News

Attorneys and staff raise 12,404 pounds of food

Posted on September 28, 2015
Posted in Community News

The firm is proud to have been recognized at the Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association's luncheon last week for our participation in the 2015 Legal Food Frenzy. Wiley Grandy was presented with a plaque on behalf of the firm for having placed third in the mid-size firm category. The attorneys and staff raised a total of 12,404 pounds of food.…

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CWM is pleased to announce seven lawyers named to the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in America

Posted on September 1, 2015

Crenshaw, Ware & Martin PLC is pleased to announce that seven of its lawyers have been named to the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in America. Delphine G. Carnes - Project Finance Law;Public Finance Law James L. Chapman, IV -Admiralty and Maritime Law;Commercial Litigation Timothy A. Coyle - Municipal Law Howard W. Martin, Jr. - Real Estate Law Donald C. Schultz - Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law; Litigation-Bankruptcy W. Ryan Snow - Admiralty and Maritime Law Guilford D. Ware - Admiralty and Maritime Law…

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WATCH OUT – Virginia tightens policy on contractor licenses as of July 1, 2015

Posted on July 1, 2015
Posted in Updates

Be careful of your contractor licenses and worker classifications in Virginia. Under a new policy effective July 1, 2015, where VOSH has reasonable cause to believe workers are being misclassified on a Virginia construction project (usually as independent contractors), VOSH may require each contractor to provide proof of its own DPOR license and the DPOR license of any of its subcontractors.  If a violation is found, VOSH will make a written referral to DPOR for both the unlicensed subcontractor and the general contractor.  The policy specifically states that penalty reductions for “size” and “good faith” will not be afforded to the employer. VOSH Policy Effective July 1, 2015, where VOSH has reasonable cause to believe that worker misclassification has occurred in a VOSH case, the following actions will normally be taken: In the event that citations and penalties are proposed for the employer, penalty reductions for size and good faith will NOT be afforded to the employer. In construction multi-employer worksite situations, each contractor (e.g., general contractors, prime subcontractors and lower tier subcontractors) will be asked to provide proof of their Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) contractor's license AND for proof of the DPOR license for any of its' subcontractors. When it is determined that a construction employer has contracted with an unlicensed subcontractor, VOSH will make a written referral to DPOR for the contractor and its unlicensed subcontractor (DPOR sanctions for contracting with unlicensed subcontractors may include fines, probationary terms, suspension or license revocation). In cases where the contract value for the specific subcontractor's job is less than $1,000.00, VOSH will make a written referral to the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) and/or the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission (VWCC) for potential audits of the employer's employment practices. There may be instances where referrals will be made for contract values over $1,000.00 as well.…

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New statute has power to nullify lien waivers in Virginia

Posted on July 1, 2015
Posted in Updates

Effective July 1, 2015, any provision of a construction contract or lien waiver that “waives or diminishes” the payment bond or mechanic’s lien rights of a subcontractor, lower-tier subcontractor or material supplier before services are rendered is “null and void” in Virginia.  The new language in Va. Code § 11-4.1:1 and Va. Code § 43-3 represents a sharp turn from previous Virginia law on payment bonds and mechanic’s liens, which expressly allowed such waivers “at any time.” So what is the takeaway for suppliers, contractors, owners and sureties on construction projects in Virginia?  Read your contracts closely in light of the new law.  You may have more leverage than you think, or you may be giving away leverage by failing to update your documents.…

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Contractor’s failure to provide project accounting leads to criminal conviction under Va. Code § 43-13

Posted on June 11, 2015
Posted in Updates

Violation of Va. Code § 43-13 leads to criminal, not civil, liability. Under § 43-13, when a contractor receives money from an owner to pay subcontractors, he cannot use the money for any other purpose. In Holloway v. Commonwealth, owners paid a contractor $422,000 towards a new home, but after five suppliers and subcontractors went unpaid, the owners filed a complaint with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. DPOR found that the contractor incurred only $286,000 in direct costs, after which the contractor was prosecuted. At trial he contested the $286,000 figure, but was unable to provide an accounting to show the nature of his expenditures and payments. That failure, the court said, created a presumption that the money was used improperly. Because the contractor could not rebut the presumption, he was convicted of larceny and the conviction was upheld on appeal.…

