Construction Litigation

While our goal is always to minimize risk and achieve smooth and timely project delivery, there are times when risk turns into dispute. When that occurs, our team of construction litigators is adept at advising our clients through all phases of dispute resolution. We regularly appear in state and federal courts, in all forums of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, as well as before various regulatory and administrative hearing boards. We represent clients in a broad range of contract and extra-contractual claims. Our group has extensive experience in resolving disputes over construction terms addressing payment methods and procedures, scope of work, deadline and delay, termination and suspension, as well as insurance and warranty requirements. We regularly prosecute and defend mechanics lien claims, surety bond claims, delay claims, extended conditions claims, defective design or specification claims, wage and employment matters, and bid protests, among others.

Practice Chair

David L. Fine

David L. Fine
Partner

Representative Matters

  • Negotiated a favorable resolution for a general contractor in a multi-million dollar delay claim stemming from defective design documents and extended conditions in a multi-phased renovation and new construction of a hospital. The general contractor’s claim included a substantial pass-through claim by the mechanical subcontractor. The hospital brought a counterclaim alleging defective installation of concrete subflooring. The litigation involved claims, counterclaims and cross-claims by and between the owner hospital, its architect, the general contractor, and multiple subcontractors and suppliers.
  • Successfully prosecuted multi-million dollar claims for breach of contract and unfair business practices on behalf of a designer and builder of pollution control systems for power generation facilities.
  • Obtained a mechanics lien and successfully negotiated a settlement on behalf of a site subcontractor who was owed a substantial contract balance and change order amounts on a private project in which the general contractor had filed for bankruptcy protection.
  • Represented a general contractor and its surety in defending claims on a payment bond brought by a specialty concrete subcontractor on a public works project involving renovation and build out of a college dormitory. The general contractor had a number of defenses, including defective installation of underlayment and flooring surface and delay caused by the subcontractor’s lack of manpower.

Title Defect? Here’s How to Keep Your Deal on Track

You are under contract to sell a commercial or residential property and your attorney tells you two weeks prior to closing that the buyer’s title search has revealed a title defect. While there is a large array of issues that …

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Short-Term Rental Law Takes Effect July 1st

Governor Baker recently signed “An Act Regulating and Insuring Short-Term Rentals”, imposing new taxes, registration and inspection requirements, and other rules governing the short-term rental of homes and residential units through Airbnb, VRBO, and similar platforms. Overview: The new law …

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Recovery of Attorney’s Fees and Costs in Construction Disputes

When construction projects become construction disputes, contractors and suppliers start thinking about how to recover their attorney’s fees and other legal costs.  Massachusetts follows the “American Rule” for recovery of legal expenses that states each party must pay their own …

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Construction Insurance: Game of Risk

Construction work is risky by nature.  Common risks include natural disasters, inclement weather, flood or fire, accidents t hat cause property damage or bodily injury, and the failure of one or more parties to perform their designated responsibilities, resulting in …

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A Landfill Is Not a “Point Source” Under the Clean Water Act, So Says the 4th Circuit and D.Mass.

Two recent rulings address the issue of whether a landfill is a “point source” under the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq. (CWA), Sierra Club v. Virginia Electric et al and Toxics Action Center et al v. …

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The New Massachusetts Clean Energy Bill: Solar Advocates Left Waiting for the Next Installment

On July 31, 2018, the final day of its formal session, the Massachusetts legislature passed H. 4857, An Act to Advance Clean Energy, which Governor Baker signed into law on August 9. The bill represents several important steps forward in …

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Zoning Appeal Plaintiff Must Prove Standing, Even if Defendant Town Does Not Contest Issue at Trial

On Tuesday, the Appeals Court issued its opinion in Talmo v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Framingham.  Massachusetts suffers no shortage of case law on standing (the right to file suit) in zoning appeals.  In this case, the issue was …

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(Reluctantly) Open for Business: Momentum Gathering for Expanded Use of Continuous Operations Clauses

Two recent court decisions may embolden commercial landlords to use a familiar lease provision in an unusual way when responding to tenants seeking to close their business operations before the end of the lease term. Continuous operations clauses are common …

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Construction Defect Claims and the Often Misunderstood Application of Express and Implied Warranties

A claim for breach of construction warranty must be filed within the time allowed by the applicable statutes of limitation or repose.  Most jurisdictions, including Massachusetts, allow parties to modify that period by agreement.  The agreement must be particular and …

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Massachusetts High Court Recognizes Employee Right of Qualified Medical Marijuana Users To Allege Handicap Discrimination For Off-Site Use of Medicinal Marijuana

Originally posted on

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New 2017 AIA Documents Released – Are You Prepared?

The construction contracts created by American Institute of Architects (“AIA”) have, for several decades, been established as the industry standard for contract forms.  There exist AIA forms for every imaginable project relationship and delivery method.  Every ten years or so, …

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Enforcing “No-Damage-for-Delay” Clauses: A Potential Landmark Construction Law Decision from the Massachusetts Appeals Court

A recent decision from the Massachusetts Appeals Court is likely to have a substantial impact on construction contract and claims practice in the Commonwealth.  The Massachusetts State College Building Authority (“MSCBA”) hired Suffolk Construction Company, Inc. (“Suffolk”) to serve as …

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Our Practices