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Construction Law Signal

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

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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
The 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.  In Cypress, a condominium association sued the general contractor and… Continue Reading

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

Posted in Litigation, Pennsylvania, Prompt Payment Act
Contractors 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,… Continue Reading

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

Posted in Construction, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Over 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… 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… Continue Reading

5 Simple Ways Construction Companies Can Reduce E-Discovery Costs

Posted in Construction, Litigation
Almost 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… Continue Reading

$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… Continue Reading

Lights Out for Maryland's Power Plant Construction Subsidy Program

Posted in Construction, Energy, Maryland
It’s not every day that a decision by the United States Supreme Court has the potential to impact the construction industry. But the Court handed down a decision last month that could hinder the pace of power plant construction around the country. In Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing, LLC, the Court unanimously struck down a Maryland regulatory… Continue Reading

Does your Employee Handbook stand up to the Supreme Court's latest decision about accommodations for pregnant workers?

Posted in Business, Compliance, Labor & Employment
In a recent U.S. Supreme Court case about pregnancy discrimination, Justice Breyer asked: “Why, when the employer accommodated so many, could it not accommodate pregnant women as well?”  As an employer, that is a question you should now be asking when preparing, reviewing, or updating your company’s accommodation policies. Many employers have policies and practices to… Continue Reading

Attention Philadelphia Employers: New and Important Changes to the "Ban The Box" Law

Posted in Labor & Employment, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia’s 2011 “Ban the Box” law, which restricts an employer’s ability to inquire into a job applicant’s criminal history at the initial stages of the application process, is “old news” – but the recent changes that went into effect on March 14, 2016 are anything but. Our firm will be getting into the details of… Continue Reading

Maryland Approves P3 Contract for Purple Line Light Rail Project

Posted in Maryland, Transportation
The Maryland Department of Transportation/Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT/MTA) recently announced its selection of Purple Line Transit Partners as the concessionaire for the new 16.2 mile, 21-station, light rail Purple Line that will run through Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. On April 6, 2016, the Maryland Board of Public Works, comprised of Governor Larry Hogan, Treasurer Nancy Kopp,… Continue Reading

Real Estate 101: Knowing Your Property Value and Challenging Your Tax Assessment

Posted in Business, Pennsylvania, Real Estate, Tax
After months, maybe years, of planning, raising capital, obtaining permits and waiting out construction, your gleaming new building is open and occupied. Soon, you’ll get a simple, one-page letter from your county’s Tax Assessment Office. What should you do if that letter indicates that your property is worth about a half-million dollars more than your appraisal… Continue Reading

Can a Contractor Sue a Design Professional Without a Contract? Not in Maryland

Posted in Contract, Design and Technology, Maryland
In some states, courts allow contractors to sue design professionals for negligence even in the absence of a contract. In others, like Maryland, courts apply a rule known as the Economic Loss Rule (ELR) to bar such claims. Courts apply the ELR when, without a contract in place, someone sues another for purely financial losses… Continue Reading

Attention Philadelphia Contractors: Do You Comply with OSHA Training and Supervision Requirements?

Posted in Compliance, Construction
The City of Philadelphia has issued new code requirements for construction worker safety training. The new rules went into effect on October 1, 2015, and the Department of Licenses and Inspections has announced that strict enforcement will begin on April 1, 2016. Under the new regulations, all contractors and employees (including subcontractors) performing construction or… Continue Reading

Lisa Wampler Named Managing Partner of Cohen Seglias' Pittsburgh Office

Posted in Cohen Seglias News & Events, Lisa Wampler
Cohen Seglias has announced the promotion of Lisa M. Wampler to Managing Partner of the Firm’s Pittsburgh office. The announcement marks the first female managing partner in the Firm’s history. “Lisa has been instrumental in the growth of our construction practice in Pittsburgh. She has proven leadership skills and continues to be a great ambassador for the… Continue Reading

