Articles Posted in Construction Law

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The Andrews, a married couple, contracted to purchase a newly constructed home from Appellants, Joe Seneshale and his company, Legacy Builders, LLC (together, Legacy). After the Andrews took possession of the property, they discovered that the house had numerous structural and cosmetic flaws. The Andrews filed a complaint against Legacy alleging breach of contract and breach of implied warranty of habitability. The trial court entered judgment in favor of the Andrews and awarded a total of $319,302 in damages. The Supreme Court affirmed but remanded with instructions to correct the damage award, holding (1) when the cost of repairs in a homeowners’ construction case alleging breach of contract and breach of warranty may be disproportionate to the loss in value to the home resulting from the breach, the plaintiff has the burden of proving damages at trial, and the defendant has the burden of challenging the reasonableness or disproportionality of the plaintiff’s method; and (2) the district court did not commit clear error when it relied upon the majority of the Andrews’ cost of repair expert’s testimony and when it found that expansive soils caused damages to the home’s foundation. View "Legacy Builders, LLC v. Andrews" on Justia Law

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Western Wyoming Construction Company (WWC) submitted a bid for a highway project in Sublette County. The Board of County Commissioners of Sublette County (Commissioners) awarded the contract to another resident contractor whose bid was higher than WWC's. WWC filed a complaint in district court for an order awarding it the contract for the project. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Commissioners. At issue on appeal was whether Wyo. Stat. 16-6-102(a) required the Commissioners to award the contract to the responsible certified Wyoming resident making the lowest bid. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 16-6-102 has no application in the context of two resident contractors; and (2) because no evidence was presented showing where the funds came from to pay for the project, (i) there could be no finding as to what statutory provision, if any, was applicable, and (ii) a judicial determination as to the appropriateness of the bid award was not possible. Remanded. View "W. Wyo. Constr. Co., Inc. v. Bd. of County Comm'rs" on Justia Law

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While a lawsuit by Appellees David and Elizabeth Speaks was pending against Rosemary and Byron Baker for damages related to poor construction workmanship, the Bakers transferred two parcels of real property to their son, Nathan Baker. The case resulted in a judgment against Byron but a dismissal of the claims against Rosemary. The appellate court affirmed the trial court's decision. Five days later, Nathan transferred the properties to a limited liability company (LLC) he and his family controlled. Appellees subsequently filed this case under the Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act and the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. While the case was pending, the LLC transferred the two pieces of property to trusts controlled by Rosemary Baker. The district court granted summary judgment for Appellees permitting execution on the properties, finding that all of the conveyances were fraudulent. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding (1) the district court correctly found the conveyances to be fraudulent; but (2) Appellees failed to make the required prima facie showing that the properties were subject to execution on a judgment against Byron Baker alone. View "Baker v. Speaks" on Justia Law

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Appellant filed a complaint in district court after making an unsuccessful construction bid to the Town of Thayne City Council, claiming (1) a civil rights violation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, (2) that the Town failed to provide an independent observation of the bid evaluation and selection process, and (3) a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The district court granted the Town's motion for summary judgment on the 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim and dismissed the remaining claims for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Court summarily affirmed given the deficient brief filed by Appellant and Appellant's failure to comply with the Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure. View "Call v. Town of Thayne" on Justia Law

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KM Upstream, LLC and Newpoint, Inc. entered into a contract whereby Newport would construct for KM's amine plant. Newpoint subcontracted with Elkorn Construction, Inc. to build the foundation and perform other work. Elkhorn subsequently filed a lien statement with the county clerk. Elkhorn later filed a complaint against KM for, inter alia, foreclosure of the lien as a mechanic's lien. Newpoint was later added as a defendant. The district court granted summary judgment to Elkhorn to allow foreclosure on the mechanic's lien. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the grant of summary judgment; but (2) reversed and remanded the district court's determination that $181,369 of Elkhorn's lien claim was disputed and its subsequent order subtracting that amount from Elkhorn's judgment. View "KM Upstream, LLC v. Elkhorn Constr., Inc." on Justia Law

