Practices - Litigation

Construction Contract Dispute Litigation

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In construction disputes, you need out-of-the-box thinking that brings your adversaries to the table and your case to a close.

Construction contract disputes cost time and money. Whether by negotiation or litigation, Downs Rachlin’s construction law attorneys combine industry experience with legal prowess to resolve individual and commercial construction conflicts.

Downs Rachlin’s construction advisors and litigators are experienced representatives of contractors and owners in construction litigation:

  • Interpretation and enforcement of standard and non-standard contract documents,
  • Change order and differing site conditions disputes,
  • Contract administration disputes among owners, design professionals and contractors,
  • Subcontractor disputes,
  • Delay and lost production damages claims,
  • Design and construction defect claims.

Our resourceful and approachable construction lawyers work closely with clients to solve the most difficult problems. We litigate in the state and federal courts in Vermont, New Hampshire and other New England states, and also use negotiation, mediation and arbitration to solve construction disputes. Downs Rachlin is an associate member of the northern Vermont chapter of the Northern New England Home Builders and Remodelers Association.

When needed, Downs Rachlin Martin’s focused construction litigation lawyers collaborate with the experienced transactional and land use attorneys of the firms Real Estate and Environmental & Land Use Law groups.

Recent Accomplishments

Downs Rachlin Martin’s Construction Litigation team makes a habit of resolving costly construction disputes.

Construction Law Case Study #1
A Contractor received inaccurate plans on which to bid that greatly increased its costs to complete a utility project. Revised plans submitted by the Project Engineer also proved inaccurate, greatly increasing the contractor’s costs and requiring that it make changes to the work as it progressed. The contract, however, called for unit cost payments calculated on the distances and depths set forth on the inaccurate plans, and did not provide any payment for certain portions of the work. When the Contractor submitted bills for its increased costs based on unknown conditions and changed circumstances, the project engineer and the project owner disputed that any additional money was due. Faced with a contract that would cause it to lose money and place its whole business at risk, the contractor sought legal help from Downs Rachlin Martin attorney Bruce Palmer. Downs Rachlin Martin filed suit, then negotiated with the project owner and engineer, recovering additional funds above the original contract price that allowed the project to be completed at a reasonable profit to the contractor.

Construction Law Case Study #2
When a young professional couple hired a local contractor to make major renovations to their home they trusted that he would treat them fairly. Instead, he overcharged for his labor, billed for materials never used and, when confronted, he threatened to sue them and abandoned the job, taking materials they had already paid for with him. Downs Rachlin Martin attorney Marc Heath moved swiftly, seizing the contractor’s construction trailer through court process and recovering some of the pilfered materials. Attorney Heath sued the contractor for fraud, and obtained a $300,000 judgment that included all overcharges, his attorneys fees, and treble damages under the Vermont Consumer Fraud Statute. The Judgment was affirmed on appeal by the Vermont Supreme Court.

Attorney Jennifer McDonald

Jennifer E. McDonald

Director

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Construction Contract Dispute Litigation

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