Tag: Massachusetts

1
Mechanic’s Lien on Owner’s Real Estate Not Precluded Where Contract is Made with Party Other than Owner, but with Owner’s Consent
2
Subcontractor Forfeited Right to Damages by Abandoning Project Prior to Completion
3
Construction Manager and Architect Not Liable for Construction Defects Where There is No Contractual Relationship with Plaintiff
4
General Contractor Liable to Subcontractor for Damages and Attorneys’ Fees for Failure to Fully Compensate Subcontractor for Work on Change Orders
5
Statute of Limitations Begins to Run When Subcontractor Completes All Work on Subcontract, Including Change Orders
6
General Contractor Not Entitled to Damages for Performing Subcontractor’s Work, Where General Contractor Failed to Give Required Notice to Subcontractor
7
Statute of Repose Bars Negligence Claims After Passage of Six Years
8
Contractor, But Not Owners of Contractor, Protected Under Maine’s Insurance Guaranty Association Act
9
Undermining Competitive Bidding Process through Collusion Violates Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act
10
Statute of Repose Begins to Run on Negligence and Implied Warranty Claims when Building Occupants are First Issued Certificate of Occupancy

Mechanic’s Lien on Owner’s Real Estate Not Precluded Where Contract is Made with Party Other than Owner, but with Owner’s Consent

Madigan v. Trace Constr., Inc., 878 N.E.2d 568 (Mass. App. Ct. 2007)

In this case, the Appeals Court dismissed an action seeking discharge of several mechanics’ liens encumbering plaintiff’s real estate.  The plaintiff, who was the owner of the encumbered property, claimed that because the general contractors entered into contracts with a tenant of the plaintiff, not the plaintiff, it was inappropriate to encumber plaintiff’s real property with a mechanic’s lien.  The Appeals Court affirmed the Superior Court dismissal, holding that summary discharge of a mechanic’s lien by the court was inappropriate and that defendants were entitled to discovery. 

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Subcontractor Forfeited Right to Damages by Abandoning Project Prior to Completion

Colin C&M Corp. v. Bacon Constr. Co., 2007 WL 4711503 (Mass. Super. Ct. Dec. 7, 2007)

In this case, the Superior Court considered a subcontractor’s claims against a general contractor and the general contractor’s counterclaims relating to a public high school construction project.  In finding for the general contractor, the court found that the subcontractor was not entitled to damages because it walked off of the project and therefore failed to comply in strict accordance with the subcontract.  Further, the court found that the general contractor was entitled to damages because it had to finish the subcontractor’s work and pay outstanding invoices to the subcontractor’s vendors. Read More

Construction Manager and Architect Not Liable for Construction Defects Where There is No Contractual Relationship with Plaintiff

Oates v. Larkin, 2007 WL 4442361 (Mass. Super. Ct. Dec. 5, 2007)

In this case, the Superior Court considered motions to dismiss brought by multiple defendants.  The case arose out of a large-scale condominium construction project.  Plaintiff was president of the association of unit owners and the defendants bringing motions to dismiss were the developer, its board of managers, the construction manager and the architect (who sought to join the motion to dismiss filed by the construction manager).  The developers’ and managers’ motions to dismiss were denied, provided that plaintiff complied with an order to amend the complaint.  The motion to dismiss by the construction manager was allowed in part, denied in part and the architect’s motion to join was allowed.
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General Contractor Liable to Subcontractor for Damages and Attorneys’ Fees for Failure to Fully Compensate Subcontractor for Work on Change Orders

Am. Envtl. Contractors, Inc. v. Garber Constr. Co., Inc., 2007 WL 4358169 (Mass. Super. Ct. Nov. 26, 2007)

The Superior Court heard a jury-waived trial in which the plaintiff subcontractor sought damages from the defendant general contractor after an unexpected roof collapse created the need for substantial extra work on the project.  The general contractor and the project manager executed several change orders for extra work after the collapse.  The subcontractor claimed that it was not compensated for the full amount of extra work by the general contractor.  The general contractor claimed it was owed the money by the project manager and filed a third-party complaint. Read More

Statute of Limitations Begins to Run When Subcontractor Completes All Work on Subcontract, Including Change Orders

N.B. Kenney Co., Inc. v. Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, 876 N.E.2d 1175 (Mass. App. Ct. 2007)

In this case, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that for the purposes of the statute of limitations, a subcontractor’s time to file suit begins to run at the completion of all work on a particular subcontract, including any change orders thereto. 

