Latest News

27 Feb, 2014

Employment Checklist for 2014: 7 Things You Can Do to Minimize Your Risk

By |2018-04-23T23:55:15+00:00February 27th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Employment Policies|

As you gear up for the spring, maybe it’s time to look at your employment policies and practices to make sure you are covering all your bases. Below is checklist to help ensure you are in compliance. Workplace Posters. How long has it been since you updated your workplace posters? Any number of federal laws require posters. Here’s a link to the Department of Labor’s posting requirements.  OFCCP Obligations. Are [...]

25 Feb, 2014

Executive Order Raises Minimum Wage on Government Contracts

By |2018-04-23T23:55:15+00:00February 25th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Contracting|

On February 12, 2014, President Obama signed an Executive Order that raises the minimum wage on federal construction projects to $10.10 per hour. The raise will not be effective until January 1, 2015, and every year afterwards, the minimum wage will be increased and is tied to the Consumer Price Index. Depending on the trade, this could require an increase in wages on projects, including those covered by Davis Bacon. [...]

21 Feb, 2014

Nebraska scores well on amount paid for med-mal claims.

By |2018-04-23T23:57:55+00:00February 21st, 2014|Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

In 2010, the last year in which data is available, Nebraska scored 44th in the amount paid per capita for medical malpractice claims.  The total?  A whooping $4.92. This figure represents the total amount paid in Nebraska divided by the total population of the state.  You can see the entire report here.  By my math, that equates to approximately $9 million in claims paid in Nebraska in 2010. Iowa was almost twice as [...]

21 Feb, 2014

It Was Bound to Happen: Farmer Sues Neighbor for GMO Contamination

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00February 21st, 2014|Biotechnology, Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Organic and All Natural|

Everybody saw it coming.  Sooner or later an organic farmer was going to sue a neighbor for genetic contamination of an organic crop.  It has happened in Western Australia when Steve Marsh sued his neighbor, Michael Baxter, for allegedly contaminating Marsh's organic fields.  The case will be monitored as groundbreaking for future cases worldwide. Marsh alleges that wind blew Baxter's Roundup Ready canola onto Marsh's farm resulting in a loss of organic [...]

20 Feb, 2014


By |2018-04-23T20:59:43+00:00February 20th, 2014|Homeowner's policy, Midwest Insurance Law Guide|

BOTTOM LINE: Parents Beware! If your child intended to throw an underage party and someone got hurt, there is no insurance coverage.This is a parent's nightmare.  As the mother of five children who are very close in age, I had many worries about teenage drinking parties.  Four were teens at the same time; all were in high school together.  And as a mother with a law degree, in addition to a specialty practice in insurance coverage, the [...]

20 Feb, 2014

Arbitration—is it Really the Better Way to Resolve Construction Disputes?

By |2018-04-23T23:55:15+00:00February 20th, 2014|Alternative Dispute Resolution, Construction Contractor Advisor|

Avoid litigation at all costs was the mantra several years ago. Supporters of arbitration claimed that it was less expensive, quicker and avoided run-away juries. But, are these claims still true? Is arbitration still better? Well, it depends. Some claims may benefit from arbitration, but the benefit is not always clear. AIA Contracts Don’t Push Arbitration For those of you using AIA contracts, you have probably seen that arbitration is [...]

18 Feb, 2014

Contract Clauses—Termination for Non-Payment

By |2018-04-23T23:55:15+00:00February 18th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts|

How often do subcontractors continue to work on a project, waiting to get paid? The subcontractor has submitted pay applications, no one is complaining about its work, yet payment is slow. What are the subcontractor's options? Can the subcontractor terminate the contract? Maybe, but, as always, it depend on the contract language. A recent case out of Indiana sheds some light on this very issue. In Ellerman Construction v. Ohio [...]

17 Feb, 2014

The Doctor’s White Coat Days Are Likely Numbered

By |2018-04-23T23:52:19+00:00February 17th, 2014|Health Care Law, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor, Risk Management|

What is thought to be one of the most common vehicles for spreading germs in a hospital?  The answer might surprise you: the white lab coat.  Also ranking high are neck ties and wrist watches worn by health care practitioners. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America has released new guidelines  suggesting that the white lab coat be eliminated altogether or hung on an outside hook prior to entering a patient’s [...]

