Contract Disputes

News & Analysis as of

California’s “Third Party Litigation Exception” Not Preempted By The FAA

A California appellate court recently examined that state’s legislative response to the situation where a party moves to compel arbitration and some of the parties to the dispute are not parties to the arbitration agreement....more

Rumors of Revival Were Greatly Exaggerated: Fifth Circuit Reverses Opinion on Contractual Liability Exclusion

We previously discussed the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Crownover v. Mid-Continent Cas. Co., No. 11-10166 (5th Cir June 27, 2014)—an opinion that seemed to revive the contractual liability...more

Recent Federal Court Rulings Favor Airlines in Frequent-Flyer Cases

In April 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) preempted a frequent flyer program member's common law claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing because the...more

Service Provider Not A Fiduciary In Negotiating Its Contract

A federal district court in Iowa dismissed a putative class action complaint brought by several 401(k) plan sponsors who alleged that Principal Life Insurance Company breached its fiduciary duties to the plans by charging...more

Subcontractor Working on a Federal Project in Tennessee Protected by Tennessee Prompt Pay Act

The operation and applicability of prompt pay acts in various states is something that contractors ignore to their detriment. A recent Tennessee case drives home the importance of understanding the applicability of any prompt...more

When Should you File a Contract Disputes Act Claim?

Under the Contract Disputes Act (“CDA”), a contractor must submit a claim within six years of accrual of the claim. A claim is simply a written demand for payment directed to the contracting officer (“CO”) that indicates that...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Formally Adopts “Gist of the Action” Doctrine

Pennsylvania’s “gist of the action” doctrine prohibits plaintiffs from pursuing tort claims for what are, in actuality, breach of contract claims. A variety of defendants, including those in the financial services industry,...more

Gist of the Action Doctrine May Not Bar Tort Claims Arising from Negligent Performance of Contractual Duties

On December 15, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court broke its long silence on the gist of the action doctrine when it issued its decision in Bruno v. Erie Insurance Co. The gist of the action doctrine precludes a plaintiff...more

Utah Supreme Court Confirms Employee Handbook Disclaimer Can Protect Utah Companies from Implied Contractual Claims

A recent Utah Supreme Court decision drives home to companies with employees in Utah that a clear and conspicuous disclaimer in a prominent point of an employee handbook goes a long way to protecting the company from any...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Breadth of Condo Developer's Tort Duties

In the closing days of its November term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to review a decision from Division 5 of the First District with potentially significant implications for developers: Henderson Square Condominium...more

Fourth Circuit Affirms Order Dismissing Case To Permit Arbitration Against Non-Signatory To Arbitration Agreement

An arbitration agreement was contained in a retail installment contract. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the case pending arbitration against a non-signatory to the arbitration agreement on two...more

Construction Contracts: Nothing Beats a Meeting of the Minds

Waldschmidt v. Singletary Construction LLC (In re Tackett), 516 B.R. 498 (Bankr. M.D. Tenn. 2014) – A bankruptcy trustee sought turnover of profits from the sale of homes constructed by a contractor. The trustee...more

En Banc Pennsylvania Superior Court Rejects Extending CASPA Liability Beyond Contracting Parties

Scungio Borst & Assocs. v. 410 Shurs Lane Developers, LLC et al., 2014 Pa. Super. LEXIS 4527 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2014). On reconsideration of an earlier panel decision of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the Court en banc...more

What’s in that Contract Again? Reflections on the Recent Recession

During and immediately after the most recent recession, construction litigation seemed to hit an apex. New pre-litigation matters to resolve monetary disputes from recession-era construction projects continue to keep many...more

PTAB Will Not Review Contract Issues Even if They Relate to Standing

Whether a Petitioner breached a contract, that limited its ability to challenge a patent, is an issue outside the purview of the PTAB, per a recent decision in Ford Motor Company v. Paice LLC & The Abell Foundation, Inc.,...more

Crime-Fraud Exception to Attorney-Client Privilege – Facebook’s Lawsuit

The crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege: As an attorney, you may not anticipate it applying to your emails, your letters or your advice to your client. But even if you never see it coming, your client’s...more

California Case Requires Arbitration Despite Lack of Actual Controversy

For parties to litigate a contract dispute in a court of law, the parties’ disagreement must have ripened into an actual controversy presenting more than a mere academic difference of opinion. But under a recent California...more

Illinois Court Holds Relief Available to a Sub-Subcontractor Under an Unjust Enrichment Theory for Work Requested but Not Paid for...

C. Szabo Contracting, Inc. v. Lorig Construction Co., 2014 IL App (2d) 131328; 2014 Ill. App. LEXIS 699 (Sept. 29, 2014) - In May of 2006, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (“Highway Authority”) retained...more

Contract Prohibiting Patent Challenges Does Not Preclude Standing to File IPR Petition

Ford Motor Co. v. Paice LLC - Addressing whether it has the authority to decide a contractual dispute in the context of a post issuance proceeding under the America Invents Act (AIA), the U.S. Patent and Trademark...more

Letters of credit, on-demand bonds, and the "fraud exception"

On the 9th of September 2014, the Privy Council in the United Kingdom delivered a judgment in Alternative Power Solution Ltd. v. Central Electricity Board reaffirming the established principle that, other than in cases of...more

More Seismic Rumbling in Louisiana

In Olympia Minerals et al v. HS Resources, et al, the Louisiana Supreme Court addressed a decision we discussed in a February entry by affirming in part, reversing in part, amending in part and remanding (because why do one...more

How is litigation involving spouses handled in Arizona? [Video]

Phoenix business law firm Jaburg Wilk Shareholder Roger Cohen discusses how litigation involving spouses is handled in Arizona. For more information visit www.jaburgwilk.com. ...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Approves Complex Business Litigation Program

The State Judiciary has recently announced the commencement of a Complex Business Litigation Program, which will begin accepting cases January 1, 2015. The new program will further the Judiciary’s goals of streamlining...more

Behavioral Managed Care Organizations Do Not Have Unbridled Discretion – Providers Have Rights

Here is a common scenario: A behavioral healthcare provider has committed substantial resources into developing specialized behavioral healthcare services in the counties managed by a Managed Care Organization (“MCO”) under...more

Texas Federal Court Clarifies Broad Scope of Professional Liability Policies for Lawyers

Lawyers may be surprised to learn that lawsuits brought by clients challenging something other than purely legal advice or advocacy—such as billing—may not be covered by their professional liability policies. Interpreting the...more

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