Justia Construction Law Opinion Summaries

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Tioga Properties, LLC, appealed a district court judgment awarding Wades Welding, LLC $27,669.90 relating to Wades Welding’s lawsuit for enforcement of construction liens and unjust enrichment. Janice Ellsworth owned Tioga Properties. Tioga Properties owned a restaurant and home (referred to by the parties as a “mobile home”) adjacent to each other in Tioga, North Dakota. Susan Gordon leased the restaurant from Tioga Properties. Gordon delivered rent payments to John Ellsworth Jr., Janice Ellsworth’s son. Gordon resided in the home but had no written lease for that property. In late 2016 and early 2017, Gordon hired Wades Welding to repair the home and restaurant. Wades Welding performed $19,840 of work on the home and $2,500 of work on the restaurant. Wades Welding delivered the invoices for its work to Ellsworth Jr. A day after Wades Welding completed its work at the home, Ellsworth evicted Gordon from the restaurant and home. Ellsworth Jr. supervised the eviction and Gordon left both properties within 48 hours. In December 2017, Wades Welding recorded construction liens against the properties after Tioga Properties failed to pay for the repairs. Tioga Properties sold the restaurant in July 2019. In September 2019, Tioga Properties served on Wades Welding a demand to enforce the home lien. In October 2019, Wades Welding sued Tioga Properties for breach of contract, foreclosure of the construction liens and unjust enrichment. Tioga Properties denied the allegations, claiming it did not authorize Wades Welding's work on the properties. The district court found Wades Welding's construction liens on both properties were valid, and ordered foreclosure of the home lien. The court found the lien on the restaurant was unenforceable due to a service error, but nonetheless awarded Wades Welding the amount of the repaired under the doctrine of unjust enrichment. Finding no reversible error in the district court's judgment, the North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed judgment in favor of Wades Welding. View "Wades Welding v. Tioga Properties" on Justia Law

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Brent Meyer appealed pro se a district court’s judgment granting Adam Walker’s breach of contract claim against him. Walker hired Meyer to assist him with the demolition and remodel of a home he had purchased in Soda Springs, Idaho. Walker alleged that in June 2018, the parties entered into an agreement in which Walker agreed to pay Meyer $18,000 in exchange for Meyer’s labor on the home. This contract was subsequently modified by the parties as Meyer performed work on other areas of the home not covered by the contract and Walker paid Meyer more money than provided in the original contract – roughly $60,000. On October 16, 2018, Walker fired Meyer from the job, alleging the labor was not up to industry standards and did not add value to the home. Walker hired another contractor to fix or redo the work completed by Meyer and his subcontractors. Meyer argued the district court erred in concluding he was not a “construction professional” as defined by Idaho’s Notice and Opportunity to Repair Act (“NORA”), Idaho Code sections 6-2501–04, and claimed the case should have been dismissed because Walker failed to comply with the notice requirement of NORA. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court. View "Walker v. Meyer" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was an action to foreclose a materialman's lien filed on property located in Garvin County, Oklahoma. Wynnewood Refining Co., LLC owned an oil refinery and entered into an Environmental Services Agreement with the original contractor, now WSP USA, Inc. to provide labor and materials to improve the Property. Thereafter, WSP entered into a subcontract with Techsas, Inc. to provide labor and materials to improve the property. The Techsas Contract contained a waiver clause whereby Techsas waived all liens and claims, statutory or otherwise, resulting from the labor done and materials furnished on the project. The waiver clause also required Techsas to insert a similar waiver clause into any subcontracts it engaged in. The parties agreed that sometime in 2019, Techsas entered into a subcontract (H2K Contract) with plaintiff-appellant H2K Technologies, Inc., (H2K or materialman) to provide materials and labor to improve the property. When Techsas failed to pay H2K, the H2K served a preliminary lien notice on Wynnewood, Techsas and WSP for the estimated price of the provided labor, services, equipment and materials. H2K thereafter filed a lien statement to the Garvin County Clerk. Months later, H2K filed its petition to foreclose the lien. Both plaintiff and defendants filed competing motions for summary judgment; the trial court ruled in favor of defendants' motion and denied plaintiff's, ruling: (1) although the Techsas Contract was governed by New York law, which prohibited waiver clauses, contract provisions that subject a construction contract to the laws of another state were against public policy in Oklahoma pursuant to 15 O.S. 2011, 821(B)(1); and (2) H2K was charged with constructive notice of the subcontract between Techsas and WSP and because Techsas had waived its rights to all liens and claims, H2K did not have a legal right to impress a lien on the Property. H2K appealed. The Oklahoma Supreme Court held that under the limited issues of law presented on appeal, H2K was not bound by the waiver of lien clause in the Techsas Contract. The Court also held that the provisions of 15 O.S. 2011, section 821(B)(2) were not applicable to mechanics' and materialmen's liens. The Court therefore reversed the trial court's order granting summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "H2K Technologies v. WSP, USA" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the district court's order granting summary judgment in this construction defect action brought by Appellant against Respondents, holding that the district court erred in denying Appellant's motion to alter or amend the judgment.Appellant, a homeowners' association, brought this construction defect claim against the builders of the Panorama Towers. Respondents moved for summary judgment, arguing that the construction defect claim was time-barred under the statute of repose in Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.202(1). The district court granted summary judgment for Respondents. Appellant subsequently filed two motions to alter or amend the summary judgment, but before the district court considered the second motion (1) the legislature amended the statute of repose to extend the filing deadline, specifying that the amendment was retroactive, and (2) the amended statute became effective. The district court denied the second motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that under the amended statute of repose, Appellant's construction defect claim was timely. View "Panorama Towers Condominium Unit Owners' Ass'n v. Hallier" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the district court convicting Defendant of battery of a law enforcement officer and ordering Defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $2,649 to reimburse the workers compensation insurance carrier that paid the officer's medical bills arising out of the battery, holding that there was no error.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) criminal restitution does not violate the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution; and (2) the current structure of criminal restitution violates section 5 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights but is remedied by severance. With today's holding, restitution may still be imposed by a judge either as part of the sentence, as contemplated by Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-6604(b), or as a condition of probation, as contemplated by Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-6607(c)(2). View "State v. Robison" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of two counts of bail-jumping, one count for each scheduled trial he missed, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on his allegations of error.On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in granting the State's Gillham motion to allow his former attorney to testify and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the District Court did not err by allowing Defendant's former attorney to testify as a state witness in his bail-jumping trial, and the testimony did not violate Defendant's right to effective assistance of counsel; and (2) Defendant's remaining ineffective assistance of counsel claims were unavailing. View "State v. Payne" on Justia Law