14 Feb, 2014


By |2018-04-23T20:59:43+00:00February 14th, 2014|Homeowner's policy, Midwest Insurance Law Guide|

  DOES INSURANCE COVER THE "THEFT" OF AN ENGAGEMENT RING  - WHEN A GIRLFRIEND REFUSES TO RETURN IT?  BOTTOM LINE:  NO.  BUT YOU SHOULD NOT CALL YOUR GIRLFRIEND A HOOKER.   It is Valentine's Day, my friends, so let's turn to the fickle issues of love and property for today's lesson on insurance coverage.  Why do we ever intertwine the two?  One is irrational, illogical, ephemeral and incapable of accurate definition or description.  (That would be love, [...]

13 Feb, 2014

Questionable Autopsy Could Lead to Exposure for Physician

By |2018-04-23T23:57:55+00:00February 13th, 2014|Health Care Law, Litigation Tips, Medical Malpractice, Midwest Medical Legal Advisor|

 In an opinion released last week by the Nebraska Supreme Court, it indicated that a forensic pathologist who performed a poor autopsy could be liable for malicious prosecution when that autopsy formed part of the basis of criminal charges against a daycare provider. In McKinney v. Okoye, 287 Neb. 261 (2014) the Nebraska Supreme Court considered a malicious prosecution claim brought against a forensic pathologist whose testimony contributed to charges [...]

12 Feb, 2014

OSHA Backing Off Grain Bin Inspections

By |2018-04-23T18:22:21+00:00February 12th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

The fear of OSHA inspecting the storage facilities of small farming operations seems to have been quelled. In 2011 OSHA issued a memo which led some inspectors to believe they were authorized to inspect grain storage facilities on private farms.  The memo led to the inspection of a private grain storage facility in Atkinson, Nebraska resulting in approximately $132,000 in fines. In December, 2013, U.S. Senator Mike Johanns  (R-Neb.) drafted a [...]

11 Feb, 2014

The NLRB Issues Ambush Election Rules, Again

By |2018-04-23T23:55:15+00:00February 11th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Unioin Campaign|

The National Labor Relations Board reissued its ambush election rules that will shorten the timetable for union representation elections. This is the same rule that became effective in April, 2012, but was struck down in May, 2012 because the NLRB did not have enough members to approve the final rule. This rule reduces the time available for employers to organize an effective campaign against unionization in their workplace. The proposed rule changes [...]

8 Feb, 2014


By |2018-04-23T20:59:43+00:00February 8th, 2014|Advertising injury, Commercial General Liability (CGL), Midwest Insurance Law Guide|

BOTTOM LINE: In Missouri - Yes! In Illinois - Yes! In the 7th Circuit - No! First, let's look at Missouri.  In Columbia Cas. Co. v. HAIR Holdings, LLC, 411 S.W.3d 258 (Mo. 2013), a marketing company sent over 12,0000 junk fax advertisements to various households.  A private citizen brought a class action against the marketing company under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. section 227 et seq and the parties settled.  The [...]

6 Feb, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Escalator Litigation, Part II, Can the Architect Really Have the Final Say?

By |2018-04-23T23:55:15+00:00February 6th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts|

What does it mean when the architect has the “final” say on disputes? Does that prevent you from filing a lawsuit to get paid? Not necessarily. As we discussed in the last blog post, Otis Elevator installed four escalators. Otis’ shop drawings were approved before work was nearly completed, but the owner refused to accept the work. The escalators had to be changed and Otis wanted to be paid for [...]

4 Feb, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Escalator Litigation, Part I, Approved Shop Drawings Can Still Get You Sued

By |2018-04-23T23:55:15+00:00February 4th, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts|

It’s never fun getting sued, especially when you didn't do anything wrong. That was the situation for Otis Elevator in a recent case. In this post we’ll look at the problem created by poorly drafted plans and specifications. In the next post we’ll review the impact of contract language that says the architect is the final decision maker on all issues. What happened? A small airport was expanding and needed [...]

3 Feb, 2014

Partner Dave Schmitt Earns Master of Laws Degree

By |2018-07-11T18:17:17+00:00February 3rd, 2014|Latest News, News|

David J. Schmitt has earned a Master of Laws degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law.  He received the LL.M. degree in Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications law.  David is a partner with the firm and represents corporations and individuals in a broad spectrum of legal matters, including railroad defense under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, product liability, insurance defense, and commercial and tort litigation.