burr & Forman LLP and father of seven young kids.

Category Archives: Legal Trends

Subscribe to Legal Trends RSS Feed

Which Insurance Carrier Is Responsible for Damages on a Construction Project? Depends.

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Legal Trends
There are multiple types of insurance coverage for the various risks on a construction project.  However, when there are multiple insurance carriers covering the same risk (i.e., general liability, builder’s risk, workers’ compensation, professional liability) over different periods of time, there may be a dispute as to which carrier covers the loss. In a recent… Continue Reading

What the Supreme Court’s Decision on the Same-Sex Marriage Ban Means to Contractors?

Posted in Case Law, Legal Trends
Absolutely nothing! … to contractors that is … but to employers … a different answer. Okay, so the Supreme Court recently ruled that state laws banning same sex marriage are unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. You may have your own personal opinion against or in support of the Supreme Court’s… Continue Reading

Revised AAA Construction Rules Take Effect July 1, 2015

Posted in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Arbitration, Legal Trends, Mediation
The past week has been one of sweeping changes. (…no comment…)  But one set of non-controversial changes is the Revised Construction Industry Arbitration and Mediation Procedures released by the American Arbitration Association. The Rules, which take effect July 1, 2015, can be downloaded here.  The major revisions include: A mediation step for all cases with… Continue Reading

“New” Means “New” When the Construction Contract Says “New”

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Federal Construction, Legal Trends
There’s “new.” And there’s “new to you.” And there’s “refurbished new.” And there’s “open box special new.” And there’s “floor display model new.”  But when it comes to contract specifications requiring “new” equipment, one court looked to a dictionary to define it as “never used before” and “free of significant damage.” In a recent case,… Continue Reading

Government Contractors: Threatening to File a Claim is Not the Same as Filing a Claim

Posted in Case Law, Claims and Disputes, Federal Construction, Legal Trends
Words matter. Grammar matters. Even punctuation matters: Let’s eat, Grandma! Let’s eat Grandma! For one government contractor, its claim was recently rejected by the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals because the Board found that the Contractor did not properly state its claim.  In Construction Group LLC v. Dept. of Homeland Security, 15-1 BCA para. 35900… Continue Reading

Contractor Submits “Penny Bid” for Rock Removal and Loses in the End

Posted in Case Law, Contract Docs, Legal Trends
In our house of seven children, a penny found on the ground brings laughter and excitement. You can imagine the opposite reaction when a contractor bids a penny for rock removal for a competitive bid and later discovers that there was 250% more rock than anticipated. That’s what happened recently in Celco Construction Corp. v.… Continue Reading

Brrrrrr, It’s Cold! How to Best Prepare a Delay Claim for Unusually Severe Weather

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Claims and Disputes, Federal Construction, Transportation
In anticipation of what could be an influx of wintry weather, the Tennessee Department of Transportation has made arrangements to ensure the state’s roadways stay clear. According to the Johnson City Press, TDOT has distributed more than 200,000 tons of salt and 2 million gallons of brine to stations in each of the state’s 95… Continue Reading

Paper to Paperless: Webinar on Construction Documentation and Risk Management

Posted in Best Practices, Legal Trends, Project Management, Technology
You will rarely find me advertising on this blog.  However, throughout the year I regularly receive inquiries about electronic discovery, mobile apps, and the paperless project.  And every couple of years I partner with the Construction Pro Network to address these issues.  I am pleased to announce that I will be doing a Webinar on October… Continue Reading

Are Construction Dispute Claims by the State Ever Time Barred? Depends.

Posted in Case Law, Federal Construction, Legal Trends
I have written before about statutes of limitation and statutes of repose relating to construction disputes. I recently learned that these principles may not apply to a public owner’s claims against design professionals and contractors. Statutes of limitation/repose?  In its simplest terms, a statute of limitation is a time limit for bringing a lawsuit (i.e.,… Continue Reading

Differing Site Conditions and Why You Should Read Pages 17-20 of the Metcalf Decision

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Federal Construction, Legal Trends
It’s Friday morning and there are probably better things you would like to do with your remaining day than read a 22-page government contracts decision. But if you have ever experienced a differing site condition on your project, then here is why you should read pages 17-20 of the recent decision in Metcalf Construction Company… Continue Reading

Don’t Settle Your Construction Dispute Without Checking with the (Insurance) Man

Posted in Best Practices, Case Law, Legal Trends
Who’s the Man?  Ever heard of that phrase?  Well, in a recent construction dispute in Maryland, “the Man” was the owner’s insurance company.  And the lesson learned was: don’t settle your construction dispute without first checking with the man! In Perini/Tompkins Joint Venture v. ACE American Insurance Company (pdf), applying Maryland and Tennessee law, the… Continue Reading

A Fine Line: What the Law Says about Contractor Delays to Subcontractor Work

Posted in Case Law
As a general proposition, if the owner delays the prime contractor by not performing its contractual obligations, the prime contractor is entitled to relief, including damages for delay or extensions of time. This is actually a rather common situation and most contracts contain clauses and provisions that govern such occasions. But what happens when the… Continue Reading

TN Passes Legislation on What Constitutes “Good and Solvent” Surety Bonds for Construction Projects

Posted in Legislation
I just received an update from Kent Starwalt at the Tennessee Association of Road Builders and Brian Egan, Construction Division Director at TDOT, regarding new state requirements for payment and performance bonds in Tennessee. The requirements apply to "contractors entering into contracts with any city, county or state authority for public works within this state." The… Continue Reading

Tennessee Approves Pilot Program for CM/GC Project Delivery on Select TDOT Projects

Posted in Legislation
It has been some time in the making, but on May 13, 2013, Governor Haslam signed into law HB-0183, which authorizes a pilot program for the use of a construction manager / general contractor (CM/GC) project deliver method in the development and construction of transportation projects. Generally, the CM/GC project delivery method allows an owner… Continue Reading

New Pennsylvania Law Allows PPPs for Construction Projects

Posted in Legislation
Last week, ENR’s Digital Wire highlighted an article in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette by Jon Schmitz about Pennsylvania’s new law to boost private investment in public projects through PPPs. According to the article, there are numerous major projects in the pipeline that will garner interest from private investors, including highways, bridges and other transportation facilities.  Under… Continue Reading