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    Builders Association of Central Massachusetts Inc
    Local # 2280
    51 Pullman Street
    Worcester, MA 01606

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    Massachusetts Home Builders Association
    Local # 2200
    700 Congress St Suite 200
    Quincy, MA 02169

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    Local # 2220
    700 Congress St. Suite 202
    Quincy, MA 02169

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    North East Builders Assn of MA
    Local # 2255
    170 Main St Suite 205
    Tewksbury, MA 01876

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    Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Western Mass
    Local # 2270
    240 Cadwell Dr
    Springfield, MA 01104

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    Local # 2211
    65 Neponset Ave Ste 3
    Foxboro, MA 02035

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    9 New Venture Dr #7
    South Dennis, MA 02660

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    Construction Expert Witness News and Information
    For Cambridge Massachusetts

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    Leveraging from more than 7,000 construction defect and claims related expert witness designations, the Cambridge, Massachusetts Construction Expert Witness Group provides a wide range of trial support and consulting services to Cambridge's most acknowledged construction practice groups, CGL carriers, builders, owners, and public agencies. Drawing from a diverse pool of construction and design professionals, BHA is able to simultaneously analyze complex claims from the perspective of design, engineering, cost, or standard of care.

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    California Clarifies Its Inverse Condemnation Standard

    December 30, 2019 —
    In City of Oroville v. Superior Court, 446 P.3d 304 (Cal. 2019), the Supreme Court of California considered whether the City of Oroville (City) was liable to a dental practice for inverse condemnation damages associated with a sewer backup. The court held that in order to establish inverse condemnation against a public entity, a property owner must show that an inherent risk in the public improvement was a substantial cause of the damage. Since the dental practice did not have a code-required backwater valve — which would have prevented or minimized this loss — the court found that the city was not liable because the sewage system was not a substantial cause of the loss. This case establishes that a claim for inverse condemnation requires a showing of a substantial causal connection between the public improvement and the property damage. It also suggests that comparative negligence can be a defense to inverse condemnation claims. In December 2009, a dental practice, WGS Dental Complex (WGS), located in the City, incurred significant water damage as a result of untreated sewage from the City’s sewer main backing up into WGS’ building. WGS submitted a claim to its insurance carrier, The Dentists Insurance Company (TDIC) and, in addition, sued the City for its uninsured losses, alleging inverse condemnation and nuisance. TDIC joined the litigation, alleging negligence, nuisance, trespass and inverse condemnation. Under California law, when a government entity fails to recognize that an action or circumstance essentially amounts to a taking for public use, a property owner can pursue an inverse condemnation action for compensation. The City filed a cross-complaint against WGS for failing to install a code-required backwater valve on their lateral sewer line, which would have prevented or minimized the backup. The City filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court denied. WGS then sought a judicial determination on the issue of inverse condemnation. The City presented evidence that the sewage system was designed in accordance with industry standards, and that WGS failed to comply with the City’s plumbing code by failing to install a backwater valve on its private sewer lateral. The trial court found the City liable for inverse condemnation because the blockage that caused the backup originated in the City’s sewer line. The court held that the blockage was an inherent risk of sewer operation. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision, holding that the City would have had to prove that the WGS’s lack of a backwater valve was the sole cause of the loss in order to absolve itself of liability. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Gus Sara, White and Williams
    Mr. Sara may be contacted at

    Heads I Win, Tails You Lose. Court Finds Indemnity Provision Went Too Far

    May 25, 2020 —
    We all love David and Goliath stories. The underdog winning against the far stronger (and dastardly) opponent. Think Rocky Balboa versus Ivan Drago, the Star Wars Rebellion versus the Galatic Empire, Indiana Jones versus a good chunk of the Third Reich. And now, we have Margaret Williams. The Story of Margaret Williams and her LLC The story, told in Long Beach Unified School District v. Margaret Williams, LLC, Case No. B290069 (December 9, 2019), is about Margaret Williams. Ms. Williams (we’ll just call her “Margaret” going forward because it just sounds better when telling a story) worked for nearly ten years full-time for the Long Beach Unified School District, toiling day in and day out doing construction management and environmental compliance work, including work involving the clean up of material at a school construction site contaminated with arsenic. Although she worked full-time for the District for nearly ten years, she wasn’t an employee. Rather, she was a contractor. And, on top of it all, as a condition of working for the District, the District required that she form a company in order to contract with the District. According to Margaret, “In order to work with the District, I was directed . . . to form a corporation or partnership. This was the only way I could work for the District: I could not enter into a contract with the District as an individual.” So, in 2006, she formed a company, simply called Margaret Williams, LLC. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Garret Murai, Nomos LLP
    Mr. Murai may be contacted at

