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Scott and Anne Davison appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of DeBest Plumbing (DeBest). In 2012, the Davisons hired Gould Custom Builders, Inc. (Gould) to perform an extensive remodel of their vacation home in Idaho. Gould hired DeBest as the plumbing subcontractor. A bathtub installed by DeBest developed a leak that caused significant damage before it was noticed and repaired. The Davisons sought damages based upon the contract between Gould and DeBest and for negligence. The district court granted DeBest’s motion for summary judgment on the contract claims because the Davisons were not in privity of contract with DeBest. Later, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of DeBest on the negligence claim, finding that the Davisons had failed to comply with the requirements of the Notice and Opportunity to Repair Act (NORA), Idaho Code sections 6-2501–2504. On appeal, the Davisons argued they satisfied the requirements of NORA because DeBest received actual notice of the claim and sent a representative to inspect the damage. Finding that the Davidsons satisfied the requirements of NORA when they gave DeBest actual notice, and DeBest had an opportunity to inspect the defect, the Idaho Supreme Court determined the district court erred in granting DeBest's motion for summary judgment on the Davidsons' negligence claim. The Supreme Court reversed as to negligence, but affirmed the district court in all other respects. View "Davison v. DeBest Plumbing" on Justia Law

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Rocky Mountain Steel Foundations, Inc. appealed a judgment invalidating its oil and gas construction liens and awarding attorney fees to Mitchell's Oil Field Services, Inc., also known as Wood Group, and Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America (collectively "Mitchell's"). Mitchell's, as general contractor, entered into a contract with Brockett Company, LLC, as subcontractor, and Amber Brockett, as personal guarantor (collectively "Brockett"), to purchase construction materials for installation on certain oil wells. Brockett purchased materials from Rocky Mountain to fulfill Brockett's contract with Mitchell's. Mitchell's paid Brockett in full. Rocky Mountain delivered the materials, and Mitchell's installed the materials. Rocky Mountain thereafter recorded two oil and gas well liens against the wells because Brockett had not paid Rocky Mountain. Mitchell's recorded lien release bonds, with the liens attached to the bonds. Mitchell's received payment in full, then Rocky Mountain filed to foreclose on the liens. The parties agreed Mitchell's paid Brockett in full before Rocky Mountain delivered the materials to the wells and before Mitchell's or the leaseholders received notice of the liens. The parties agreed Rocky Mountain timely and properly satisfied all statutory and other requirements to create, perfect, and foreclose on the liens. Rocky Mountain recorded the liens on well leaseholds by ConocoPhillips Company and Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Co. (the "owners"). Brockett did not answer or appear at any hearings and admitted to nonpayment, but asserted it has no assets with which to pay. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Rocky Mountain for its breach of contract claim against Brockett. The parties submitted their remaining claims to the district court solely on interpretation of the oil and gas construction liens provided by N.D.C.C. ch. 35-24. The court found N.D.C.C. 35-24-04 invalidated Rocky Mountain's liens after the owners paid Mitchell's. The primary issue before the North Dakota Supreme Court was whether N.D.C.C. 35-24-04 permitted a subcontractor's oil and gas construction lien when an owner fully paid the general contractor. Rocky Mountain argued the district court erred in finding Rocky Mountain's liens were invalidated when the owners fully paid Mitchell's. The Supreme Court agreed: Section 35-24-02, N.D.C.C., allowed contractors to file liens for unpaid materials furnished or services rendered "in the drilling or operating of any oil or gas well upon such leasehold." The district court erred in interpreting N.D.C.C. sections 35-24-04 and -07 to invalidate Rocky Mountain's liens, and also erred in awarding attorney fees to Mitchell's. View "Rocky Mountain Steel Foundations, Inc. v. Brockett Company, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court dismissing Petitioners’ civil action as a sanction for alleged discovery violations, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion by imposing the sanction of dismissal. Petitioners bought this civil action against Respondent alleging unfair and deceptive acts, breach of express and implied warranties, breach of contract, and other causes of action. Respondent eventually filed a second motion to dismiss the civil action as a sanction for alleged discovery violations. The circuit court identified ten instances of alleged wrongful conduct by Petitioners and granted Respondent’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, even assuming that there was a discovery violation, the circuit court’s imposition of the extreme sanction of dismissal was an abuse of discretion. View "Smith v. Gebhardt" on Justia Law

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In this billing dispute between a general contractor, Dudley Construction, Ltd., and a pipe supplier, ACT Pipe and Supply, Inc., the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals in part and reversed it in part, holding (1) in defending a favorable judgment notwithstanding the jury’s verdict, ACT successfully raised a “cross-point” in the court of appeals that preserved an alternative argument proscribing the jury’s original verdict, even though ACT did not formally label its argument a “cross-point”; and (2) attorney’s fees are not recoverable for a claim brought under the Texas Construction Trust Fund Act. The Court remanded this case to the trial court for further proceedings. View "Dudley Construction, Ltd. v. ACT Pipe & Supply, Inc." on Justia Law