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Timothy and Rebecca Hillhouse entered into a contract with Chris Cook Construction for the construction of their home. The contract contained an arbitration provision mandating that arbitration be conducted before a forum that was unavailable at the time the contract was executed. The trial court entered an order compelling arbitration and appointing an arbitrator. The Mississippi Supreme Court concluded the trial court erred in so doing: because the forum was a contract requirement, the arbitration provision was unenforceable, and appointing an arbitrator required courts to reform the contractual agreement between the parties. Judgment was reversed and the trial court’s order compelling arbitration and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Hillhouse v. Chris Cook Construction, LLC, et al." on Justia Law

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Builder Systems, LLC, appealed an order, certified as final pursuant to Rule 54(b), Ala. R. Civ. P., entered in favor of George "Jerry" Klamer and his wife Lisa Klamer arising from a remediation and new-construction project performed by Builder Systems on the Klamers' house. Because the Alabama Supreme Court determined that the order was not appropriate for Rule 54(b) certification, it dismissed the appeal. View "Builder Systems, LLC v. Klamer" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioners' petition for writ relief asserting that the district court properly dismissed the claims against them as precluded by the former six-year statute of repose, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion.The City of North Las Vegas's (CNLV) hired one petitioner in this case to construct a fire station, and that contractor hired several subcontractors to assist in the construction (collectively, Petitioners). When CNLV noticed construction defects years later, CNLV filed this complaint alleging construction defect claims. The district court dismissed the claims as time-barred under Nev. Rev. Stat. 11.202's six-year period of repose. Thereafter, a legislative statutory amendment extending the repose period to ten years became effective. CNLV moved to alter the judgment, arguing that the ten-year statute of repose governed its claims. The district court granted the motion, determined that section 11.202 applied retroactively, and reinstated the claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not manifestly abuse or arbitrarily or capriciously exercise its discretion by retroactively applying section 11.202's ten-year repose period to CNLV's claims. View "Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Ltd. v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted review to determine whether the Commonwealth Court properly calculated the “cost” of steel products under the Steel Products Procurement Act (“Steel Act” or “the Act”), which required that “75% of the cost of the articles, materials and supplies [of a steel product] have been mined, produced or manufactured” in the United States. G. M. McCrossin, Inc. (“McCrossin”), a contracting and construction management firm, served as the general contractor for the Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority (“Authority”) on a project known as the Montoursville Regional Sewer System Waste Water Treatment Plan, Phase I Upgrade (“Project”). In July 2011, McCrossin entered into an agreement with the Authority to supply eight air blower assemblies, which move air from one area to another inside the waste treatment facility. United Blower, Inc. (“UBI”), became a subcontractor on the Project. UBI was to supply the eight blowers required by the original specifications and was to replace the three digestive blowers as required by a change order. UBI prepared a submittal for the blowers which McCrossin in turn submitted to the Authority’s Project engineer, Brinjac Engineering (“Brinjac”). As part of the submittal, McCrossin provided Brinjac and the Authority with a form, which verified that 75% of the cost of the blowers was attributable to articles, materials, and supplies (“AMSs”) that were mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States. The total amount McCrossin paid UBI for the blower assemblies and digestive blowers was $239,800. The amount paid by the Authority to McCrossin for these items was $243,505. Authority employees began to question whether McCrossin and UBI provided products that complied with the Steel Act. The Supreme Court held the Commonwealth Court improperly calculated the cost of the steel products at issue, thereby reversing and remanding for further proceedings. View "United Blower, et al. v Lycoming Water & Sewer" on Justia Law