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    Seattle, Washington

    Washington Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: (SB 5536) The legislature passed a contractor protection bill that reduces contractors' exposure to lawsuits to six years from 12, and gives builders seven "affirmative defenses" to counter defect complaints from homeowners. Claimant must provide notice no later than 45 days before filing action; within 21 days of notice of claim, "construction professional" must serve response; claimant must accept or reject inspection proposal or settlement offer within 30 days; within 14 days following inspection, construction pro must serve written offer to remedy/compromise/settle; claimant can reject all offers; statutes of limitations are tolled until 60 days after period of time during which filing of action is barred under section 3 of the act. This law applies to single-family dwellings and condos.

    Construction Expert Witness Contractors Licensing
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    A license is required for plumbing, and electrical trades. Businesses must register with the Secretary of State.

    Construction Expert Witness Contractors Building Industry
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    MBuilders Association of King & Snohomish Counties
    Local # 4955
    335 116th Ave SE
    Bellevue, WA 98004

    Seattle Washington Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Kitsap County
    Local # 4944
    5251 Auto Ctr Way
    Bremerton, WA 98312

    Seattle Washington Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of Spokane
    Local # 4966
    5813 E 4th Ave Ste 201
    Spokane, WA 99212

    Seattle Washington Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Home Builders Association of North Central
    Local # 4957
    PO Box 2065
    Wenatchee, WA 98801

    Seattle Washington Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    MBuilders Association of Pierce County
    Local # 4977
    PO Box 1913 Suite 301
    Tacoma, WA 98401

    Seattle Washington Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    North Peninsula Builders Association
    Local # 4927
    PO Box 748
    Port Angeles, WA 98362
    Seattle Washington Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Jefferson County Home Builders Association
    Local # 4947
    PO Box 1399
    Port Hadlock, WA 98339

    Seattle Washington Construction Expert Witness 10/ 10

    Construction Expert Witness News and Information
    For Seattle Washington

    Colorado House Bill 17-1279 – A Misguided Attempt at Construction Defect Reform

    What Does It Mean When a House Sells for $50 Million?

    Municipalities Owe a Duty to Pedestrians Regardless of Whether a Sidewalk Presents an “Open and Obvious” Hazardous Condition. (WA)

    Parol Evidence can be Used to Defeat Fraudulent Lien

    “But I didn’t know what I was signing….”

    Wisconsin Supreme Court Holds Fire Damage Resulted from Single Occurrence

    Certifying Claim Under Contract Disputes Act

    How BIM Helps Make Buildings Safer

    Arizona Court Cites California Courts to Determine Construction Defect Coverage is Time Barred

    Mechanics Lien Release Bond – What Happens Now? What exactly is a Mechanics Lien and Why Might it Need to be Released?

    Architect Responds to Defect Lawsuit over Defects at Texas Courthouse

    Florida’s Fourth District Appeals Court Clarifies What Actions Satisfy Florida’s Construction Defect Statute of Repose

    Insurer's Motion for Summary Judgment in Collapse Case Denied

    Stacking of Service Interruption and Contingent Business Interruption Coverages Permitted

    Making Construction Innovation Stick

    The Leaning Tower of San Francisco

    OSHA Issues Guidance on Mitigating, Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace

    New Jersey Construction Worker Sentenced for Home Repair Fraud

    eRent: Construction Efficiency Using Principles of the Sharing Economy

    New Jersey Judge Found Mortgage Lender Liable When Borrower Couldn’t Pay

    New Hampshire’s Statute of Repose for Improvements to Real Property Does Not Apply to Product Manufacturers

    Endorsement Excludes Replacement of Undamaged Property with Matching Materials

    Safety Accusations Fly in Dispute Between New York Developer and Contractor

    Vancouver’s George Massey Tunnel Replacement May Now be a Tunnel Instead of a Bridge

    COVID-izing Your Construction Contract

    Genuine Dispute Summary Judgment Reversed for Abuse of Discretion and Trial of Fact Questions About Expert Opinions

    Manhattan Condo Resale Prices Reach Record High

    2018 California Construction Law Update

    Buy American Under President Trump: What to Know and Where We’re Heading

    Park Avenue Is About to Get Something It Hasn’t Seen in 40 Years

    Plaintiffs In Construction Defect Cases to Recover For Emotional Damages?

