Category Archives for "Court Decisions"

Did the payment bond issued for a design-build project provide protection to an engineering subcontractor? Aztec Engineering Group, Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana (2017), by Hugh Anderson.

Summary: Aztec Engineering Group provided design services for the upgrade of 21 miles of state highway near Bloomington, Indiana, under a professional services subcontract with design-builder Isolux-Corson. Isolux-Corson’s work was in turn part of a Public Private Partnership to “design, build, finance, operate and upgrade” the highway. The design-build contract between the project’s Developer and […]

Continue reading

Contractor-subcontractor relationship; wrongful termination of subcontractor. Randy Kinder Excavating, Inc. v. J.A. Manning Construction Co., Inc. United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit. (2018), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: Kinder was the general contractor on a $10 million Corps of Engineers pumping station project on the White River in Arkansas. Manning was Kinder’s subcontractor for construction of a mechanically stabilized earth wall (a form of retaining wall). As the U.S. Court of Appeals put it, “As with many large-scale projects, this venture was […]

Continue reading

What is the exercise of discretionary authority under a statute limiting the State’s liability? Rodriguez v. Department of Transportation. Court of Appeal of California (2018), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: The State of California is not liable for injuries except as provided by statute. The Government Claims Act allows for direct liability for injuries caused by the State maintaining a dangerous condition. However, this exposure to liability is limited: the State is allowed to raise the design immunity defense. This defense gives the State […]

Continue reading

Owner’s claims against design-builder’s architect regarding design-builder’s applications for payment. Auburn Hills Tax Increment Finance Authority v. Haussman Construction Company. Court of Appeals of Michigan (2018), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: Haussman Construction retained Mayotte Group, Inc., an architecture firm, to design a four-story parking structure. Somewhat afterward, Haussman entered into an “Owner-Builder” agreement with the project owner, the Auburn Hills Tax Increment Finance Authority, agreeing to “serve as general contractor for the design and construction” of the parking structure. The Owner-Builder agreement identified Mayotte […]

Continue reading

May a project owner sustain a claim against design professionals retained by the contractor? Stapleton v. Barrett Crane Design & Engineering. United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit (2018), by Hugh Anderson

Summary: Keywell, the project owner, entered into contract with Pavilion Building for the design and construction of a commercial building in western New York. Pavilion subcontracted some or all of the design to Barrett Crane Design & Engineering. After completion, Keywell brought professional negligence and breach of contract claims in Federal court against Pavilion, Barrett […]

Continue reading

Issue: Property damage insurance and waiver of subrogation. Ritacca Laser Center v. Brydges. Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District (2018)., by Hugh Anderson

Summary: A medical facility, Ritacca Laser Center, entered into a design-build contract to remodel a basement space into a surgical suite. The design-build contractor retained O’Hare Engineering for design and installation of the building’s HVAC system. A few days after the new facility’s grand opening, a fire caused extensive damage. The cause of the fire […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading