Two years into a large federal design-build project through the Army Corps of Engineers here in New Jersey, the owner shut down the project and terminated the general contractor for cause, citing its failure to keep to the schedule among other issues. Our client, a mechanical subcontractor with an almost $1.5 million contract on the project, was caught up in the dispute. As the project sat dormant for a year, our client faced years of litigation to collect payment on work performed, the possibility of receiving only a percentage of the payments not made, and the loss of the rest of the work on the project that needed to be done. The client was also concerned about its obligations under the contract and the warranties on expensive equipment purchased for the project as it sat idle.
Lindabury construction attorney Greg Vitali was contacted by the client to provide guidance in protecting the client’s interest and rights. Greg stepped in to perfect the client’s bond rights under the Miller Act, thereby providing the client with additional assurances that it would be paid the monies due on the project. He also successfully negotiated a ratification agreement with the surety and the completion contractor that (i) resulted in an increase in the contract price to compensate the client for the consequences of the delays, and (ii) limited the exposure of the client for warranty claims on materials and equipment that had not yet been accepted but had otherwise sat idle at the project for over a year and a half. Through the efforts of Greg and the other parties, the dispute was resolved to everybody’s satisfaction. The owner and the surety are now able to proceed with the completion of the project. Our client avoided years of litigation and delays in payment. Instead, he was able to get back to work, receive payment in full for work previously completed but not paid, and obtain necessary and critical protections from the consequence of the delay.