Sean Minahan is a partner of Lamson, Dugan and Murray and a member of the Litigation Department. Prior to joining Lamson, Dugan and Murray, Mr. Minahan independently contracted with the Iowa State Public Defender’s Office in handling juvenile and adult cases for indigent clients.

Latest News

21 Jun, 2018

Heirs or Errors to the Throne? The Importance of Thoughtful Business Entrance Planning

By |2018-07-03T14:51:57+00:00June 21st, 2018|Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law, Uncategorized|

The following was authored by attorney, Shannon G. McCoy, Lamson, Dugan & Murray, LLP and written for submission in the National Land Improvement Contractors of America (LICA) newsletter.    Succession planning frustration One Month before Your Planned Retirement, 2038: Owner:            Alright Steve, Mike, and Kelsey, the day has finally come, it is time to sell my 100% ownership interest in Family Business, LLC, and each of you gets to purchase an [...]

7 Feb, 2018

Is Equal Always Fair? The Importance of Thoughtful Business Succession Planning

By |2018-07-03T14:57:00+00:00February 7th, 2018|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Originally submitted by Dan Waters, Attorney & Sean Minahan, Attorneys  Lamson, Dugan and Murray, LLP; Proud members of C2C in the LICA Contractor.  The issues and discussions addressed in the following apply equally to family farm succession planning as they do for succession planning of family owned contracting companies.   Christmas Dinner, 2042: Steve: Mike, pass the sweet potatoes. . . . Mike, I said pass the sweet potatoes! Mike:  [...]

13 Nov, 2017

Turning Friends into Foes: Legal Fallout from Monsanto’s Dicamba

By |2018-04-23T18:22:19+00:00November 13th, 2017|Biotechnology, Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Monsanto's dicamba has turned friendly neighbors into legal foes due to crops damaged by dicamba's inability to stay where it is supposed to be.   With the soybean harvest basically complete, we are seeing more and more claims filed and litigation initiated.  Farmers are calculating the effect that dicamba applied by a neighbor may have had on their fields. States like Arkansas, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Tennessee and Indiana are [...]

20 Jun, 2017

Don’t Get Caught Holding the Bag: Hold the State Liable When General Contractor Fails to Pay on a Public Project.

By |2018-04-23T18:22:19+00:00June 20th, 2017|Bond Claims, Breach of Contract, Construction Claims, Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Law, Government Contracting, Lien Rights, Midwest Agricultural Law, Nebraska Construction, Payment Bond|

Holding the Bag According to a quick Google search the term "holding the bag" comes from the mid eighteenth century  and means be left with the onus of what was originally another's responsibility.  Nobody wants to be left holding the bag.  But that is the situation our client (subcontractor) found themselves in when upon completion of a public project the general contractor went out of business before paying [...]

15 Sep, 2016

Not So Fast: RMA Continues to Scrutinize New Producer Crop Status

By |2018-04-23T18:22:19+00:00September 15th, 2016|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

If you have received a Notice of Overpayment and Removal of New Producer Status from your crop insurance company, you are not alone.  In 2012 the Risk Management Agency started auditing crop insurance applications wherein the insured had requested "New Producer" status.  The effects of the audit have come to fruition in the last few years. The notices generally demand immediate payment of any indemnity paid pursuant to the benefits [...]

8 Aug, 2016

Pulled from the Swamp: EPA Wetland Determination Now Judicially Reviewable

By |2018-04-23T18:22:19+00:00August 8th, 2016|Construction Activity, Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Law, EPA, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Landowners and developers bogged in an EPA wetland determination were recently thrown a life line when the United States Supreme Court determined The Army Corps of Engineer's (Corps) "jurisdictional determinations" (JD) regarding wetland designations are reviewable by the court.  United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc. Under the Clean Water Act (CWA) landowners and developers who do not have the proper permits can face severe criminal and [...]

