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When Is the “Right” Time to Call a Construction Lawyer?

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Disputes are common in the construction industry, and their effects can be debilitating for businesses of all sizes. This is because disputes must typically be resolved quickly, otherwise work will stall, projects will fall behind schedule, and operational costs will start to feed on your profits. It’s not a situation any contractor wants to find themselves in, but it’s an unfortunate reality in an industry that deals with over a trillion dollars in projects annually.

In this brief article, the Orlando construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law will explain when contractors should pick up the phone and call a lawyer. For all of your construction-related legal needs, including lien law, bond law, contract review, litigation, arbitration, mediation, license defense, and more, a lawyer is standing by.

Before a Dispute Arises

It may sound cliche, but there’s truly no better way to cut down on disputes than to prevent them from happening in the first place. By investing in a subscription plan from Cotney Construction Law, you will always have the services of our Orlando construction lawyers available when you need them. Services like contract review, revision, and drafting can go a long way towards preventing potential disputes from materializing. Approaching each project with a lawyer on your side can mean the difference between a dream project and an utter nightmare.

During a Dispute

Generally, contractors wait until they’re in the midst of a dispute to consult an attorney. For example, when an owner decides to withhold payment without cause, a contractor will likely pick up the phone to find out what they should do to resolve the issue. At this point, you still have options. Our Orlando construction lawyers can send a strongly worded demand letter on legal letterhead, request that a mediation be performed, or file a mechanic’s lien. What’s important is that you don’t let your business suffer by failing to arm yourself with an experienced legal representative. Inaction could lead to you paying out of pocket for expenses that aren’t your responsibility. If you’re currently embroiled in a dispute, consult our Orlando construction lawyers today.

After a Dispute

If you’ve recently come out on the other side of a dispute, it might be time to consult an attorney before the next dispute threatens to derail a future project. Even if your last dispute wasn’t resolved amicably, it doesn’t mean your next one has to end the same way. Our Orlando construction attorneys offer industry-leading services for contractors and subcontractors, including:

  • Litigation
  • Arbitration
  • Contract Review, Drafting, and Negotiation
  • Employment Law
  • License Defense
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Corporate Transaction Law
  • OSHA Defense
  • Lien Law
  • Bid Protests
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Trademark Applications

When is the “right” time to call a construction lawyer? Truthfully, there is no wrong time. Whether you want to avoid future disputes or work out an active dispute, our Orlando construction attorneys are here to fight for the industry.

If you would like to speak with one of our Orlando construction attorneys, 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.

Whenever a subcontractor is tasked with providing work to a construction project, they must be careful to ensure that their hard work isn’t going to end up costing them money in the end. This might seem counterintuitive or backwards, but it’s a grim reality in an industry funded by owners that value terms and conditions over subcontractors’ best interests. Unbeknownst to you, the contract you signed could lead to the demise of your business. This is why many contractors have their contracts reviewed by a Denver construction lawyer prior to making any legally binding decisions. 

Recognizing that a contract is flawed allows you to renegotiate the sections that could hurt your business. Best of all, the amount of money you can save in the long run by investing in construction contract review in Denver before a dispute has the chance to materialize can mean the difference between a lucrative opportunity and an absolute nightmare. In this brief article, we’ll introduce three high-risk clauses that subcontractors need to keep an eye on to avoid a potentially crippling financial situation stemming from a contractual dispute.

1. Broad-Form Indemnity

Indemnity is a hotly disputed concept found in many construction contracts across the nation. Basically, it determines liability while protecting the other party against harm (i.e., lawsuits, claims, etc.). Some states have established anti-indemnity laws to deter subcontractors from taking the blame for defects and errors they weren’t responsible for, but it’s still imperative that subcontractors understand the problems that arise when indemnity isn’t allocated fairly. This is especially true when discussing what is known as “broad-form indemnity.”

