Construction Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution
KJK’s construction litigation attorneys have extensive expertise with residential, commercial and transportation construction industry clients. We are well-versed in Ohio construction laws, so we can help you find a practical solution to litigate or resolve your dispute.
Defective Work and Design Claims
Defective work and design claims are brought by property or business owners against developers and sellers. Items of concern may include water damage, mold, concrete or masonry defects, roof defects or defective construction materials.
The major players involved in defective work and design claims can include:
- Property owners
- Sellers and developers
- Design teams (architects, civil engineers, environmental designers, etc.)
- Bonding companies
- General contractor and construction manager
- Trades (masonry, carpenters, HVAC, windows and doors, painters, etc.)
Your KJK construction litigator has experience in cases with multiple defendants, insurance companies and arbitration proceedings. We can help litigate your claim, so you receive the compensation you deserve and the fixes your structure needs.
Construction Delay and Acceleration Claims
The longer it takes to complete a construction project outside of the agreed time frame, the more money it costs owners and general contractors. These costly delays can take you way out of your budget range, angering investors and damaging your reputation.
Contractors may need to file a delay claim against an owner, other contractors or architects. These claims allow the petitioner to recover costs from remaining on the job site for longer than anticipated.
While a No Damages for Delay Clause, or NDFD, prohibits contractors or subcontractors from making damages claims from delays against the owner or general contractor, it may be voided under certain circumstances. These include unreasonable delays, breach of contract delays, owner/construction manager interference and delays resulting from bad faith.
Acceleration of a project occurs when unanticipated delays require a faster pace and scope of work. It can also happen if the completion date moves up or if the scope of work increases during the project due to circumstances beyond your control.
These claims generally include an increased scope of work compensation, overtime payments, added material costs, lost productivity, additional demobilization and mobilization costs, and hiring additional workers.
To have a legal acceleration claim, another party, such as the owner or general contractor, must have induced you to increase your project’s pace. You must show this inducement clearly with evidence; otherwise, it’s assumed the acceleration is voluntary.
To prove your delay or acceleration claim, you need an experienced attorney to gather and present evidence in your favor. If you want to avoid potential litigation, the KJK team can help ensure that your interests are protected before a construction job begins with an airtight contract.
Focused on Your Best Interests:
In 2018, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that an insurance company is not obligated to indemnify or defend a commercial general liability (CGL) policyholder for a claim brought by a property owner for defective subcontracting work. The language of “occurrence” in the CGL policy is defined as an unexpected or unintended accident, not negligence.
This means that if you as the property owner discover defective work at a later date and file a construction lawsuit against the general contractor, the GC cannot use their liability insurance or that of their subcontractors as a means of compensation. Ohio is the only US state that voids this otherwise insurable risk coverage. The Ohio Supreme Court left it up to the legislature to add new language to reflect the new definition of “occurrence.”
Contractors must obtain an endorsement or non-standard CGL policy that does not exclude defective work as an occurrence. Project owners must work this new language into their contracts. KJK can help you navigate this confusing and sometimes murky language to ensure you are protected from defective subcontractor work.
Other Insurance Claims
Insurance such as general liability for accidents and client injuries, commercial auto insurance, contractor’s tools and equipment, and Workers’ Compensation are the most common construction insurance policies. Builder’s risk insurance also covers vandalism and fires.
If you file a claim for compensation under one of these policies and the insurance company denies or tries to underpay you, KJK can help you recoup your losses.
Focused on Business:
Professional liability insurance protects you from a construction liability lawsuit due to contracting and construction mistakes. This insurance covers three areas.
Errors & Omissions
Everyone makes mistakes, but an oversight or error can be disastrous for the structure and the property owner’s finances in construction. Faulty wiring, misreading a blueprint or unknowingly hiring an under-qualified worker are covered by E&O insurance.
Negligence in Providing Services
Clients may not always be happy with the final result of a construction project. If your client questions the quality of plumbing, carpentry or electrical work, your personal liability insurance can help pay court costs, settlements and attorney’s fees.
Failure to Deliver Services
This liability claim usually occurs when significant construction delays impact the client’s bottom line. They can claim you did not deliver promised services in a proscriptive timeframe. KJK can help you defend yourself against these claims and negotiate with insurance companies if they resist paying out full coverage.
Important to Know:
Land Use Development
All municipalities in Ohio must create zoning codes to dictate how that property is to be used. If you are denied a zoning variance for land or surrounding landowners object to new construction, litigation can quickly become time-consuming and costly. To fight your case effectively before a zoning board or in court, the experienced KJK attorneys can help structure your case to show Ohio zoning laws are on your side.
Other Typical Construction Litigation Claims
Construction litigation comes in many forms. Other claims KJK is experienced in litigating on your behalf include:
- Bond claims
- Mechanic’s lien claims
- Personal injury claims
- Failure-to-disclose claims
Focused on Business:
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Litigation is expensive, and construction clients may wish to go another route. Some contracts require an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method. KJK can help you resolve several construction disputes, from delays to material costs increases, payment issues or unexpected site conditions.
This is a voluntary process where both parties agree to allow a skilled negotiator to reach an agreement through discussions. This eliminates the need for court dates and costs and may salvage future business relationships.
In arbitration, a neutral party agreed upon by both parties hears all of the evidence and makes a decision. Both plaintiff and defendant are encouraged to help build a resolution, so they feel like they have more of a say than in traditional courts. Arbitration is faster, convenient and private, and the final decision is binding.
Adjudication is common in the construction industry. Like arbitration, both sides submit their disputes to a neutral third party. However, the adjudicator’s decision remains binding until it is finally determined by the court, mutual agreement or legal proceedings. It is a fast and cost-effective option.
In mediation, a neutral party facilitates discussions between opposing parties to arrive at a compromise that benefits both sides. It is less stressful and less expensive to involve a mediator in your construction claim. It is also fast, and everything is kept confidential.
We’re Here For You:
Construction Litigation Experts
At KJK, we understand the complexities of construction laws and the unexpected issues that can arise during a project. Let us help you litigate or use alternative dispute resolution to settle your claim and protect your assets.