    Addenda to Construction Contracts Can Be an Issue

    CGL Insurer’s Duty to Defend Insured During Pre-Suit 558 Process: Maybe?

    Utah’s Highest Court Holds That Plaintiffs Must Properly Commence an Action to Rely on the Relation-Back Doctrine to Overcome the Statute of Repose

    Court Orders House to be Demolished or Relocated

    Charles Eppolito Appointed Vice-Chair of the PBA Judicial Evaluation Commission and Receives Prestigious “President’s Award”

    Colorado Springs may be Next Colorado City to Add Construction Defects Ordinance

    OSHA’s Multi-Employer Citation Policy: What Employers on Construction Sites Need to Know

    Home Improvement in U.S. Slowing or Still Intact -- Which Is It?

    Update: Lawyers Can Be Bound to Confidentiality Provision in Settlement Agreement

    EPC Contractors Procuring from Foreign Companies need to Reconsider their Contracts

    Future Environmental Rulemaking Proceedings Listed in the Spring 2019 Unified Federal Agenda

    Construction Firm Sues City and Engineers over Reservoir Project

    A Good Examination of Fraud, Contract and Negligence Per Se

    Should CGL Insurer have Duty to Defend Insured During Chapter 558 Notice of Construction Defects Process???

    School Blown Down by Wind Still Set to Open on Schedule

    Yet Another Reminder that Tort and Contract Don’t Mix

    Forcible Entry and Detainer Actions: Courts May Not Consider Tenant’s Hardship

    Commonwealth Court Holds That Award of Attorney's Fees and Penalties is Mandatory Under the Procurement Code Upon a Finding of Bad Faith

    Defect Claims Called “Witch Hunt”
    Corporate Profile


    The Seattle, Washington Construction Expert Witness Group at BHA, leverages from the experience gained through more than 7,000 construction related expert witness designations encompassing a wide spectrum of construction related disputes. Leveraging from this considerable body of experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to Seattle's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, as well as a variety of state and local government agencies.

    Construction Expert Witness News & Info
    Seattle, Washington

    Illinois Federal Court Applies Insurer-Friendly “Mutual Exclusive Theories” Test To Independent Counsel Analysis

    November 09, 2020 —
    Insureds often request independent counsel when insurers agree to provide a defense subject to a reservation of rights, pursuant to which an insurer takes the position that certain damages may not be indemnifiable. Requests for independent counsel are often rooted in fear that a defense attorney who has a relationship with the insurer may be incentivized to defend the insured in a way that maximizes the potential for the insurer to succeed on its coverage defenses. As explained by the Illinois Supreme Court in Maryland Cas. Co. v. Peppers, 355 N.E.2d 24 (Ill. 1976), when a conflict of interest arises between an insurer and its insured, the attorney appointed by the insurer is faced with serious ethical questions and the insured is entitled to its own attorney. Illinois courts generally follow the rule that an insured is entitled to independent counsel upon a showing of an actual conflict. In Builders Concrete Servs., LLC v. Westfield Nat’l Ins. Co., No. 19 C 7792, 2020 WL 5518474 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 14, 2020), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently addressed a dispute between an insurer and its insured about independent counsel. Westfield insured Builders Concrete Services (BCS). Focus Construction hired BCS as a subcontractor to perform concrete work on a new apartment building. BCS’ work included pouring concrete for structural columns, one of which buckled and failed. BCS sued Focus Construction for withholding payment, and Focus Construction counter-sued for breach of contract and negligence relating to BCS’ alleged faulty work that caused the column to fall. Focus Construction’s counterclaim alleged that the column failure damaged other parts of the building on which Builders did not perform work. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Jeremy S. Macklin, Traub Lieberman
    Mr. Macklin may be contacted at

    Another Exception to Fraud and Contract Don’t Mix

    January 18, 2021 —
    Here at Construction Law Musings, we’ve discussed the fact that, in Virginia, the “economic loss rule” generally renders claims of fraud and construction contracts like oil and water. This is true in most states, including Florida. What this means is that as a general rule where any party is supposed to perform under a contract, and fails to do so, the Virginia courts will dismiss a fraud claim out of a desire to avoid turning any breach of contract (read “broken promise”) case into a claim for fraud. As you have likely gathered by the title of this post, there are exceptions. One is a properly plead Virginia Consumer Protection Act (“VCPA”) claim. Another, found in a recent Loudoun County, VA Circuit Court opinion in Madison v. Milton Home Systems Inc., is so called fraud in the inducement (in other words, inducing a person to enter the contract under false pretenses). In Madison the Court analyzed several counts based upon a modular home contract and so called “performance agreement” guarantying that the home would be installed by the manufacturer in the event that it’s installer failed to perform. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at