Broad-form indemnity requires the subcontractor to act as a buffer between claims and the general contractor. This means subcontractors are penalized even when the error can be clearly associated with actions taken by the general contractor. You don’t want to be forced to act like an insurance company on behalf of the general contractor, and our Denver construction lawyers can ensure that your contracts won’t subject your business to such treatment.

2. No Damages for Delay

Construction projects have a tendency to extend past deadlines due to project delays. When this happens, it can lead to additional costs for subcontractors, including additional labor costs and equipment rental fees. Direct costs such as these are only half of the story. Indirect costs, like lost profits from the inability to take on a new contract due to another project’s delays, could be worth even more. When a project is delayed for reasons outside of your control, you shouldn’t be expected to put in extra time and money to make up the difference. You should be compensated. When a clause asserts that there will be no damages assessed for any delays, subcontractors must consider whether or not this is a risk they are willing to take. Failing to invest in contract review in Denver could lead to you paying additional expenses to complete a project that has fallen far behind schedule.

If you would like to speak with one of our Denver construction attorneys, 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.

As a contractor, you understand the value of having a skilled workforce under your employ to ensure that contracts are satisfied as construction projects transform from ideas to fully realized structures, which is why the ongoing labor shortage has caused significant unrest among construction professionals. For the lucky few that have faced very few struggles finding workers, it’s important to understand that approximately 80 percent of construction firms have reported difficulties filling hourly and craft positions. The construction industry workforce is primarily composed of workers under these classifications.

“Workforce shortages remain one of the single most significant threats to the construction industry,” said Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) CEO Stephen E. Sandherr in a recent statement. Whether you’re feeling its effects or not, the construction labor shortage is a significant problem that can increase your chances of being burdened with a claim or dispute. When you don’t have enough manpower to complete a project on time, you’re oftentimes the one stuck footing the bill.

In this article, a Jacksonville construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law will emphasize the severity of the construction labor shortage and explain its impact on contractors. If you are currently embroiled in a dispute resulting from the lack of skilled labor, consult a Jacksonville contractor lawyer for assistance with resolving your dispute. Whether it’s mediation, arbitration, or litigation, our lawyers have the experience and expertise to help you reach a favorable outcome.

A Growing Problem for a Behemoth Industry

How serious is the construction labor shortage? Consider this: the AGC is lobbying federal officials to increase funding for both career and technical education programs. Ideally, this will help stimulate more interest in construction industry jobs by giving more people the opportunity to develop valuable career skills. They are also requesting that federal lawmakers allow more immigrants to enter the workforce, since many of these individuals are keen to find work in construction. The construction labor shortage is a growing problem in one of the nation’s largest industries. Worker shortages are largely uniform across every region in the United States, which means this problem isn’t being relegated to less populous or less wealthy areas. It’s affecting everyone. And to make matters worse, approximately 75 percent of respondents from an AGC survey expect the problem to get worse over the next year. 

Where Are the Qualified Candidates?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there are currently around 300,000 construction industry job vacancies. This number is expected to balloon to more than 747,000 by 2026. Unfortunately, many candidates are made ineligible by a lack of experience or the inability to pass a drug test. Attempts to find and retain qualified candidates have largely stalled. About two-thirds of construction firms have already reported raising the base pay for their workers. 30 percent are also offering bonuses and incentives to sweeten the deal. The drawback to better wages and more incentives? Increased labor costs are being passed down to residential and commercial owners.

While there is still no clear solution for the construction industry’s labor shortage, contractors can protect themselves by partnering with a Jacksonville construction lawyer to ensure compliance with all relevant construction-related laws. 

If you would like to speak with one of our Jacksonville construction lawyers, 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.

The construction industry is one of the largest and most complex industries in the United States, so it’s not all that surprising to discover that the laws governing this great industry are equally convoluted, especially for lawyers that have little to no experience dealing with construction law. The high value of construction projects renders them vulnerable to disagreements between parties, and contractors are often faced with a wide range of disputes over the course of their careers. Contracting without an attorney is like working on the project site without a hard hat. You might be able to remain unscatched for a while, but eventually your negligence will catch up with you, and it’s certainly not advisable. 

