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    Fairfield, CT 06824

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    Construction Expert Witness News and Information
    For Fairfield Connecticut


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    FAIRFIELD CONNECTICUT CONSTRUCTION EXPERT WITNESS
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    The Fairfield, Connecticut Construction Expert Witness Group is comprised from a number of credentialed construction professionals possessing extensive trial support experience relevant to construction defect and claims matters. Leveraging from more than 25 years experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to the nation's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, Fortune 500 builders, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, and a variety of state and local government agencies.

    Construction Expert Witness News & Info
    Fairfield, Connecticut

    California Subcontractor Gets a Kick in the Rear (or Perhaps the Front) for Prematurely Recorded Mechanics Lien

    October 21, 2019 —
    California provides three statutorily recognized construction payment remedies: (1) mechanics liens; (2) stop payment notices; and (3) payment bond claims. Each is intended to provide payment protections for those who furnish labor, materials and services on a construction project. However, each is also different in important ways. One of those differences has to do with timing. Specifically, when the statutory payment remedy may be used by a claimant. Stop payment notices can be served at any time during a project even before a claimant has completed its work. However, mechanics liens may only be recorded and payment bond claims may only be made after a claimant has completed or ceased performing its work. In Precision Framing Systems, Inc. v. Luzuriaga, Case No. E069158 (August 29, 2019), the 4th District Court of Appeal examined whether a subcontractor had prematurely recorded a mechanics lien and, thereby, was prevented from filing a lawsuit to foreclose on its mechanics lien. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Garret Murai, Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP
    Mr. Murai may be contacted at gmurai@wendel.com

    Mexico Settles With Contractors for Canceled Airport Terminal

    August 26, 2019 —
    Mexico City's airport authority settled a dispute with builders on an 85 billion peso ($4.45 billion) contract for the terminal at a new Mexico City airport that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador canceled a month before taking office. Grupo Aeroportuario Ciudad de la Mexico will pay 14.2 billion pesos, equivalent to 16.7% of the contract's total cost, to Constructora Terminal de Valle de Mexico, a consortium that includes Carlos Slim's Operadora Cicsa, the Communications and Transportation Ministry said in an emailed statement. The contracts represented 45% of the airport's total cost, the ministry said. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Eric Martin, Bloomberg

    Serving Notice of Nonpayment Under Miller Act

    January 20, 2020 —
    Under the federal Miller Act, if a claimant is NOT in privity with the prime contractor, it needs to serve a “notice of nonpayment” within 90 days of its final furnishing. In this manner, 40 U.S.C. 3133 (b)(2) states: A person having a direct contractual relationship with a subcontractor but no contractual relationship, express or implied, with the contractor furnishing the payment bond may bring a civil action on the payment bond on giving written notice to the contractor within 90 days from the date on which the person did or performed the last of the labor or furnished or supplied the last of the material for which the claim is made. The action must state with substantial accuracy the amount claimed and the name of the party to whom the material was furnished or supplied or for whom the labor was done or performed. The notice shall be served–
    (A) by any means that provides written, third-party verification of delivery to the contractor at any place the contractor maintains an office or conducts business or at the contractor’s residence; or (B) in any manner in which the United States marshal of the district in which the public improvement is situated by law may serve summons.
    Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
    Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com

    Don’t Waive Too Much In Your Mechanic’s Lien Waiver

    December 22, 2019 —
    In the past few years, the Virginia General Assembly has, with certain caveats, precluded pre-furnishing waiver of mechanic’s lien rights. While this essentially outlawed the types of mechanic’s lien waiver clauses that pervaded construction contracts in Virginia, the key to the previous sentence is “pre-furnishing.” What the General Assembly left intact were the usual waivers of mechanic’s lien rights typically required to be provided to Owners and others in the payment chain in exchange for payment. These lien waivers come in a few “flavors” from conditional to unconditional, partial to full. Their terms usually include an acknowledgement of receipt of payment (we’ll get to this later), and a statement that the one seeking payment knows of no possible claims by lower tier subcontractors and then waives all mechanic’s lien rights against the property for work performed and included in the request for payment. Often over my years as a Virginia construction attorney, I have noticed that these waivers are often signed without comment or review. They are just part of the process and more often than not are not even an issue for most projects. Of course, if they are an issue they can be a big one, and their terms can come back to bite a claimant that has not properly vetted them. The first potential issue is waiving lien rights while acknowledging receipt prior to actual receipt of the check or wire. Many of the waiver forms that are out there list a payment amount, or possibly simply state that the waiver is in exchange for some small payment, and then state “receipt of which is acknolwedged” or something similar. The issue here is that receipt may not have happened yet because these lien waivers are submitted as part of the payment package in order to get paid in the first place. In short, should you sign the waiver prior to payment, you may have acknowledged a non-event and in the event of non-payment have a written document stating that you waived your claim to a lien for that money. What a court would do with this, I am unsure, but why risk it? My advice, be sure your waiver is contingent on actual clearance of payment as well as receipt. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com