    2021 Real Estate Trends: New Year, New Reality—A Day of Reckoning for Borrowers and Tenants

    February 08, 2021 —
    On the one-year anniversary of China’s Wuhan lockdown, COVID-19 has become a part of everyday life and as we enter the new year, real estate borrowers and lenders alike will need to understand this new normal and face the reality that is fast approaching. In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the United States, many state and local governments instituted eviction moratoria and other protections for real estate tenants and borrowers. These protections created a window of opportunity for tenants and borrowers to negotiate reasonable solutions with their respective landlords and lenders regarding rent and debt payments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This temporary period of restricted remedies also allowed courts to analyze legal arguments on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the real estate industry. However, with court rulings forthcoming and many of these eviction protections set to expire in 2021, landlords and tenants as well as borrowers and lenders will be forced to have discussions regarding the realities of their industry and their ability to pay their respective rents and mortgages amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Throughout 2020, lenders and landlords were forced to accommodate workout negotiations as their ability to evict or foreclose upon defaulting tenants or borrowers was prohibited. Many commercial real estate parties were able to come to agreements on what borrowers and tenants were able to pay, given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their respective industries. As the legal protections are rolled back and the leverage shifts back into the hands of the lenders and landlords, we will likely see a trend of aggressive landlords and lenders and an increased number of evictions and foreclosures, especially in industries that are most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic: retail and hospitality. Reprinted courtesy of Robert J. Grados, Pillsbury and Adam Weaver, Pillsbury Mr. Grados may be contacted at Mr. Weaver may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Tort Claims Against an Alter Ego May Be Considered an Action “On a Contract” for the Purposes of an Attorneys’ Fees Award under California Civil Code section 1717

    April 12, 2021 —
    California Civil Code section 1717 entitles the prevailing party to attorneys’ fees “[i]n any action on a contract,” where the contract provides for an award of attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party, regardless of whether the prevailing party is the party specified in the contract or not. But what about an action that alleges tort causes of action against an alter ego of a contracting party but that does not include a breach of contract claim against the alter ego? This was the question facing the California Court of Appeal in 347 Group, Inc. v. Philip Hawkins Architect, Inc. (2020) 58 Cal.App.5th 209. In that case, the plaintiff 347 Group sued and obtained a default judgment for breach of contract against defendant Philip Hawkins Architect, Inc. Id. at 211–12. 347 Group had also sued Philip Hawkins individually as well as Design-Build, Inc., the company Hawkins founded after putting Philip Hawkins Architect, Inc. into bankruptcy. Id. at 212. 347 Group originally alleged claims for breach of contract, fraudulent conveyance, and conspiracy against Hawkins and Design-Build, seeking to establish that Hawkins and Design-Build were the alter egos of the contracting party, Philip Hawkins Architect, Inc., but later dismissed the breach of contract claim. Id. Hawkins and Design-Build eventually prevailed on the tort causes of action, and moved for attorneys’ fees. Id. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tony Carucci, Snell & Wilmer
    Mr. Carucci may be contacted at

    Force Majeure Under the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

    March 29, 2021 —
    As COVID-19 disrupts work and life as we know it, the question many contractors have is what protections are available against the inevitable project impacts and delays? Generally, construction contracts require a contractor to timely perform work until project completion or potentially face damages (liquidated or actual) and possible termination. When events occur, however, that are beyond our control (such as a national pandemic), it is important to review and understand what contract provisions or avenues are available for potential relief.
    1. Review Your Contract For A Force Majeure Provision.
    2. A “force majeure” contract provision is commonly included in construction contracts, service agreements, purchase orders, etc. It typically covers events or conditions that can be neither anticipated nor controlled. These provisions, however, will vary greatly from contract to contract and may not include the language “force majeure” but rather may be included in general delay or impact clauses. For example, some common provisions include:
      • Washington State Department of Transportation Clause (2018 Standard Specifications for Road, Bridge and Municipal Construction): The Contractor shall rebuild, repair, restore, and make good all damages to any portion of the permanent or temporary Work occurring before the Physical Completion Date and shall bear all the expense to do so, except damage to the permanent Work caused by: (a) acts of God, such as earthquake, floods, or other cataclysmic phenomenon of nature, or (b) acts of the public enemy or of governmental authorities; or (c) slides in cases where Section 2-03.3(11) is applicable; Provided, however, that these exceptions shall not apply should damages result from the Contractor’s failure to take reasonable precautions or to exercise sound engineering and construction practices in conducting the Work.
    Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Lindsay T. Watkins, Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC
    Ms. Watkins may be contacted at

