Welcome to the summer 2018 edition of our Under Construction newsletter. In this issue, to accompany the summer heat, we highlight several hot topic items affecting the construction industry. For example, delay and disruption issues can arise in any project. The first article introduces these issues and explains the legal requirements for both delay and disruption claims, and provides some practical ideas.
Next, we follow with a very recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board which held that two separate construction contractors constituted a single employer and a joint employer under pertinent labor law. We will be sure to keep an eye on how this decision plays out in the coming months.
Our third article looks at some of the recent legislation proposed by the California Legislature in this first half of 2018 surrounding the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). A brief summary of some of the proposed CEQA amendments is included for your review.
In recent years, a few law firms have made a cottage industry of enticing condominium home owners associations to sue the project developers over many issues, very often for alleged construction defects. Numerous homeowners’ associations have filed lawsuits against developers, contractors, and builders for purportedly defective work. The recent Utah Supreme Court ruling in Gables v. Castlewood-Sterling, 2018 UT 04, reiterates what many courts seem to have forgotten. Our fourth article reminds us that in Utah unless a plaintiff has contractual rights, or has been assigned such rights, it cannot maintain a cause of action when privity of contract is an essential element of a claim.
Finally, our fifth article reviews the recent case of United Riggers and Erectors, Inc. v. Coast Iron and Steel Company, and how the California Supreme Court addressed whether a direct contractor can withhold payment from a subcontractor based on the “good faith dispute” exception pursuant to the state’s prompt payment laws. Prompt payment laws exist in a number of jurisdictions and how courts address different aspects of prompt payment laws can provide valuable insights.
We hope you will find these articles informative and enlightening. Please let us know if you want us to address a specific construction issue in a future newsletter. Stay cool out there and have a safe and enjoyable summer!
James J. Sienicki