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Larry Caudle

Larry Caudle is a principal in Kraftson Caudle LLC, a law firm in McLean, Va., specializing in heavy-highway and transportation construction.

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I often write about written notice clauses in construction contracts because a contractor’s failure to abide by these requirements provides a shield to the owner and can result in a court refusing to consider the merits of the underlying claim. This month, I would like to highlight a case that...
As most contractors know, litigation is expensive, and the outcomes are anything but predicable. Even when the outcome appears to be the correct one, the winning party frequently recovers less than its actual losses.   However, the court system got it right in the case of Zachry Constr. Corp. v....
The requirement for providing timely written notice of intent to file a claim is one with which all highway contractors and subcontractors should be intimately familiar.   Unfortunately, project managers sometimes neglect to provide such notice in the interest of avoiding confrontation or perhaps...
Two fairly common occurrences in construction are surety bonds and arbitration clauses in prime contracts.   What happens when the two collide? In particular, what happens when a project owner whose contract contains an arbitration clause seeks to arbitrate with the prime contractor’s performance...
Subcontractors working on federal construction projects are afforded protection from nonpayment by payment bonds the prime contractor posts with the government agency pursuant to the Miller Act.   Payment bonds were developed as an alternative to mechanic’s liens, which cannot be filed against...
Public contractors often encounter contract clauses or even statutes that limit increases in the contract sum from change orders to a specified percentage—often in the 25% to 50% range.   These prohibitions are clearly designed to prevent abuse by public officials who might seek to circumvent...
This month, we are once again confronted with a dispute between a prime contractor and subcontractor, an unsigned subcontract and one party who seeks to deny that a valid contract exists. This time, one party seeks to avoid a bad arbitration outcome. Lakeshore Engineering Services, Inc. v. Target...
Most subcontracts contain provisions that allow prime contractors to terminate their subcontractors and seek monetary remedies if the subcontractor is deemed to have defaulted on its obligations. Typically, however, those provisions outline procedures for termination and, as a recent case...
Any experienced contractor has encountered a situation where its work has been called into question. In most instances, these matters are resolved on the site, and repairs are made to correct the problem. But, what happens when the costs of repair are significant and, although the contractor admits...
Although some exceptions exist, No Damages for Delay clauses are generally enforced as long as they are stated in unambiguous terms. However, many state legislatures, such as Missouri’s, have enacted statutes that declare such clauses void and unenforceable in public contracts. But what happens...
I have written many times on disputes that arise when subcontractors begin work before executing a formal subcontract or when a disparity exists between the scope of work as defined in a subcontractor’s proposal and that which is contained in the written agreement. The lesson is always the same:...
In the world of construction contracting, it is well known that on bid day prime contractors hastily receive pricing from prospective subcontractors and suppliers. It is accepted practice for prime contractors to utilize the lowest prices they receive as the basis of the final bid they submit to...
In the construction industry, contractors, designers and subcontractors sometimes enter into teaming agreements that prescribe a framework for jointly cooperating to acquire a construction contract. These agreements typically set forth the parties’ specific obligations and address what happens if...
Any prime contractor in business for more than a few years has encountered an under-performing subcontractor and, in extreme circumstances, has been confronted with the decision whether to declare a default and seek a replacement. One popular option is to avoid the risk of a nasty default...
When discovered pre-bid, conflicts can be clarified through addenda. However, conflicts sometimes are not discovered until after the contract is signed and construction commences. To minimize disputes involving conflicting contract terms and specifications, highway departments often include in...
Statutes of limitations and statutes of repose can be confusing to contractors, but it is extremely important that they understand the difference between the two and, as a recent state appeals court case illustrates, realize that contracting with public entities can bring special rules into play....
  Drennon Constr. & Consulting, Inc. v. Dept. of Interior, 13-1 BCA ¶35,213, CBCA 2391, 2013 WL 996042 (Civilian B.C.A) involved a contract with the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for widening of a campground road in Alaska. The road ran between a river on one...
Choice of law provisions and written notice of claim clauses are commonplace in most construction subcontracts today, and the manner in which both are enforced (or not) varies from state to state. The U.S. ex rel. Duncan Pipeline, Inc. v. Walbridge Aldinger Co., et al., 2013 WL 1338392 (S.D....
Mometal Structures, Inc. v. T.A. Ahern Contractors Corp., No. 09-CV-2791, 2013 WL 764717 (E.D. NY Feb. 28, 2013) involves a dispute between a prime contractor, Ahern, and its steel fabrication and erection subcontractor, Mometal, on a public-school project in New York City. Ahern provided Mometal...
In Massachusetts Highway Dept. v. Perini Corporation, et al., 83 Mass.App.Ct. 96 (2013) a dispute arose between a joint venture contractor that performed a portion of the Central Artery/Tunnel project in Boston and the Massachusetts Highway Department. The 1995 construction contract specified that...

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