In a very recently published case dealing with issues of first impression in California, here, the Second Appellate District in Los Angeles determined that the disgorgement penalty under BPC 7031(b) triggers a one-year statute of limitations given that it is a penalty, and the cause of action accrues from either the completion or cessation

Originally published as an Op-Ed in the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce on June 19, 2020.

Whether you are an owner, contractor, or design professional, construction disputes are, unfortunately, inevitable.  Below are some tips to avoid potential pitfalls and help resolve disputes as efficiently as possible, whether before or after formal litigation (or arbitration) commences.

The Construction Section of the Washington State Bar Association, in partnership with Stoel Rives, will present its annual full day seminar (via webinar) on June 12.  Co-chaired by Bart Reed (Partner at Stoel Rives), Brett Hill (Partner at Ahlers, Cressman & Sleight), and Ron English (Retired General Counsel of the Seattle Public Schools), the webinar

OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires an employer to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.  In the current pandemic,  COVID-19 qualifies and contractors should draft a COVID-19 policy for their worksites implementing the latest guidance in order to minimize the hazard and protect employees.

In addition to OSHA’s COVID-19 standards, on April 21, 2020, OSHA published a list of tips that can help reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the construction industry.  Some of those tips include:

  • Allowing workers to wear masks over their noses and mouths to prevent them from spreading the virus.
  • Training workers on how to properly wear and use protective clothing and equipment.
  • Keeping in-person meetings (including toolbox talks and safety meetings) as short as possible and limiting the number of workers in attendance.
  • Encouraging workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Maintaining physical distance (at least six feet when possible) on the job site and inside work trailers.
  • Encouraging frequent handwashing or sanitizing.

Several weeks have passed since Governor Brown formally ordered all Oregonians to “Stay Home, Save Lives,” and owners, project designers, and contractors have all had the opportunity to absorb its initial impacts.  While many stakeholders were initially relieved that construction projects in Oregon could apparently continue—subject to the various social distancing and travel restrictions described

State and local officials across the country have responded to COVID-19 with various executive orders and restrictions on businesses to help flatten the curve of the pandemic. Each state’s response opens the door for potential impacts on projects commencing or under construction, and on the parties involved with those projects.

To assist clients and friends,

On March 25, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued a memorandum that provided members of the construction industry with additional guidance regarding the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation (20-25) issued on March 23, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Proclamation raised a number of questions in the industry, including whether all residential construction was deemed an essential service. The Proclamation seemed to indicate in a parenthetical that “housing construction” was permitted but then went on to limit “residential construction” to “emergency repairs and projects that ensure structural integrity.” Because of the resulting confusion, some residential projects began shutting down, while many did not, with the trades on those projects expecting to continue with work.

Yesterday’s memorandum confirms that there is no blanket treatment of residential construction under the Proclamation, and not all residential construction is an essential service. Just as with commercial construction, for a residential construction project to proceed, it must fit into one or more of the following:

  1. Construction related to essential activities as described in the order;
  2. To further a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing; or
  3. To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.
Worker hammering a nail on construction site.
Construction worker.

In the event of a near-term slowdown in the U.S. economy, analysts forecast that any resulting decline in construction starts will nevertheless leave the level of activity in that industry sector “close to recent highs.” As a result, project owners and general contractors already facing a strong demand for

Seattle and Bellevue’s strong real estate markets present a plethora of lucrative business opportunities for Canadian product manufacturers and suppliers.  Because Washington-based developers and contractors are perhaps more litigious than their Canadian counterparts,  Canadian-based product manufacturers and suppliers should consider a full spectrum of risk management and mitigation strategies before engaging in cross-border business activities.

Occasional visitors to Seattle may be surprised to discover that their favorite route from the airport to downtown has changed. State Highway 99 no longer links to the Alaskan Way Viaduct into downtown Seattle.  The waterfront viaduct has been closed and demolition has begun.  The Battery Street tunnel that connected viaduct traffic to Aurora Avenue