2 Aug, 2016

Pulled from the Swamp: EPA Wetland Determination Now Judicially Reviewable

By |2018-04-23T18:22:19+00:00August 2nd, 2016|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

Landowners and developers bogged in an EPA wetland determination were recently thrown a life line when the United States Supreme Court determined The Army Corps of Engineer's (Corps) "jurisdictional determinations" (JD) regarding wetland designations are reviewable by the court.  United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co. Inc. Under the Clean Water Act (CWA) landowners and developers who do not have the proper permits can face severe criminal and [...]

17 May, 2016

North Dakota Farmer’s 4 Year Sentence for Insurance Fraud Upheld

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00May 17th, 2016|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Such is the life of a farmer.   Even in times of a good crop, the potential insurance claim may be more valuable than the crop itself.  That may have been the case for Aaron Johnson of Norwood, North Dakota, who in 2014 received a 4 year sentence for receiving crop insurance payments on a potato crop he purposely damaged. According to court records, Johnson had his hired man spray [...]

5 Jan, 2016

Your Contract is a Hodgepodge of Conflicting Proposals

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00January 5th, 2016|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts|

Ouch.  That’s what a court called a contract to remediate petroleum contamination at a number of gas stations in New York.  Sometimes, it’s hard to believe the contracts that get signed. Environmental Risk hired Science Applications to remediate petroleum contamination at 47 gas stations.  Environmental Risk had previously entered into a Professional Services Master Agreement with Science Applications, but also required Science Applications to sign three separate, but basically identical, subcontracts called [...]

23 Dec, 2015

Insuring Additional Acres? The Number of Acres Added May Affect Your Coverage

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00December 23rd, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Added Land: Insurance Options Ahead   Farm land does not change hands very often but when it does the acquiring operator should keep in mind the rules which may affect the operator's crop insurance benefits covering the newly added land. Failing to understand and abide by the Risk Management Association's (RMA) rules can cost an operator the maximum guaranteed yields and dramatically reduce the indemnity available under the [...]

16 Dec, 2015

The Ghosts of Projects Past

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00December 16th, 2015|Construction Claims, Construction Contractor Advisor|

Sean Minahan, one of my partners, and I were discussing a construction dispute the other day and we commented again and again about the significant organization required to get a construction project to completion. From the contracts, to the schedule, to the funding—everything has to be in lock step or there will be problems that could bring the project to a halt, or worse yet litigation. The same is true [...]

11 Dec, 2015

Foregoing Work Comp Coverage? Remember to Provide Notice.

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00December 11th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Work Comp Claim Form   Early in my career I had a Nebraska case come across my desk which involved a farm hand falling and striking his head while working on a farm truck.  The farmer had not obtained a workers' compensation policy to cover such accidents because most farms and ranches are not required to provide workers' compensation in Nebraska.  Unfortunately, the farmer had failed to have [...]

7 Dec, 2015

Changing Course Midstream Did Not Work in River Dredging Project

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00December 7th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts, Government Contracting|

  A contractor learned a $12M lesson when it tried to change course on a Corps of Engineer river dredging project.  The case also illustrates the importance of documenting problems on a project and providing notice of those problems to the owner. In Weston/Bean Joint Venture v U.S., Weston/Bean was awarded a Corps of Engineers project to provide maintenance dredging on the Miami River to a depth of 15 feet.  [...]

1 Dec, 2015

Are Defense Costs In Addition to Policy Limits?

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00December 1st, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Insurance coverage|

I recently had a discussion with an insurer about whether defense costs were included within the policy limits of a client’s coverage or in addition to policy limits.  This was an important discussion because if costs of defense were included in the policy limits, my client was going to exceed those policy limits in a hurry.  How would this situation play out with your insurance? Fortunately, the majority of insurance [...]

21 Nov, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00November 21st, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor|

I hope you and your family are enjoying some well earned time off this Thanksgiving. Today’s post provides me an opportunity to thank everyone who gave me ideas for the blog and I thank you for reading it. I’d also like to thank all of my construction clients from whom this blog is written.  I appreciate the opportunity to assist you in your construction projects. Finally, we will be smoking, [...]

