This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts tagged Notice.
September 16, 2010
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Topics Litigation

The Supreme Court of Virginia has issued its long awaited notice decision in the Commonwealth v. AMEC Civil LLC case.  The result is a pretty painful smack-down of the substantial bulk of the contractor's claims based on lack of statutory notice.  Not surprisingly, the court strictly construed statutory notice requirements for claims against the Virginia Department of Transportation under the umbrella of its historic strict statutory construction rules.  Notice was deemed a condition precedent.  Actual notice, which had originally satisfied the trial court due to lack of prejudice to VDOT, failed to comply with the statute's requirement for written notice.

What are the take-aways?

  1. If you think you may be entitled to additional compensation, ask for it in writing and reserve your claim rights;
  2. Scrutinize your contracts closely for all claims and notice requirements;
  3. Scrutinize any applicable statutory notice provisions closely as well;
  4. Do not trust the other side playing along and being fair and taking care of you, that is the path to potential ruin;
  5. If you have any inkling of of a dispute, make sure you formalize all claims and demands and notices in writing;
  6. Do not expect project meeting minutes and e-mails to suffice to establish notice.

Here is a new sampling of cases in which the Virginia Supreme Court has recently granted appeals.

In April, the Court granted the petition for appeal in Studio Center Corporation v. WKW Construction, LLC, Record No. 092257, challenging the ruling of Judge Shockley from the Circuit Court of the City of Virginia Beach. Studio Center is contesting Judge Shockley’s holding that Virginia Code Section 54.1-1115(C) applied when the unlicensed contractor admitted it knew Virginia law required a license, but did not realize that it could not use someone else’s license. This case should give us some much needed guidance on Section 54.1-1115(C)’s requirement of “good faith” and “actual knowledge.”

NewspaperThere are a number of important construction law and economic developments that I want to pass along to our readers.  Given timing and the plethora of topics to address, I wanted to share these developments in a more rapid fire format so these updates remained timely.

September 28, 2009
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The current state of the economy makes clear that cash-flow is king in the construction industry. As our last post discussing the failed Granby Tower project in Norfolk demonstrates, even very high profile projects can suffer disastrous failures if the players have not addressed financing issues appropriately. For both general contractors and subcontractors, the first key to protecting yourself is to know the applicable rules of the game regarding mechanic’s liens and payment bonds.

  • Know the timing requirements – failing to comply can and often will be fatal to your claim
  • Know the precise contents of required bond and lien notices – again, failure is not an option
  • Do not assume that all states are the same – with regards to both liens and bonds, you must know the applicable rules for each state in which you are doing work, and states differ substantially on form, content, and timing of required notices
  • For bonds, obtain copies of the bonds before you start work as a subcontractor – on private jobs, the bond terms will control and your notices need to comply with the bond or again your claim may fail
  • Do the research before the last second - you do not want to find out no day 91 that your lien notice was required on day 90; it is best to know the requirements before the job starts
  • Associated corollary - if possible, spare your lawyer the heart attack and get them involved early, before the last second!