Up in the Air: Drones and the Future of the Construction Job Site

Posted in Construction
Unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as “drones,” are appearing more frequently in the skies over construction project sites. Drones  typically operate from a handheld device, such as an iPhone, and can be connected to a Wi-Fi network. The physical design utilizes four to eight rotary blades, which allow for fluid vertical movement and aerial… Continue Reading

Beware: New Rigorous Safety Sweeps of NYC Construction Sites to Begin

Posted in Compliance, Construction, New Jersey, New York
On February 12, 2016, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler announced a new aggressive campaign to improve worker safety on construction sites. Specifically, commencing next Tuesday, February 16, rigorous safety sweeps of constructions sites ten stories or less are expected to be performed. Doubtlessly,… Continue Reading

Ignorance is not Bliss: Construction Contract Provisions You Need to Know

Posted in Cohen Seglias News & Events, Contract, District of Columbia, Liens
On February 11, join Roy Cohen, Ed Seglias, and Jackson Nichols at the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) Mid-Atlantic Chapter in Greenbelt, MD for their presentation, “Ignorance is not Bliss: Construction Contract Provisions You Need to Know.” They will discuss provisions that allocate risk for different site conditions, and examine contract provisions addressing payment, indemnity, change… Continue Reading

OSHA Continues Delayed Enforcement of Confined Space Standard for Residential Contractors

Posted in Construction, Project Management
As we discussed last summer, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new Confined Space in Construction Standard, which went into effect on August 3, 2015 and required heightened training, continuous worksite evaluations and communication for all construction workers performing work in manholes, crawl spaces, tanks and other confined spaces not intended for… Continue Reading

Ignorance is not Bliss: Construction Contract Provisions You Need to Know

Posted in Construction, Contract
On January 21, 2016, Please join us for Ed Seglias and Jason Copley‘s seminar, “Ignorance is not Bliss: Construction Contract Provisions You Need to Know,” for the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA) in Philadelphia, PA. This seminar will focus on key provisions in the standardized contract forms that often affect the risks and outcomes on a typical commercial… Continue Reading

To Be or Not to Be in Arbitration? That is the Question

Posted in Construction, Contract
Arbitration has become a very common and effective way to resolve construction disputes in lieu of traditional litigation, and it is easy to understand why: The parties can select arbitrators with construction expertise who speak their language and are more likely to understand complex construction issues than a general court of law. Arbitrations are characteristically… Continue Reading

Carpenters' Company Master Builder Dialogues: Building the Buildings of the Future

Posted in Bonds, Contract, Liens, Pennsylvania, Project Management
Please join us tomorrow, 11/4, for Shawn Farrell‘s presentation “Construction Disputes: Lessons Learned” at the Carpenters’ Company of City and County of Philadelphia’s Master Builder Dialogues. Shawn Farrell has over 20 years of experience litigating construction disputes, and will share the lessons he learned to demonstrate how an effective project management team can identify and manage the risks… Continue Reading

West Virginia Government Contractors Must Continue to Work While Awaiting Approval of a Change Order

Posted in Construction, Contract, Lisa Wampler, Lori Azzara, West Virginia
Construction change orderIn late July, the West Virginia Purchasing Division of the Department of Administration issued an “emergency rule” that exempts construction contracts from a new law regarding change order approval. This new law, which went into effect on July 1, originally required that all change orders be approved by the Purchasing Division and the Attorney General… Continue Reading

Disparate Impact is Here to Stay: What the Supreme Court's Decision Means for the Multi-Family Industry

Posted in Real Estate
On June 25, 2015, Justice Kennedy delivered the Supreme Court’s decision in Texas v. Inclusive Communities Project.  In the case, the Court determined that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 includes disparate impact claims.  Prior to Texas v. Inclusive Communities Project, nine of the twelve federal Courts of Appeals had ruled that the Act encompassed… Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors

Posted in Business, Construction, Labor & Employment
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance on July 15 aimed at curbing the misclassification of employees as independent contractors.  The guidance provides several examples of workers in the construction industry.  It is now clear that the DOL is bent on targeting contractors and subcontractors.  If you have mechanics, installers, estimators, or any workers… Continue Reading