Construction Law Blog

Preti Flaherty construction attorneys provide news and discuss up-to-date legal issues and emerging trends in construction law. The firm's Construction Law Group represents clients at local, regional and national levels in all aspects of construction projects, large and small.

Recent Blog Posts

  • In a first step to curbing the unlimited enforcement powers of the State, the New Hampshire legislature has passed a law that will provide a three-year statute of limitations for the State when pursuing any personal or civil enforcement action. The new law becomes effective on January 1, 2018. Prior to the enactment of this law, the New Hampshire Supreme Court had concluded – in State v. Lake Winnipesaukee Resort, LLC, 159 N.H. 42, 45 (2009) – that the State had no... More
  • Some states—though generally not in the Northeast—preclude a general contractor from recovering under a contractual indemnification provision against a subcontractor if the claim is the result, in any way, of active negligence or willful misconduct on the part of the general contractor. A recent decision by an appellate court in California, Oltmans Construction co. v. Bayside Interiors, Inc. Case No. A147313 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. March 30, 2017), however, shows that courts are increasingly skeptical of such broad interpretations of anti-indemnity... More
  • In a decision that will impact how subcontractors deal with an insolvent general contractor, the Third Circuit in In re Linear ElectricCompany, Inc., Case No. 16-1477, ruled that a subcontractor creditor violated the automatic stay imposed by a general contractor’s bankruptcy filing when, post-bankruptcy, the subcontractor filed a mechanic’s lien against the owner of the construction project. Much like New Hampshire’s statutory system, New Jersey’s construction lien statute allows subcontractors and suppliers to lien an owner’s property to the extent... More
  • In March, Boston mayor Marty Walsh announced that the city is introducing a “new era of school investment,” a $1 billion, 10-year master plan called BuildBPS. Developed with planning firm Symmes Maini & McKee Associates, BuildBPS represents a major business opportunity for the local construction industry to play a part in shaping the future of Boston’s public schools. Modernizing the ClassroomsA 2016 survey found that 60 percent of students, parents, and staff rated the condition of Boston’s public schools as... More
  • The Massachusetts Appeals Court, in Downey, et al. v. Chutehall Construction Co., Ltd., 88 Mass. App. Ct. 795 (January 6, 2016), recently held that an oral waiver of compliance with the building code by a homeowner does not preclude the contractor’s liability for the violation, particularly where a violation carries potential public safety concerns.In this matter, the contractor was hired to replace a roof and roof deck. The parties disputed whether the homeowners (1) represented to the contractor that... More
  • A U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts has allowed a lawsuit to proceed brought by a contractor against an architect, alleging the architect falsely certified grounds for termination to the project owner. In a November 18, 2015 written decision in the matter of Barr, Inc. v. Studio One, Inc., C.A. No. 3:15-40056, the Court denied the architect’s motion to dismiss the contractor’s claims against it sounding in tortious interference with contractual relations and tortious interference with... More
  • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a very significant ruling yesterday regarding the use of the CM-At Risk delivery method, particularly on public jobs.In Coghlin Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. Gilbane Building Company, the Court held that a construction manager who performed preconstruction services to assist in the development of plans and specifications did not waive the owner’s implied warranty as to the sufficiency of the plans and specifications. In addition, the Court held that the contract’s language requiring the construction... More
  • The Connecticut Supreme Court recently issued an opinion in Joseph General Contracting, Inc. v. Couto, (SC 19209) that preserved the limited liability of a principal for breach of contract claims against the company, but opened the door to individual liability for principals for unfair or deceptive trade practice act violations. The Connecticut Supreme Court reversed the trial court and first level appellate court decisions finding that the principal of a company could be held liable for breach of contract... More
  • The American Arbitration Association has issued revised Construction Industry Rules and Mediation Procedures, which are intended to provide “a more streamlined, cost-effective and tightly managed process.”  Some of the most significant amendments include:A mediation step for all cases with claims of $100,000 or more (with both parties having the ability to opt out).Consolidation and joinder time frames and filing requirements to streamline these ... More
  • If you have ever agonized about whether to include certain confidential business information in a bid for a state contract in New Hampshire because of concerns that your competitors might get their hands on it, you should find some comfort in the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s recent decision in CaremarkPCS Health, LLC v. New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services, No. 2014-120.  In 2010, the Department issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for pharmacy benefit management services for the State of... More
  • The Suffolk (MA) Superior Court, in Rodrigues, et al. v. Tribeca Builders Corp., et al. (Civil Action No. 13-00730-C), recently granted summary judgment to a project management firm retained by a property’s landlord/owner, who was sued after the Plaintiff was injured at a construction site.  The Plaintiff was injured when a handicap chair-lift he was helping to move at the construction site fell on him.  The Plaintiff was employed by a subcontractor hired by the general contractor.  The Plaintiff brought... More
  • In City of Rochester v. Marcel A. Payeur, Inc. et al., the City of Rochester sued multiple parties after a water tower that it had built in 1985 sprung a leak.  New Hampshire has adopted the doctrine of Nullum Tempus, which means that statutes of limitations do not apply against the State.  The question for this case was whether cities and towns are immune from statutes of limitation.  Preti Flaherty attorneys Ken Rubinstein and Nathan Fennessy represented an ENR 50... More
  • The Maine legislature is considering a bill that, if passed, would have a significant impact on Maine contractors and subcontractors.  LD-587 would make void and unenforceable any provision in a construction contract requiring the parties or their sureties or insurers to indemnify a promisee against liability arising from the negligence or willful misconduct of the promisee.  The bill has been referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development.If passed, neither contractors nor subcontractors could be held liable... More
  • The New Hampshire Supreme Court confirmed in Murray v. McNamara, No. 2013-630 (N.H. March 20, 2015) that contractors are exempt from liability under New Hampshire’s Consumer Protection Act (RSA 358-A) for transactions occurring more than three years prior to the plaintiff learning of the alleged violation of the statute (though they may still have liability under other causes of action).  This issue arose in the context of a construct defect claim based on defendants’ purported breach of the implied warranty... More
  • The Massachusetts Appeals Court has declined to award an equitable adjustment to a contractor who bid $0.01 to excavate a cubic yard of rock from a project site. See Celco Construction Corp. v. Town of Avon, 87 Mass. App. Ct. 132 (March 2, 2014).  The contractor constructed its bid based on its belief that the amount of rock on the site would be considerably less than the unverified estimate indicated in the contract bid documents, so that its low unit... More