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:

Payment Techniques

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.


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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 (i.e., not for personal injuries or property damage). The ELR is very important in the construction world because contractors who sustain losses that they attribute to substandard design documents often sue the design professional who prepared the plans and specifications, even though they rarely have a contract with the designer.

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In a recent case – Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. v. Rummel Klepper & Kahl, LLP – the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (“Court”) reaffirmed the ELR and rejected various claims brought by a contractor against a design professional. The Balfour Beatty Infrastructure case involved a public works project for the City of Baltimore (“City”). The City entered into contracts with the design and engineering firm Rummel Klepper & Kahl, LLP (“RK & K”) to upgrade a water treatment plant. The City also entered into a contract with Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. (“Balfour”) to build the upgrades. Balfour did not have a contract with RK & K. Due to a series of design errors, Balfour suffered delays during construction and performed additional work that it attributed to the design errors. Based on these facts, Balfour sued RK & K for professional negligence and negligent misrepresentation, alleging that RK & K supplied false information to prospective bidders and failed to establish a  reasonable contract duration.


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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

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,

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

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

For most people, there is only one thing more excruciating than a discussion about insurance coverage: a blog post about it.  So brace yourselves dear readers.

With all kidding aside, the importance for contractors and owners to understand the ins and outs of their insurance policies, and the risk transfer mechanisms that they are using,

By: Daniella Gordon and Jennifer M. Horn

The New Jersey legislature is considering a bill which would permanently bar contractors who are convicted of fraud in connection with work on government contracts from bidding on future public contracts in the State. Under S. 2167, contractors convicted of making false payment claims to the government

On June 7, 2011, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, in what appears to be a departure from past rulings and conventional interpretations of Pennsylvania’s Mechanic’s Lien Law (Lien Law), issued a ruling that permits an excavating contractor to pursue a mechanic’s lien claim for work it performed on a project even though the two planned structures