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Twin Cities construction projects requires deconstruction

For any construction project, a stop-work order can be a worst-case scenario. Such orders are likely imposed for some grievous failing involving the safety of workers or the public. A large commercial construction project is akin to a large series of nesting dolls, where each contract is tied to other contracts and all of them are set in a timeline.

The failure of any one of the steps can begin a complex clockwork of contract breaches, delays and reschedules of contractors and subcontractors, which can quickly build to create a very complex litigation environment.

Such a scenario has occurred at a series of apartment construction sites in the Twin Cities after it was discovered last month by city inspectors that wood delivered to the sites failed to meet the state building code, apparently not having been treated with a fire retardant.

The development was called “unprecedented,” and has necessitated the removal of all of the non-compliant wood from the building site. It has also begun a chain-reaction of legal maneuvering between the owner, contractors and likely other parties.

One contractor was involved in work on two of the sites but had been removed last month from one job. That prompted that company’s lawsuit for wrongful termination and breach of contract. Another contractor has since been hired, while the first contractor claims the owner failed to meet with them, despite their producing a plan to remedy the issues involving the lumber.

A manager for the owner notes they disagree with this description of what happened and will respond in court with counterclaims of their own. Because of the multiple levels of interrelated contracts, it is likely that further litigation will ensue. One of the subcontractors has sued the supplier of the lumber for negligence and fraud.

If your company becomes embroiled in such a complex business dispute, you need experienced litigation counsel who can methodically sort through all the facts and allegations and develop a cost-effective response to as quickly as possible resolve the matter.