Construction Law Blog

Construction Defects in New York; Part 3 of 6 – Defective Construction

This is a continuing article series on Construction Defects in New York, These include an introduction (part 1), design defects (part 2), defective construction (part 3), improper materials (part 4), improper installations (part 5) and finally important time limitations which apply to seeking legal action for defective construction in New York (part 6).

For a defect to be construction based, it can range in scope from a contractors failure to perform to completion of the project, to gross deviations from the approved construction plans and specifications.

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Construction Defects in New York, Part 2 of 6 – Design Defects

This is a continuing article series on Construction Defects in New York, These include an introduction (part 1), design defects (part 2), defective construction (part 3), improper materials (part 4), improper installations (part 5) and finally important time limitations which apply to seeking legal action for defective construction in New York (part 6).

Defects in construction design demonstrate themselves in various and wide-ranging ways, and sometimes by the actions the defects cause others to do.

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Construction Defects in New York; Part 1 of 6 – An Introduction

Defects exist throughout all construction projects and it’s likely no construction project is ever completed perfectly. In New York construction however, perfection is not the legal standard by which construction is generally measured. The standard used to judge completed construction is the ordinary and reasonable skill that is usually exercised by architects, engineers, contractors and others in that work.[1]Therefore, not all defects are necessarily actionable under New York construction law.

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The Inconvenient Termination for Convenience

Many construction contracts in New York make reference to how or why one or both parties are provided the right to terminate the agreement. One such typical form of termination, ‘Termination for Convenience’, may be provided.

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John Caravella’s Article on Scaffold Law Reform to be Featured in Nassau County Bar Association’s “The Nassau Lawyer” Publication

 

In January 2019, The Nassau Lawyer published an article written by Mr. Caravella, in response to wide range impacts related to contractors throughout New York, regarding the Scaffold Law Reform and current efforts in New York State. Contractors are encouraged to stay informed of these issues and reform efforts. To obtain a copy of this topic article, please visit www.nassaubar.org (Page 7) or visit www.liconstructionlaw.com

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The Home Improvement Licensing Rule: A Shield And Not A Sword

Photographer: Timothy Schenck

If you have read previous articles of this blog, you may be aware that New York construction contractors can be barred from suing or enforcing a mechanic’s lien if they do not possess required home improvement licenses, which has resulted in the dismissal of many contractors’ claims. On the other hand, project owners sometimes argue that a contractor’s failure to possess a license should not only prevent the contractor from recovering more money but should require the contractor to return all monies already paid for the work. Courts’ responses to this argument have been mixed.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution An Option For Construction Contractors Under NY’S Prompt Payment Act

Perhaps the most common construction-related dispute is the refusal of a party to make payment to its contractors or subcontractors. While litigation is the traditional avenue for resolving such disputes, methods of alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration and mediation are enjoying growing importance in the field of construction law.

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Considerations for Drafting Construction Contracts

 

To minimize potential legal problems when planning construction, whether the project is a large commercial project, a new residence, or even a renovation to an existing structure, care must be taken to have essential terms included in the contract. The failure to identify essential terms in the construction contract will lead to project confusion, extended completion time and expenses, as well as raise the likelihood of a future legal dispute. Below are several terms to consider in any construction contract:

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Recent New York Litigation Highlights Increasing Risks to Contractors

Construction contracts require contractors and subcontractors to carry commercial general liability, or CGL, insurance and to name not only the contracting parties but additional third parties, such as project owners, as additional insured. Recent commercial general liability litigation, however, suggests that contractors and subcontractors should review the language of their CGL policies carefully because third parties to the contract, even if they are contractually required to be additionally insured, may actually be excluded by the insurance policies.

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Punitive Damages Claims in New York Construction Contract Disputes

 

One topic that came up in my practice recently was a contractor’s potential exposure to liability for punitive damages under New York law. As the name suggests, punitive damages are awarded above and beyond their contract or property damages, ‘where the wrong done was aggravated by circumstances of violence, oppression, malice, fraud, … on the part of the defendant, and are intended to address the plaintiff’s mental anguish or other aggravation, to punish the defendant for its behavior.’ Black’s Law Dictionary 390 (6th Ed. 1991).

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