Construction Law

From initial planning and design through project close-out, Schenck, Price, Smith, & King’s Construction Law Practice Group has decades of experience in assisting clients with all phases of the construction process. 

Whether counseling public or private owners, design professionals, construction managers, contractors, or subcontractors, our experience allows us to identify and proactively manage project risks and advise clients in making timely and fiscally responsible decisions.

The goal is to help avoid and mitigate claims and to be strategically positioned if litigation or arbitration is required.

Public owner clients have included The College of New Jersey, Sussex County Community College, Morris Hills Regional High School, and Watchung Hills Regional High School.  Private owner clients have included BASF Corporation, Hoffman LaRoche, Inc., and the Murdoch Development Company.

Construction management clients have included Lend Lease Americas and Gale, Wentworth & Dillon.  Contractor clients include The Epic Group, K. Hovnanian Homes, and P.M. Construction, Inc. 

TYPES OF CLIENTS

  • Public & private owners/developers
  • Construction managers
  • General Contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Architectural and engineering firms, as well as other design professionals

TYPES OF SERVICES

  • Drafting and negotiating complex construction contracts with, or on behalf of, owners, design professionals, construction managers, contractors, and subcontractors
  • Counseling clients through the bidding process and potential protest issues
  • Public bid protests
  • Assisting clients to avoid, minimize, and resolve disputes during construction
  • Providing advice on lien (municipal mechanic’s, construction, and residential) and bond issues
  • Representing clients before administrative agencies such as the New Jersey Department of Labor, the New York Environmental Control Board, and the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • Counseling clients on labor issues including picketing and disputes arising under collective bargaining agreements
  • All types of complex construction litigation in both state and federal courts
  • Mediating and arbitrating complex construction disputes strategically and cost effectively

PRINCIPAL AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

  • Construction contract drafting and negotiation
  • Public bidding laws
  • Scheduling issues including claims for acceleration and delay, time extensions, and liquidated damages 
  • Extra work claims, scope-of-work, and change order disputes
  • Lien Laws (Municipal Mechanic’s, Construction, and Residential)
  • Prevailing Wage Law
  • Public Contractor Registration Act
  • Professional Malpractice Claims
  • Surety Law 

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS 

  • Representation of The College of New Jersey in a successful termination for default of the contractor involved in the construction of a $27.5 million residential student housing project.  We successfully negotiated a settlement with the contractor and its surety and recovered an amount in excess of the College’s construction costs and associated damages.         
  • Representation of Epic Management, Inc. in connection with a $23 million addition and renovation project involving delay claims, extra work claims, etc. 
  • Representation of a community college’s claims arising out the college’s aggregate $20 million construction projects.                                              
  • Successful representation of a general contractor in arbitration against its structural steel subcontractor on a $42 million project concerning subcontractor’s default and termination.  Obtained an award in favor of our client that included approximately $250,000 in attorneys’ fees, expert fees, and reallocated arbitrators’ fees.
  • Successful representation of a general contractor in a subcontractor’s appeal of the trial court’s order compelling arbitration with general contractor’s principals, who were not signatories to the arbitration agreement.  Order compelling subcontractor to arbitrate claims against non-signatory principals affirmed.
  • Represented the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) in connection with a multimillion dollar litigation arising out of the Neptune Community School Project.  On behalf of the SDA, we pursued claims against the architect, the project management firm, and the general contractor.  We successfully negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement with all parties. 
  • Successfully counseled a regional board of education through its contentious $45 million additions and renovation project.  We continue to represent this Board in prosecuting various construction-related claims.                        
  • Represented New Jersey Transit in defense of a construction worksite accident that resulted in plaintiff’s paralysis.  NJ Transit’s co-defendant was plaintiff’s employer and was responsible for the defective scaffolding from which plaintiff fell.  NJ Transit settled the claims with plaintiff and tried to verdict the cross-claim against the plaintiff’s employer.  NJ Transit recovered 85% of the $1.5 million settlement from the plaintiff’s employer.  The matter was affirmed on appeal.  In addition, NJ Transit was involved in a consolidated insurance coverage dispute filed by the plaintiff’s employer.  We also prevailed in that matter on summary judgment, ensuring there was coverage for NJ Transit’s claims against the plaintiff’s employer.  Serpa v. NJ Transit, et al; Quincy Mutual v. Dan-Za, et al., 401 N.J. Super. 371 (App. Div. 2008).         
  • Represented a contractor who constructed dormitories at a state college in connection with an insurance coverage dispute as to whether the contractor’s liability insurer was obligated to defend and indemnify the contractor for a $2.6 million claim filed by the college as a result of water infiltration during construction.
  • Successfully challenged a public owner’s rejection of our client’s $6.25 million bid for solar panel project on grounds that the consent of surety submitted with bid was conditional.  Court determined client’s consent of surety was unconditional, vacated contract awarded to next highest bidder, and ordered that contract be awarded to our client. 
  • Successfully defended a challenge to $1.86 million water main and paving contract awarded to our client.  Court rejected challenger’s argument that client was required to and failed to name a subcontractor for milling.