The defendant insurance company in this case moved for summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff completed the change order giving rise to the complaint more than one year prior to filing suit and that the suit was therefor time-barred.  The court rejected this argument, holding that the subcontractor’s work on other change orders pursuant to the same subcontract tolled the limitations period until all work on the subcontract was complete.  The court noted that continued work for the same owner or on the same location, but under a new and independent subcontract would not have tolled the limitations period.

General Contractor Not Entitled to Damages for Performing Subcontractor’s Work, Where General Contractor Failed to Give Required Notice to Subcontractor

Rockwell Roofing, Inc. v. Jan Five Corp., 2007 WL 4248144 (Mass. Super. Ct. Nov. 15, 2007)

The Superior Court ruled on plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on both its claim and defendant’s counterclaim.  The court allowed summary judgment in part and denied it in part.  Plaintiff subcontractor filed the action against defendant general contractor and its payment bond surety.  The defendant general contractor filed a counterclaim for breach of contract.  The subcontractor moved for summary judgment on the general contractor’s counterclaim, arguing that the general contractor failed to provide notice as required by the contract prior to performing work on the contract that was the responsibility of the subcontractor.  Summary judgment was granted, dismissing this portion of the general contractor’s counterclaim.
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Statute of Repose Bars Negligence Claims After Passage of Six Years

Cusolito v. Care Free Homes, Inc., Civ. No. 05-00443, 2007 WL 5578208 (Mass. Super. Ct. Nov. 1, 2007)

On motions for summary judgment, the Superior Court held that the statute of repose barred all negligence-based claims filed by a homeowner against the defendant contractor who installed vinyl siding and the contractor’s president, and also barred the contractor’s third-party claims against a roofing contractor for contribution.  The court allowed the action to go forward on a claim by the homeowners premised on an express ten-year warranty by the vinyl-siding contractor.

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Contractor, But Not Owners of Contractor, Protected Under Maine’s Insurance Guaranty Association Act

Belanger v. N. Am. Specialty Ins. Co., 504 F. 3d 147 (1st Cir. 2007)

In this case, North American Specialty Insurance Company, a surety, brought a suit against its principal contractor, Seacoast Crane Company and Seacoast’s owners (the “Belangers”) to recover monies paid out under a performance bond.  NAS had issued the performance bond on behalf of Seacoast to build a corporate headquarters project for DCC Development Corporation.  In the suit, initiated in the United States District Court for the District of Maine, NAS asserted claims for indemnification, breach of contract and specific performance based on a judgment that was entered against NAS and Seacoast, and against the Belangers for breach of contract in connection with the DCC project. Read More

Undermining Competitive Bidding Process through Collusion Violates Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act

Prof’l Servs. Group v. Town of Rockland, 515 F. Supp. 2d 179 (D. Mass. 2007)

In this case, the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued a decision concerning the subversion of the public procurement process by a bidder.  The defendant-contractor colluded with a public official of the plaintiff-town to ensure that it would be the only bidder and would thereby receive the bid at an artificially high price.  The court held that this collusion violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act (M.G.L. c. 93A), and that the town was entitled to double damages pursuant to that that statute because the contractor’s violations were knowing and willful.  The contractor attempted to escape liability by arguing that the employee who was responsible for the bidding and collusion was a rogue employee.  The court rejected this argument and found that the contractor’s employee was acting within the scope of his employment and therefore the contractor was liable by the doctrine of respondeat superior. Read More

Statute of Repose Begins to Run on Negligence and Implied Warranty Claims when Building Occupants are First Issued Certificate of Occupancy

Great N. Ins. Co. v. Architectural Env’ts, Inc., 514 F. Supp. 2d 139 (D. Mass. 2007)

On a motion for summary judgment, the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts held that for the purposes of the statute of repose, the limitation period began running when the temporary certificate of occupancy was issued on the building in question. 

In this case, a fire occurred at a commercial property as a result of an electrical malfunction.  The occupant’s insurer sued the mechanical and electrical contractor responsible for design and renovation of the building.  The court held that the statute of repose began to run on the date that the temporary certificate of occupancy was issued on the building, and not at the later date when the permanent certificate was issued.  Thus, the plaintiff’s claims for negligence and implied warranties were time-barred by the six-year statute of repose.  Express warranties, however, were not subject to the statute of repose and those claims survived summary judgment.

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