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American Bar Association

  Construction Litigation
Practice Points »

Fifth Circuit Considers Limits of the Spearin Doctrine

The court ponders allocation of risk of defective plans and specifications in reversing $1.29 million judgment entered in favor of contractor.


Washington Court Rules a Termination for Convenience Provision Is Not Illusory

The decision in SAK & Associates, Inc. v. Ferguson Construction, Inc. distinguishes Washington law from some jurisdictions that interpret the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing to impose a limitation on termination for convenience provisions.


Contractor’s Lien Rights Take Priority Based on First Date of Work

A contractor who released its lien of record was allowed to re-record the lien and have priority over a lender based on contractor’s first date of work.

Articles »

Construction Trial Tips: Old School Demonstrative Evidence

By James H. Landgraf

Sometimes counsel may find simple, rather than high-tech, presentation of evidence makes the most sense.

Boon or Bane? Eliminating Email Overload in Law Firms

By Thomas Rowe

What can be wrong with a technology that lets you do in seconds what used to take days?

The Ethics of Email

By Lynda C. Shely

Why lawyers should treat their email the same way they treat letters and pleadings.

Sound Advice »

audio The New AAA Construction Arbitration Rules

By Thomas H. Welby

A revision to the Construction Industry Arbitration Rules went into effect in July 2015. Listen to Thomas Welby explain the rule changes that affect case management, sanctions, consolidation and joinder, ESI, dispositive motions, and more.


audio Early Considerations When Defending a False Claims Act Case

By Patrick J. Greene

Decisions made early in a case can have a huge effect on it. Listen as veteran litigator Patrick Greene walks you through a primer on false claims, explaining what the defense should consider as a case begins. (10:13 min)


audio Single Employer Claims in the Construction Industry and Class Actions for Wage and Hour Violations

By Kevin O’Connor

Via a discussion of the Fair Standards Labor Act of 1938, Kevin O’Connor describes how the single employer theory is a real threat to employers and employees who use employees on different job sites. (5:42 min)


audio Ethics of Insurance Defense

By Thomas Dunn

Listen as Tom Dunn reviews some of the ethical rules that may arise when you are involved in insurance defense work. He begins with what happens when your client is not the person paying the legal bills. (6:18 min)


Roundtables »

audio The Future of Hydraulic Fracturing

“The Future of Hydraulic Fracturing Litigation” will feature a unique group of lawyers and non-lawyers to provide a fact-based peek into the future. The program will include presentations and an interactive discussion among the panelists.


Formation of a New Trial Practice Subcommittee

The Construction Litigation Committee announces the formation of a Trial Practice Subcommittee. Chaired by Ken Levin of Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia, this subcommittee will focus on developing articles, programs, Sound Advice recordings, and on litigation and trial practice involving construction practice issues. We anticipate that Ken and his subcommittee will address specific trial topics and techniques common in construction litigation including delay disputes, termination disputes, payment issues, and defects. They will work on developing further regional programs and roundtables focusing on best practices in handling these topics in court or ADR proceedings, as well as presenting trial technique articles for the website and newsletter for all construction attorneys from the novice to the 30-year practitioner. This is another opportunity for committee members to spread the word of their practice and expertise among our over 2,200 members and others. Please reach out to Ken to volunteer and offer your experience and thoughts as a member of this new subcommittee.


Regional CLE Workshops

Regional Program Announcement: “Handling a Construction Failures Case” – June 3, 2016
The committee is sponsoring a half-day regional CLE workshop entitled “Handling A Construction Failures Case,”to be held on June 3, 2016, in Philadelphia. It will discuss the legal aspects of handling a construction failure case, focusing on a building collapse during construction as the main model. We will examine the process from start to finish, including securing the project site, interacting with government agencies, preserving evidence, basis of liability, working with experts, and trial considerations. The issues will be viewed from plaintiff, defense, and expert perspectives. Registration is $80 for Litigation Section members, $140 for non-section members. If you are in or near the Philadelphia area on June 3, this is a tremendous opportunity to obtain assistance in handling such a case from noted practitioners and experts.

Regional Program Announcement: “Trying a Construction Case”
The committee is in the process of re-scheduling the one-day regional program entitled “Yes, You Can Try A Construction Case: Planning and Handling a Construction Trial From Voir Dire to Closing Argument” for presentation in San Francisco in the first half of October, 2016. There are still some speaker positions open. If you would like to volunteer for the program, please contact Scott Tate who is chairing the program.

Roundtable Announcement: “What Does The Client Really Want” –
June 8, 2016 (Jointly presented with the Forum on Construction Law)
Please join us for a round-table discussion on “The In-House Perspective: What is the Client Looking for from Outside Construction Counsel”, to be held on June 9, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. We are joining with the Forum on Construction Law to bring this program to our respective memberships. Register for this free program. The speakers, Wendy Venoit (Suffolk Construction Company, Inc., vice president and general counsel, Boston MA) and Tom Nocar (senior attorney at Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur, Columbus OH) will focus on client needs and counsel services to meet those needs. This program will provide valuable insight from counsel who have been on both sides (in-house counsel and outside counsel) of the attorney/client relationship specific to construction litigation and will prove valuable to all those listening in on how to best serve your construction clients and/or in-house counsel, how to best communicate and work with your outside counsel.

Construction Litigation Leadership

Cochairs Vice Cochair Newsletter Editors

Jeanne Barnum

Cherry Hill, NJ

M. David Kurtz

New Orleans, LA

Karen Layng

Countryside, IL

Web Editor
Michael Zicherman

River Edge, NJ



Bob Cox

Tysons Corner, VA

Eric Sparks

Chicago, IL