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3 Common Types of Construction Lawsuits

As Nashville construction litigation attorneys, we represent a variety of professionals within the construction sector, including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, architects, engineers, developers, and more. When many of our clients are involved in a dispute, it can eventually lead to litigation. In this article, attorneys with Cotney Construction Law will discuss some of the most common types of disputes that lead to legal action in construction. Remember, if your construction firm requires representation in a legal matter, consult a Nashville construction litigation attorney today.     

1. Professional Negligence

If a construction professional is accused of failing to perform their responsibilities to the standard within their contract, this is considered professional negligence. Every type of construction professional could find themselves accused of professional negligence in some form. Here are some common types of cases within the construction sector:

  • Architects and Engineers: if an architect designed or approved of the design of a structure that failed to comply with building codes, safety regulations, permits, or other requirements, this design mistake is considered professional malpractice. 
  • Contractors and Subcontractors: the most common form of professional negligence by a contractor, subcontractor, or any other professional involved in the construction process is a construction defect claim. Any form of defective workmanship can result in a lawsuit by an owner, another professional, or a third party. 
  • Suppliers: another form of a construction defect or professional negligence claim can involve the materials utilized on the project. If a defective product is to blame for a project gone wrong, then this can also result in a lawsuit. 

Related: Construction Defects and Spoliation of Evidence 

2. Delay Claims

As projects have a lot of moving parts and tons of professionals working together, there are many common disputes related to delays. Generally, a delay claim is made when a project runs over its allotted completion time and is extended due to the fact that performance was not satisfactory. There can be a lot of factors that lead to a delay, including site conditions, weather patterns, labor or material shortages, or change orders requested by a project’s owner. 

Naturally, many of these delays will impact the completion time for a contractor or subcontractor, resulting in additional costs to complete the work. Delays are generally classified as:

  • Excusable
  • Inexcusable
  • Compensable
  • Non-compensable 

When a contractor experiences an excusable delay and the owner does not provide prompt payment, they may be able to recover additional compensation for added costs by pursuing legal action.    

Related: All About Construction Delay Claims 

3. Payment Disputes

Payment disputes are prevalent in the industry and usually stem from the construction contract. Generally, payment responsibilities begin with the owner and trickle down to the general contractor and subcontractors and so on and so forth. Payment disputes occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Poorly Worded Contracts: provisions within a construction contract that do not clearly define which professional is fiscally accountable for certain payment issues can lead to a dispute between the contracting parties. 
  • Project Delays: as we discussed above, project delays can result in payment disputes. Whether it’s a change to the scope of work or a mistake made in the design phase, when projects are delayed, payments can also be delayed, resulting in a dispute. 
  • Domino Effect: non-payment impacts everyone on a project. When a contractor doesn’t get paid, this can lead to all of the construction professionals down the line seeking payment. 
  • Scope of Work: there are many specific aspects of a project that can lead to a payment dispute. For example, the contractor may have invested in materials that the owner doesn’t want to use on the project. 

Of course, when you are owed payment for work completed, one effective option you can utilize is a lien enforcement action. In Tennessee, a contractor in a direct contract with an owner can initiate a lawsuit to enforce a lien within 12 months after completion of work. To learn more about eligibility, including deadlines and notice requirements, contact a Nashville mechanics’ lien law attorney

The Many Angles of Construction Litigation

Whether it’s breach of contract, negligence, or any other form of unlawful conduct, construction disputes stem from a myriad of issues and involve a variety of construction professionals and third parties. Whether it’s a personal injury case stemming from an injury to a worker or bystander or a payment dispute between an owner and a general contractor, a Nashville construction litigation attorney is well-versed in a variety of laws related to the construction industry and can represent construction professionals in these matters. 

For disputes between private companies, our attorneys are also highly experienced in providing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services, including arbitration and mediation. At Cotney Construction Law, our attorneys have devoted their area of practice to construction law and routinely represent a variety of construction professionals in disputes. 

If you would like to speak with a Nashville construction lien lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.