construction claimsIn Lodge Construction, Inc. v. United States, the US Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”) prefaced its 46-page opinion by stating: “This case should serve as a cautionary tale to government contractors.”[1] Our ears perk up any time we read that kind of admonition in a published decision. The Lodge holding is, indeed, loaded with lessons on what to do, and what not to do, when presenting Contract Disputes Act (“CDA”) claims to the government. In particular, federal construction contractors and their performance bond sureties should take heed of the court’s holding in this highly-illustrative fraud case.

Background of the case

In 2010, the Army Corps of Engineers (“Government”) awarded Lodge Construction (“Lodge”) a fixed-price contract to rehabilitate a levee in Florida. To accommodate subsurface work, Lodge designed and constructed a temporary cofferdam based on a geotechnical site inspection and analysis furnished by the Government. The Government accepted Lodge’s final cofferdam design in July 2011. In March 2012, however, water breached two sections of the cofferdam’s sheet pile wall, after which the Government retroactively disapproved of Lodge’s cofferdam design. The Government requested that Lodge submit a new sheet pile design by May 29, 2012.
Continue Reading Fraud and Forfeiture: Cautionary Tales of a Construction Claim Gone Wrong

The Supreme Court on May 23, 2022, in its decision in Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., rejected the “arbitration specific waiver rule demanding a showing of prejudice” to the party opposing the petition to enforce the arbitration agreement. That rule had been followed for decades by nine Circuits.[1] Post Morgan, the analysis reverts to the standard contract waiver analysis “focus[ing] on the actions of the person who held the right; … [rather than] the effects of those actions on the opposing party.”[2] Although the case is an employment matter, the new rule applies whenever a party seeks to stay litigation and send the matter to arbitration under Sections 3 and 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act in essentially all commercial litigation contexts.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Rejects Prejudice Element of Waiver Analysis When Enforcing Agreements to Arbitrate

Jason N. Smith and Edward V. Arnold authored a chapter in The Legal 500: Construction Country Comparative Guide, “United States: Construction.” The Chapter provides a comprehensive overview of legal issues in the US construction industry. You can read Seyfarth’s chapter of this year’s guide here.

CHALLENGE

The Port of Anchorage Intermodal Expansion Project was envisioned to be a $1 billion project that would replace outdated infrastructure at the Port of Alaska, but defective management, design, and construction derailed the Project. Seyfarth was tasked with prosecuting claims and recovering money spent by the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration (MARAD) for the

James Newland is presenting a fourteen-part webinar series for Federal Publications Seminars. This fourteen-part webinar series is a deep dive into construction contracts, claims, and risk management as it presents and analyzes the risks that arise on construction projects, the contract clauses and drafting considerations in allocating those risks, and the claims and disputes methods and procedures used in documenting, presenting, mediating, arbitrating, or litigating the claims when they arise.  Along the way, the course presents and analyzes those topics from the perspective of the owner, general contractor and subcontractors operating on public or private construction projects. The topics are presented from both a legal and practical standpoint and the program discusses the substantive and administrative aspects of the key clauses, risks and claims prevalent on public and private construction projects.

See the full list of programs below, and register on the Federal Publications Seminars website.
Continue Reading James Newland to Present Construction Contracts, Claims, and Risk Management Webinar Series

Seyfarth’s Construction team is pleased to announce the release of our 2022 edition of the 50 State Lien Law Notice Requirements Guide. The Guide provides the general time requirements for filing lien notices in each state, plus Washington, DC. Seyfarth’s Construction team prepared the survey for use by owners, commercial contractors, and real estate developers

Mounting Evidence of a Sea Change?

On August 16, 2021, the District Court for Clark County, Nevada, denied an insurance company’s motion to dismiss a property owner’s lawsuit seeking business interruption insurance coverage due to COVID-19. A key defense often asserted by insurers in response to such claims is that physical loss or damage is required to trigger coverage and neither results from COVID-19. In this lawsuit, the property owner asserted the impact of SARS-COV-2 virions and COVID-19 exposure on the building’s interior surfaces amounts to an alteration of the property’s conditions resulting in physical damage. Without deciding the issue on its merits, the court found the complaint sufficiently alleged physical damage to trigger insurance coverage and allowed the matter to proceed.
Continue Reading Court Allows Another Lawsuit Seeking Business Interruption Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 to Proceed

Earlier this week, the Third Circuit held in Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission v. Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry that Pennsylvania ceded its authority to enforce its building code and safety regulations against the operator of a transportation facility, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (“Commission”). The Commission is a bi-state entity created by an interstate compact between Pennsylvania and New Jersey (“Compact”) and approved by Congress under the Constitution’s Compact Clause.
Continue Reading Third Circuit Interprets Interstate Transportation-Related Compact as a Surrender of Compacting State’s Authority to Enforce its Building Regulations

On October 20, 2020, Seyfarth partner Sara Beiro Farabow returned to lecture (virtually this time) before graduate engineering students at the Polytechnic University of Milan, the #1 ranked engineering university in Italy. This session of the masters course, “Contract, Claim and Delay Management in Construction Works,” provided a comparative legal analysis of U.S.

Seyfarth partner James Newland co-authored “Preparing and Presenting Loss of Labor Productivity Claims: Analysis of the Methodologies with Two Exemplars”, published in the Summer 2020 edition of the ABA’s The Construction Lawyer.

It is beyond doubt that losses of labor productivity exist in the construction industry. When a party seeks to recover