Harrisburg has seen a number of proposed bills during the past few weeks, many of which will have significant legal impacts on the construction industry. On the top of the list is an anti-indemnity statute that would put Pennsylvania among the ranks of 45 other states that statutorily limit a subcontractor’s liability for another party’s negligence. Lawmakers are also considering a bill designed to eradicate the century-old Separations Act which requires certain government agencies to enter into separate contracts for plumbing, electrical, mechanical, HVAC, and general trades work and two pieces of legislation that would require construction industry employers to verify the employment eligibility of their workers and to police worker misclassification. Continue Reading PA Construction Legislative Update
I hope you enjoyed my recent webinar on payment techniques for contractors in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. If you missed it, you can access the recording here. Below are some of the highlights:
Traditional payment techniques for contractors include asking for payment in writing with a list of your claims. Such letters can serve as important documentation to establish that your claim was asserted and that you complied with contractual notice provisions. If you later end up in court, it can show that you attempted to work things out.
For additional leverage, mechanic’s liens are a great tool to increase bargaining power during negotiations on private jobs. For federal and state jobs, you must file a bond claim (mechanic’s liens generally are not available on such jobs). Washington, DC and Maryland also have prompt pay statutes that can provide additional leverage on private jobs because they allow the contractor to recover attorney’s fees and interest on unpaid amounts.
The past six months have seen plenty of activity from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The following recaps the developments affecting the construction industry. As each changes the regulatory landscape, construction professionals should take heed to ensure compliance initiatives stay up to date.
The Fifth Circuit Joins the Club of Jurisdictions Enforcing “Multi-Employer Worksite Doctrine” Continue Reading OSHA Review: What You May Have Missed In the Past Six Months
Construction professionals in New York face new hurdles in ensuring they are covered as additional insureds under other parties’ commercial general liability insurance policies.
In 2002, a New York City agency contracted with a general contractor and a construction manager to construct a forensic laboratory. The owner’s contract with the GC required that the GC obtain general liability insurance for the project containing an endorsement naming the owner and the construction manager as additional insureds.
Four years later, the owner sued the GC and the project architect, claiming they negligently damaged the excavation support system. In 2010, the architect commenced a third-party action against the construction manager, which promptly notified its insurance carrier seeking defense and indemnity under the GC’s policy. The carrier refused, and in 2012, the construction manager filed a lawsuit, arguing that it indeed qualified for coverage.
On March 7, 2019, the United States Department of Labor issued a proposed new overtime rule that will raise the minimum salary threshold for workers to qualify for the white-collar exemption to the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the proposed Rule, the salary threshold will increase to $679 per week (equivalent to $35,308 annually) from $455 per week (equivalent to $23,660 annually), expanding overtime eligibility to more than one million workers. Continue Reading The Long Wait is Over: DOL Increases Minimum Salary Threshold With Proposed New Overtime Rule
The Ohio Supreme Court’s October 9, 2018 decision in Ohio Northern University v. Charles Construction Services, Inc., 2018-Ohio-4057 issued a blow to general contractors attempting to obtain insurance coverage under their commercial general liability (CGL) policies for property damage caused by their subcontractor’s faulty work. The Ohio Supreme Court held that faulty work is not “accidental” or “fortuitous,” as contemplated within the policy’s definition of an “occurrence,” and found that the general contractor had no coverage under its CGL policy.
Ohio Northern University (University) sued the general contractor, Charles Construction Services, Inc. (CCS) arising out of a contract to build a luxury hotel and conference center (Project) on the University’s campus. After completion of the Project, the University discovered extensive water damage from hidden leaks and other serious structural defects that it believed were caused by the defective work of CCS and its subcontractors. In response to the University filing suit, CCS sought coverage under its CGL policy, relying on the products/completed operations (PCO) coverage available for claims involving property damage caused by the faulty work of a subcontractor.
On October 10, 2018, the amendments to the Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act, 73 P.S. § 501, et seq. (CASPA) will take effect and significantly impact the rights and duties of owners, contractors, and subcontractors on all Pennsylvania commercial construction projects and some residential projects.
First passed in 1994, CASPA was enacted as a tool for contractors and subcontractors to receive timely payment. As most in the industry know, the statute sets forth payment procedures and timetables, and it defines what constitutes a wrongful withholding of payment. Violations may result in significant penalties, such as statutory interest, penalty interest, and assessment of attorneys’ fees and costs.
I’m a management-side employment lawyer. It’s my job to go to court and defend employers and executives accused of all different types of misconduct, including sexual harassment. Over the last 20 years, I have seen it all. Some of my cases involve relatively tame allegations, like telling dirty jokes around the watercooler. And I have also been involved with cases involving extremely serious accusations, including indecent exposure, unwanted touching, and sexual assault. I spent a fair amount of time watching the Kavanaugh hearings. Like everyone else I know, I have a strong opinion on whether or not the nomination should be approved, but I did not write this article to share my personal opinions. There are enough political commentators on cable news shows doing that already. From an employment litigation and human resources perspective, there are several important lessons to be learned.
Effective October 1, 2018, general contractors with projects in Maryland will have a new headache to deal with. That’s when Maryland’s new law, the General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages Act, will go into effect. Under the Act, GCs will be jointly and severally liable for the failure of any subcontractors on the GC’s project to comply with Maryland’s existing wage and hour law. GCs will have to ensure that all of their subcontractors (including any sub-subcontractors or other firms they hire) pay their employees in accordance with Maryland law. Continue Reading New Maryland Law Exposes General Contractors and Subcontractors to Greater Wage and Hour Liability
Join us for our 10th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar where our attorneys will lead interactive discussions on the latest issues impacting your business.
8:00 AM-12:00 PM
|Thursday, April 26, 2018
The Omni William Penn Hotel
530 William Penn Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
|Thursday, May 3, 2018
Hershey Country Club
1000 East Derry Road
Hershey, PA 17033
|Thursday, May 10, 2018
The Franklin Institute
222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Cost: No Charge
CLE & CPE credits available