MKRB Congratulates Partner Steven Kaplan, 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” in Construction Law (Hartford)! Click here to learn more.

“Pay-if-paid” provisions in construction contracts have always been a problem for subcontractors. A recent Connecticut Superior Court decision has made the problem worse.

By: Paul R. Fitzgerald, Esq. A common provision in a construction contract is the “pay-if-paid" clause.  The purpose of a pay-if-paid clause is to permit the general contractor to withhold payment from its subcontractor unless and until the general contractor’s application for payment is accepted and paid by the project owner.  From the general contractor’s perspective, this clause is not only reasonable, but Read More

Weed At Work: What Accommodations Must Connecticut Employers Make For Medical Marijuana Users?

By: Carolyn A. Young, Esq. In 2012, Connecticut passed the Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA)(Conn. Gen. Stat. §21a-408 et seq), which permits “qualifying patients” to use marijuana for the treatment of certain medical conditions. Connecticut’s medical marijuana law is part of a larger trend nationally to decriminalize and regulate the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, which in turn Read More

The General Contractor Wants To “Bond Off” My Mechanic’s Lien. What Does That Mean, And Should I Agree To the Substitution of a Bond for My Lien?

By: Paul R. Fitzgerald, Esq.   Mechanic’s liens force property owners to deal with subcontractor claims.  Liens create serious problems for owners: a lender will not advance funds on a construction project until the lender is satisfied that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid, and liened property cannot be sold until all liens have been satisfied or discharged.  Since liens create so many Read More

You Don’t Have to be a Mechanic to File a Mechanic’s Lien: Understanding What Types of Services Are Lienable in Connecticut

By: Paul R. Fitzgerald, Esq. A mechanic’s lien is an extremely effective tool for getting paid on privately-owned construction projects. However, not everyone who provides services in connection with such projects is entitled to file a lien. Connecticut courts are routinely asked to decide whether certain types of services are lienable, including landscaping work, snow and debris removal, the provision of rental Read More

A Mechanic’s Lien Is Not Your Only Option: Connecticut’s Fairness in Construction Financing Act Will Also Get You Paid

By: Paul R. Fitzgerald, Esq.   As regular readers of this newsletter know, a mechanic’s lien is a tremendously effective tool for getting paid on private construction projects.  Oftentimes, just the threat of a lien will facilitate prompt payment.  However, there may be times when it is not possible or advisable to file a lien.  For example, you may have missed the deadline to file.  Or perhaps there is Read More

A Troubling Superior Court Decision May Limit The Right Of Subcontractors And Suppliers To File Mechanic’s Liens

By: Paul R. Fitzgerald, Esq. A mechanic’s lien is perhaps the most effective remedy available to subcontractors and suppliers who have not been paid for their work on private construction projects.  In fact, lien rights are so important that they have been established and enhanced by statutes in Connecticut for almost 200 years.  However, a Connecticut Superior Court decision recently interpreted Connecticut’s Read More

Retainage: Know Your Rights (After All, It’s Your Money)

By: Paul R. Fitzgerald, Esq. Perhaps no issue in the construction industry incites more passion and controversy than retainage.  This article details Connecticut’s laws governing the withholding and release of retainage, as well as the remedies available to contractors and subcontractors who experience improper retainage practices. Retainage is money that has been earned by a contractor or subcontractor but is Read More

That Lien Waiver You Signed Before You Received Payment May Be Unenforceable

When it comes to lien waivers, timing is everything. Most construction contracts require subcontractors to submit lien waivers in order to receive payment. Typically, a sub will submit a waiver after performing work, but before receiving payment from the project owner or general contractor. Owners prefer this procedure because they think their property will be protected from mechanic’s liens if they have a waiver Read More

Mechanic’s Liens Will Get You Paid

It’s an unfortunately all-too-common problem for contractors and material suppliers: you performed work or supplied materials on a privately-owned construction project more than thirty days ago, but you still have not been paid.  You’ve contacted the project owner to inquire about the status of your payment, but you’re not getting any answers.  You’ve been patient, but you cannot wait forever to be paid for your Read More

How to Handle Change Requests: When to be Flexible & When to Stand Firm

One of the most common questions our clients ask is: “Do I have to perform work that I believe is outside my scope just because the project owner directed me to do so?” The answer to this question has enormous potential consequences for contractors, who must choose between performing the requested work- often at significant cost-- or refusing to perform the work, and risk backcharges and even termination by the Read More