Category Archives for "Court Decisions"

Issue: Termination of construction contract three years after completion. S.J. Louis v. City of Austin. Texas (2018). by Hugh Anderson

Summary: This is a pending case that has not yet reached the appellate stage, but bears monitoring. The case arises from a $161 million flood control tunnel project. The contractor allegedly used shoddy concrete and failed to install a tunnel liner or rebar in some places. Repairs were made and the city may or may […]

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Issue: May a public owner terminate a contract for convenience, solely to obtain a better price from another supplier? A.L. Prime Energy Consultant, Inc. v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (2018). by Hugh Anderson

Summary: The MBTA entered into a contract with Prime Energy for the supply of diesel fuel. After the contract was under way, MBTA learned that another Massachusetts state agency had entered into a statewide diesel fuel supply contract with a different supplier, at a substantially lower unit price. MBTA was eligible to obtain fuel under […]

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Standard of Care and the Spearin Doctrine, by Kevin O’Beirne

EJCDC’s documents apply a Standard of Care to all professional services performed by or for the Engineer. Standard of Care is defined in EJCDC® E-500, Agreement between Owner and Engineer for Professional Services (2014) as follows: The Standard of Care for all professional engineering and related services performed or furnished by Engineer under this Agreement will be the […]

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Dismissal of differing site conditions claim on federal dam project. ASI Constructors, Inc., v. United States of America. United States Court of Federal Claims (2016), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: The contractor on a project to modify and improve the Canton Lake Dam in Oklahoma claimed that it had encountered site conditions that differed from those shown in the contract documents, and that the Corps had withheld relevant site information. After the project’s contracting officer denied the claims, which totaled approximately $6.6 million, the […]

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Owner’s entitlement to reject bid as non-responsive based on bidder’s failure to cite a prior successful project of similar size, scope, and complexity. Matter of Framan Mechanical, Inc. v. State University Construction Fund. New York Appellate Division (2017), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: The State University Construction Fund sought bids for an HVAC upgrade project at the SUNY Downstate Medical Campus. The instructions to bidders required that each bidder demonstrate that it had successfully completed a project of similar size, scope, and complexity within the last five years. Framan Mechanical was the low bidder. In response to […]

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Enforcement of limitation of liability clause in geotechnical engineering contract. Taylor Morrison of Colorado, Inc., v. Terracon Consultants, Inc. Court of Appeals of Colorado (2017), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: A residential developer, Taylor Morrison, retained Terracon Consultants to provide geotechnical engineering and testing services with respect to a new subdivision. In particular, Terracon was responsible for testing the soil for compliance with construction specifications and building codes. After construction of the houses in the subdivision, many homeowners complained to the developer that the […]

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Curtis Engineering Corp. v. Superior Court of San Diego County – Protection Against Frivolous Lawsuits, by Arthur Schwartz

California design professionals received some legal assurances from a state appeals court ruling in November that backed a longstanding protection against frivolous lawsuits. The case specifically addresses certificates of merit in negligence cases and the period in which they must be filed. In the case of Curtis Engineering Corp. v. Superior Court of San Diego […]

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Owner’s entitlement to reject bid as non-responsive based on bidder’s failure to cite a prior successful project of similar size, scope, and complexity. Matter of Framan Mechanical, Inc. v. State University Construction Fund. New York Appellate Division (2017), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: The State University Construction Fund sought bids for an HVAC upgrade project at the SUNY Downstate Medical Campus. The instructions to bidders required that each bidder demonstrate that it had successfully completed a project of similar size, scope, and complexity within the last five years. Framan Mechanical was the low bidder. In response to […]

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Enforcement of limitation of liability clause in geotechnical engineering contract. Taylor Morrison of Colorado, Inc., v. Terracon Consultants, Inc. Court of Appeals of Colorado (2017), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: A residential developer, Taylor Morrison, retained Terracon Consultants to provide geotechnical engineering and testing services with respect to a new subdivision. In particular, Terracon was responsible for testing the soil for compliance with construction specifications and building codes. After construction of the houses in the subdivision, many homeowners complained to the developer that the […]

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Owner’s implied warranty of drawings and specifications under Missouri law. Penzel Construction Company, Inc., v. Jackson R-2 School District. Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District (2017), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: Under the Spearin doctrine, now approaching its centennial, a public owner makes an implied warranty in every  construction contract that the government’s drawings and specifications are adequate for the contractor to perform the work required by the contract. Originally a federal legal principle, the Spearin doctrine has been followed or adopted in most jurisdictions […]

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