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Construction Law Signal

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

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Jennifer M. Horn and Maria L. Panichelli To Begin Core Construction Curriculum Series for WIPP and Give Me 5%

Posted in Federal, Small Business
Please join Jennifer M. Horn and Maria L. Panichelli as they begin their “Core Construction Curriculum” series for Women Impacting Public Policy’s Give Me 5% program. WIPP is a national nonpartisan public policy organization advocating on behalf of its coalition of 4.7 million businesswomen including 75 business organizations. WIPP identifies important trends and opportunities and … Continue Reading

New Changes to Pennsylvania Mechanics' Lien Law Take Effect

Posted in Consumer Protection, Liens, Pennsylvania
On July 9, 2014, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed a bill (S.B. 145) into law that amends the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law of 1963 (the “Lien Law”). The new law took effect on September 8, 2014 and affects subcontractor lien rights on residential construction projects as well as the order of lien priority between mechanics’ … Continue Reading

Shafer Electric & Construction v. Mantia: PA Supreme Court holds that noncompliance with the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act does not entitle homeowners to free work

Posted in Consumer Protection, Contract, Home Improvement, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (“HICPA”), which went into effect in 2009, generally requires that home improvement contracts be in writing and contain thirteen specific items (including the contractor’s home improvement contractor registration number, the date of the transaction and the name, address and telephone number of the contractor).  Absent inclusion of all items, … Continue Reading

Amendments to Ohio P3 Legislation Add Bonding Requirements with a Twist

Posted in Bond, Lisa Wampler, Lori Azzara, Ohio
It is no secret within the construction industry that public-private partnership (P3) project delivery has recently become all the rage.  The demand for infrastructure repairs and improvements is high, and the public dollars needed to fund them are scarce.  P3 projects incorporating public and private funding have, therefore, become a creative delivery alternative that states … Continue Reading

Schuylkill Products: Important Lessons and Reminders about the Power of the False Claims Act

Posted in Daniel Fierstein, Federal, Jennifer Horn, Small Business
By: Jennifer M. Horn, Daniel E. Fierstein and Katherine Tohanczyn As many federal government contractors know, the False Claims Act (FCA) is a tool used by the federal government to deter fraud. Those found to have knowingly submitted false information to the government in violation of the FCA stand to suffer the imposition of fines, forfeiture … Continue Reading

PA Supreme Court Decides Bricklayers Case: Unions No Longer Have Mechanics' Lien Rights in Pennsylvania

Posted in Jason Copley, Liens, Lori Azzara, Pennsylvania
As we first reported back in January of 2012, the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued a decision in Bricklayers of Western Pennsylvania Combined Funds v. Scott’s Development Co. that significantly changed the meaning of the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law. In its decision, the Superior Court expanded the Lien Law’s definition of “subcontractor” to include union members, … Continue Reading

Contractors Beware: Doing Change Order Work for School Districts Without Proper Approval May Waive Future Claim for Payment

Posted in Contract, Lisa Wampler, Lori Azzara, Pennsylvania
While by no means a recent law, Section 508 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code, 24 P.S. § 5-508, is becoming one that school districts are repeatedly relying upon to avoid paying contractors for work performed outside the original scope of their contracts. Specifically, Section 508 requires a majority vote of all members of a … Continue Reading

Messy Solar Construction Litigation Sheds a Little Light on the Intersection of New Jersey Lien Statutes and Public Private Partnership

Posted in Daniel Fierstein, Jennifer Horn, Liens
A recent case before the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey (Morris County Improvement Authority and Somerset County Improvement Authority v. Power Partners Mastec, LLC) involving solar construction has shed light (pun intended) on the complications associated with projects that are publicly and privately owned and financed, especially with regard to municipal … Continue Reading

The Consequences To A Contractor: The Case Of A Harsh On-Line Review

Posted in Business, Consumer Protection, Jennifer Horn, Wendy Bennett
Forums like Angie’s List, Yelp, or even Yahoo Community Listserves allow homeowners and other contractor clients to recommend a contractor for a job well done. Just as often, however, disgruntled clients use these venues to vent about shoddy workmanship, defective construction, and unfinished contractor punchlist work. Although these forums seem safe and anonymous, anyone posting … Continue Reading

Want to Appeal a Bid Protest Decision Involving A Maryland State Contract? If New Legislation Becomes Law, You May Have to Pay to Play . . .

Posted in Bond, Jennifer Horn, Maryland
New Proposed Legislation Would Require Bond: If House Bill 1488 becomes law in Maryland, bid protesters of state contracts appealing a decision to the Maryland Board of Contract Appeals would be required to simultaneously submit a “protest appeal bond or other form of acceptable security” along with their bid protest appeal. For mid-sized and large businesses, … Continue Reading

Construction Lunch & Learn Seminar

Posted in Jennifer Horn, New Construction
Jennifer Horn, Partner in the Construction group of Cohen Seglias is speaking on Comparative Analysis of Critical Construction and Design Provisions Between Mid-Atlantic States at Providence Engineering in Lancaster, PA, on Tuesday, January 14th. For an increasing number of construction related entities – including design professionals – survival in the current economy has meant expansion … Continue Reading

New Permitting and Licensure Requirements Take Effect in Philadelphia

Posted in Catherine Nguyen, Daniel Fierstein, Insurance
As we reflect upon the past year, few in the Delaware Valley will forget the fateful day in June when a building located at 22nd and Market Streets collapsed in the midst of demolition work performed by contractor Griffin Campbell, which claimed six lives. In an effort to improve safety and prevent such tragedies from … Continue Reading