As our Miami construction attorneys discussed in part one of this two-part series, your run-of-the-mill attorney isn’t going to have the benefit of highly specialized knowledge related to the construction industry when handling your case. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that they will have canned solutions for common problems to help you get back to work quickly without taking a significant financial hit. 

At Cotney Construction Law, we even offer subscription plans designed specifically for contractors that want airtight protection and consistent service at a fraction of the cost of an outdated retainer agreement. For as little as $599 per month you business could benefit from an on-demand attorney as well as unlimited phone calls, demand letters, and non-dispute contract review. Plus, the specialized knowledge and experience of a Miami construction attorney allows them to benefit your business through numerous services that regular lawyers simply aren’t equipped to provide.

3. Save Money

Did you know that hiring a Miami construction attorney can actually help you save money? Paying an attorney may not seem conducive to cutting costs, but if you consider the potential cost-savings from services like alternative dispute resolution (ADR), license defense, bid protest, contract review, and lien law, hiring an attorney could actually save your business from having to close its doors for good. If an owner decides to withhold payment from you, you need to fight for your rights; otherwise, you may never be paid for the hard work you’ve already performed.

4. Quality Contract Review, Drafting, and Negotiation

In the construction industry, contracts are king, which is why you need to ensure that your contracts are protecting your best interests. Miami construction attorneys have an in-depth understanding of construction contracts and know where to look to find the types of vulnerabilities that result in financial squabbles and heated disputes. When an attorney reviews your contract, they can either give it the green light or draft a new one that better represents the needs of your business.

5. Speak the Language

Let’s face it, when it comes to protecting your construction business, it helps to have an attorney on your side that truly understands how contractors and owners think. The relationship between contractors and owners is delicate, and you need to work with a legal professional that understands how to work around this precarious relationship for the benefit of your business. “Speaking the language” of construction goes a long way to showing owners that you’re serious about your legal rights and aren’t willing to compromise when it comes to contractual obligations.

If you would like to speak with one of our Miami construction attorneys, 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.

There are many different types of lawyers, but when it comes to your needs as a contractor, you can’t rely on any lawyer to protect your best interests. You need to work with a Miami construction lawyer that understands the challenges contractors face on a day-to-day basis and can provide you with services geared specifically towards the needs of construction professionals. Other lawyers simply don’t possess the knowledge or experience to handle complex construction-related cases. If your lawyer has to research how to file a mechanic’s lien on your behalf, you can rest assured that you aren’t being provided with top-tier legal services.

In this two-part series, the Miami construction lawyers from Cotney Construction Law will discuss five reasons why contractors can benefit from a partnership with a bonafide construction lawyer with years of experience fighting for the industry. Our lawyers live and breath construction, and many of our dedicated professionals have prior experience in the industry. This personal level of familiarity gives our lawyers unique insights into the needs of contractors and allows us to seek solutions that “regular lawyers” simply wouldn’t consider. 

1. Understanding Your Issue

Construction-related laws are complex, highly specific, and chock-full of industry terms that can scare away lawyers that haven’t taken the time to familiarize themselves on a deep level. If you’re going to invest in legal services, you want to be absolutely certain that your lawyer understands your issue and takes it to heart. You don’t want to be brushed off as “just another client.” You want to be treated like you matter, and at Cotney Construction Law, you do. This is because we recognize that every contractor, subcontractor, and supplier is an essential cog in one of our country’s oldest and most important industries. When you sit down with a Miami construction lawyer for the first time, you won’t be greeted with head nods and legal pad scribbles, you’ll be presented with solutions.

