The Wendel Report: Construction and Infrastructure Update, August 2016


Is it the Dawning of the Age of Strict Products Liability for California Contractors?

Strict liability products liability – whereby manufacturers and distributors of a defective product can be found liable to a consumer irrespective of fault – has primarily been limited to manufacturers and distributors and not to contractors. That is until now. In Hernandezcueva v. E.F. Brady Company, Inc., the California Court of Appeals for the Second District held for the first time that a contractor can be found strictly liable for hazardous materials in the products it uses. The decision, which is broad in its potential application, may mean, particularly if other Courts of Appeal adopt the decision, that the prudent contractors must now investigate, or perhaps even test, the materials it uses or risk the possibility of being subject to strict liability.

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Is it the End of Lease-Leasebacks as We Know it?

K-12 school construction contractors were at the center of one of the most talked-about public works cases in California this past year. The case, Davis v. Fresno Unified School District, has pitted competitive bidding advocates against school construction contractors who have built many of the state’s K-12 schools through California’s lease-leaseback program – in which a school district leases property it owns to a builder-developer for as little as $1 and the builder-developer in turn builds a school facility on the property and leases the facility back to the school district. This arrangement does not require competitive bidding. The decision by the California Supreme Court to decline review of the decision has caused uncertainty among school districts and school construction contractors over the future of lease-leaseback projects in California and the legality of billions of dollars in lease-leaseback contracts that have already been entered.

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“Do Change Orders Need to be In Writing?” and Other Things That Might Surprise You

Famous last words . . .  “Go ahead and get started. We’ll get you a change order later.” And, the rest, as they say, was history . . . So do change orders need to be in writing? Well, you may just be surprised at the answer to that question and others.

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Wendel Rosen’s Construction Practice Group Receives First Tier Ranking

Wendel Rosen’s Construction Practice Group received a first-tier ranking by U.S. News and World Reports in its 2016 Best Law Firms rankings in the area of “Construction Law.”  Long-time construction partner Matthew Graham was also recognized by U.S. News and World Reports as a 2016 Best Lawyer in America in the area of “Construction Law.”

Just for Fun: Forget the Duct Tape. Go for the Glue

As every construction professional knows  you can fix anything – N-E-THING . . . with duct tape. But what if you’re out of duct tape? You go for the glue, of course. Hands down one of the best construction(ish) commercials we’ve seen in a long-time: Loctite Glue’s Positive Feelings 12” Dance Mix.

>> watch here

[NOTE: This publication was edited to remove outdated news items on 8/13/2018 and 11/1/2019.]