On July 17, 2019, the Supreme Court of Ohio announced a major victory for the Ohio construction industry in the ongoing battle over whether Ohio’s construction statute of repose, R.C. 2305.131, bars claims for breach of contract as well as tort claims. In New Riegel Local School District v. Buehrer Group Architecture & Engineering, Inc., et al., the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the construction statute of repose does apply to breach-of-contract claims as well as tort claims.
Hahn Loeser’s Construction Team, led by Rob Remington, Jeff Brauer and Christina Hassel, obtained a resounding victory on behalf of its client, Mark Schaffer Excavating (MSE) in a bid dispute with the City of Lorain. Sherry Rollo, Sarah Lewis and Nevenka Whitworth also assisted with the case.
The City of Lorain engaged contractors to bid on a massive ecological restoration project involving the removal or burial of slag that sits between steel mills and the Black River in Lorain. MSE entered into a bid dispute with the City, arguing that it abused its discretion and arbitrarily rejected MSE’s low bid in favor of one of its competitors.
The most common types of “differing and changed conditions” in construction contracts deal with subsurface issues such as inadequate support, unanticipated groundwater, or unanticipated natural or artificial subsurface obstructions. But what happens when an unusual differing and changed condition, such as an endangered species, or even an unexpected burial ground, impacts your project? Continue Reading What to Do When Your Employees Are Dive Bombed By Falcons
Unit pricing and other confidential information contained within your bid documents may be recognized as a trade secret under Ohio’s Uniform Trade Secret Act and similar federal laws. What does that mean? In simple terms, it means that even on a public project subject to applicable public records laws, contractors can prevent disclosure of their trade secrets to the world, including their competitors.
Hahn Loeser’s Construction Team is a proud leader in a major victory for Ohio contractors and their sureties. The Fifth District Court of Appeals of Ohio issued a recent decision confirming that Ohio’s construction statute of repose, R.C. 2305.131, applies to breach of contract claims. It also confirmed that sureties are entitled to rely on the statute of repose as a defense to claims under the bond.
Steel and other construction material tariffs necessitate careful evaluation and allocation of project cost and schedule risks. For example, when steel costs increased suddenly based solely on presidential executive orders, the building trades and owners saw drastic increases in costs, shop drawing review times and delivery dates. In many instances, contract documents failed to account for such risks.
Another factor that can significantly increase the price of material, and even the market price for labor, include catastrophic weather events. When bad weather occurs, contractors may no longer be able to obtain the material at originally budgeted pricing, or secure necessary labor forces to perform the work. Labor and material shortages domino into project delays, potential liquidated damages and claims.
Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, the nation’s most widely used legal services rankings guide, has ranked the highly touted Hahn Loeser Construction Law Team in its 2019 edition. This ranking is a recognition of the quality of the team’s attorneys and the team’s capabilities and effectiveness. Construction clients describe the team as “strong, courteous and respectful.” A client also added “They have a resource expert for nearly every situation we encounter.”
While electronic funds transfer is considered a convenient and quicker way to process payments and receive funds on construction projects, this practice presents significant risk to project participants. Contractual and processing controls are necessary to prevent fraud, which is on the rise locally and nationally.
On March 27, 2019, Home Builders Association of Greater Cleveland President Dean Tompkins and HBA members Josh Edgell and Aaron Evenchik testified in front of Euclid City Council regarding potential residential home construction in the City. Euclid Councilperson Kristian Jarosz asked the HBA to assist the City in evaluating a 2003 law that required all new residential construction be a minimum of 2,000 square feet. The City is concerned the law is preventing new development, especially as much of the existing housing stock is less than 2,000 square feet. HBA members agreed the 2,000 square foot minimum is an impediment to new construction in Euclid.
On Feb. 1, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) reversed an OSHA citation issued to Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc., as the controlling employer, for a fall protection violation. In this ruling, the OSHRC found that as a controlling employer, Suncor was not liable for two main reasons. First, it had a robust safety program in place that not only met, but exceeded OSHA’s minimum standards. Second, it had a rigid enforcement program that removed employees from the worksite for a single violation of its fall protection safety procedures. This decision emphasizes that a controlling employer’s safety role is secondary. The OSHRC then concluded that, given the massive scope of the project, Suncor’s robust safety program, and its zealous enforcement efforts, there was insufficient evidence to support a citation.