2. Get Back to Work Quickly

There’s nothing more frustrating than stopped work. Your contract has a clearly stated deadline, and you know that your bottom line and reputation depend on your ability to meet this deadline. Whether or not project delays are your fault or the fault of the owner, falling behind is NEVER profitable. When you get stuck in project limbo, your ability to procure future projects could be limited. This can have a substantial effect on your ability to make money. Even if you get financial reparations for damages, you can’t get back lost time. 

Expediency in dealing with disputes is of paramount importance for contractors that can’t afford delays. Our Miami construction lawyers are well-versed in all facets of construction law and know exactly how to deal with a wide range of disputes, including those related to scope of work, contract errors or omissions, breach of contract, change orders, and more. We can even provide alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options to help expedite the resolution process. This includes resolving disputes privately through mediation or arbitration. Of course, our Miami construction lawyers also excel in a court of law; however, the litigation process tends to take longer than ADR.

To learn more about why regular lawyers aren’t the best fit for contractors, read part two.

If you would like to speak with a Miami construction 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.

Did you know that state and local government expenditures allocate more than $250 billion to the construction of roads, schools, and infrastructure annually? This underscores the value of public projects funded by the government, all of which feature contracts that must be awarded through the government bid process. If you think that government contracting is too competitive, doesn’t pay enough, or requires too much effort to make it worthwhile, it may be time to reassess your stance on public projects.

In this article, an Orlando construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law will discuss five common sense tips for procuring bids. The bid process can be complicated, confusing, and cutthroat, but with an Orlando construction lawyer on your side, it can also help your business find its footing on the path to success.

1. Look in the Right Places

Bid opportunities for public projects are typically posted on a government-owned website, but they can also make their way onto third-party websites and even the newspaper. If a listing doesn’t feature dates for submission and a clearly defined scope of work, it may not be worth your time. 

2. Follow the Government’s Guidelines

When it comes to the bidding process, you don’t want to get overly creative with your bid. Stick to the rules to increase your chances of being awarded a contract. The rules for submittal should be outlined in the government agency’s request for proposal (RFP). Even if you spent hours piecing together the most attractive bid package possible, it could be rejected simply because you neglected to read the RFP, causing you to miss a pre-bid meeting.

3. Be Realistic

Not every public project is the “right” project for your particular construction business. Before you decide to submit a bid, take a long, hard look at what is being requested by the government agency. This information could be used to develop a template for future bids. Just because you aren’t ready to take on a certain project today doesn’t mean you won’t have the capacity to take on a similar project in the future. Remember, you should never embellish your bid; otherwise, you could find yourself reaching out to our Orlando construction lawyers for assistance dealing with a bid protest.

4. Determine Your Eligibility

You can research previously awarded bids to see if your abilities line up with those of the contractors that took on these jobs in the past. If they do, you can begin to build out a template for a future bid package. Furthermore, you can effectively “pre-qualify” yourself by comparing new listings to past projects. There are also some third-party services that deliver relevant bid opportunities directly to contractors by email.

5. Take Advantage of Special Programs

When applicable, special government programs designed to balance the scales for disadvantaged businesses can help you procure bids. These programs are designed to give the “little guy” a fighting chance against the titans of the construction industry. Failure to use these programs to your benefit is indicative of a business owner that isn’t interested in growing their business.

If you would like to speak with one of our Orlando construction lawyers, 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.

The Italian engineering firm, Petrucco, recently introduced their hydraulic box-jacking method for the first time in the United States. This innovative technique allowed them to maneuver a concrete underpass beneath the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in a single weekend, an impressive achievement that illustrates the importance of international collaboration for the proliferation of the construction industry. 

In this brief article, a Jacksonville construction attorney from Cotney Construction Law will provide an overview of the project, describe how hydraulic box-jacking works, and explain three important benefits of hydraulic box-jacking. Remember, for all of your construction-related legal needs, including services such as contract review, assembling or protesting a bid, lien law, bond law, alternative dispute resolution, and more, a Jacksonville construction attorney is standing by.