16 Nov, 2015

The Secret to an OSHA Inspection

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00November 16th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, OSHA|

Wouldn’t it be nice to know ahead of time what an OSHA inspector will be looking for when he comes to your work site?  Well, I know the secret.  And, it’s not really a secret.  Just look at OSHA’s top ten citation standards and it becomes quite clear. In 2015, OSHA’s top ten most frequently cited violations are: Fall protection (C) Hazard communication Scaffolding (C) Respiratory protection Lockout/tagout Powered industrial trucks Ladders [...]

13 Nov, 2015

Crop Insurance Claim Denied? Steps to Take Before Weathering the Arbitration Storm

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00November 13th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Damage Claims, Crop Insurance, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  Every year, certain portions of the Midwest get pounded by bad weather causing bad yields or outright crop loss.  This year, several states encountered above average rainfall preventing several million acres from being planted.  At one point this summer, Missouri alone had approximately 4 million acres of un-planted corn and soybean acres.   During times of devastating weather, many producers rely on their crop insurance policies to mitigate crop [...]

9 Nov, 2015

Arbitration Clauses—Where will you be arbitrating?

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00November 9th, 2015|Arbitration, Construction Contractor Advisor|

  I had the pleasure of speaking at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Education Day earlier this month. During my presentation, “The Myth of the One Year Warranty”, we discussed the impact of arbitration clauses in construction contracts and who should act as arbitrator. While the American Arbitration Association is certainly a popular forum, there are others.  For example, the New York Times recently wrote about a hardwood [...]

2 Nov, 2015

Know Your Obligations Under Both the Prime Contract and Subcontract

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00November 2nd, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts|

A recent case out of New Mexico highlights the importance for subcontractors to review their contract with the general and the contract between the general and the owner.  In Centex/Worthgroup, LLC v. Worthgroup Architects, L.P, the architect claimed that the limitation of liability clause in the prime contract trumped the provisions of the subcontract.  The court disagreed and ruled that the specific provision in the subcontract controlled. In the case, [...]

24 Oct, 2015

Location, location, location—even in construction liens

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00October 24th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Lien|

We all know the importance of filing a construction lien within 120 days of your last work. Nebraska Construction Lien Act,  § 52-137.     But, equally, if not more important is filing the construction lien on the correct property. Often times on a construction project, the exact address of the project may not be known.  And, if there are a few buildings going up on the same general site, [...]

22 Oct, 2015

Apply for Your Commercial Drone Use Exemption Now

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00October 22nd, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

As previously explained the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working on a rule to allow commercial use of unmanned aircraft (i.e. drones) without going through the same rules for manned aircraft.  However, until the rule is finalized farmers and ranchers can apply for an exemption under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA). The exemption process is not necessarily easy.  However, the FAA website provides [...]

19 Oct, 2015

Be Careful When Requiring Fitness for Duty Examinations

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00October 19th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Employee Safety|

  Fitness for Duty examinations can be an important part of an employer’s hiring and retention protocol.  The Nebraska Supreme Court recently clarified when an employer may require applicants and employees to undergo fitness for duty examinations.  In Arens v. Nebco, Inc.,  the court ruled that an employer must have a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its demand that a current employee submit to a fitness for duty examination. In this case, [...]

13 Oct, 2015

The 6th Circuit Puts the Brakes on EPA Enforcing New Definition of Waters of the US

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00October 13th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law, Water Law|

  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was set to begin enforcing the new definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) on August 28, 2015.  However, several states filed suits in various jurisdictions alleging the EPA lacked the authority to expand its jurisdiction pursuant to the new definition.  Now the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has put the brakes on the EPA's plan to enforce WOTUS [...]

12 Oct, 2015

Following My Own Advice

By |2018-04-23T23:55:09+00:00October 12th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, E-Verify|

  I often advise clients on the use of E-Verify and the importance of getting policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance.  This is particularly true for clients that do federal and state work.  Now it’s my turn to follow my own advice. I was recently appointed to represent the Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects.  As such, I am a contractor for the State of Nebraska.  That means I [...]

