Volume: 15, Issue: 13 - 07/14/2017


Project owners have legitimate concerns regarding the subcontractors utilized by their contractors. Quality of work is an obvious concern. Issues of job site safety and security also arise. Public project owners have limited control over their contractors’ choice of subs. Private owners have broader discretion, but this authority is not foolproof. Read more.


A project owner which directed the prime contractor to terminate a subcontract was not liable for tortious interference with contract. The subcontract was nonbinding and performance had not commenced. Additionally, the owner had legitimate reasons to exclude the subcontractor from the job site.


A contractor could sue a project engineer for the value of design services furnished in expectation of contract award. A prior course of dealings was evidence of a quasi-contractual relationship. And, the contractor alleged the design had been prepared under the supervision of a licensed engineer.

Volume: 15, Issue: 12 - 06/30/2017


By Bruce Jervis


The cynical view of contractor licensing requirements is that they are intended to generate revenue and restrict competition. The broader view – and official public policy – is that licensing schemes protect consumers and project owners. And, the statutes are effectively enforced through provisions that make it impossible for an unlicensed contractor to sue for payment for its work. Read more.


In a termination for the convenience of the government, standby labor costs incurred prior to issuance of notice-to-proceed were reasonable administrative costs of preparation. These were not construction costs incurred at the risk of the contractor. 


A contractor could not maintain a suit for payment because the contractor did not have a required state license. The contractor could not satisfy the requirement through the license of an officer or employee. The statute protects not only unsophisticated homeowners, but sophisticated corporate project owners as well.

Volume: 15, Issue: 11 - 06/15/2017


 Problems arise when a party signs a settlement agreement and then ignores its language, trying to treat it as something it is not. In a recent case involving a federal project, the government settled two sets of claims. The claims involved discrete aspects of the project and problems that occurred during a three-month period. Read more.


 A state mechanic’s lien statute requirement to provide the “name of owner” of the property was interpreted expansively. The failure to indicate that an individual was the trustee of a trust did not invalidate a lien filing. The individual had legal authority to convey or encumber the real estate and the omission would not affect a title examination.


 A contractor’s settlement of prior claims against the government pertained to a narrow, discrete aspect of the project. The contractor did not release the right to pursue a claim for the overall impact of delay and disruption to the project.

Volume: 15, Issue: 10 - 05/31/2017


By Bruce Jervis


The concept of “concurrent delay” is straightforward. A contractor cannot recover for suspended or delayed work caused by the project owner if the contractor would have otherwise been unable to perform during the period in question. In effect, the owner-caused delay is cancelled out by the contractor-caused delay. Read more

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