Under Construction - April 2020
April 17, 2020
Welcome to the spring edition of our Under Construction newsletter. As you could anticipate, we will primarily focus on the current construction climate and how COVID-19 has impacted the industry.
In this issue, before turning to COVID-19 issues, we start off with an article that discusses the significance and implications of American Institute of Architects’ provisions, which may jeopardize a party’s ability to recover punitive damages on projects in Colorado. We then analyze and address a decision from the Utah Supreme Court that shows what is and isn’t recoverable under its payment bond statute.
Now turning to COVID-19 matters, we first have an article about force majeure and how this clause has evolved and taken on a life of its own during the COVID-19 pandemic, which may cause a need for revisions in terms of force majeure clauses in the future.
Our next three articles from Michael Baker dive into specifics on how the coronavirus pandemic has directly affected the construction industry. First, safety guidelines in construction are examined. Second, common questions concerning COVID-19 in California are answered. Mike’s third article looks at the approach taken in California and analyzes the term essential businesses and describes exemptions from stay-in-place orders.
Given that COVID-19 is a fairly unique event, there is no obvious event to use for a comparison. In the next article, we look at how there is an absent past parallel to COVID-19 which makes it difficult to forecast how courts will handle disputes that develop as a result of the pandemic.
Our last three articles have been published as Snell & Wilmer Legal Alerts arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and are relevant and newsworthy for the construction industry. The first Legal Alert explores force majeure in relation to commercial documents and addresses avoiding unintended consequences. The second Legal Alert looks at government contracting during a pandemic and how existing contractors may want to prepare. The last Legal Alert addresses furloughs, reductions in work force and alternatives to consider.
We hope you find these articles informative and enlightening. Please let us know if you want us to address a specific construction issue in a future newsletter. Be safe and keep you, your families and your employees safe. Hope we all have a brighter outlook by the time of our next quarterly Under Construction newsletter.
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