    Dreyer v. Am. Natl. Prop. & Cas. Co. Or: Do Not Enter into Nunn-Agreements for Injuries that Occurred After Expiration of the Subject Insurance Policy

    January 20, 2020 —
    While Nunn-Agreements[1] may be appealing for both plaintiffs and defendants where an insurer unreasonably fails to defend a lawsuit, a recent opinion from The Honorable Marcia Krieger in the United States District Court of Colorado[2] (“Opinion”) demonstrates the importance of first confirming that there exists a viable insurance claim before proceeding with such a Nunn- Agreement. The facts giving rise to the Opinion were as follows. In March 2015, a Homeowner couple (the “Homeowners”) suffered damages to their home resulting from a brushfire. Fortunately, the Homeowners were insured, they submitted their claim to their homeowners’ insurance carrier which was in effect at the time of the brushfire (the “Insurance Carrier”), and the Insurance Carrier paid the claim. Ostensibly as part of the Homeowners’ remediation efforts to their home they removed a large bush which left a hole in the ground. After paying the claim, in August 2015 the Insurance Carrier cancelled or elected not to renew the Homeowners’ policy. In October 2015, a repairman working on the Home (the “Repairman”) was injured after his ladder fell over allegedly because of the hole in the ground caused by the bush that had been removed. As a result of injuries caused by the fall from the ladder, the Repairman brought suit against the Homeowners. In response to the Repairman’s claim, the Homeowners again tendered to their Insurance Carrier. This time, however, the Insurance Carrier denied coverage on the basis that the Repairman’s injuries occurred after the expiration of the relevant policy. Without insurance coverage, the Homeowner’s entered into a Nunn-Agreement with the Repairman, conceding liability, and assigning any claims they might have had against the Insurance Carrier in lieu of execution of any judgment against the Homeowners. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Jean Meyer, Higgins, Hopkins, McLain & Roswell, LLC
    Mr. Meyer may be contacted at

    “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”: Emergency Paid Leave for Construction Employers with Fewer Than 500 Employees

    March 30, 2020 —
    COVID-19 has already taken a toll on construction projects across the nation. Construction industry participants, including general contractors, now face risks and challenges that are exceedingly difficult to anticipate and plan for. The spread of this virus has and will continue to create new labor force issues and amplify existing ones. On March 18, 2020, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6021, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” which, contains provisions related to mandatory paid leave for employers with fewer than 500 employees. This legislation and the substantial obligations it imposes apply to the overwhelming number of general contractors in the nation—those with less than 500 full-time employees! The bill mandates up to 80 hours of “emergency paid leave” related to COVID-19, and not just for those who contract the illness. However, contractors with less than 50 employees may seek exemption. Reprinted courtesy of Sidney Lewis, Jones Walker LLP and Alex Glaser, Jones Walker LLP Mr. Lewis may be contacted at Mr. Glaser may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Randy Okland Honored as 2019 Intermountain Legacy Award Winner

    January 06, 2020 —
    A passion for construction is in Randy Okland’s blood. His family’s business, Salt Lake City’s Okland Construction, was founded in 1918 by his grandfather, John Okland, a Norwegian immigrant and shipbuilder. Randy swept the floors and cleaned and fueled company vehicles while working as a laborer and later as a carpenter and concrete former. After graduating from the University of Utah, Randy worked full time at Okland, eventually taking over leadership of the company from his father in 1980. Jennifer Seward, Engineering News-Record ENR may be contacted at Read the full story... Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Does a No-Damage-for-Delay Clause Also Preclude Acceleration Damages?

