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30 Nov, 2012

The Wrongful Death Lawsuit: 5 Points Every Rancher or Farmer Should Know

By |2018-04-23T18:22:22+00:00November 30th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Emergency medical helicopter taking off in rural field Every farmer and rancher knows their business is dangerous, and even with the utmost care, accidents happen.  When the accident is fatal a subsequent wrongful death lawsuit may not only affect the bottom line but can also bring emotional and social turmoil that a farming or ranching operation is not prepared for.  Fatal accidents can happen anytime, but here in Nebraska and Iowa, these [...]

29 Nov, 2012

So, you’re an additional insured. Now what?

By |2012-11-29T13:52:00+00:00November 29th, 2012|Insurance coverage|

Construction contracts often require subcontractors and sub-subcontractors to name upstream contractors as additional insureds on their policy. I often wonder whether the upstream contractor ever reviews its subcontractors’ insurance policies to find out the specifics on when claims must be made, the limits applicable to the project, and the exclusions. If you are an upstream contractor and you are named as an additional insured on your subcontractor's insurance, here are [...]

27 Nov, 2012


By |2018-04-23T20:59:46+00:00November 27th, 2012|Excess and umbrella policies, Midwest Insurance Law Guide, Property and casualty|

Insurance policies often carry a small clause that contains big language.  It is called a concurrent clause provision.  The words can bar a policyholder’s claim for flood or wind damage if both of those events together cause a loss.  Or if one of those events is specifically excluded from coverage, the insurance company doesn’t have to pay a cent.  Ouch.   Because this is a source for much insurance litigation [...]

27 Nov, 2012

Are Individual Sureties Under Attack?

By |2012-11-27T08:00:19+00:00November 27th, 2012|Surety|

The National Association of Surety Bond Producers is pushing a bill called the Security in Bonding Act that will require individual sureties that provide bonds on federal projects to use only assets that can easily be liquidated to quickly fund legitimate claims. It would also require that those assets be placed in the custody and control of the federal government until the project is completed. Individual sureties are individuals - [...]

22 Nov, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and Thank You for Reading

By |2012-11-22T08:00:41+00:00November 22nd, 2012|Latest News|

I hope that you are all enjoying time with family and friends on this Thanksgiving Day.   The Martin family is in Minneapolis this weekend to spend time with the whole family.  We are starting Thanksgiving Day with the Turkey Trot 5k. It will be an early, early morning, but it’s for a great cause, Second Harvest Heartland.  And it gives me all the excuse I need to eat more [...]

20 Nov, 2012

Wrap-Ups and Controlled Insurance Programs

By |2012-11-20T08:00:39+00:00November 20th, 2012|Insurance coverage|

You may be seeing a rise in owners and contractors demanding the use of wrap-up insurance programs on projects. While wrap-ups may allow for some cost savings, you still need to maintain your base coverage and make sure completed operations coverage is in place. What are Wrap-Ups? Wrap-ups are blanket insurance programs that cover an entire project. They generally come in two forms: owner-controlled or contractor-controlled. Wrap-ups historically combine liability [...]

16 Nov, 2012

National Organic Program Establishes 5% Residue Testing Requirement

By |2018-04-23T18:22:22+00:00November 16th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law, Organic and All Natural|

Many in agriculture know the organic certification process has been a less than airtight, although many consumers may not be aware.  As I discussed in my May 2011 blog, certifying agencies have been inconsistent with the frequency of inspections, inspection standards, and the assessing punishments for violations.  The National Organic Program (NOP) has attempted to tighten those leaks by establishing a periodic residue test on 5% of the farms certified by an independent agency. The testing requirement will [...]

15 Nov, 2012

Bill Settles Speaks on “Common Charting Errors”

By |2018-07-11T18:17:18+00:00November 15th, 2012|Latest News, News|

On November 6, 2012, Firm Partner Bill Settles spoke to a group of students in the  Nurse Anesthesia Program at Clarkson College.  The topic of the presentation was "Common Charting Errors".  Mr. Settles frequently teaches classes concerning medical-legal issues to nursing and medical students, residents and fellows in all specialties of medicine, and office managers and hospital administrators.  Mr. Settles' presentation explained the purposes of medical charting, described the use [...]