Summary: the Long Island Rail Road Project

The LIRR weighed its options before selecting Petrucco to move multiple rail crossings below grade. They expected weeks of interrupted service, but to their surprise, Petrucco’s solution didn’t require such lengthy shutdowns. Each underpass could be completed in a single weekend, which greatly reduced disruptions to railway traffic. The key to their success? The box-jacking method.

Hydraulic Box-Jacking: How it Works

According to the Engineering News-Record, Petrucco’s system utilizes hydraulic jacks and spreaders to “move a cast-in-place concrete box carrying the entire underpass and rail bridge into place in a matter of hours.” In mere hours, the underpass could be completely installed. And despite this being the first instance of this technique on U.S. soil, union crews performed all of the work, quickly building proficiency as each underpass was completed. Interestingly, this technique is so effective that some construction professionals involved in the project found it “almost boring.” One executive director of the mainline expansion project even remarked: “It’s an amazing process. How have we not been doing this in the States for years?” 

Why It Matters: Speed, Efficiency, Safety

This project highlights the value of Petrucco’s hydraulic box-jacking method, which increases the speed of project completion, boosts efficiency, and supports worker safety and health. Here’s how:

  1. Speed: each portion of the LIRR project was expected to take weeks with traditional methods. Instead, each section was completed over the weekend.
  2. Efficiency: faster project completion meant less disruptions for the public, optimized work schedules, and improved outcomes.
  3. Safety: one of the problems inherent to longer projects are more opportunities for injury. With Petrucco’s method, workers spend less time on the project site and less time in harm’s way.

If you would like to speak with one of our Jacksonville construction attorneys, 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.

Tampa, FL, September 12, 2019 – Cotney Construction Law (CCL) is pleased to announce that by collaborating with the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), they have assisted NRCA in creating and trademarking their ProCertification program. In an effort to help the industry progress with advanced knowledge and professional certifications, CCL provided all of its time free of charge to NRCA.

The ProCertification program is a national certification initiative designed for experienced workers who demonstrate substantial roofing skills and knowledge to become certified by the NRCA in specific roof system installations. NRCA will certify workers with professional credentials after they meet all requirements and partake in a series of assessments.

“Giving back to the roofing industry is at the core of our business model,” says Trent Cotney, CEO of Cotney Construction Law.  “By assisting NRCA and all of the staff and members that have devoted countless hours to the creation of the program, we can feel proud that we used our skills to affect lasting positive change for roofing professionals.”

For more information regarding NRCA ProCertification, visit the following link: https://www.nrca.net/procertification.

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About Cotney Construction Law
Cotney Construction Law is a national law firm that fights for the roofing industry. Experienced in the representation of businesses and professionals in construction disputes and transactions, Cotney is a well-known advisor and legal counsel in the roofing industry.  The firm’s practice areas include construction law, litigation, arbitration, business law, immigration, employment, OSHA defense, licensing defense, bid protests, lien law, bond law and alternative dispute resolution.  The firm has Florida offices throughout Florida as well as locations in Chicago, Birmingham, Charlotte, Denver, Grand Rapids, Houston, Nashville, Portland, and Wichita.  For more information, visit www.cotneycl.com.

Throughout this five-part series, a construction lawyer in Brentwood, TN, has provided you with several examples of construction conflicts that can lead to a serious dispute and even litigation. So far, we have covered the following topics:

  • In part one, we discussed both vague contracts and allegations of breach of contract.
  • In part two, we covered disputes over scope of work responsibilities and disagreements over change order requests.
  • In part three, we talked about project delays and dealing with nonpayment.
  • In part four, we focused on construction defect disputes and workplace injuries.   

Although these are all common examples of construction disputes, there are  many more ways a construction dispute can occur. There simply isn’t enough time to cover each and every type. With that being said, in this final part, we will cover a few more common construction issues: malpractice and termination. 

