Blog

November 2018 – Legal Scope – Indemnity and Workers’ Compensation Immunity

I often receive questions pertaining to the relationship between indemnity and workers’ compensation. In most states, if an employee receives workers’ compensation benefits, then the employer receives immunity from a claim from the employee.  But the employee can still file a lawsuit against other parties.  And those other parties may still seek indemnity through the construction contract.  Click on the above link to learn more.

October 2018 – Legal Scope – Mechanics’ Liens: A Primer

Most contractors and subcontractors know that if they are unpaid on a project, then, a mechanics’ lien is a useful option to pursue collection. But most do not know, exactly, how the lien and litigation process work. Click on the above link to read a primer on mechanics’ liens.

September 2018 – Legal Scope – Eichleay Damages on Delay Claims

When a project is delayed, contractors and subcontractors often seek recovery of losses caused by the delay. Claims for delay damages are complex, because multiple layers of factual and legal analysis must identify whether the delay was either (a) excusable; (b) compensable; or (c) inexcusable and noncompensable. Eichleay Damages are a formulaic calculation of indirect overhead losses that are incurred when a project schedule is delayed.  Click on the above link to learn more.

Educational Seminar – 2018 Amendments to the Pennsylvania Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act

Attorney Jeffrey Bright presents this 1 hour educational seminar and Q&A to assist construction companies on the 2018 amendments to the Pennsylvania Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act.  Click on the above link to learn more and contact Bright Law Firm to schedule an educational seminar at your company’s office.

July 2018 – Legal Scope – Terminating Contracts

On a construction project, sometimes it is necessary to terminate the contract and stop work. Each particular circumstance is unique; however, certain issues tend to arise and should be given due consideration leading up to terminating the contract. This is true regardless of whether the terminating party is the owner, contractor, or a subcontractor. Here is a non-exhaustive list of factors for consideration.  Click on the above link to learn more.

June 2018 – Legal Scope – 2018 Amendments to the Pennsylvania Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act

On June 12, 2018, Governor Wolf signed legislation amending the Pennsylvania Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act.  The revised statute goes into effect October 10, 2018.  It provides new rights and obligations for contractors and subcontractors in recovering (and disbursing) payments on construction projects. These new rights and obligations pertain to (1) the right to suspend work; (2) written deficiency notices; (3) penalties; (4) retainage; and (5) ability to waive the Act.  Now is the time to review and analyze your current contract administration procedures, payment terms, and standard contracts.  Click on the above link to learn more.

Educational Seminar – 2017 AIA Contract Documents

Earlier this year, the AIA released changes to its AIA standard contract forms. Attorney Jeffrey Bright presents this 1 hour educational seminar and Q&A to assist construction companies on the nuances of construction contract law.  Click on the above link to learn more.

May 2018 – Legal Scope – Different State Approaches to Indemnification 

One of the distinctions in Pennsylvania law is that a party can contractually agree to be responsible for the full payout on a loss, even if the loss was solely caused by another party.  These “sole negligence” indemnity clauses are often prohibited by statute in other states.  For example, Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings, Section 5-401, provides that any construction contract requiring indemnification of the other party’s sole negligence is void and unenforceable.  Click on the above link to learn more.

April 2018 – Legal Scope – Indemnification: What is it and why is it important?

Indemnification is a risk-shifting provision that identifies certain potential liability exposure, and it shifts that risk to one party. Typically, prime contracts shift risk from the owner onto a prime contractor. Subcontracts typically shift risk from the contractor onto the subcontractor.  Contractual indemnification usually pertains to injuries (losses) that may arise due to a third-party suffering physical or property damage.  Click on the above link to learn more.

March 2018 – Legal Scope – Insurance Coverage Disputes

All contractors and subcontractors know that insurance is necessary and important. Nearly all projects require specific insurance coverage and a certificate of insurance prior to commencing work on site. Construction companies are less knowledgeable, however, about the process and legal rights when a coverage dispute arises. Reservation of Rights Letters and Declaratory Judgment Actions are typical aspects of insurance coverage disputes, and contractors and subcontractors often find themselves in complex litigation when coverage is disputed. Click on the above link to learn more.

February 2018 – Legal Scope – Pay-if-Paid Clauses Versus Pay-When-Paid Clauses

“Pay-if-paid” clauses govern the risk of non-payment on a construction project. These clauses are a notorious point of disagreement when negotiating subcontracts. Sometimes they are referred to as “pay-when-paid” clauses; however, there is a difference between the two. Click on the above link to learn more.

January 2018 – Legal Scope – Timing of Payment Bond Claims

Payment bonds are a contractual obligation, wherein a bonding company is promising to cover and pay for any labor or materials supplied to a project. The bond is triggered when said laborers/suppliers fail to receive payment for their work. Payment bonds are required on essentially all public projects. They are also becoming more popular on private commercial projects, too. If a payment dispute arises on a project covered by a payment bond, there are specific timelines and deadlines that must be considered when pursuing a bond claim.  Click on the above link to learn more.

December 2017 – Legal Scope – Contractor’s Right to Cure

A common dispute on construction projects is whether the contractor has a right to cure its own defective work. Sometimes, the owner is steadfast in its desire to terminate the contract and accordingly refuses to allow the contractor an opportunity to correct the defective work. But is there an absolute right for the contractor to cure the work, and must the owner give a reasonable opportunity or notice for curative work before terminating the contract?  The answer: It depends.  Click on the above link to learn more.

November 2017 – Legal Scope – Scope Changes: A Common Cause for Disputes

Construction projects rarely proceed as originally anticipated–changes always occur. Some changes are relatively minor and can be quickly addressed on the project. But other changes are significant, due to either time or materials of the change itself, or the impact of the change on other work. While each change is unique, there are standard points for all parties to address when a change order arises.  Click on the above link to learn more.

October 2017 – Legal Scope – Unit Pricing Contracts

Construction work can be priced under various methods. A common method, unit pricing, can lead to ambiguities and legal disputes. When entering contracts with unit pricing, contractors and subcontractors should consider legal issues that can arise.  Click on the above link to learn more.

September 2017 – Legal Scope – Subcontractor Claims against the Owner

When a construction project deteriorates into a legal dispute, the problems often trickle down. When this happens, subcontractors may find themselves without payment for the work performed. Usually, the subcontractor has a contract with the general contractor. But what if the general contractor has filed for bankruptcy, or gone insolvent, or is absolutely missing? It is tempting for subcontractors to seek payment from the project owner, and this attempt is met with mixed success.  Click on the above link to learn more.

August 2017 – Legal Scope – Documenting Construction Claims and Disputes

When litigating construction disputes and claims, a common flaw for either the claimant (or the defendant) is the failure to properly document the claim and place the other party on notice. This issue rears its ugly head in various forms. Click on the above link to learn more.

July 2017 – Legal Scope – The Contract Documents

When entering construction contracts, one must clarify the terms of the work.  A common tactic is to attach or reference other documents.  The full and comprehensive set of documents that form the terms, conditions, and “scope of work” are often called the “Contract Documents.”  Click on the above link to learn more.

June 2017 – Legal Scope – Doing Business Across State Lines

Many construction companies do work across state lines.  Whether it be branching out into Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, or New Jersey, it is common to see contractors and subcontractors crossing state lines to work on projects.  But there are a lot of legal and regulatory considerations for doing work out of state.  Click on the above link to learn more.

May 2017 – Legal Scope: A Construction Law Newsletter by Bright Law Firm PLLC