4 Oct, 2015

The Importance of Providing Notice to a Surety

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00October 4th, 2015|Bond Claims, Construction Contractor Advisor|

A recent case out of Missouri emphasizes the importance of providing notice to a surety when a bonded subcontractor is in default.  When the question of whether a surety will be obligated under the bond is in the balance, notice is crucial. In CMS v. Safeco Insurance Company, Safeco provided a performance bond to a subcontractor for the benefit of CMS.  The bond specifically provided: PRINCIPAL DEFAULT. Whenever the Principal [Subcontractor] shall be, [...]

29 Sep, 2015

What To Do When the Government is Slow to Decide a Claim?

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00September 29th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Government Contracting|

You may know this situation all too well.  You’ve submitted your certified claim to the contracting officer and there it sits.  You ask for a decision and they say soon, but it’s not soon.  And pretty soon, several months have gone by.  Since the Court of Federal Claims’ decision in Rudolph and Sletten, Inc. v. U.S., the government may have to decide in 60 days or your claim will be [...]

21 Sep, 2015

Workplace Safety–the Unpreventable Employee Misconduct Defense

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00September 21st, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, OSHA|

I just attended an Associated Builders and Contractors meeting during which Lueder Construction discussed a fatality on one of its worksite.  OSHA fully investigated the incident and did not issue a single citation.  This is a testament to the safety plan and training Lueder had in place well before this incident.  One defense to an OSHA citation is unpreventable employee misconduct.  However, proving this defense requires substantial planning, well before an [...]

13 Sep, 2015

Suing the Lowest Bidder on Public Construction Projects

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00September 13th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Public Contracts|

The California Court of Appeals has allowed the second lowest bidders on public construction projects to sue the lowest bidder where it appears that the lowest bidder was only the lowest because it paid its employees less than the established prevailing wage.  This is a novel theory for recovery, but may provide for an opportunity to challenge improperly low bids. Background Between 2009 and 2012, American Asphalt outbid two asphalt companies [...]

7 Sep, 2015

NLRB Broadens the Joint Employer Standard

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00September 7th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Unioin Campaign|

Perhaps in anticipation of Labor Day, the National Labor Relations Board issued its ruling in Browning-Ferris Indus. of Cal. d/b/a BFI Newby Island Recyclery, establishing an easier standard for unions to prove that a joint employer relationship exists.  This will make it easier for unions to make the upstream company, like a parent company, liable for unfair labor practices, even if the upstream company had no direct involvement. Some Background [...]

30 Aug, 2015

Liquidating Agreements—Bridging the Privity Gap for Subcontractors

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00August 30th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts|

What is a subcontractor to do when the owner has demanded additional work, but has refused to pay for it?  Typically, a subcontractor cannot sue the owner because the subcontractor doesn’t have a contract with the owner.  Perhaps the subcontractor and general contractor should enter into a liquidating agreement through which the general contractor can pursue the claim on behalf of the subcontractor. Liquidating agreements bridge the privity gap between [...]

24 Aug, 2015

Flow-Down Clauses Can Drown Your Project

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00August 24th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts|

Flow-Down or pass-through clauses obligate downstream contractors to certain provisions contained in the up up-stream contractor contracts, such as the contract between the general contractor and the owner.  These clauses are contained in every major form subcontract and they can expand the scope of your potential liability.  This blog will look at typical language of a flow-down clause, what it means and how you can deal with them.     [...]

17 Aug, 2015

The New “White Collar” Exemption Regulations

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00August 17th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, FLSA|

This summer the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division issued proposed changes to the white-collar overtime regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The white collar exemptions include the executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employee exemptions.  The focus of the proposed regulations is to increase the salary level required to qualify for the exemption from $23,660 per year to $50,440 per year.  The DOL predicts this [...]

10 Aug, 2015

OSHA Issues New Rules on Injury Record Keeping

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00August 10th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, OSHA|

On July 28, 2015, OSHA issued proposed rules seeking to clarify an employer’s ongoing obligation to make and maintain accurate records of work-related injuries and illness.  The new rules were drafted in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals decision in AKM LLC, d/b/a Volks Constructors v. Secretary of Labor, in which a contractor successfully argued that OSHA’s citation was issued well beyond the six month limitation period. OSHA’s Injury [...]

