PROPOSED LEGISLATION IN NEED OF SUPPORT

In a previous post, I explained that the way Connecticut substitutes bonds for mechanic’s liens needs to be changed. I have now been honored to participate in a group that drafted proposed legislation for this purpose, which has been presented to the Connecticut General Assembly as Raised Bill No, 5428.

On Tuesday, March 10, 2020, there is a public hearing on the Raised Bill. If I were allowed to testify, I would offer the following:

Our mechanic’s lien laws serve the important purpose of allowing those who provide labor, materials, and/or services for the improvement of real property without payment to obtain a security interest in improved property, but it was never the intention of our mechanic’s lien laws to prevent the free transfer of real property. For that reason, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 49-37 allows a person interested in the improved property to substitute a surety bond for the mechanic’s lien. In that situation, the lienor’s alleged debt is still secured, but the property owner may sell or refinance the improved property. The problem is that the process required by Conn. Gen. Stat. § 49-37 is cumbersome and time consuming.

Gerber Ciano Kelly Brady LLP Builds Additional Resources in Connecticut with the Addition of Scott Orenstein as a Partner

I am very excited to be joining Gerber Ciano Kelly Brady LLP’s amazing team of highly sought-after construction litigation attorneys, and helping to expand the services that we can offer in Connecticut. With my move, I will continue to assist clients with any construction related issues – now with even more construction litigation resources.

Our team has decades of experience representing general contractors, construction managers, subcontractors, owners, design professionals and insurance carriers in all types of cases, including contract review and negotiations, risk avoidance counseling and strategy, emergency accident response, incident investigation, workers compensation, project overrun and change order disputes, construction defect and professional liability.

Our construction litigation team has tried cases and argued appeals in the state and federal courts across the United States. We have also appeared in various forums for arbitration, mediation and other kinds of alternative dispute resolution. Our team is often asked to monitor cases on behalf of excess carriers and is frequently called upon to “parachute” in to the most difficult cases at the last minute to act as trial counsel

Best of all, my blog will continue to provide insights and articles focused exclusively on Connecticut Construction Law.

Recent Supreme Court Case Teaches Important Lessons

It is no secret that public works construction is a difficult business.  On any given project there are innumerable ways that things can go wrong. With any project involving excavation and underground utilities, encountering changed conditions should not be a surprise.  Of course, such changed conditions are not the contractor’s responsibility.  What is the contractor’s responsibility, however, is providing the public owner with proper notice of its claims in accordance with the subject agreement.

One of the reasons public works construction projects are more onerous than their private counterparts is because public owners rarely negotiate contract terms. Contracts that are slanted significantly in the public owner’s favor are the norm.  Thus, as the contractor in a recent state Supreme Court decision learned, it is vitally important to read the contract and abide by its terms.

One of the lessons from Old Colony Cosntr., LLC v. Town of Southington, 316 Conn. 202 (Conn. April 21, 2015) is that general assertions of entitlement to damages and/or additional contract time is not sufficient when the contract requires more detail.  During the long duration of the project, the contractor in Old Colony repeatedly indicated that each problem that occurred impacted its schedule and costs.