Construction Law Signal

Construction Law Signal

Insights & Information on Current & Emerging Developments affecting the Construction Industry

A Deal on New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund: What Does it Mean for Affected Contractors?

Posted in Construction, New Jersey, Transportation

Contractor Stealing Money from Customer 3d Blue ManAs a follow-up to our July post on New Jersey state budget problems threatening public construction projects, the political fight over funding New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund (“TTF”) finally ended on September 30, 2016. Governor Chris Christie and the legislature agreed to a  compromise whereby the TTF will be reauthorized for eight years and funded with an additional 23 cent per gallon gas tax, for a total funding of $2 billion per year. As part of the compromise, the estate tax will be phased out by 2018, the sales tax will be reduced by 3/8th of a point, and other credits and deductions will be added to the NJ tax code.

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Federal Judge Blocks DOL Overtime Rule

Posted in Labor & Employment
Working Late

On November 21, 2016, a federal judge in Texas issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Department of  Labor’s new overtime rule, which sought to expand the obligations of employers to pay overtime by, among other things, doubling the minimum salary threshold for the “white-collar” exemption under the FLSA. The decision brings relief to employers who were bracing themselves for the rule’s December 1, 2016 effective date.  Continue Reading

Construction Executive Boot Camp 2016 - Interactive Panel Discussion and Cocktail Networking Event

Posted in Cohen Seglias News & Events, Construction, Insurance
Construction Executive Bootcamp logo

Are you a construction company owner, CFO, controller, or lead estimator involved in the bidding process?

On October 13th, join construction industry leaders, Bill Burke, Jason Copley, David Kane, and Anthony Stagliano, for a hands-on seminar, providing insights into effective strategies to maximize your profitability through innovative insurance, surety, legal, and accounting perspectives.

To register, contact Olivia Kornilowicz at 215.564.1700 or opk@cohenseglias.com.

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The Early Contractor Gets the Worm: The Active Process of Preserving Construction Claims

Posted in Construction, Contract

timeforactionIn the world of construction, the old legal saying “equity aids the vigilant, not those who slumber on their rights” rings true. A weary contractor risks more than an OSHA violation – when a contractor fails to protect its legal rights, it can wake up near the end of the project only to find that it has lost a substantial amount of money with little ability to recover.

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NJ Supreme Court Gets it Right! Consequential Damages Caused by a Subcontractor's Defective Construction Work is Insured

Posted in Construction, Insurance, New Jersey
[Note from the Editor: Due to an inadvertent editing error, omitted from our post entitled NJ Supreme Court Gets It Right! Consequential Damages Caused By A Subcontractor’s Defective Construction Work Is Insured was the fact that the property damage at issue occurred after the project was completed.  The insurance coverage at issue in the case was completed operations coverage included in the commercial general liability form.  The corrected article appears below.] 

Consultant presenting insurance concept and risk managementThe New Jersey Supreme Court’s August 4, 2016 decision in Cypress Point Condominium Association, Inc. v. Adria Towers, LLC opened the door for general contractors to obtain insurance coverage under their commercial general liability (CGL) policies for property damage caused by their subcontractor’s defective work after the project was completed. Continue Reading

Contractor Payment Rights on Public Projects affected by PA Supreme Court Decision

Posted in Litigation, Pennsylvania, Prompt Payment Act

Engineer with flag on background series - PennsylvaniaContractors doing work on publicly-owned projects in Pennsylvania may find it more difficult to recover statutory penalties and attorneys’ fees if the owner withholds funds in bad faith. Pennsylvania’s Procurement Code, which governs bidding on public projects and payment to prime contractors and subcontractors, is intended to “level the playing field” between government and contractor. Similar, but not identical to the private prompt payment act, the statute provides for the award to the contractor of interest, a penalty in the amount of 1% of the unpaid balance per month, and attorneys’ fees if the public entity acts in bad faith by refusing payment that is due to the contractor. Pennsylvania courts previously interpreted this statute to mean that if a jury determined that the public entity acted in bad faith, then an award of penalties and attorneys’ fees was required.

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State Budget Problems Threatening Public Construction Projects: 5 Key Points to Remember

Posted in Construction, New Jersey, Pennsylvania

Countdown FiveOver the past year, many states experienced budget crises that threaten public works spending and, in some cases, caused entire project shut downs. In Pennsylvania, a stalemate over the budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 lasted almost nine months, causing companies and non-profit grant recipients who had contracts with the Commonwealth to suspend their services or temporarily close. In New Jersey, Governor Christie and the legislature deadlocked over taxes, including an increase to the gas tax that would fund the Transportation Trust Fund (“TTF”). As a result, Governor Christie issued Executive Order No. 20, which shut down all construction projects funded by the TTF that were not “absolutely essential for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare” of New Jersey citizens. The Executive Order was issued on June 30, 2016, a list of projects subject to shut down was published on July 6, 2016 and the projects were shut down by July 8, 2016. Continue Reading

It's Good to be King: Time to File a Lawsuit Does Not Run Against the Pennsylvania Government

Posted in Litigation, Pennsylvania

In the recent case of Township of Salem v. Miller Penn Development, LLC, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court invoked the often overlooked doctrine of nullum tempus occurrit regi. Read literally as “time does not run against the king,” as a general rule, nullum tempus allows the Pennsylvania state government or agencies to sue government contractors at any time, regardless of a statute of limitations defense. Nullum tempus also applies to claims brought by local governments, such as school districts, municipalities and counties, but only if the local government 1) brings its claims in its governmental capacity and 2) seeks to enforce an obligation imposed by law, as distinct from one arising out of a voluntary agreement.

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5 Simple Ways Construction Companies Can Reduce E-Discovery Costs

Posted in Construction, Litigation

EDiscovery LaptopAlmost any construction project carries the potential for disputes, which all too often lead to litigation and associated costs. As litigation costs increase, they eat into potential recovery or limit defense strategies. Finding ways to lower litigation expenses helps eliminate cost as a barrier to a favorable outcome. One area ripe for such measures is e-discovery—the process in any litigation where, as court rules require, the parties collect and exchange electronically stored documents and data. That process necessarily is affected by the way those documents and files are stored and managed. Even before litigation begins, construction companies can take simple steps to reduce their e-discovery costs.

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$113M in Construction Financing Approved for One of Washington D.C.'s Most Ambitious Projects – the "Wharf"

Posted in Construction, District of Columbia, Real Estate

The developers of the Wharf, an ongoing waterfront development at 1100 Maine Avenue SW in Washington, D.C., recently announced that they have secured $113 million of debt financing for the project. PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette, the project’s developers, will use the financing to pay for the construction of two new hotels, the 175-room Canopy by Hilton and the 237-key Hyatt House hotel, scheduled to open later next year. SunTrust Bank and M&T Bank will provide the financing.

The announcement is the latest step in an ambitious plan to transform approximately 25 acres along a mile of waterfront of the nation’s capital into a desirable, livable destination complete with hotels, condos, rental housing, retail, and restaurants.

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