Volume: 15, Issue: 19 - 10/13/2017
Many businesses purchase commercial general liability (CGL) insurance coverage. As the name indicates, these policies are designed to provide comprehensive liability protection for the operation of commercial enterprises. The policies are not intended to provide product liability insurance. In the case of construction contractors, the policies expressly exclude coverage for property damage related to the contractor’s “work.” Read more.
The certification of a claim under a federal contract must be signed. The signature may be handwritten or electronic, but it may not be typewritten. This is a jurisdictional requirement that cannot be waived by conduct or agreement.
Property damage caused by excessive soil subsidence was covered by a contractor’s commercial general liability insurance policy. The failure to test the soils was an accident, not faulty construction.
Volume: 15, Issue: 18 - 09/29/2017
Questioning and criticism of the hourly billings of professional service providers is not unusual. But one engineering firm fought back, suing a municipal project owner for defamation. An Indiana court was called upon to draw the line between protected criticism and slander. Read more.
Although a surety agreed to be jointly liable for the performance of a construction contract, this applied to the performance of the construction work. The surety was not bound by an arbitration clause in the construction contract. Any action against the bond had to be filed in a court of competent jurisdiction.
Allegations of unnecessary staffing and over-billing by an engineering firm were not defamatory. Suggestions of negligence and mismanagement do not necessarily allege criminality or wrongdoing.
Volume: 15, Issue: 17 - 09/15/2017
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By Bruce Jervis
For a contractor with a claim on a federal construction project, an essential occurrence is a “final decision” by the government contracting officer. Ideally, this is a formal written response addressing the merits of the claim. But if the contracting officer declines to respond within 60 days, it becomes a “deemed denial” of the claim. A final decision, formal or deemed, is a jurisdictional prerequisite to the contractor’s right to appeal. Read more.
A property owner complied with the statutory scheme for transferring a mechanic’s lien from the real estate to a bond. Notice to the contractor was sufficient. Notice to the contractor’s attorney of record was not required. When the contractor failed to sue on the bond in a timely manner, the lien was extinguished by operation of law. The court clerk was obligated to release the bond. The contractor was not denied due process of law.
The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals has clarified a provision of the Contract Disputes Act that empowers the board to direct a contracting officer to issue a timely decision on a claim. The board can shorten an extension taken by a contracting officer, but it cannot force a written decision, leaving the contractor to appeal a “deemed denial” of its claim.