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Our recent blog post explained the importance of indemnification provisions in construction contracts. A 2018 federal case has clarified just how carefully they must be drafted in order to have any meaning.

For background, section 11-4.1 of the Virginia Code is sometimes known as the “Anti-Indemnity Statute.” Under 11-4.1, any indemnification provision in a construction contract that obligates the contractor to indemnify another party to the contract for that other party’s negligence is unenforceable.

In the recent case, Travelers Indem. Co. v. Lessard Design, Inc.

A 2018 federal case shows just how costly a flow-down indemnification provision can be, and highlights just how carefully contracts should be read before signing.

Local government bodies in Virginia only have limited authority granted by the General Assembly. If a local government body enters into a contract that exceeds its authority, the entire contract is void and unenforceable. A recent case illustrates how this can lead to very harsh results against contractors that rely in good faith on these contracts that are later deemed void.

Posted in Environmental

Contaminated soil is generally a property owner’s responsibility, but without careful attention it quickly can become a contractor’s problem.

We have seen an uptick in mechanic’s lien filings in 2018. Thankfully, the increase in lien filings likely arises from an increase in construction projects not instability in the market. In our latest post we revisit the general process for filing mechanic’s liens and insight on the option for replacing these liens with a surety bond.

This year’s Virginia General Assembly Session is for the most part complete and, as usual, Virginia lawmakers addressed (in some cases unsuccessfully) multiple construction industry issues. Here is a rundown of the House and Senate bills that passed and will become new law as of July 1. A few bills that did not pass and some that might live to be the subject of debate later this year or in next year’s Session are also included.

A recent decision from a New York court provides the OSHA Review Commission with potentially unlimited “look back” ability when assessing potential repeat violations, and the decision may have implications in Virginia.

Parties to a construction contract should pay particular attention to the contract’s terms concerning claims. Statutory limitations periods may be shortened or extended.

Posted in Contracts

Most contractors would assume that Virginia courts will decide disputes over construction projects taking place in the Commonwealth. In fact, a Virginia statute requires it. In late 2017, however, a Virginia federal court transferred a Virginia construction dispute to another state that had no relation to the dispute except for the contract’s venue provision.

Recent Virginia cases underscore the importance of including a prevailing party attorneys’ fees provision in any construction contract and make clear that a court cannot simply calculate a prevailing party’s attorney fee award based upon the amount of damages sought.

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