Articles Posted in Construction Law

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In 1990, after Denver determined that it needed a new airport, a group of citizens formed the Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation to develop the former Stapleton International Airport. The Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation created a master plan to convert the former airport site. In 1995, the private, nonprofit Stapleton Development Corporation (“SDC”) was formed to lease and sell the former airport property. SDC selected Forest City as the master developer for redevelopment of the property. Forest City sold the vacant residential lot at issue here to a professional home builder, Infinity Home Collection at Stapleton, LLC (Infinity), with whom Respondent/Cross-Petitioner Tad Rogers had contracted to build a home. When Infinity purchased the lot from Forest City, the lot was vacant, did not have utilities, and still needed to be graded to its final configurations. Rogers ultimately purchased the lot and the home from Infinity. The home included a foundation drain system designed to collect ground water into a sump pit and to pump that water into the yard by way of a sump pump. Because of the high water table beneath his house, coupled with calcite leaching from the recycled concrete aggregate base course used to construct the roads, calcite built up in the foundation drain around Rogers' house. In turn, this water and calcite buildup made his basement uninhabitable and caused his sump pump to run and discharge more water. This case presented an issue of whether contractual privity was necessary for a home buyer to assert a claim for breach of the implied warranty of suitability against a developer. The Colorado Supreme Court held that, because breach of the implied warranty of suitability was a contract claim, privity of contract was required in such a case. Here, because the home buyer did not have contractual privity with the developer, he could not pursue a claim against the developer for breach of the implied warranty of suitability. View "Forest City v. Rogers" on Justia Law

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This case concerned the design and construction of a single-family residence in Pitkin County, Colorado. Heritage Builders, Inc. (“Heritage”) was retained as the general contractor by the original owners of the property, Karen and Courtney Lord. Pitkin County issued a certificate of occupancy for the home in September 2006. In November 2011, Richard Goodman purchased the property from the Lords. Then, sometime between March and June 2012, Goodman discovered the alleged construction defects in the home. Goodman gave Heritage informal notice of his construction defect claims in July 2013. In this original proceeding, the issue presented for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review was whether the statute of repose in section 13-80-104(1)(a), C.R.S. (2016), barred a general contractor’s third-party claims brought in response to a homeowner’s claim for construction defects discovered in the fifth or sixth year following substantial completion of an improvement to real property. The Court held that such claims are timely, irrespective of both the two-year statute of limitations in section 13-80-102, C.R.S. (2016), and the six-year statute of repose in section 13-80-104(1)(a), so long as they are brought at any time before the ninety-day timeframe outlined in section 13-80-104(1)(b)(II). View "In re Goodman v. Heritage Builders" on Justia Law

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This case centered on the design and construction of a single-family residence in Pitkin County, Colorado. Heritage Builders, Inc. (“Heritage”) was retained as the general contractor by the original owners of the property, Karen and Courtney Lord. Pitkin County issued a certificate of occupancy for the home in September 2006. In November 2011, Richard Goodman purchased the property from the Lords. Then, sometime between March and June 2012, Goodman discovered the alleged construction defects in the home. Goodman gave Heritage informal notice of his construction defect claims in July 2013. In this original proceeding, the issue presented for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review was whether the statute of repose in section 13-80-104(1)(a), C.R.S. (2016), barred a general contractor’s third-party claims brought in response to a homeowner’s claim for construction defects discovered in the fifth or sixth year following substantial completion of an improvement to real property. The Court held that such claims were timely, irrespective of both the two-year statute of limitations in section 13-80-102, C.R.S. (2016), and the six-year statute of repose in section 13-80-104(1)(a), so long as they are brought at any time before the ninety-day timeframe outlined in section 13-80-104(1)(b)(II). View "In re Goodman v. Heritage Builders" on Justia Law