Renewable Energy Construction: Moving into Federal Buildings

Posted in Green Building, Jennifer Budd, Lane Kelman, Lori Azzara
In recent years, concepts such as “green construction” and “renewable energy” seem to have become almost commonplace. In what is perhaps an effort to lead the world by example in these areas, President Barack Obama recently issued a Presidential Memorandum that calls upon federal agencies to increase drastically their use of renewable energy sources. The … Continue Reading

GREENBUILD 2013: EXHIBITORS AND ATTENDEES LEAVE PHILADELPHIA RE-ENERGIZED

Posted in Green Building, Jennifer Budd, Lane Kelman
As the Greenbuild 2013 posters, web cafés and stages are removed from the Convention Center in Philadelphia, attendees and exhibitors from across the country have been reenergized in thinking about green building, sustainability and resiliency. From November 18-22, Philadelphia was painted green by thousands of professionals from all sectors of the sustainability movement. Here is … Continue Reading

Homeowners Affected by Stucco Defects Should Watch This Pennsylvania Supreme Court Case

Posted in Consumer Protection, Jennifer Horn, Matthew Tom, Pennsylvania
Unfortunately, dealing with the serious and often financially debilitating issues related to defective stucco is nothing new to many Pennsylvania homeowners. In addition to repairing defective work, a homeowner’s status as a first purchaser of the home, as opposed to a subsequent purchaser, impacts his or her case against the builder. Recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme … Continue Reading

Whatever it Takes? School District of Philadelphia Sues Dozens of its Architecture and Design Professionals

Posted in Architecture, Daniel Fierstein, Lane Kelman
As schools across the country open, most people in the Delaware Valley are well aware of the School District of Philadelphia’s financial woes. As the School District considers measures to help close its massive budget deficit, it has recently begun to take legal action that is particularly interesting. The Lawsuits About one month ago, the … Continue Reading

Ridge Flats, By Onion Flats, Sets the Mark for Sustainable Development in the Philadelphia Area

Posted in Jennifer Budd, Jobs, Lane Kelman, Pennsylvania
Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Zoning Board approved the construction of Ridge Flats at 4300 Ridge Avenue in East Falls—a project proposed by developer and design-builder Onion Flats. The Project The five story building will provide 146 residential units and 9,300 square feet of retail space.  More importantly, Ridge Flats will be Philadelphia’s first – … Continue Reading

Is My Surety the Same As My Insurance Carrier? Not So Much Says a Federal Court in Pennsylvania

Posted in Bond, Daniel Fierstein, Insurance, John Greenhall, Lori Azzara, Pennsylvania
As members of the construction industry know, to describe the relationship between a surety and the party to whom it issues a surety bond (the principal) as confusing would be an understatement.  In fact, many believe that the surety-principal relationship is similar, if not identical, to the insurer-insured relationship. In a recent federal court opinion … Continue Reading

Proposed Changes To PA Mechanics' Lien Law Will Require Advance Notice To Preserve Lien Claim Rights

Posted in Catherine Nguyen, Jason Copley, Liens, Pennsylvania
As most contractors recall, the Pennsylvania Lien Law was modified in 2007 to reinstate lien rights.  We have previously reported on proposed changes to the lien law and lien rights preservation.  Additional proposed changes to the lien law, if passed, would have widespread impact across the industry.  Pending Pennsylvania House Bill 473 seeks to amend … Continue Reading

City of Philadelphia Creates Its Own Adaptation of False Claims Act

Posted in Catherine Nguyen, Daniel Fierstein, Pennsylvania, Tax
Employers doing business in the City of Philadelphia must pay taxes on wages (including salaries, commissions, and other forms of compensation) and net profits. A new ordinance shores up current enforcement mechanisms, arming the City with aggressive penalties on overdue taxes and giving private citizens an enforcement role. About Ordinance 19-1509 Under Ordinance 19-1509, an … Continue Reading

Recent Philadelphia Building Collapse - Legal Ramifications

Posted in Insurance, Jonathan Cass, Lori Azzara, Pennsylvania
As most people have heard, a vacant building being demolished on the corner of 22nd and Market, in Center City Philadelphia, collapsed into a thrift store this past Wednesday morning.  The collapse resulted in 6 deaths and injuries to numerous people.  This tragedy brings to mind the risk of building collapses in general, and the … Continue Reading

Can I File a Mechanics' Lien on a Building that was Never Built? Maybe...

Posted in Daniel Fierstein, Jennifer Horn, Liens
The Backdrop Since the Recession of 2008, the story of the construction project that fell through shortly after breaking ground has repeated itself far too frequently.  In too many of these situations, financing dries up, leaving owners without project funds to pay general contractors and general contractors without funds to pay early-phase subcontractors who have … Continue Reading

Managing the Liability and Risk of BIM

Posted in Firm News, Maryland
Jennifer M. Horn will be participating in a panel discussion focused on how you can manage the financial, legal, and technical liabilities and risks when using Building Information Modeling (BIM). Reserve your seat today! Event Details: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 Time: 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Location: The Grand Lodge of Maryland 304 International Circle … Continue Reading

Will Pennsylvania Get It's Own Version of the False Claims Act?

Posted in Contract, Edward DeLisle, Pennsylvania
Law360, an on-line publication, has reported that two Pennsylvania  Democrats, Rep. Brendon Newman (D – Washington) and  Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D – Allegheny), are preparing to introduce legislation that may bring the False Claims Act (FCA) to the Commonwealth.  Twenty-nine  (29) states currently have their own version of the FCA, which has been used with much … Continue Reading