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 on non-public projects. Requirements may differ for residential and public projects. You can request a PDF of the 50 State Lien Law Notice Requirements Guide below.

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The Fourth Circuit, in United States ex rel. Sheldon v. Allergan Sales, LLC, No. 20-2330, 2022 WL 211172 (4th Cir. Jan. 25, 2022) recently upheld the dismissal of False Claims Act (“FCA”) lawsuit brought by a quit tam relator (“Relator”) against his employer, Forest Laboratories, LLC (“Forest”) alleging that Forest engaged in a fraudulent price reporting scheme under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Statute (“Rebate Statute”).[1]

Notably, the Fourth Circuit adopted the US Supreme Court’s decision in Safeco Ins. Co. of Am. v. Burr, 551 U.S. 47 (2007) in holding that the scienter element of the FCA is subject to an “objective reasonableness” standard, where a defendant can defeat FCA liability by establishing that its interpretation of the applicable statute or regulation was objectively reasonable and that no authoritative guidance from a court or agency could have “warned defendant away” from that interpretation. Just last year, the Seventh Circuit adopted this standard in U.S. ex rel. Schutte v. SuperValu Inc., joining the Third, Eighth, Ninth, and DC Circuits in holding the same.

At issue in Sheldon was the reasonableness of Forest’s interpretation of the Rebate Statute in determining how it calculated certain discounts given to separate customers for purpose of reporting its “best price” to the government. The District Court dismissed the complaint on the basis that Forest’s reading of the Rebate Statute was “objectively reasonable,” there was no authoritative guidance to the contrary, and thus Forest did not act “knowingly” under the FCA. The Fourth Circuit affirmed.[2] Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Adopts Objective Reasonableness Standard in Determining Scienter Element of the False Claims Act

Seyfarth partner Teddie Arnold is moderating the “Enhancing Small Business Ethics and Compliance Efforts” panel for the Defense Industry Initiative’s (DII) first quarter webinar on Thursday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. The program will include a discussion of ethics and compliance risks and opportunities for small and mid-sized businesses, with perspectives from industry, experts, and government. The panel will also discuss e­ffective strategies for small and mid-sized businesses to develop best practice programs, including partnering with larger prime customers.

DII is a non-profit organization formed by many of the top defense companies in the US. Its mission is the continued promotion and advancement of a culture of ethical conduct in every company that provides products and services to the US Armed Forces. Seyfarth partner Donald Featherstun serves as the DII Coordinator.

For more information and to register for the webinar, visit DII’s website. This webinar is free and open to the public.

In a recent decision, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that FAR 52.212-4(l), the Termination for Convenience clause used in commercial items contracts, had no effect in a services contract—even though the services contract explicitly incorporated the clause. The case could have significant implications not just for services contracts that borrow commercial-items clauses, but also for contractors evaluating whether new clauses added into their contract (like clauses requiring COVID-19 vaccines) are operative. Continue Reading Federal Circuit Holds Termination for Convenience Clause Inoperative in Services Contract

After reporting its lowest annual recovery from False Claim Act (“FCA”) cases in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has reportedly bounced back. On February 1, 2021, DOJ released detailed statistics regarding FCA recoveries during FY 2021, during which DOJ reportedly obtained more than $5.6 billion in civil FCA settlements and judgments, of which $5 billion related to matters involving the health care industry. This follows what had been a significant decline from the high water mark in 2014 when DOJ recovered a record $5.69 billion, after which the number of dollars recovered had generally trended downward—2015 ($3.5 billion), 2016 ($4.93 billion), 2017 ($3.47 billion), 2018 ($2.9 billion), 2019 ($3 billion), and 2020 ($2.2 billion). DOJ reported recoveries in the form of settlements and judgments across various sectors including health care fraud, procurement fraud, COVID-related fraud, as well as a slew of other fraud including those involving oil and natural gas exploration, the FCC’s E-Rate program, federal funding for tutoring services, and FHA loan underwriting deficiencies. In addition, DOJ touted its cybersecurity initiatives, as well as its continued commitment to hold individuals accountable under the FCA.