    Be Careful When Walking Off of a Construction Project

    November 24, 2019 —
    I am truly grateful that my buddy Craig Martin (@craigmartin_jd) continues his great posts over at The Construction Contractor Advisor blog. He is always a good cure for writer’s block and once again this week he gave me some inspiration. In his most recent post, Craig discusses a recent Indiana case relating to the ever present issue of termination by a subcontractor for non-payment. In the Indiana case, the court looked at the payment terms and determined that the subcontractor was justified in walking from the project when it was not paid after 60 days per the contract. This result was the correct, if surprising. Why do I say surprising? Because I am always reluctant to recommend that a subcontractor walk from a job for non payment if it is possible to continue. This is not so much for legal reasons (not paying a sub is a clear breach of contract by a general contractor) but practical ones. The practical effect of walking from the job is that the subcontractor is put on the defensive. Instead of arguing later that it performed but was not paid, that subcontractor is put in the position of arguing that the general contractor cannot collect its completion related and other damages because it breached first. This is a more intuitively difficult argument and one that is not as strong as the first. Of course, all of this is contingent on the language in your contract (is there a “pay if paid” or language like that in the Indiana case?). Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com

    Steel Makeover Under Way for Brooklyn's Squibb Footbridge

    January 13, 2020 —
    Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Squibb Bridge has 127 fewer years of existence than the borough’s iconic East River span, but the pedestrian crossing got lots of New York City attention since it was first opened in 2013 after being shut down twice—once for excessive “bounciness” and again due to rotting wood. Now its reconstruction, hopefully for good, is anything but a straightforward operation. Tom Stabile, Engineering News-Record ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com Read the full story... Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of

    Lump Sum Subcontract? Perhaps Not.

    August 20, 2019 —
    Lump sum subcontract? Perhaps not due to a recent ruling where the trial court said “No!” based on the language in the subcontract and contract documents generally incorporated into the subcontract. This is a ruling on an interpretation of a subcontract and contract documents incorporated into the subcontract that I do not agree with and struggle to fully comprehend. The issue was whether the subcontract amount was a lump sum or subject to an audit, adjustment, and definitization based on actual costs incurred. Of course, the subcontractor (or any person in any business) is not just interested in recouping actual costs, but there needs to be a margin to cover profit and home office overhead that does not get factored into field general conditions. In United States v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, 2018 WL 6571234 (M.D.Fla. 2018), a prime contractor was hired to perform work on a federal project. During the work, the Government issued the prime contractor a Modification that had a not-to-exceed value and required the prime contractor to track its costs for this Modification separate from other contract costs. In other words, based on this Modification, the prime contractor was paid its costs up to a maximum amount and the prime contractor would separately cost-code and track the costs for this work differently than other work it was performing under the prime contract. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
    Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com

    Airbnb Declares End to Party!

    January 27, 2020 —
    As municipalities around the country evaluate changes to their respective codes in an effort to exert greater control over bad actors in the vacation rental market, Airbnb announced on November 2nd that it is banning party houses. The move comes in response to the shooting deaths of five people at a Halloween party hosted at an Airbnb rental house in Orinda, CA. CEO Brian Chesky announced on Twitter that starting November 2, Airbnb would ban “party houses” and redouble the company’s efforts to “combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct.” twitter.com/bchesky The four-bedroom rental reportedly had been rented on Airbnb by a woman who advised the owner her family members had asthma and needed to escape smoke from a wildfire burning in Sonoma County about 60 miles north of Orinda earlier in the week. Nevertheless, the homeowner was suspicious of a one-night rental on Halloween and reminded the renter that no parties were allowed. Having received complaints from neighbors and witnessing some party activity via his camera doorbell, the homeowner called police who were en route to the home, but arrived after the shooting. The Halloween party apparently was advertised on social media as an “Airbnb Mansion Party,” with an admission fee of $10 per person. Independently owned vacation rentals are currently growing at a faster rate than hotels or motels, and in some instances are owned by out-of-state investors seeking not only a real estate return on investment, but also a return on investment associated with revenue streams generated by “pay to play” parties promoted on social media. Read the court decision
    Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Patrick J. Paul, Snell & Wilmer
    Mr. Paul may be contacted at ppaul@swlaw.com