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    Local # 0780
    433 Meadow St
    Fairfield, CT 06824

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    Local # 0740
    20 Hartford Rd Suite 18
    Salem, CT 06420

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    Local # 0720
    2189 Silas Deane Highway
    Rocky Hill, CT 06067

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    Local # 0755
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    Rocky Hill, CT 06067

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    Local # 0710
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    Torrington, CT 06790

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    Leveraging from more than 7,000 construction defect and claims related expert witness designations, the Fairfield, Connecticut Construction Expert Witness Group provides a wide range of trial support and consulting services to Fairfield'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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    Construction in Indian Country – What You Need To Know About Sovereign Immunity

    July 22, 2019 —
    There are many legal issues to consider when bidding on and building projects in American Indian Country. Which labor and employment laws apply? Are there contracting or hiring preferences that apply? Do the Prompt Pay Act and other state laws apply? Can I bring a lawsuit to enforce the contract and, if so, where would I file suit? This article addresses the final question, which is often the most important question when contracting with a tribal entity. Many of the construction projects in American Indian Country are with tribes or entities wholly owned or by a tribe, such as housing authorities, casinos, hospitals, schools or other economic enterprises. Like the state and federal government, tribes (and their tribally—owned enterprises) enjoy sovereign immunity from any lawsuit, meaning they cannot be sued unless the tribe expressly agrees to waive its sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity poses a unique issue for contractors that does not typically arise in other projects, but it need not be a deterrent to doing business with tribes. It is usually in the best interest of both the contractor and tribe to negotiate an acceptable waiver of sovereign immunity. Absent such a waiver, the tribe or tribal entity cannot be sued and the resulting forfeiture of remedies can be devastating for the contractor. To waive sovereign immunity, the tribe must make it clear in the contract that it can be sued in a specific jurisdiction. Oklahoma Tax Comm'n v. Citizen Band Potawatomi tribe of Okla., 498 U.S. 505, 509 (1991). It does not matter whether the tribe is operating on or off its lands—if there is no express contractual waiver of sovereign immunity, a contractor will have no recourse in the event of non-payment or other breach of contract. See Kiowa tribe of Okla. v. Manufacturing Technologies, Inc., 523 U.S. 751, 118 S.Ct. 1700, 140 L.Ed.2d 981 (1998). Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Edward J. Hermes, Snell & Wilmer
    Mr. Hermes may be contacted at

    Limiting Liability: Three Clauses to Consider in your Next Construction Contract

    June 25, 2019 —
    In your next contract, consider including some (or all!) of the following clauses to limit your liability and maximize your profits. Waiver of Consequential Damages While a proven breach of contract will leave a design professional or contractor exposed to direct or compensatory damages, a waiver of consequential damages will help “stop the bleeding” and protect the design professional or contractor from paying every damage that might flow from the breach. Consequential damages include those damages which indirectly flow from the breach of contract, for example, lost rents, lost profits, lost use, lost opportunity, loss of employee productivity, and damages to reputation. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has included a mutual waiver of consequential damages in its sample A201 for over 20 years. The AIA provision includes a definition of consequential damages which are waived, including many of the examples cited above. However, the AIA waiver of consequential damages clause carves out an exception for liquidated damages to the owner. Prudent design professionals and contractors will strike this exception so as not to render the clause meaningless. A well-drafted waiver clause will be mutual, will define which damages are consequential versus direct, and will not contain exceptions. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tara Lynch - Gordon & Rees Scully Mansukhani
    Ms. Lynch may be contacted at

    Garlock Five Years Later: Recent Decisions Illustrate Ongoing Obstacles to Asbestos Trust Transparency

    September 03, 2019 —
    In In re Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, 504 B.R. 71 (Bankr. W.D.N.C. 2014), the court confirmed what many asbestos defendants and their insurers long suspected: that “the withholding of exposure evidence by plaintiffs and their lawyers was significant and had the effect of unfairly inflating the recoveries against Garlock” and other defendants. This “startling pattern of misrepresentation” included plaintiffs’ attorneys who, out of “perverted ethical duty,” counseled their clients to file claims against multiple trusts without valid factual grounds for so doing. Such “double dipping” and other abuse not only harms asbestos defendants and insurers, but also dilutes recoveries for legitimate claims. Now – five years after Garlock – the Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a coordinated initiative to fight asbestos trust fraud and mismanagement. However, a series of recent bankruptcy court rulings suggests that this initiative stumbled out of the gate by focusing on the wrong issues. Asbestos defendants and their insurers can learn from the DOJ’s missteps. In November 2017, invoking Garlock, 20 state attorneys general wrote to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to devote DOJ resources to fighting asbestos trust abuse. A September 13, 2018 DOJ press release announced an initiative to increase the transparency and accountability of asbestos trusts. Through its United States Trustee Program (UST), the DOJ objected to the debtors’ proposed legal representative for future claims (FCR) in several Chapter 11 cases involving asbestos liabilities: Lawrence Fitzpatrick in Duro Dyne and James L. Patton, Jr. in Maremont, Fairbanks and Imerys Talc. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Amy E. Vulpio, White and Williams LLP
    Ms. Vulpio may be contacted at

