CWM represents owners, sureties, contractors, and equipment and material suppliers in all aspects of construction contracting and dispute resolution, including trials. We have handled cases ranging from design defect claims to IDIQ contracts involving over $300 million in federal projects. Our Practice Group Chair is a former chair of the Construction & Public Contracts Law section of the Virginia Bar Association.
CWM attorneys assist clients before and after disputes arise. We help clients consider critical aspects of their contracts, such as liquidated damages, change order clauses, differing site conditions, pay-when-paid clauses, indemnification clauses, and others. We also help our clients plan and establish teaming arrangements on public and private projects.
When disputes arise, we handle negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation in state and federal courts. Our attorneys are experienced with design defects, construction defects, delay claims, mechanic’s liens, performance and payment bond claims, Miller Act cases, change order disputes, indemnity claims, and a host of other matters.
- Arbitration and Mediation
- Architect/Engineer Liability
- Change Orders
- Construction Defects
- Design Defects
- Equitable Adjustments
- Government Contracts
- Marine Construction
- Mechanics’ Liens
- Miller Act Claims
- Payment Bonds & Performance Bonds
- Quantum Meruit Claims
- Surety Claims
Ryan Snow, Presenter, “Making Sure You Get Paid: Legal Remedies for Problem Projects”, Hampton Roads Utility & Heavy Contractors Association (July 2015)
Ryan Snow, Presenter, “Liability for Construction Defects and Failures” Seminar (Half Moon Seminars, February 15, 2012)
Ryan Snow, Moderator/Presenter, “Intellectual Property Issues in Construction Law” Seminar (VBA, January 20, 2012)
Ryan Snow, Moderator/Presenter, “Legislative Update” Seminar (VBA, July 23, 2011)
CASE RESULTS DEPEND ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. THEY DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT SIMILAR RESULTS IN FUTURE CASES.
Arbitration clauses in contracts are enforceable, but if a contract allows only certain claims to be arbitrated, then the party desiring arbitration has to prove that it has such a claim. And in Virginia, the party has to prove it to a judge, not the arbitrator. CWM attorneys represented the owner when both of these issues were contested in Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority v. Everest Construction Management Group, Inc.
The dispute resolution clause in a construction contract between an owner and a contractor stated that if the contractor submitted a claim for more money or a time extension and the owner denied it, then the contractor had 30 days to challenge that decision by either (1) referring the matter to arbitration, (2) pursuing an administrative appeal, or (3) filing a lawsuit. When the contractor attempted to refer two denied claims to arbitration, the owner sought court intervention to quash the arbitration because (1) the contractor had already pursued an administrative appeal with respect to the first claim, and (2) the contractor waited 242 days to refer the second claim to arbitration. The contractor objected, arguing that only the arbitrator, not the court, could decide whether the two claims were arbitrable. The circuit court in Norfolk disagreed with the contractor, and held that it had the authority to decide if the claims could be arbitrated. After an evidentiary hearing, the court agreed with the owner and quashed the arbitration because neither of the claims met the conditions precedent for arbitration.
The lesson? If a contract says only certain claims can be submitted to arbitration, then courts in Virginia have the authority to determine whether a particular claim meets the contract requirements for arbitration.
May 2015 – CWM attorneys won judgment on behalf of a subcontractor in Norfolk Circuit Court against a general contractor on a public construction project that finished over a year late. The general contractor was charged liquidated damages and sought to avoid paying the subcontractor by passing through the LDs as an offset. At trial CWM attorneys successfully proved that the subcontractor was entitled to payment in full on its claim, plus all of its attorneys’ fees and costs, and defeated the general contractor’s counterclaim entirely.
August 2013 – CWM attorneys Ryan Snow and David Hartnett won a $537,000 judgment in Chesterfield Circuit Court against two companies in a case of successor liability based on the “mere continuation” doctrine. The defendant companies had acquired the assets of another company against which CWM already obtained judgment. Mr. Snow and Mr. Hartnett successfully proved that the purpose of the transactions was to hide the assets of the former company, making it judgment-proof, and continue the business under new names. The Court found the new companies a “mere continuation” of the old one and pierced through corporate formalities to hold them liable for the debt.
April 2012 – CWM attorney Ryan Snow obtained voluntary dismissal of a construction case at trial when plaintiff’s expert witness was unable to testify to a critical element of proof. Mr. Snow represented the defendant in the case, which arose out of a contract to replace a foundation system.
March 2012 – CWM attorneys succeeded in the Virginia Supreme Court in a case arising out of a roof repair project. The case involved funds paid to an agent that were seized by the agent’s secured creditor before delivery to a contractor and architect. CWM represented the plaintiff who paid the funds and sued to recoup them under trust principles. The trial court granted judgment for plaintiff. On appeal, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed in all respects, for the first time recognizing by name the “lowest intermediate balance rule” for tracing funds in a commingled account. The case is reported at St. Joe Co. v. Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Auth., 283 Va. 403, 722 S.E.2d 622 (2012)
Equipment and Material Suppliers
General Contractors and Subcontractors
Marine Construction Companies