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Joe’s practice is focused on construction and commercial litigation in both state and federal courts. His experience includes representing contractors, subcontractors, engineers, and sureties in construction and commercial disputes on large public infrastructure and private projects.

Contractors and subcontractors that incur increased costs to complete their work due to delay or other impacts on a project sometimes have difficulty proving their damages. There are various ways to calculate those damages, but the surest way to have a claim rejected is by asserting a total cost claim.

Continue Reading Total Cost Claims—Frequently Rejected and Rarely Effective

After a general contractor on a federal government project allegedly terminated a subcontractor’s contract for convenience, the subcontractor sued the payment bond surety for the amounts owed to the subcontractor. In Maguire-O’Hara Construction, Inc. v. Cool Roofing Systems, Inc., the subcontractor claimed the surety was liable for the unpaid remaining balance on the subcontract of nearly $2.6 million, even though the subcontractor was only owed about $360,000 for completed work. The surety filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings seeking dismissal of the subcontractor’s $2.6 million claim, which asked the court to determine whether the subcontractor could assert a claim against the surety for unperformed work. The court’s answer? No way.

Continue Reading Federal Court Rejects Subcontractor’s Payment Bond Claim for Unperformed Work

This is the third post in a five-part series about the most common reasons for winning GAO bid protests. The third most common reason for winning a bid protest is when an agency fails to follow the evaluation criteria stated in a solicitation for proposals.

As an example, in McGoldrick Construction Services Corporation, B- 409252.2 (Comp.Gen Mar. 28, 2014), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a solicitation for construction and maintenance services. The proposal was structured as a two-phase evaluation. In the first phase, the bidders would be whittled down to a few qualified bidders that would compete for the award in the second phase.


Continue Reading Construction Bid Protests – Failure to Follow Evaluation Criteria

The Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal recently held that a trial court properly apportioned a public owner’s damages among a program manager, engineering firm, and contractor. See Broward County, Fla. v. CH2M Hill, Inc., No. 4D18-3401 (Fla. 4th DCA July 22, 2020). In CH2M, a contractor agreed to construct an airport taxiway project for Broward County. After being used for about eight months, the taxiway started showing indentations in the surface. Ultimately, the County, the engineering firm that designed the project, the program manager that oversaw construction of the project, and the contractor that built the project went to trial over who was responsible for the defective taxiway.

Continue Reading Public Owner’s Damages Properly Apportioned Among Program Manager, Engineering Firm, and Contractor Under Comparative Fault Statute

Many construction projects are getting larger and more complex. This is especially true for public-works projects. Joint ventures allow one or more contractors to make a combined effort to obtain and complete projects.

There can be many benefits to forming a joint venture to bid on a project. A joint venture can allow one or more contractors to spread the financial risk of a project. Joint ventures can also allow two contractors with different specialties to join forces to bid on a project that requires the experience of both contractors. Finally, a joint venture can increase the bonding capacity of contractors to allow them to bid on larger projects that may otherwise be out of reach.


Continue Reading Creating Joint Ventures to Bid on Public Projects

(This post was included in the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association weekly newsletter.)

As contractors work through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many contractors have been impacted in their ability to timely and efficiently complete projects. COVID-19 impacts to a project may result in increased completion costs, including labor inefficiencies, increased equipment costs, and additional material costs. A contractor may attempt to seek those increased costs from the project owner, a subcontractor, or an insurer.


Continue Reading The Importance of Documenting and Tracking Coronavirus Impacts to Construction Projects

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is gaining speed and construction projects across the country and in Florida have reportedly been slowing or shut down as a result. It’s time for construction contractors, including those working on government projects, to consider whether they will be entitled to additional money and/or time on their projects. In this post, we will take a brief look at how things might shake out on federal government and Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) projects.

Continue Reading Coronavirus and Government Construction Projects: Do Contractors Get More Money and Time?

If you are an unpaid sub-subcontractor on a federal government project, don’t forget to provide notice of your claim to the general contractor within 90 days and file a lawsuit no later than one year after last furnishing labor or material to the project or you will lose your payment bond rights. That’s exactly what happened in a recent federal court decision in which a sub-subcontractor lost its right to assert its $8.5 million claim against the co-sureties that issued a payment bond because the sub-subcontractor failed to give notice within 90 days and file a lawsuit within one year of last furnishing labor or material on a federal government project.

Continue Reading Sub-Subcontractor Loses Payment Bond Rights on $8.5 Million Claim for Failing to Provide Timely Notice and File a Lawsuit

The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) releases an annual report to Congress. In the report, the GAO lists the most common reasons for sustaining bid protests, which vary from year to year. There are usually about five reasons bid protests are successful.

Continue Reading The Five Most Common Reasons for Winning GAO Bid Protests—Part 2: Unreasonable Past Performance Evaluation

When a contractor decides to file a bid protest to challenge the award of a federal construction project to another contractor, there are three options for where to file the bid protest: (1) at the agency level, (2) the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), or (3) the United States Court of Federal Claims. There are strengths and weaknesses associated with each of the above options. Many contractors like to file their bid protest with the GAO because it is a relatively inexpensive way to obtain a quick, independent determination regarding the merits of the bid protest. One significant weakness, however, is that the agency may decline to implement the GAO’s recommendation.

Continue Reading When Winning a Bid Protest Still Means You Lose