    January 27, 2020 —
    Construction contracts often include a “no damage for delay” clause that denies a contractor the right to recover delay-related costs and limits the contractor’s remedy to an extension of time for noncontractor-caused delays to a project’s completion date. Depending on the nature of the delay and the jurisdiction where the project is located, the contractual prohibition against delay damages may well be enforceable. This article will explore whether an enforceable no-damage-for-delay clause is also a bar to recovery of “acceleration” damages, i.e., the costs incurred by the contractor in its attempt to overcome delays to the project’s completion date. Courts are split as to whether damages for a contractor’s “acceleration” efforts are distinguishable from “delay” damages such that they may be recovered under an enforceable no-damage-for-delay clause. See, e.g., Siefford v. Hous. Auth. of Humboldt, 223 N.W.2d 816 (Neb. 1974) (disallowing the recovery of acceleration damages under a no-damage-for-delay clause); but see Watson Elec. Constr. Co. v. Winston-Salem, 109 N.C. App. 194 (1993) (allowing the recovery of acceleration damages despite a no-damage-for-delay clause). The scope and effect of a no-damage-for-delay clause depend on the specific laws of the jurisdiction and the factual circumstances involved. There are a few ways for a contractor to circumvent an enforceable no-damage-for-delay clause to recover acceleration damages. First, the contractor may invoke one of the state’s enumerated exceptions to the enforceability of the clause. It is helpful to keep in mind that most jurisdictions strictly construe a no-damage-for-delay clause to limit its application. This means that, regardless of delay or acceleration, courts will nonetheless permit the contractor to recover damages if the delay is, for example, of a kind not contemplated by the parties, due to an unreasonable delay, or a result of the owner’s fraud, bad faith, gross negligence, active interference or abandonment of the contract. See Tricon Kent Co. v. Lafarge N. Am., Inc., 186 P.3d 155, 160 (Colo. App. 2008); United States Steel Corp. v. Mo. P. R. Co., 668 F.2d 435, 438 (8th Cir. 1982); Peter Kiewit Sons’ Co. v. Iowa S. Utils. Co., 355 F. Supp. 376, 396 (S.D. Iowa 1973). Reprinted courtesy of Ted R. Gropman, Pepper Hamilton LLP and Christine Z. Fan, Pepper Hamilton LLP Mr. Gropman may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Mississippi Supreme Court Addresses Earth Movement Exclusion

    December 09, 2019 —
    Recently, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that structural damages to the foundation of an insured’s home came within the earth movement exclusion in a homeowner’s policy, notwithstanding a provision in the policy which provided coverage for water damage resulting “from accidental discharge or overflow of water … from within … [p]lumbing, heating, air condition or household appliance.” In Mississippi Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co. v. Smith, 264 So. 3d 737 (Miss. 2019), the appellee, Smith, filed a lawsuit against her homeowner's insurance company, Mississippi Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company (“Farm Bureau”) for its refusal to pay for repairs to the foundation of Smith’s home. Smith alleged that the refusal to pay for repairs amounted to breach of contract and asserted claims for bad faith and tortious breach of contract. In response, Farm Bureau filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis of the policy’s earth-movement exclusion, which provided that Farm Bureau “did not insure for loss caused directly or indirectly by…Earth Movement…[which] means…[a]ny other earth movement including earth sinking, rising or shifting... caused by or resulting from human or animal forces.” Smith filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment on the basis that the earth-movement exclusion did not preclude coverage because her insurance policy also contained a clause expressly covering water damage. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Anthony Hatzilabrou, Traub Lieberman
    Mr. Hatzilabrou may be contacted at

    Bay Area Counties Issue Less Restrictive “Shelter in Place” Orders, Including for Construction

    May 04, 2020 —
    The short story: Construction can resume. The long story: Construction can resume beginning Monday, May 4, 2020, with extensive and detailed restrictions. Six Bay Area Counties Loosen Shelter-in-Place Restrictions Including Allowing Construction to Resume Earlier this week, six Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley issued new orders requiring the use of face coverings when in public. The six Bay Area counties, which also happen to be the first counties in the nation to issue shelter-in-place orders, are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara. When do the revised shelter-in-place orders take effect? The revised shelter-in-place orders take effect at 11:59 p.m. on May 3, 2020 and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on May 31, 2020 unless extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended. Thus, effectively, the new orders take effect on Monday, May 4, 2020. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Garret Murai, Nomos LLP
    Mr. Murai may be contacted at