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After the owner of a construction project defaulted on its obligations to various creditors, mortgage holder Pinnacle Bank foreclosed on the real property securing its mortgage. Junior mortgage holder American National Bank (ANB) and construction lienholder Michael's Construction, Inc. (Michael's) both sought payment from the surplus funds resulting from the foreclosure proceeding. The district court declared that ANB's mortgage was superior to Michael's lien, but denied ANB's request for contractual interest from the date of foreclosure through the date of final judgment. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the district court's order regarding the priority of liens; but (2) reversed the order regarding interest, holding that the district court did not have the discretion to limit ANB's recovery by denying it interest at the contractual rate from the time of foreclosure through final judgment. Remanded to determine the amount of interest due ANB under the promissory note for that time period. View "Michael's Constr., Inc. v. Am. Nat'l Bank " on Justia Law

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In 2003, Shaw Construction obtained a line of credit from Rocky Mountain Hardware (RMH). Over the years, RMH supplied hardware for several jobs on which Shaw was the general contractor. In 2007, Shaw began work on a project for Snake River Sporting Club in which it acted as construction manager rather than general contractor. Although RMH was chosen as the hardware supplier, no separate contract was executed between RMH and either Shaw or Snake River. After none of the balance due was paid, RMH filed the instant action against Shaw, claiming Shaw was obligated to pay the outstanding balance and that RMH had a written contract with Shaw by virtue of the 2003 credit agreement. Shaw claimed Snake River was responsible for all payments to suppliers. The district court ordered Shaw to pay for the hardware furnished by RMH on the project as well as contractual interest and attorney fees. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly ruled the credit agreement applied in this case and, pursuant to its terms, Shaw was responsible for the principal balance due on the hardware contract, together with contractual interest and attorney fees. View "Shaw Constr., LLC v. Rocky Mountain Hardware, Inc." on Justia Law

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Landlord leased commercial real property to Tenant. Landlord granted Tenant permission to renovate the property on the condition that Tenant would pay for the renovations. Tenant thereafter contracted with Contractor to perform the work. When Tenant defaulted on its payments to Contractor, Contractor filed a lien against Landlord's property. Contractor thereafter filed a complaint against Landlord and Tenant, asserting various claims and seeking to foreclose on its lien. The district court granted Landlord's motion for summary judgment, concluding that, pursuant to Wyoming's lien statutes, a valid mechanic's lien did not exist because Landlord did not agree to pay for the renovations to the property and that Tenant was not acting as Landlord's agent in contracting for the improvements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly interpreted Wyo. Stat. Ann. 29-2-105(a)(ii) to require a finding of agency between the landlord and tenant before a mechanic's lien may attach to the landlord's property for work performed at the tenant's behest; and (2) in this case, that relationship did not exist. View "Redco Constr. v. Profile Props., LLC " on Justia Law

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Excel Construction entered into a contract with the Town of Lovell to replace the Town's water and sewer system mains and service connections. Excel subsequently filed a complaint against the Town of breach of contract and related claims. The district court dismissed Excel's claims for failure to submit a governmental notice of claim that met the itemization requirements of the Wyoming Constitution and Wyoming Governmental Claims Act. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Excel's notice of claim met the itemization requirements of Wyo. Stat. Ann. 1-39-113(b)(iii) and Wyo. Const. art. XVI, 7; (2) Excel complied with the service requirements of Wyo. Const. art. XVI, 7 when it served its notice of claim on the mayor, town administrator, town attorney, and town project engineer; and (3) the district court had jurisdiction to consider Excel's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. Remanded. View "Excel Constr., Inc. v. Town of Lovell" on Justia Law

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Francis Weber was severely burned by hot mineral water when he lost consciousness in a steam room in Hot Spring State Park. Weber brought a personal injury action against several defendants, including the State. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the State, concluding that it was immune from suit pursuant to the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the State's activities in the park fell within the statutory waiver of immunity for operation and maintenance of a public park as (1) overseeing building construction on leased property and delivery of hot mineral water to lessees are part of the State's operation of the park, and (2) under these circumstances, the State's operation and maintenance of the park included overseeing and/or inspecting its lessee's property. Remanded. View "Weber v. State" on Justia Law