Category: Payment Disputes

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Legislative Update: House Bill 4154

In February 2018, the Oregon Legislature attempted to push through House Bill 4154, which would have made a general contractor liable for unpaid wages, including benefit payments and contributions, of an employee of a subcontractor at any tier, after that employee files a wage claim and the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries … Continue Reading

Can a Contingent Payment Provision Affect a Construction Lien Claim in Washington?

During Seattle’s current construction boom, general contractors and subcontractors may be concentrating more on finalizing work on their projects than on worrying about the niceties of their construction contract documents. It is no less prudent now, however, for the parties to remain aware of their contractual rights and responsibilities—especially those tied to payment.  One payment … Continue Reading

Yes, Contractor Licensing May Be Required Under California Law Even if the Contractor Does Not Physically Build Anything Itself

It seems that almost weekly, and certainly monthly, I receive a call or inquiry from colleagues and/or prospective clients as to whether a license is really required if the prospective “contractor” is not actually building anything but is merely facilitating a “deal” or is hiring otherwise qualified and licensed contractors and trades. Virtually every time … Continue Reading

Hate Negotiating? Think It is a Waste of Time? Think Again. Seven Habits of Successful Negotiators

If you dislike negotiating, you are not alone. But successful negotiators understand and embrace the opportunities that a negotiation presents.  In my recent article for the Daily Journal of Commerce, I discuss seven habits of successful negotiators that can help you successfully conclude your construction-related negotiations. Read the full article here.   “Hate Negotiating? Think It … Continue Reading

Surety Has “Sole and Absolute Discretion” to Settle Bond Claim in California

While surety bonds have always been required for most public projects, they are being used extensively in many large private construction projects by project owners to secure faithful performance (or payment via settlement) of the contract if the contractor defaults.  But does the contractor have the same standing and rights against the Surety as an … Continue Reading

When Is a Private Project a Public Work for Prevailing Wage Application in California?

In recent years, the Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”), the Legislature and the California courts have expanded the application of the prevailing wage law to projects through the broad definition of a “public works,” beyond what most contractors, owners and even counsel would expect.  While most involved in construction anticipate that any work directly for, … Continue Reading

No Contractor’s License Means You Work for Free

 Yet another California court decision has been issued requiring a contractor to return over $750,000 received for work he performed on a casino while he was unlicensed. In rejecting the contractor’s arguments against disgorgement, the court found that (a) California Business and Professions Code § 7031’s penalties applied to work performed for tribal corporations and on … Continue Reading

A Contract Means What It Says: Construction Manager Awarded Equitable Fee Increase in Idaho

A reminder from the Idaho Supreme Court for parties to a construction contract:  the plain language of the parties’ contract governs the obligations between them in the absence of ambiguity.  In City of Meridian v. Petra, Inc., No. 39006, 2013 WL 1286014 (Idaho Apr. 1, 2013), the Idaho Supreme Court reviewed a construction dispute between … Continue Reading

Nevada Lenders Beware! Mechanic’s Liens Not Easily Avoided

Following the market crash in 2008-09, the $2.8 billion Fontainebleau development in Las Vegas was halted with 70 percent of the construction completed. Naturally, numerous mechanic’s liens were filed by contractors, subcontractors, professionals and suppliers ("claimants"). In the bankruptcy proceeding, the lenders asserted novel and potentially legally destabilizing theories against the claimants’ rights: a.) the … Continue Reading

Oregon’s Prompt Pay Acts Strengthened and Clarified in 2012

Parties to construction contracts take notice:  the legislature enacted new consequences and contract restrictions to Oregon’s Prompt Pay Acts starting in 2012.                On public improvement contracts first advertised or solicited on or after May 28, 2012, the newly revised Act (a) changes the interest penalty rate for a prime contractor’s failure to make timely payment … Continue Reading

WA Supreme Court Confirms Right to Claim Liens over Improvements on Public Property

It is well known that public property is not lienable in most states, including Washington. However, it has been generally assumed that under Washington’s mechanic’s lien statute (RCW 60.04), improvements constructed on public property are lienable. In Estate of Haselwood v. Bremerton Ice Arena, Inc., No. 80411-7 (June 25, 2009) the Supreme Court of Washington, … Continue Reading

Contractor Insolvencies and the Risks to the Owner/Developer

A retail construction project illustrates the risks to an owner when the general contractor encounters financial problems. As is typically the case, the general’s financial troubles started when he got behind in payments on earlier projects. As a result, the initial payments on the retail project went to pay subs and suppliers from the earlier projects, which … Continue Reading
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