    2019 Legislative Changes Affecting the Construction Industry

    July 09, 2019 —
    The 2019 Florida Legislative Session recently concluded and a number of important construction-related House Bills (HB) and Senate Bills (SB) were presented during the Session. Below is a summary of those construction-related bills set to become law in 2019. Bills Becoming Law in 2019 HB 1247: Relating to Construction Bonds. This bill passed both the House and the Senate and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. Once the Governor has approved the bill it becomes effective as of October 1, 2019. This bill addresses how to properly perfect a claim against a contractor’s payment bond. (1) The Notice of Nonpayment that must be served on the contractor and the surety, must be made under oath and include the following provisions: The nature of the labor or services performed or to be performed; The materials furnished or to be furnished; The amount paid on the account; and if known, the amount owed and the amount to become due. A Notice of Nonpayment that includes the sums for retainage must specify the portion of the amount claimed for retainage. (2) A subcontractor, laborer, or material supplier (claimant) who files a fraudulent Notice of Nonpayment loses their rights under the bond. The filing of a fraudulent notice is a complete defense to claimant’s claim against the bond. A notice is fraudulent if the claimant willfully exaggerated the amount due, willfully included a claim for work not performed or materials not furnished or prepared the notice with willful and gross negligence, which resulted in willful exaggeration. However, a minor mistake in the notice, or a good faith dispute as to the amount due, is not considered fraudulent. Please note that this provision mirrors the existing statute relative to a fraudulent lien. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Melinda S. Gentile, Peckar & Abramson, P.C.
    Ms. Gentile may be contacted at

    Green Construction Trends Contractors Can Expect in 2019

    May 01, 2019 —
    The construction industry has come a long way since it was started building homes out of logs and sticks. Modern homes and buildings are marvels of engineering filled with wood, concrete and steel—much of which could be recycled if the building were ever torn down. Green construction is a growing field that will continue to expand in the coming year. What green construction trends can we expect to see in the coming year? Augmented and Virtual Reality Augmented reality (AR) is growing more popular every year for games and entertainment, but it also has some applications in green construction. AR and virtual reality (VR) programs, either through a headset or on a smartphone, can be used to improve collaboration between companies, allowing each company to see a virtual overlay of their stage of the project. For green and eco-friendly construction, it can be used to show how a finished product will look on undeveloped land, making it easier to judge the ecological impact of the project. The use of AR and VR in green construction is still in its infancy, though we will likely start to see more of it in 2019. Reprinted courtesy of Emily Folk, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Insurer’s Confession Of Judgment Through Post-Lawsuit Payment

    June 25, 2019 —
    The recent opinion in the property insurance coverage dispute, Bryant v. Geovera Specialty Ins. Co., 44 Fla.L.Weekly D1232a (Fla. 4thDCA 2019), discusses the doctrine known as an insurer’s “confession of judgment.” In this case, an insured suffered water damage from a pipe leak. The insurer paid the insured $6,000 because of sublimits in the property insurance policy. There was a $5,000 sublimit for mold and a $1,000 sublimit for water leakage that occurs over a period of 14 days or more. The insured sued the insurer for covered water damage arguing that the sublimits did not apply. After the lawsuit was filed, an agreed order was entered that stayed the case pending an appraisal. The appraisal award did not apply the $1,000 sublimit to the water damage from the pipe leak and segregated out damage for mold. (The insurer already paid the mold sublimit). The insurer ended up paying the appraisal award for the water damage caused by the pipe leak after deducting its pre-lawsuit sublimit payment. The insurer paid the award and did NOT challenge the application of the $1,000 sublimit in court, although it could have since coverage issues are decided by courts. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
    Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at

    Ninth Circuit Rules Supreme Court’s Two-Part Test of Implied Certification under the False Claims Act Mandatory

    May 13, 2019 —
    For those contractors in the government arena, read on. The False Claims Act (“FCA”) was enacted to deter knowingly fraudulent actions by contractors which resulted in a loss of property to the Government. Intent to defraud with resulting financial hardship was required. Contrary to popular misconception, the statute was not designed to punish all false submissions to the Government simply because those submissions, or claims, are later found to be false. The statute’s inclusion of the requisite element of knowledge is consistent with this notion:
    1. A defendant must submit a claim for payment to the Government;
    2. the claim must be false or fraudulent;
    3. the defendant must have known the claim was fraudulent when it was submitted (also known as scienter); and
    4. the claim must have caused the Government to pay out money.
    See 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a). Despite these explicit elements (in addition to common law elements of fraud), over the last two decades, contractors have seen ever-expanding theories of FCA recovery presented by qui tam plaintiffs and the Government. For example, under the FCA, the false “claim” evolved over time: the claim no longer needs to be an express false claim (i.e. the truthfulness of the claim is a direct condition of payment); the claim can be “implied” misrepresentation or “half-truth”. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Meredith Thielbahr, Gordon & Rees Scully Mansukhani
    Ms. Thielbahr may be contacted at

    What is a Subordination Agreement?

    May 06, 2019 —
    Put simply, a subordination agreement is a legal agreement which establishes one debt as ranking behind another debt in the priority for collecting repayment from a debtor. It is an arrangement that alters the lien position. Without a subordination clause, loans take chronological priority which means that a deed of trust recorded first will be considered senior to all deeds of trusts recorded after. As such, the oldest loan becomes the primary loan, with first call on any proceeds from a sale of a property. However, a subordination agreement acknowledges that one party’s claim or interest is inferior to that of another party in the event that the borrowing entity liquidates its assets. Further, shareholders are subordinate to all creditors. The junior debt is referred to as a “subordinated debt”, and the debt which has a higher claim to any assets is the senior debt. Often, the borrower does not have enough funds to pay all debts, and lower priority debts may receive little or no repayment. For example, if a business has $400,000 in senior debt, $100,000 in subordinated debt, and a total asset value of $420,000, upon liquidation of the company, only the senior debtholder will be paid in full. The remaining $20,000 will be distributed among the subordinated debtholders. Subordinated debts are, therefore, riskier and lenders will require a higher interest rate as compensation. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Bremer Whyte Brown & O'Meara LLP