Malpractice and Negligence

When you agree to a contract with another party, you are obligated to deliver a professional service. If another professional fails to meet the standard, this is considered malpractice. As we previously discussed, construction defects are one example of malpractice and negligence. Other construction issues that commonly lead to disputes between owners and contractors include:

  • Failing to supervise a project 
  • Failing to comply with building codes
  • Performing work without a license
  • Ignoring OSHA citations 
  • Violating environmental standards
  • Failing to disclose site conditions
  • Not having workers’ compensation coverage for all your workers

As construction malpractice can involve a wide range of allegations and disputes, it’s important to consult a construction law attorney in Brentwood, TN, that has in-depth knowledge of construction law and can assess these types of cases.    

Termination of Employment

If a contractor is terminated from a project by an owner, the owner must show cause. For example, if a contractor used cheaper materials than they agreed to use on a project or failed to pay their subcontractors, violated laws, or breached the contract, these are all valid reasons to terminate a contractor. However, if the owner violated their agreement with the contractor, this can also result in a dispute. As we discussed before, nonpayment is a common dispute between an owner and contractor that often leads to either perfecting a lien or pursuing litigation. 

Consult a Construction Attorney 

As we have discussed throughout this series, disputes are extremely common in the construction industry and, in many cases, they can result in lawsuits. It’s critical that construction firms are familiar with the reasons why these disputes happen in order to help mitigate these issues to reduce their legal spend. Of course, the majority of construction conflicts begin with a party either signing a vague contract or violating their contractual obligations. When this happens, it leads to disputes and plenty of other legal issues.

In order to grow your business and protect your assets from disputes and costly litigation, consult a construction lawyer in Brentwood, TN. However, in some cases, litigation is necessary. For any of your legal needs, including litigation services, speak with the knowledgeable and experienced construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law.     

If you would like to speak with a construction attorney in Brentwood, TN, 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.

No matter how long your construction business has been operating, you will eventually experience a dispute. When you do, you need to know your options. This is why construction firms rely on the advice of a knowledgeable construction lawyer in Franklin, TN. We can assess the circumstances of your dispute and provide you with accurate legal advice. In some cases, a dispute can be resolved with a demand letter. In others, litigation or arbitration may be the best option. 

In this five-part article, construction attorneys with Cotney Construction Law are discussing common construction disputes that may lead to litigation. In this part, we will focus on construction defect disputes and workers injured on a jobsite. To catch up on this series, please read parts one, two, and three

Construction Defects

A construction defect dispute can arise during construction or well after a project has been completed. During a project, an owner could identify a potential flaw with the quality of work of a contractor or subcontractor. If the owner believes that the workmanship is subpar or failing to meet the specifications set forth for the project, they may request that the contractor or subcontractor repair or replace the work. If the contractor or subcontractor feels that the owner’s assessment is incorrect, this can lead to a dispute. 

Other common construction defect disputes occur if a completed project fails to pass inspection or if a contractor or subcontractor fails to use the materials detailed in the contract. Lastly, there are many laws related to discovering construction defects and the statute of limitations involving construction defects. To learn more about defense against a construction defect allegation, consult a construction attorney in Franklin, TN

Workplace Injuries

Workplace safety is always of paramount importance on jobsites as construction projects introduce a significant level of risk to both workers and bystanders. Despite excellent safety practices, injuries happen on the jobsite everyday and sometimes the employer is at fault for these occurrences. If a worker ignores safety practices or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the jobsite, clearly, the contractor should not be considered at fault for any injury the worker experiences. However, if the contractor failed to train, educate, or provide a hazard-free work environment and a worker is injured, depending on the circumstances of the incident, the contractor may be liable. Depending on if a liability waiver form was featured in the contract, an owner could also be involved in a workplace accident dispute. 

For more information on construction conflicts that can lead to litigation, please read part five

If you would like to speak with a construction law attorney in Franklin, TN, 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.