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. 
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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.


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Traditionally, public agencies have awarded construction contracts via the “lowest responsible bidder” procurement method, where bidders submit sealed bids and contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. However, a number of governmental entities have started to award contracts through “best value” procurement, which looks at factors other than price. Quality, experience, and expertise of the bidders also are relevant considerations when selecting contractors or vendors under a “best value” procurement format.

Following the trend, on May 16, 2017, Philadelphians approved a ballot measure that amended the City’s Home Rule Charter to allow the City to award certain contracts based on the “best value” standard, in addition to the “lowest responsible bidder” approach. Shortly thereafter, on July 27, 2017, the City issued regulations governing the award of contracts based on the “best value” method.
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Pennsylvania Court Adds ‘Last Month’s Rent’ to Definition of ‘Security Deposit’

As most residential landlords know, the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act (the “Act”) contains comprehensive and complicated rules and procedures regarding security deposits1. One such rule governs the amount a landlord may collect and hold as a security deposit. 
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On July 26th join Cohen Seglias attorneys Matt Gioffre and Dan Fierstein for their seminar, “Killer Contract Clauses for Construction & Service” for the Mechanical & Service Contractors Association (M&SCA) in Blue Bell, PA. Matt and Dan will explain Killer Contract Clauses, how courts will interpret and enforce them, and will provide best practice tips for managing a project to minimize the impact of these contractual provisions.


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We are pleased to announce that eleven Cohen Seglias attorneys were selected to this year’s Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list and eight attorneys to the Pennsylvania Rising Stars list in the areas of Construction Litigation, Government Contracts, Employment & Labor, and Employment Litigation: Defense. The Super Lawyers list recognizes no more than 5 percent of attorneys in each state, and no more than 2.5 percent in each state for the Rising Stars list.

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In Pennsylvania, it is well-established that a homeowner can assert claims for fraud and violation of Pennsylvania’s consumer protection statute – the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (“UTPCPL”) – against a contractor based upon the contractor’s representations, even absent any contractual relationship between the homeowner and the contractor. Essentially, where a contractor makes a representation on which reliance is “specially foreseeable” and the homeowner relies upon the representation and sustains damages as a result, the homeowner may have a claim against the contractor. This scenario often comes into play where a homeowner asserts a claim against the builder where the homeowner is not the initial purchaser of the home, but rather a subsequent purchaser. 
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By now, you have probably heard enough from us about the new changes to the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law. If a newsletter article and several blog posts were not enough, here is one more reminder that the long-anticipated Pennsylvania State Construction Notices Directory is up and running. Already, owners have been active in registering searchable projects.
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On January 23, 2017, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law a wage equity ordinance that makes it unlawful for an employer in the city of Philadelphia to ask about the wage history of a prospective employee at any stage of the hiring process. Under the new law, an employer may not condition employment on the job candidate’s disclosure of their wage history (which includes fringe benefits) or refuse to hire a candidate because of their refusal to respond to an inquiry about their past wages. The ordinance also prohibits employers from relying on a candidate’s wage history in order to determine the amount that it will offer a candidate unless the candidate has “knowingly and willingly” disclosed such information to the employer during the hiring process.
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The new — and much anticipated — Pennsylvania State Construction Notices Directory (“Directory”) is expected to go live this December 31. With this rollout, the PA legislature will have established a statewide directory system for owners to list projects and create a new lien notice requirement for projects in excess of $1.5 million. The Directory for the Pennsylvania Mechanics’ Lien Law, which was signed into law in October 2014, provides the following important changes: 
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