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The terms of the insurance policy at issue in this coverage dispute required a written contract between the named insured and an additional insured if coverage was to be extended to an additional insured, and therefore, Liberty Insurance Underwriters was entitled to summary judgment. Gilbane Building Co. and TDX Construction Corporation (collectively, Gilbane JV) was the construction manager for a new forensic laboratory, and Samson Construction Co. was the general contractor. Samson obtained general liability insurance coverage from Liberty Insurance Underwriters. When disputes arose over the construction, Gilbane JV commerced this lawsuit arguing that it qualified for coverage under the Liberty policy as an additional insured. Gilbane JV had no written contract with Samson denominating it as an additional insured but argued that no such contract was necessary. Supreme Court denied Liberty’s motion for summary judgment, determining that Gilbane JV was an additional insured under the policy. The Appellate Division reversed and granted Liberty’s motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed based on the terms of the policy at issue. View "Gilbane Building Co./TDX Construction Corp. v St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The terms of the insurance policy at issue in this coverage dispute required a written contract between the named insured and an additional insured if coverage was to be extended to an additional insured, and therefore, Liberty Insurance Underwriters was entitled to summary judgment. Gilbane Building Co. and TDX Construction Corporation (collectively, Gilbane JV) was the construction manager for a new forensic laboratory, and Samson Construction Co. was the general contractor. Samson obtained general liability insurance coverage from Liberty Insurance Underwriters. When disputes arose over the construction, Gilbane JV commerced this lawsuit arguing that it qualified for coverage under the Liberty policy as an additional insured. Gilbane JV had no written contract with Samson denominating it as an additional insured but argued that no such contract was necessary. Supreme Court denied Liberty’s motion for summary judgment, determining that Gilbane JV was an additional insured under the policy. The Appellate Division reversed and granted Liberty’s motion. The Court of Appeals affirmed based on the terms of the policy at issue. View "Gilbane Building Co./TDX Construction Corp. v St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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In this construction dispute, Plaintiff was not entitled to relief on its breach of contract claim or under a quantum meruit theory. Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a subcontract agreement that outlined services that Plaintiff was to perform as a subcontractor for the construction of the Bridge Street Bridge. Plaintiff later sued Defendant for breach of contract and quantum meruit in the alternative, asserting that the parties had entered into a separate agreement before the subcontract agreement and that, under that alleged agreement, Defendant was obligated to pay for additional work performed. The circuit court granted Defendant’s motion for judgment for the pleadings, concluding that the subcontract agreement was a complete integration of the dealings between the parties. The court of appeals determined that it was unclear whether the subcontract agreement was a full integration or a partial integration. Thus, the court declared that whether any additional work Plaintiff allegedly performed was covered by the subcontract agreement was an issue of fact for the jury. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) by its own terms, the subcontract agreement was a full integration of the parties’ contract for Plaintiff’s subcontracting work on the bridge; and (2) Plaintiff was not entitled to relief under a quantum meruit theory. View "Vanhook Enterprises, Inc. v. Kay & Kay Contracting, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this construction dispute, Plaintiff was not entitled to relief on its breach of contract claim or under a quantum meruit theory. Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a subcontract agreement that outlined services that Plaintiff was to perform as a subcontractor for the construction of the Bridge Street Bridge. Plaintiff later sued Defendant for breach of contract and quantum meruit in the alternative, asserting that the parties had entered into a separate agreement before the subcontract agreement and that, under that alleged agreement, Defendant was obligated to pay for additional work performed. The circuit court granted Defendant’s motion for judgment for the pleadings, concluding that the subcontract agreement was a complete integration of the dealings between the parties. The court of appeals determined that it was unclear whether the subcontract agreement was a full integration or a partial integration. Thus, the court declared that whether any additional work Plaintiff allegedly performed was covered by the subcontract agreement was an issue of fact for the jury. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) by its own terms, the subcontract agreement was a full integration of the parties’ contract for Plaintiff’s subcontracting work on the bridge; and (2) Plaintiff was not entitled to relief under a quantum meruit theory. View "Vanhook Enterprises, Inc. v. Kay & Kay Contracting, LLC" on Justia Law

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Meridian contracted to construct the Chula Vista Project flood control project, including construction of concrete channels, relocation of a sewer line, and dewatering and water diversion. After commencing work, Meridian encountered problems relating to “a layer of dripping saturated dark clay material under which a clean layer of sand is producing water” with “the potential for serious structural damage.” The government issued contract modifications, including an increase in funds for larger pipe, addition of a reinforced concrete access ramp, investigation of soil properties, remediation of saturated soils, and additional sheet piling. The government directed Meridian to suspend work following structural failures and terminated the project following a final inspection. Meridian sued for breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of the Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. 601−613. The government conceded liability for certain costs relating to suspension of work, channel fill, and interim protection. With respect to other claims, the Federal Circuit affirmed in part. Meridian’s interpretation of the contract was not reasonable; the existence of subsurface saturated soil conditions was “reasonably foreseeable.” The Trade Court did not impose an improper requirement for investigation of site conditions beyond what a reasonable contractor would undertake. The court remanded for consideration of whether the parties reached a meeting of the minds on flood event claims and held that the Trade Court erred dismissing Meridian’s unpaid contract quantities claim, in light of conflicting information. View "Meridian Engineering Co. v. United States" on Justia Law

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Ballard obtained a $280,000 loan from SBH to construct the Stone Fence residence, then requested another $90,000 to finish the property. There was insufficient equity to cover that amount; SBH lent him $20,000. Ballard obtained construction loans on properties in Bradley. Grant was the SBH loan officer for all three properties. Ballard submitted required Sworn Contractor’s Statements and Owner’s Payment Authorizations to the Kankakee County Title Company (KCTC), identifying the material and labor costs supposedly associated with his work on the Bradley properties. Ballard obtained $188,000 for the Bradley properties, where no work was performed. Ballard used the funds to complete Stone Fence. An SBH employee discovered Ballard’s scheme. Ballard was charged with three counts of bank fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1344. At trial, Ballard admitted that he had misdirected funds; he argued a “good faith” defense that Grant and his supervisors knew and authorized Ballard’s acts and pressured him to complete Stone Fence. Ballard also claimed he did not read or sign the loan documents, implying that someone forged his signature. After Ballard was convicted, his attorney obtained a previously undisclosed audio recording of Grant, made during a prior, unrelated criminal investigation. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court in granting a new trial, finding the recording material. View "United States v. Ballard" on Justia Law