Opinion—The battle over the 2015 Clean Water Rule continues

By Don Wallis A protracted legal struggle benefits no one. Jim Parsons’ article in the July issue of ENR outlines the continuing legal struggle between the construction industry and environmentalists over the 2015 Clean Water Rule enacted by the Obama administration. The 2015 Rule “brings smaller, state-regulated waterways and wetlands under federal pollution-control jurisdiction.” Environmentalist […]

Pennsylvania Changes the Remedies for Payment Disputes on Public Works Projects

CASPA was replaced by PPA as the statute for determining remedies in payment disputes The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has revised the standards for determining remedies for contractors and subcontractors in payment disputes on public works projects. This decision directly affects companies working on state and municipal projects in Pennsylvania and has the potential to indirectly […]

Imprecise Contract Language Precludes Additional Insured Coverage

There’s a difference between “for whom” and “with whom.” Contractor know that insurance companies will peruse provisions in insurance contracts for language that will enable them to deny coverage. The New York case, Gilbane Building Co. v. Liberty Insurance Underwriters, is an example of this. An article in the Hirschler Fleischer Construction Law Blog examines […]

The Spearin Doctrine Explained

A short history of the Spearin Doctrine The Spearin Doctrine, or the doctrine of implied warranty of adequacy, is one of most basic tenets of construction law. It was first established in United States v. Spearin (248 U.S. 132) in 1918. Matthew DeVries, writing in BEST PRACTICES CONSTRUCTION LAW, provided a brief summary of the […]

Responsibility for Jobsite Safety Can Be Determined by Contract Provisions

Contract provisions can override the general rule. General contractors are not usually held responsible for the well-being of the employees of subcontractors. There are, however, exceptions, as Kent Holland explains in an article in about the decision in a recent Indiana Supreme Court case, Michael Ryan v. TCI Architects/Engineers/ Contractors Inc. Courts have […]

Opinion—Federal Agencies Threaten Our Democracy

The unchecked power of Federal agencies is a far greater threat to our democracy than most people realize By Don Wallis I’ve expressed my concern that, given Congress’ long standing refusal to pass meaningful legislation, presidents have filled the power void by creating federal agencies that create regulations and enforce them through autonomous courts bypassing […]

Precise Language in an Indemnity Provision is Essential

A California court rules that contract language take precedence over the doctrine of equitable indemnity. The California Court of Appeals for the First District clarified how courts, at least in California, will interpret indemnity provisions in construction contracts. An article in the California Construction Law Blog by Garret Murai outlines the Court’s reasoning. Oltmans Construction […]

Excess Insurer can be Sued by Policyholder for Failure to Cover a Claim

The Ninth Circuit rejects an excess insurer’s arguments that it’s not liable for a claim against the insured and the primary insurer. It is accepted that insurers will examine the contractual language of their policies and the underlying facts surrounding a “coverable” incident before agreeing to either defend a claimant or provide coverage if the […]

VA Officials Will Not Be Prosecuted for Cost Overruns

No one is to be held responsible for budget overruns for a VA hospital that will cost three times its original estimated amount The Department of Justice, the U.S. Congress, and both the last Administration and the current one have addressed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ fiscal and managerial shortcomings. Some progress has been made. […]

A Classic Case of Quantum Meruit

Illinois Appellate Court rules in favor of defendant in a quantum meruit claim. Brandon Carter, writing in the ABA’s The Dispute Resolver, discusses an Illinois Appellate Court case, Archon Construction Co. v. U.S. Shelter , 2017 IL App (1st) 153409, No 08 CH 15325, in which a subcontractor made a claim against the general contractor […]

CSC 2017 Offers More Sessions, More Speakers, More Credits

“The conference submissions we received and the conference developed by our outstanding advisory board stand to make this the best CSC ever,” says Conference Director Kevin Gaffney. Scheduled for December 4-6 at the Encore at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, the Construction SuperConference (CSC) delivers in-depth learning opportunities dedicated to covering the most up-to-date […]

Opinion—Just How Draconian are the Budgetary Cuts to Federal Agencies?

The answer is based upon one’s perspective Now that Mr. Trump is president his actions and the actions of the executive branch of the government continue to drive political and administrative activity in Washington. The opinions of political analysts are divided between those who argue that the Administration is saving the country from the financially […]

Philadelphia Prohibits Employers From Asking for Job Applicants’ Wage Histories

The city is one of the first in the country to enact this type of legislation. It is usually a given that employers have the stronger hand when negotiating employment agreements with prospective employees. Often employers ask job applicants for the details of their wage history. This creates a ceiling for the starting pay offered […]

Trump Axes “Fair Play and Safe Workplaces” Act

The initiative, launched under President Obama, has been repealed. The Fair Play and Safe Workplaces Act was signed into law by President Obama in 2014. As Edward T. DeLisle and Carl J. Vernetti report in the Federal Construction Contracting Blog, both houses of Congress “have passed measures blocking the order from taking effect…” “On March […]

Highway Greenhouse Gas Emissions Measurement Rules on Hold

Obama-era rules are on hold pending further review. The Trump administration has postponed implementation of rules that would have required measuring the output of greenhouse gas emissions on federal highways. Timothy Cama, writing in THE HILL, briefly outlines the history and current status of this development. During the Obama administration, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) […]