    Contractor’s Burden When It Comes to Delay

    October 26, 2020 —
    When a contractor is challenging the assessment of liquidated damages, or arguing that it is entitled to extended general conditions, the contractor bears a burden of proof to establish there were excusable delays that impacted the critical path and, in certain scenarios, the delays were not concurrent with contractor-caused delay:
    When delays are excusable, a contractor is entitled to a time extension, such that the government may not assess liquidated damages for those delays. The government bears the initial burden of proving that the contractor failed to meet the contract completion date, and that the period of time for which the government assessed liquidated damages was correct. If the government makes such a showing, the burden shifts to the contractor to show that its failure to timely complete the work was excusable. To show an excusable delay, a contractor must show that the delay resulted from “unforeseeable causes beyond the control and without the fault or negligence of the Contractor.” “In addition, the unforeseeable cause must delay the overall contract completion; i.e., it must affect the critical path of performance.” Further, the contractor must show that there was no concurrent delay.
    Ken Laster Co., ASBCA No. 61292, 2020 WL 5270322 (ASBCA 2020) (internal citations omitted). Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
    Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at

    OSHA Issues Guidance on Mitigating, Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace

    February 22, 2021 —
    On January 29, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued new employer guidance on mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. This guidance is intended to help employers and workers outside the healthcare setting to identify risks of being exposed to and of contracting COVID-19 and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement. While this guidance is largely duplicative of prior OSHA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) guidance and recommendations, it contains a few new and updated recommendations that employers should note: Face Coverings OSHA recognizes that face coverings, either cloth face coverings or surgical masks, are simple barriers that help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and are beneficial for the wearer as well as others. OSHA recommends that employers should provide all workers with face coverings, unless their work task requires a respirator. These face coverings should be provided at no cost and should be made of at least two layers of tightly woven breathable fabric, and should not have exhalation valves or vents. Employers should also require any other individuals at the workplace (i.e., visitors, customers, non-employees) to wear a face covering unless they are under the age of 2 or are actively consuming food or beverages on site. Wearing a face covering does not eliminate the need for physical distancing of at least six feet apart. Employers must discuss the possibility of “reasonable accommodations” for any workers who are unable to wear or have difficulty wearing certain types of face coverings due to a disability. In workplaces with employees who are deaf or have hearing deficits, employers should consider acquiring masks with clear coverings over the mouth. Reprinted courtesy of Amy R. Patton, Payne & Fears and Blake A. Dillion, Payne & Fears Ms. Patton may be contacted at Mr. Dillion may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    A Court-Side Seat: Coal-Fired Limitations, the Search for a Venue Climate Change and New Agency Rules that May or May Not Stick Around

    February 15, 2021 —
    This is a brief review of recent significant environmental and administrative law rulings and developments. With the change in presidential administrations, the fate of at least some of the newly promulgated rules is uncertain. THE U.S. SUPREME COURT BP PLC v. City and County of Baltimore On January 19, 2021, the Court heard oral argument in BP PLC v. City and County of Baltimore. The respondents filed a Greenhous Gas Climate Change lawsuit in state court, alleging that BP, like other energy companies, is liable for significant damage caused by the sale and promotion of petroleum products while knowing that the use of these products and the resulting release of greenhouse gases damages the environment and public property. Several similar lawsuits have been filed in state courts, pleading common law violations as well as trespass and nuisance law violations The energy companies have tried, unsuccessfully to date, to remove these cases to federal court. The petitioners argue that the federal removal statutes allow the federal courts of appeal to review the lower court’s remand, thus opening the possibility that some of the issues presented in these cases can be tried in federal court, presumably a friendlier forum. A decision on this procedural issue should be rendered in a few months. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Anthony B. Cavender, Pillsbury
    Mr. Cavender may be contacted at