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Travelers Property Casualty Company of America (Travelers) petitioned for review of a court of appeals judgment affirming the district court’s denial of its motion for directed verdict in a lawsuit brought by its insured, Stresscon Corporation. Stresscon, a subcontracting concrete company, filed suit against Travelers, alleging, among other things, that Travelers acted in bad faith, unreasonably delaying or denying its claim for covered insurance benefits; and Stresscon sought awards of two times the covered benefits along with fees and costs, as prescribed by statute. Stresscon’s claims for relief arose from a serious construction accident in July 2007, which was caused by a crane operator employed by a company that was itself a subcontractor of Stresscon. Stresscon’s general contractor, Mortenson, sought damages from Stresscon, asserting Stresson’s contractual liability for the resulting construction delays, and Stresscon in turn sought indemnification from Travelers. Although there was much dispute over the factual and legal import of Travelers’ reservation of rights and other of its communications with both Stresscon and Mortenson concerning Mortenson’s claim, there was no dispute that by December 31, 2008, Travelers had not paid the damages asserted by Mortenson. The appellate court rejected Travelers’ contention that the no-voluntary-payments clause of their insurance contract relieved it of any obligation to indemnify Stresscon for payments Stresscon had made without its consent. Instead, the court of appeals found that the Colorato Supreme Court's opinion in "Friedland v. Travelers Indemnity Co.," (105 P.3d 639 (2005)) had effectively overruled prior “no voluntary payments” jurisprudence to the contrary and given Stresscon a similar opportunity. The Supreme Court found that its adoption of a notice-prejudice rule in "Friedland" did not overrule any existing “no voluntary payments” jurisprudence in Colorado, and because the Court declined to extend notice-prejudice reasoning in Friedland to Stresscon’s voluntary payments, made in the face of the no-voluntary-payments clause of its insurance contract with Travelers, the judgment of the court of appeals was reversed. View "Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. v. Stresscon Co." on Justia Law

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Stresscon Corporation, a subcontracting concrete company, filed suit against Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, alleging, among other things, that Travelers acted in bad faith, unreasonably delaying or denying its claim for covered insurance benefits; and Stresscon sought awards of two times the covered benefits along with fees and costs, as prescribed by statute. Stresscon’s claims for relief arose from a 2007 serious construction accident which was caused by a crane operator employed by a company that was itself a subcontractor of Stresscon. Stresscon’s general contractor, Mortenson, sought damages from Stresscon, asserting Stresson’s contractual liability for the resulting construction delays, and Stresscon in turn sought indemnification from Travelers. Travelers petitioned for review of the court of appeals’ judgment affirming the district court’s denial of its motion for directed verdict in a lawsuit brought by its insured, Stresscon. Much as the district court had done, the appellate court rejected Travelers’ contention that the no-voluntary-payments clause of their insurance contract relieved it of any obligation to indemnify Stresscon for payments Stresscon had made without its consent. Instead, the court of appeals found that the Colorado Supreme Court's opinion in "Friedland v. Travelers Indemnity Co.," (105 P.3d 639 (2005)) had effectively overruled the Court's prior “no voluntary payments” jurisprudence to the contrary and given Stresscon a similar opportunity. The Supreme Court reversed, finding that its adoption of a notice-prejudice rule in "Friedland" did not overrule any existing “no voluntary payments” jurisprudence. The Court declined to extend a notice-prejudice reasoning to Stresscon’s voluntary payments, made in the face of the no-voluntary-payments clause of its insurance contract with Travelers. View "Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. v. Stresscon Co." on Justia Law

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Antelope Development LLC was formed to develop a residential subdivision in Bennett, Colorado. The LLC took out construction loans from the bank at the start of the project; before it was finished, the LLC had exhausted its financing. The LLC entered into oral agreements with Respondent AC Excavating for work on the subdivision. AC Excavating was paid for some but not all of its work. Petitioner Donald Yale, a member of the LLC, realized that the LLC had insufficient funds to meet its obligations, so he placed some of his own money in the LLC's bank account. Yale then applied these funds to the LLC's general business expenses and some outstanding subcontractor invoices. AC Excavating still was not paid in full. AC Excavating sued Yale alleging, among other things, that the LLC had violated Colorado's construction trust fund statute by failing to hold the funds in the LLC's bank account in trust for payment to AC Excavating. AC Excavating further alleged that Yale thereby committed theft, permitting it to claim treble damages and attorney fees under the state Rights in Stolen Property statute. The trial court ruled in favor of Yale, and AC Excavating appealed. The appellate court reversed. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that the LLC member's voluntary injection of capital into the company did not constitute "funds disbursed to a contractor . . . on a construction project" under the construction trust fund statute, as that money was not required to be held in trust. The Court also concluded the appellate court erred in remanding the case for a determination of whether Yale was civilly liable for theft under the Rights in Stolen Property statute. View "Yale v. AC Excavating, Inc." on Justia Law