In September 2021, the Texas legislature made major changes to the construction lien statutes in Chapter 53 of the Texas Property Code. All of the key players in the construction industry (owners, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, architects, engineers, landscapers, and sureties) are affected.  

This ...

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Texas Senate Bill 219, which governs liability for construction defects due to flaws in design documents, goes into effect on September 1, 2021. With a few exceptions, the statute will effectively wipe out the Texas Supreme Court’s long-standing Lonergan holding that absent contractual language to the ...

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The Texas Supreme Court Clarifies the Scope of the General Contractor’s Duty of Care to Subcontractor Employees

In a recent case, the Texas Supreme Court addressed the scope of the general contractor’s duty of care to its subcontractors’ employees on the project site.  In JLB Builders, L.L.C. v. Hernandez,[1] the Court upheld the trial court’s summary judgment in the general contractor’s favor and dismissed the ...

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Statutory v. Contractual Retainage on Texas Private Projects and the Contractual Retainage Notice

Statutory Retainage

Texas law obligates construction owners to withhold 10% of the value of the work during the course of a project and for 30 days after final completion. This is generally known as statutory retainage. Owners should memorialize their statutory retainage obligation in their construction ...

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Changing the Outside Limits: New Statutes of Repose for Government Design and Construction Claims Near Passage

As the end of the 87th Texas legislative regular session approaches, we appear to be on the verge of having new, shortened statutes of repose for design and construction claims by certain Texas governmental entities. This is important because statutes of repose “provide a definitive date beyond which an action ...

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A Cautionary Tale for Contractors: Releases in Contract Modifications and Preservation of Claims

The Houston First Court of Appeals of Texas recently affirmed a trial court’s decision wiping out a whopping $17 million claim brought by a contractor against an owner for acceleration costs, holding that the claim was barred by release language contained in a signed contract modification of the type routinely ...

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The Impact of New Texas Discovery Rules in Delay and Disruption Claims

Any lawsuit filed in Texas state courts on or after January 1, 2021 are now subject to the newly-amended Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.  Our litigation team has a helpful review of several of the most significant changes available here.  This post focuses on how the new rules, particularly the new disclosure ...

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If You Seek to Limit the Authority of Your Arbitrators, Your Arbitration Clause Must Be Clear

In 2020, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Soaring Wind Energy LLC (SWE) v. CATIS USA Inc., et al.  In that case, the various members of a limited liability company (LLC) entered into an agreement to provide worldwide marketing of wind energy equipment and services.  The agreement contained an ...

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The Anatomy of a Change Order Clause in a Construction Contract

Change orders can quickly become a source of contention on construction projects and are often the subject of major disputes.  As a result, it is important for stakeholders to carefully draft and negotiate the change order and related provisions pre-contract. 

The key portions in a change order clause beyond the ...

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Substantial Compliance – When the Contract Doesn’t Always Mean What it Says

As COVID-19 continues to result in government shutdown orders, labor shortages, and increased lead times to acquire materials, project owners, contractors, and subcontractors may begin to make claims of “force majeure,” or may otherwise suspend or even terminate work.  Often these notifications or ...

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