3 Aug, 2015

Subcontractors Have a Duty to Clarify Ambiguities in Bid Documents

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00August 3rd, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts|

Several months ago, I wrote about an escalator subcontractor that sued a general contractor, demanding payment for work completed based on approved shop drawings.  The trial court agreed with the subcontractor, but the general contractor appealed.  Ten months later, the Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the subcontractor had a duty to bring to the general contractor’s attention major discrepancies or errors they detect in the bid documents. The subcontractor [...]

30 Jul, 2015

Crop Insurance Deadline: Missouri AG Tries to Buy Time for Flooded Farmers

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00July 30th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Crop Insurance, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Too wet to plant   Earlier this month, Chuck Koster, Attorney General for Missouri, filed a lawsuit against Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to extend the deadline for filing  planted acreage reports.  The USDA requires most farmers in Missouri to report their planted acres by July 15 in order to secure coverage under the farmers' crop insurance policies.  The USDA allows farmers a 5 day grace period [...]

27 Jul, 2015

Insurance Policy Language Really Does Matter

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00July 27th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Insurance coverage|

The debate continues on whether a subcontractor’s faulty work constitutes property damage and an occurrence such that the insurer must cover the claim.  The most recent court to weigh in on this issue is the New Jersey appellate court (one step down from the New Jersey Supreme Court) in Cypress Point Condominium Association, Inc. v. Adria Towers, LLC. In this case, the condominium association sued the general contractor, who also [...]

22 Jul, 2015

OSHA Delays Enforcement of Confined Spaces Rules

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00July 22nd, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, OSHA|

In a recent Trade Release OSHA announced 60-day delay in enforcing the new Confined Spaces in Construction standard.  Here is my earlier blog on the new standard.  Full enforcement will not begin until October 2, 2015. During this 60-day temporary enforcement period, OSHA will not issue citations to employers who make good faith efforts to comply with the new standard. Employers must be in compliance with either the training requirements of [...]

18 Jul, 2015

The DOL Claims Most Independent Contractors Are Employees

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00July 18th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Independent Contractor|

On July 15, 2015, the Department of Labor issued an Administrator’s Interpretation asserting that most independent contractors are actually employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The DOL claims that the FLSA’s broad definition of employment and “suffer to work” standard under the FLSA requires that most workers be treated as employees.  The certainly appears to be the DOL’s warning shot over the bow and companies using independent contractors should [...]

17 Jul, 2015

Syngenta Lawsuit Update: Fed. Ct. Sends Cases Back to State Court

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00July 17th, 2015|Biotechnology, Construction Contractor Advisor, Midwest Agricultural Law|

Syngenta cases u-turned back to state court On May 5th, 2015, United States District Judge, John Lungstrum sent two lawsuits against Syngenta back to the state courts in which they were originally filed.  The decision appears to be a major strategic victory for plaintiffs looking to keep their claims in state court and a potential blueprint for others who may want to file a claim in state court. [...]

9 Jul, 2015

Actively Engaged In Farming: The New Definition

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00July 9th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

  As farm operations continue to grow and become more complex, multiple owners or members of a farming entity may consider themselves "farm managers" even though they never set a foot in the field.   Characterizing oneself as a "farm manager" may entitle the individual to benefits under certain government programs. However, to obtain benefits from such programs an individual has to be considered actively engaged in farming, which means [...]

7 Jul, 2015

Hire the Right Professional for the Job

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00July 7th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Law|

The Deck--not quite done I had the pleasure of spending the 4th of July weekend working on a friend’s deck. Fortunately for her, and for my son and me, it was not a big project.  It just involved replacing the decking, steps and railings.  An old adage was reinforced for me this weekend--it’s better to have someone that knows what he’s doing handle some projects, than someone who dabbles [...]

6 Jul, 2015

Thank Your Founding Fathers for Mechanic’s Liens

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00July 6th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Lien Rights|

Yep, our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison specifically, were responsible for proposing the first mechanic’s lien laws in the United States.  Mechanic’s liens were not a new concept when the first law was passed in the United States; France, Spain and other countries already had them.  But, in England, where landownership was limited to the upper classes, the concept of giving a tradesman an interest in the land for [...]