Continue Reading DOJ Reports False Claims Act Recoveries for Fiscal Year 2021

Issue

The cost and time to perform change order work may increase as a result of COVID-19 impacts that arise after the change order is agreed upon. The Contractor can include contingencies for that risk in its lump sum pricing, but the Owner will have paid an unnecessary premium if those impacts do not materialize.

Proposed Solution

Consider utilizing a COVID-19 Rider with your change orders. The Rider details the types of COVID-19 impacts that entitle the Contractor to relief, as well as the specific relief. This allows the parties to use their standard process and format for change orders, with the COVID-19 issues addressed in the Rider. A one-page Rider is often all you need. The primary issues to address in the Rider are discussed below. Continue Reading COVID-19 Riders for Construction Change Orders

In heavy-civil, excavation, and infrastructure work, the risk of encountering differing, unknown, or concealed conditions is significant, as it is nearly impossible to document or predict everything that the contractor will encounter below the surface when performing its operations. Although standard pre-bid site surveys, including soil and geotechnical reports, are good resources to evaluate potential concerns, they will almost never be all encompassing as to what a contractor will face when its work is in progress. Given these unique, complicated, and costly risks, some project owners will seek to pass liability for such risk onto the those performing the work. Indeed, owners may seek to transfer these unknown risks, including unforeseen conditions, to contractors making the financial burden significant for those bidding the work. Accordingly, it is imperative that the contractor balance the desire to submit a competitive price to win the work with the need to ensure that it has some type of remedy or recovery should it encounter such concealed or differing conditions. Faced with this balancing act, contractors performing excavation and foundation work should be intimately familiar with the site disclaimer, exculpatory, and risk-transferring clauses present in their agreements and the effect that such provisions may have on their ability to recover additional costs and time should they encounter differing conditions. Continue Reading Construction Site Disclaimers: Navigating Risk Allocation for Differing, Concealed and Unknown Conditions in Heavy-Civil, Excavation, and Infrastructure Work

Thursday, October 7, 2021
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Central
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Mountain
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Pacific

Register Here

Real estate developers face numerous pandemic-related challenges. In this webinar, we will discuss how developers are changing the terms of their loan agreements, construction contracts, and leases to meet those challenges. The panels’ personal experience negotiating those documents will provide a practical perspective of what you can reasonably expect to achieve. We will also highlight litigation trends and how courts have addressed key issues affecting your bottom line, including whether a tenant’s lack of business legally excuses it from paying rent. Topics include:

Litigation

  • Force majeure / impossibility / impracticability / frustration of purpose
  • Co-tenancy covenants

Real Estate Finance

  • Expanding project completion deadlines in loan agreements
  • Modifying cash management provisions
  • Non-performing loan observations

Construction 

  • Allocating the risk of COVID-19 delays and cost increases
  • Utilizing COVID-19 riders for change orders
  • Supply chain trends

Leasing

  • Revising force majeure clauses in leases
  • Rental abatement / cost sharing trends
  • Permitted use clause: countering an impossibility argument

Speakers

David Blake, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
James O’Brien, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Daniel Evans, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Mark Johnson, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Register Here

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

On September 23, 2021, James Newland, AIA, partner in Seyfarth’s Construction group, will be a panelist on the program: “Developing High Performance Structures Through Integrated Project Delivery (IPD),” presented by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA).

The program features participants from DPR Construction and HKA Consulting and will address key aspects of the (IPD) method and its impact on contract structure, with the goal of producing high performance and sustainable structures. It will also address the most important aspects of the IPD method and how they are implemented even before any IPD contracting structure is developed.

CMAA is an industry association dedicated to the practice of professional construction management. CMAA members include federal/state/local government and private sector owners, construction consultants, technology suppliers, academia, and legal organizations.

Find more information and register for the webinar on CMAA’s website.