15 Nov, 2012

The Department of Transportation Proposes Changes to DBE Utilization Regulations

By |2012-11-15T08:00:29+00:00November 15th, 2012|Latest News|

On September 6, 2012, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed significant changes to the disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program. The proposed rules can be found here.  These changes will impact contractors working on Federal-aid highway, Federal Transit Administration, and Federal Aviation Administration funded projects. Associated General Contractors opposes the proposed rules and its comments can be found here. Below are a few of the proposed changes:  Personal Net Worth [...]

13 Nov, 2012

Understanding Your Construction Contract–Submitting a Claim

By |2012-11-13T08:00:53+00:00November 13th, 2012|Construction Contracts|

You know the situation--the job is not progressing as you would like, payments are slow, and now you are being challenged on your pay applications and change orders. You decide to finish the project, but you are still owed money. What do you do? Review your contract and file a claim! Pay Applications are Not Claims Although you may have submitted pay applications, pay applications are not claims under most [...]

8 Nov, 2012

GIPSA Enforcement: Failure to Pay When Due Violations are Low Hanging Fruit

By |2018-04-23T18:22:22+00:00November 8th, 2012|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Cattle Chute In the past two months, there seems to be an uptick in violations of the Packers and Stockyards Act (P&S Act) for failing to pay, when due,      the full amount for livestock.  In fact, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) has issued ten press releases regarding such violations in that time period. Arguably, the violation for failing to pay, when [...]

8 Nov, 2012

Creighton’s Trial Team Presents Well at Michigan State Competition

By |2018-04-24T00:08:56+00:00November 8th, 2012|Nebraska Litigation & Trial Advisor, Trial|

This year I again, along with co-coach Amy Zacharias, a Pottawattamie County, Iowa, Assistant County Attorney, had the pleasure of teaching trial advocacy to a team of four third-year law students from Creighton University's School of Law.  The team of four prepared for two months to compete at the National Trial Advocacy Competition hosted by Michigan State University College of Law.  The team then competed against 25 other schools at the [...]

8 Nov, 2012

Read this Only if You Have an At-Will Disclaimer in your Employee Handbook

By |2012-11-08T08:00:34+00:00November 8th, 2012|Employee Handbook|

 If you have an employee handbook, it probably contains a disclaimer stating that employees are at-will, meaning that employees can be fired with or without cause. The NLRB has again weighed in on at-will disclaimers and its conclusions are, again, interesting. In a recent NLRB opinion, the administrative law judge ruled that the following at-will disclaimer violated the National Labor Relations Act: I further agree that the at-will employment relationship [...]

6 Nov, 2012

Pay if Paid Clauses – What Do They Really Mean?

By |2012-11-06T08:00:39+00:00November 6th, 2012|Construction Contracts|

I received a number of calls about an earlier post commenting on the enforceability of pay-if-paid clauses. So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to discuss them in more detail.  What is a pay-if-paid clause? A pay-if-paid clause provides that a subcontractor will be paid only if the contractor is paid. Under these clauses, each contracting party bears the risk of loss only for its own work. In contrast, pay-when-paid [...]

1 Nov, 2012

How does Nebraska’s Prompt Pay Act Impact Your Construction Contract? Part II

By |2012-11-01T08:00:15+00:00November 1st, 2012|Construction Contracts|

The Prompt Pay Act, Nebraska Revised Statutes § 45-1201 to 41-1210, applies to construction contracts entered into after October 1, 2010. This is the second of two posts highlighting the key provisions of the Prompt Payment Act.  When Payments May be Withheld The Act allows a contractor to withhold payments in five situations: Retainage, as provided for in the contract, until the project is substantially completed; After substantial completion, 125% [...]