29 Jun, 2015

Construction Contract Language and Insurance Coverage Must Be Consistent

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00June 29th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Insurance coverage|

How often do you review both the additional insured language in the contract and the insurance policy provided by a subcontractor?  My guess is, unless the project has gone off the rails, NEVER.  Well, perhaps you should to make absolutely sure the extent of the subcontractor’s insurance obligations and whether those obligations are being fulfilled. This point was recently addressed in a recent DRI article analyzing the Deepwater Horizon/BP lawsuit.  [...]

25 Jun, 2015

Getting Permission: FAA Proposes New Regulations to Legalize Drone Scouting

By |2018-04-23T18:22:20+00:00June 25th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Farm Management, Government Regulations, Midwest Agricultural Law|

When deciding whether to let your spouse know you are going out for a beer with friends rather than straight home for dinner, you may have heard the phrase "it is better to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission."  If you haven't heard that phrase, then I guess we do not have the same type of friends.  Recently, I have noted the truism is being entertained by those [...]

22 Jun, 2015

Record Keeping—the Devil’s in the Details

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00June 22nd, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Litigation|

Another court has found that poor record keeping will prevent recovery on a claim.  The court in Weatherproofing Tech., Inc. v. Alacran Contracting, LLC found that a contractor’s documents were a mess and that no reasonable jury could base a verdict on the contractor’s records. The underlying project involved the construction of an army training facility.  The total project cost approximated $13 million.  Alacran, the general contractor, subcontracted about $3 [...]

17 Jun, 2015

Are We Headed for a Worker Shortage?

By |2018-04-23T23:55:10+00:00June 17th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Economy|

A recent Wall Street Journal article, Worker Shortage Hammers Builders, noted that construction industry employers are facing a tight labor market. U.S. builders shed more than 2 million jobs during and after the housing bust. Now they say they can’t find enough carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other craftsmen for a growing pipeline of work. That is certainly consistent with everything that I’ve heard and read about construction companies in the [...]

8 Jun, 2015

The Problem with One Year Warranties

By |2018-04-23T23:55:11+00:00June 8th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts|

Contractors often ask if they should include a one year warranty in their subcontracts.  I tell them that they can, but it may be more effective to include a one-year correction period.  If a contractor does include a warranty in the contract, it may actually extend the time in which a contractor may be sued. I recommend instead a Correction Period. Typical Construction Warranties Form construction contracts, like the AIA forms, [...]

25 May, 2015

Do Engineers Owe a Duty to Third Parties?

By |2018-04-23T23:55:11+00:00May 25th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Engineers and Architects Regulation Act|

A Texas Court of Appeals, in USA Walnut Creek, DST v. Terracon Consultants, Inc., recently ruled that an engineer owed a duty to the buyer of an apartment complex, even though the engineer had no contractual relationship with the buyer.  This is an expansion of the duty professionals owe on construction projects and could signal a change in the law. In the case, Walnut Creek purchased a three year old apartment [...]

18 May, 2015

New OSHA Regulations on Confined Spaces in Construction

By |2018-04-23T23:55:11+00:00May 18th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, OSHA|

On May 1, OSHA announced its final rules for construction workers in confined spaces.  The Final Rules, which will take effect August 3, 2015, will require more comprehensive training , with the goal of providing construction workers the same or similar protections as employees in manufacturing and general industry. The final rule will cover confined spaces such as: Crawl spaces Manholes Tanks Sewers The final rule will require the following: Confined [...]

11 May, 2015

Suspend the Work, but Don’t Get Fired

By |2018-04-23T23:55:11+00:00May 11th, 2015|Construction Contractor Advisor, Construction Contracts|

Getting paid for your work is often times one of the hardest parts of a project.  If you find yourself working without getting paid, it’s easy to think, “I’ll just stop working until I get paid.”  While the law may support you in that decision, the contract may not and you may be found in breach of the contract if you walk off the job. Nebraska Law Nebraska courts have [...]