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Western District of Virginia narrowly construes Virginia’s anti-indemnification statute

Posted on June 11, 2015
Posted in Updates

Rental companies may now rest easier in indemnity cases in Virginia.  In RSC Equipment Rental v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., the Western District of Virginia denied a general contractor’s motion to dismiss where the contractor sought to avoid indemnifying a forklift supplier by invalidating its indemnity clause.  Under Va. Code § 11-4.1, a party in a contract “relating to construction” cannot require indemnity against injuries or damages caused solely by its own negligence.  The general contractor argued that the forklift supplier’s rental agreement did exactly that, rendering its entire indemnity clause void.  Narrowly interpreting the statute, the federal court rejected the argument, holding that a forklift rental agreement is not a contract “relating to construction,” and therefore § 11-4.1 does not apply.…

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Email evidence supports time extension, defeats general contractor’s delay claim

Posted on June 11, 2015
Posted in Updates

Don’t delete a good email. In United States ex rel. Engineered Services v. T.H.R. Enterprises, a subcontractor defeated a general contractor’s delay claim and won its entire contract balance using email evidence to establish an extended completion date.  The Eastern District of Virginia federal court held that the subcontract completion date was extended to the same date as the prime contract where (i) a change order stated that the date was “TBD” and (ii) the general contractor later sent an email identifying the subcontract completion date as the same as the prime contract date. The court also held that the prime contract completion date “flowed down” as a result of language in the subcontract.…

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Notice under Virginia’s Little Miller Act must be received by 90-day deadline

Posted on June 11, 2015
Posted in Updates

Notice that is mailed, but not received, by the 90-day deadline in Virginia’s Little Miller Act is untimely under Virginia law, according to a case of first impression in Norfolk Circuit Court. Subcontractors and suppliers asserting a payment bond claim on a public construction project in Virginia are required by statute to give written notice to the general contractor within 90 days of the last day of work for which payment is claimed. In R. T. Atkison Building Corp. v. Archer Western Construction, Judge Fulton held that, under Va. Code § 2.2-4341, “notice is ‘given’ when the contractor receives notice from the claimant.” Consequently, a notice that is received after the deadline is untimely, regardless of when it was mailed. CWM attorney David Hartnett argued the case for the successful general contractor and surety. A copy of the opinion can be found here.…

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CWM attorneys, Delphine Carnes and Harriet Reynolds close on transaction to restore historic Masonic Theatre

Posted on April 2, 2015
Posted in Transactions

On April 2, 2015, CWM attorneys, Delphine Carnes and Harriet Reynolds, closed on a transaction to fund the restoration of the historic Masonic Theatre in Clifton Forge, Virginia.  CWM represented Virginia Community Capital, the bridge lender in this complex transaction which combined a variety of funding sources, including New Markets Tax Credits, state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, an Enterprise Zone Grant, grant funds from The Alleghany Foundation, and private contributions to finance the $11 million restoration of the 1905 landmark entertainment venue.  In its heyday, the Masonic Theatre hosted operas, vaudeville shows, movies and concerts and featured world famous performers including Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Count Basie and his jazz orchestra.  The restored theatre is anticipated to spur downtown revitalization, offer a variety of cultural programming and bring new employment opportunities to a rural community that has experienced a significant economic downturn in recent years.  The theatre complex will include a 554-seat auditorium, a second stage for smaller productions, dressing rooms, office space, a catering kitchen, community meeting rooms and a small museum.…

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Tidewater Community College recognizes Stephanie Hunter for service on Legal Advisory Committee

Posted on February 20, 2015
Posted in Community News

The firm is proud to recognize Stephanie Hunter, Litigation Paralegal, for her contributions to Tidewater Community College for serving as a Program Advisor on the Legal Advisory Committee. Stephanie has served as an advisor for four years which includes assisting in curriculum development for the paralegal degree program, and mentoring students and future paralegals on interview techniques and job etiquette. Tidewater Community College will recognize the contributions of its business and industry advisors at a breakfast on February 20, 2015 at the TCC Chesapeake Student Center.…

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