Construction projects are not always simple, and some continue to evolve even after the work has begun. Complications and challenges surface during many steps in the construction process, many of which were unexpected during the initial planning stages. While the contractor follows guidelines from the contract, sometimes, the owner requests changes in the original plan.…

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For general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers in Michigan, the construction lien is one of the most powerful legal tools they have to get paid for their work. Knowing how to enforce a construction lien is key. Here are the ways a subcontractor can preserve a construction lien and enforce it against a contractor, developer or…

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In Epps v 4 Quarters Restoration, LLC et al, No 147727, 2015 WL 5684196 (Mich Sept 28, 2015), the Michigan Supreme Court had occasion to provide additional guidance upon the application of MCL 339.2412(1), which limits an unlicensed builder’s ability to sue to collect compensation for work performed. Our Supreme Court held that the statute does…

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The Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed personal liability for violations under the Michigan Builders Trust Fund Act, MCL 570.151 et seq. (“MBTFA”) in Windrush, Inc, v Lee Van Poppering, Shagbark Development, Inc, and Northland Management, Inc, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued September 10, 2015 (Docket No. 315958). The building…

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Subcontractors could face protracted liability for work performed on prior projects according to a recent decision of the Michigan Supreme Court, where a contractor sought and obtained indemnification from its subcontractor, even though the court held the statute of limitations barred recovery on the subcontract itself. In Miller-Davis Co v Ahrens Construction, Inc, 495 Mich…

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The Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued an unpublished opinion that gives guidance to construction law practitioners and contractors. In Lawrence M Clarke, Inc v Draeger et al, Plaintiff was a general contractor engaged to construct a public sanitary sewer system. Plaintiff accepted its subcontractor’s proposal, added a profit margin of 12%, and essentially submitted…

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The Michigan Court of Appeals recently provided guidance on how to better determine whether a private construction project should be considered a “residential structure” for purposes of construction lien rights under the Michigan Construction Lien Act. The Lien Act defines “residential structure”  as “an individual residential condominium unit or a residential building containing not more than…

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Injured parties claiming professional malpractice against licensed design professionals must present expert testimony to establish breach of the standard of care which would permit a reasonable inference of causation according to the Michigan Court of Appeals in a recent unpublished opinion. In City of Huntington Woods v Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment, Inc., a non-privity municipality…

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