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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An unfortunate part of heavy-highway contracting involves dealing with and resolving disputes that arise during the course of a project.   A recent case from South Dakota serves as a warning for contractors to be wary of certain settlement agreements. Particularly, ones that might affect their...
Contractor claims often implicate an owner’s design or acts of the owner’s design professional.   However, as the case of State Ready Mix, Inc. v. Moffatt & Nichol, 232 Cal.App.4th 1227 (2015) illustrates, contractors cannot typically bring lawsuits directly against a designer with whom it has...
Heavy-highway contractors, which are accustomed to unit-priced contracts, are typically familiar with the Variation in Estimated Quantities (VEQ) clause.   The VEQ clause exists for the benefit of both contracting parties and provides an avenue of relief for either—in the form of adjusted unit...
Contractors typically are under tight time constraints to complete construction projects within an allotted schedule. Successful and timely completion requires the cooperation of all parties involved in the project delivery process, including, most notably, the project owner. An owner that does not...
In my practice, I often encounter disputes involving subcontractor quotes to prime contractors and arguments over discrepancies between the terms of the quote and the terms of the subcontract.   These disputes become more complicated, however, when subcontractors commence work on a project without...
All heavy/highway contractors have experienced delays that have extended a project’s duration.   Aside from the direct costs associated with a delay, contractors often seek time-related costs for acceleration, escalation, project overhead and home-office overhead.   With the exception of specially...
Liquidated damage provisions, under which a project owner sets a predetermined daily sum for a contractor’s failure to complete a project on time, were, at one time, viewed by the courts as penalties and ruled unenforceable.   However, courts eventually came to recognize the value of such...
Thankfully, most disputes between prime and subcontractors do not result in the subcontractor walking off the project or the prime terminating the subcontract.   However, most subcontracts address this situation, at least with respect to providing a procedure for a prime to terminate in the event...
Most civil contractors have experienced failing concrete compressive strength tests and faced the expensive and time-consuming prospect of removing and replacing the work.   The concrete supplier and the installer are typically at odds over whether the concrete mix was defective or the concrete was...
Most heavy/civil contractors account for their on-site project general and administration costs as indirect costs.   In particular, such costs are charged directly to the project rather than to home office overhead. However, because site overhead costs are incurred indirectly and in support of...
Most public contracts contain liquidated damages clauses, which set daily amounts assessed against a contractor that fails to complete the project in a timely manner.   Although initially viewed as an unlawful penalty in early court decisions, liquidated damage clauses are generally enforced today...
Contractors often include in their subcontracts provisions that allow them to set off amounts otherwise due a subcontractor to compensate for damages it has incurred or anticipates will incur due to the subcontractor’s breach of its obligations.   These provisions are generally enforceable, and in...
Nearly every construction contract prescribes a deadline for the contractor to complete the project. In fact, many prescribe a date by which construction must be substantially complete (i.e., ready for the project to be used for its intended purpose) as well as a date by which all work, including...
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...
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