Articles Posted in Construction Law

by
General Contractor hired several subcontractors to assist in contracting an IMAX theater. After the theater was completed and three of the subcontractors (“Subcontractors”) had not been paid in full for their services, the Subcontractors filed mechanic’s liens against the IMAX property and sued the General Contractor to foreclose on their respective liens in the amount due on their contracts. The trial court awarded the Subcontractors judgments against the General Contractor and awarded attorney’s fees. At issue in this case was whether, under Indiana’s mechanic’s lien statute, the Subcontractors were entitled to collect attorney’s fees incurred in foreclosing on their liens from the General Contractor, which posted a surety bond and filed an undertaking obligating it to pay attorney’s fees upon recovery of a judgment against it. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s fee award, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding the Subcontractors attorney’s fees incurred in their foreclosure suits under the circumstances of this case. View "Goodrich Quality Theaters, Inc. v. Fostcorp Heating & Cooling, Inc." on Justia Law

by
In order to renovate a former warehouse building into administrative offices, Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation (“School Corporation”) implemented a plan to convey the Building to the EVSC Foundation (“Foundation”), a private non-profit entity, have the Foundation contract with a contractor for the renovations, and then have the Foundation sell the Building back to the School Corporation. School Corporation officials selected this arrangement because the Foundation was not subject to public bidding laws, and therefore, the renovation could occur more quickly. Plaintiffs, several area contracting businesses paying taxes in the school district, filed an action against the School Corporation and the Foundation (together, “Defendants”) claiming that Defendants violated public bidding statutes and Indiana’s Antitrust Act. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, determining that the School Corporation engaged in the transactions to circumvent the public bidding statutes but that the transactions were not unlawful. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the project violated the Public Bidding Laws. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the portion of the court of appeals’ opinion holding that the scheme used by Defendants violated the Public Bidding Laws; and (2) concluded that Plaintiffs' antitrust claim failed because Plaintiffs did not present evidence of an antitrust injury. View "Alva Elec., Inc. v. Evansville-Vanderburgh Sch. Corp." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff claimed that her husband's death was caused by Defendant's negligence in installing or removing asbestos-containing materials and brought product-liability and contractor-negligence claims against Defendant. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant, concluding (1) the application or removal of asbestos-containing products or asbestos-insulted equipment by a contractor is an improvement to real property, and (2) thus, the claim had not been brought within the time Indiana law requires for a claim arising from the construction of an improvement to real property. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Defendant's work constituted an "improvement to real property," as that phase was commonly understood. View "Gill v. Evansville Sheet Metal Works, Inc." on Justia Law

by
An employee of a concrete subcontractor was injured in a workplace accident during the construction of a stadium. The employee sought to recover damages for negligence from the project's construction manager by whom she was not employed but whom she contended had a legal duty of care for jobsite-employee safety. The trial court ruled in the employee's favor that the construction manager could be held vicariously liable for the actions of the subcontractor. The Supreme Court granted transfer and reversed the trial court, holding (1) the construction manager was not vicariously liable to the worker for any negligence of the subcontractor because the construction manager and subcontractor did not have the requisite relationship; and (2) the construction manager did not have, either by the terms of its contracts or by its actions, a legal duty of care for jobsite-employee safety, and therefore the construction manager could not be held liable to the employee for negligence. Remanded. View "Hunt Constr. Group, Inc. v. Garrett" on Justia Law