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August 2019

Construction Law Update

Gordon & Rees' Construction Group is pleased to publish the latest issue of our Construction Law Update, a quarterly take on trends of interest to design professionals, contractors, and developers throughout the country.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE
  1. Recent Connecticut Case Recognizes Subcontractor Privity for Arbitration

  2. Additional Protections Added to Texas’ Certificate of Merit Statute

  3. Gordon & Rees Construction Attorneys Making Headlines

  4. Gordon & Rees Construction Law Blog

  5. About Gordon & Rees' Construction Group

I. Recent Connecticut Case Recognizes Subcontractor Privity for Arbitration
   
By Joseph J. Blyskal and Shelby L. Dattilo
 

Contracts for large construction projects can, at times, become a tangled web of general contractors, subcontractors and sub-subcontractors. Standard form construction contracts typically contain an arbitration clause between the general contractor and the owner, but not always between the subcontractors and the owner. The Supreme Court of Connecticut recently ruled in Girolametti v. Michael Horton Associates that there is a rebuttable presumption of privity between subcontractors and general contractors for purposes of res judicata respecting arbitration awards.

To read a full, expanded version of this article, click here.

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II. Additional Protections Added to Texas’ Certificate of Merit Statute
   
By Christopher S. Norcross
 

The Texas Legislature recently amended the certificate-of-merit statute, chapter 150 of the Civil Practice & Remedies Code, to add more protections for architects, engineers, land surveyors, landscape architects, or any firm in which such licensed or registered professional practices, in lawsuits against them arising out of their provision of professional services. Under the revised statute, a certificate of merit must be filed with any complaint which, for the first time, raises such a claim. The third-party professional that prepares the certificate of merit must now practice in the same area of practice as the licensed or registered professional that is being sued.

To read a full, expanded version of this article, click here.

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III. Gordon & Rees Construction Attorneys Making Headlines

Boston attorneys Jay Gregory, Tara Lynch, and Stephen Orlando obtained a $10,171,155.20 jury verdict following a two-week product liability trial in Suffolk Superior Court. Gordon & Rees represented the plaintiff, a customer who purchased an HVAC system for his 22,000 square-foot home in Boston. The manufacturer of the system was Daikin Industries, Ltd., a company headquartered in Osaka, Japan. The defendants included two U.S. distributors, Daikin AC and Daikin North America; a sales representative, Stebbins-Duffy; and a service and maintenance provider, Daikin Applied. Read more

Chicago attorneys Tom Cronin, Brian Myers, and Julia Potts obtained complete dismissal of construction negligence and breach of contract claims against their architect client in the Circuit Court for Wabash County, Illinois. The suit involved a subrogation claim brought by a self-insured pool of Illinois school districts alleging that a member school district sustained water damage during the construction of a new gymnasium and auditorium, which resulted in a total loss of more than $300,000. The plaintiff alleged that the architect and a roofing contractor failed to secure the site during a storm, causing the water damage. The trial court granted Gordon Rees’ motion to dismiss all claims against its client based on a waiver of subrogation provision contained in the roofing contractor’s contract with the school district. While the architect was not a party to that contract, the court agreed with Gordon Rees’ argument that the architect could enforce the waiver of subrogation provision as an intended third-party beneficiary of that provision. The court’s dismissal was with prejudice.

Louisville Senior Counsel Jean Terry was named as one of the 20 People to Know in Law in Louisville Business First. She presented a seminar on Sustainable Design and the Evolving Standard of Care at StormCon for the North American Surface Water Quality Conference & Exposition. Her article, “When Mediations Attack: A Case against Deferred Rulings on Motions to Compel Arbitration,” was published in the American Bar Association, Forum on Construction Law’s newsletter, Under Construction.

San Francisco Associate Matthew Peng is co-chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco, Construction Law Section of the Barristers Club. On August 20, he presented "Delay Analysis and Why it Matters" for the Construction Law Roundtable. The presentation focused on the fundamentals of delay analysis, the role of experts in delay claims, and provided a discussion of delay-related cases.

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IV. Gordon & Rees Construction Law Blog

The Gordon & Rees Construction Law Blog continues to post new content addressing topical issues affecting the construction industry throughout the country. From analysis of new court decisions, discussions of timely legislation, and commentary on real-world, project-specific issues, Gordon & Rees’ Construction Law Blog provides insight on the issues that affect the construction industry now.

We invite you to visit the blog at www.grconstructionlawblog.com and see for yourself what we are up to. If you like what you see, do not hesitate to subscribe under the “Stay Connected” tab on the right side of the blog. There you can choose how you would like to be informed of new content (Twitter, LinkedIn, email, etc.). If you have any questions about the blog or would like to discuss further any of its content, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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V. About Gordon & Rees' Construction Group

Gordon & Rees' Construction Group consists of more than 150 lawyers in offices nationwide. In 2019, the firm opened its 68th office, creating the world’s first 50-state law firm. The full list of Gordon & Rees' offices and local contacts can be found here.

Gordon & Rees’ construction attorneys focus their practice on the comprehensive range of legal service required by all participants in the construction industry – architects, engineers, design professionals, design joint ventures, owners, developers, property managers, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, product manufacturers, lenders, investors, state agencies, municipalities, and other affiliated consultants and service providers.

We serve clients who design, develop, or build all types of structures, including commercial buildings, single and multifamily residential projects, industrial facilities, universities, hospitals, museums, observatories, amusement parks, hotels, shopping centers, high-rise urban complexes, jails, airports, bridges, dams, and power plants. We also have been involved in projects for tunnels, freeways, light rail, railway stations, marinas, telecom systems, and earth-retention systems. Our experience includes private, public, and P3 construction projects.

If you have questions about this issue of the Construction Law Update or our nationwide construction practice, click here to visit our practice group page or contact partner Tom Cronin.

Thomas G. Cronin
Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani
1 North Franklin
Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 980-6770
tcronin@grsm.com

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