Kip Childs

Kip Childs

Kip Childs is a member of Stoel Rives LLP practicing in the Construction and Design group. Kip has extensive trial experience and has been heavily involved in both prosecuting and defending construction defect, delay, impact and design claims. He regularly participates in mediations and settlement conferences, and assists clients with negotiating and drafting construction and design contracts. Kip also practices with the firm’s Business Insolvency & Financial Services practice group and has significant experience in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial and general debtor-creditor law.He has represented both secured and unsecured creditors in numerous bankruptcy reorganizations and has extensive experience litigating bankruptcy preference, lien avoidance, priority and plan confirmation disputes.

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May a Contractor Sue the Owner’s Lender?

In my latest Daily Journal of Commerce Construction column, I discuss the issue of whether a contractor may sue a lender. This occasionally arises when a project’s owner runs into trouble and the construction lender stops funding. The argument that is occasionally advanced is that the lender knew the contractor had started work and, if … Continue Reading

Amendment to AAA Arbitrator Disclosure Rule Imposes Duties on both Arbitrator and Parties

With an increase in the use of arbitration as the preferred method for resolving construction industry disputes has come an increase in concerns with assuring fairness in the process. To this end, one of the recent changes the American Arbitration Association made to the Construction Industry Dispute Resolution Procedures (Including Mediation and Arbitration Rules), was … Continue Reading

Oregon Court of Appeals Provides Clarification to Contractor Negligence Claims

The Oregon Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in Abraham v. T. Henry Construction, Inc., et al., a residential construction defect case, that helps clarify the circumstances under which a contractor may be sued for negligence. The issue of whether a contractor may be sued for negligence, as opposed to breach of contract is, in … Continue Reading

Recent Oregon Court of Appeals Case Resolves Statute of Limitations Issues in Construction Defect Cases

The Oregon Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling in the case of Waxman v. Waxman & Assoc., Inc. that resolves two significant issues regarding the statute of limitations in certain construction defect cases. First, the court ruled that where a plaintiff’s claim is based upon breach of contract, the applicable statute of limitations is … 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

Owner/Developer Insolvencies and the Risks to Contractors

Developer insolvencies are unfortunately becoming more and more common in our current economic climate and often result in partially completed projects being stopped. The consequences to contractors can be significant. A number of recent resort projects illustrate what the contractors and subs can typically expect. First, the obvious, immediate problem is nonpayment, which in turn requires the … Continue Reading

May a Contractor Sue the Owner’s Lender?

When disputes arise between an owner and its lender, and the lender, for any number of reasons, stops funding a project, the question of whether the contractor can sue the lender sometimes arises. The theory often advanced is that the lender knew the contractor had started work and, if it did not intend to advance the … Continue Reading

Bankruptcy as an Event of Default – Unenforceable Contract Provisions

Contract provisions stating that either the owner or the contractor’s bankruptcy will constitute an event of default are common. A corresponding provision typically sets out the nonbreaching party’s rights in the event of default, one being the right to terminate the contract. For all practical purposes, these provisions are meaningless and unenforceable. Section 365 of the Bankruptcy … Continue Reading

Common Lien Mistakes

While the technical requirements for preparing and filing liens offer countless opportunities for mistakes, two in particular seem to predominate. The first is the failure to properly calculate the 75-day period for filing the lien. The 75-day period begins to run from the earlier of (i) the day the contractor or supplier ceased to provide labor or … Continue Reading

Terminating a Contractor for Default – Caution Is the Rule

Risks of Termination While most construction contracts permit the owner to terminate a contractor in the event of default, any owner will be well counseled to exercise such rights cautiously. The risks of termination are both practical and legal. Terminating the contractor will almost certainly result in delays. Finding a replacement contractor can be difficult, particularly if the … Continue Reading

Owner/Developer Bankruptcies – What the Contractor Can Expect

What should a contractor expect when the owner files for bankruptcy? That’s a difficult question to answer briefly. Our best advice is to see a bankruptcy attorney quickly. Bankruptcy is a highly technical area of law that few attorneys understand. It’s wholly unreasonable to expect that a nonattorney could navigate his or her way through the system.  We emphasize … Continue Reading
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