Kalamazoo & Grand Rapids Construction Litigation Attorney
Litigation for Construction Projects in MI
Many things can go awry during a construction project. From changes in building plans to nonpayment of debts, and bond disputes, to job site injuries, these endeavors are ripe with possible legal disputes. These can involve legal relationships between owners, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and other third parties.
Experienced Attorneys Handling Commercial Construction Litigation
At Willis Law, we understand what is at stake during a construction project. Our attorneys represent all parties from owners to contractors in construction litigation and other methods of dispute resolution.
From Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Paw Paw, Michigan, our experienced attorneys will guide you through your dispute and help you reach an agreement that protects your interests.
Contact us online or call (888) 461-7744 to set up an appointment to discuss construction litigation and dispute resolution.
Litigation Services in Michigan
Our firm represents parties in construction litigation and alternative dispute resolution involving issues such as:
- AIA document disputes
- AIA arbitration
- Contract disputes
- Environmental regulation violations
- Construction defects
- Code violations, workmanship deficiencies, specification or blueprint deviations, and other performance issues
- Architectural disputes
- Real estate disputes involving property line, boundaries, riparian rights, zoning or land use
- Lakefront property disputes
- Condominium disputes and condominium document contests
- Foreclosure actions
- Bond disputes, lien actions, and other nonpayment issues
- Violations of non-compete agreements
- Job site injuries
- Employment or labor disputes
- Construction liens
- Foreclosure avoidance
- Deeds in lieu of foreclosure
- Bank workouts
- Short sales
- Bank deficiency avoidance
In any dispute involving design or building quality issues, we often hire construction specialists, engineers, and other experts, to determine what is wrong with the project. We will ask them to create a written plan that will identify the valid issues and provide an outline for settling the dispute.
Key Clauses In Construction Contracts
A lot of things can go wrong in a construction project that depends on the work of multiple parties. After all, in figurative terms, a train wreck may not necessarily be due to the train itself. It can result from problems at any point in the track.
This is why drafting construction contracts is so tricky. Effective construction litigation depends to a considerable degree on putting a proper contractual infrastructure in place before a project is even initiated.
What are some of the key things that should be clarified, then, at the outset of a construction project?
First of all, it should be noted that contract law is pervasive in the construction context. To be sure, there are other issues that are implicated in the construction industry, such as tax and labor law considerations in the classification of workers. But when a construction project goes off the rails, it is contract law that is fundamentally involved in the resolution.
For example, if completion of a contractor's work is contingent on a subcontractor's work, who bears the burden if the subcontractor does not comply?
In such a situation, there is likely more than one contract in play.
The main contract is the one between the person or entity that wants something built and a general contractor hired to build it. But there are also contracts between the general contractor and various subcontractors.
When talking about construction contracts, then, it is important to be clear about which ones are being referred to. The contract between the general contractor and the owner is not the same as the contracts between the general contractor and the subcontractors.
For one thing, the contract between the owner and the general contractor will often have "scope of work" clauses setting forth the plans and specifications.
There will also typically be a section of this contract addressing when changes in the proposed work are allowed. A "changes clause" can set forth what process must be followed in order for the general contractor to be compensated for additional work that seems necessary to complete the project.
For instance, a contract may call for the construction of a new building on a former industrial site. If the general contractor encounters a need to do unanticipated environmental remediation, that contingency could be addressed in advance through a "changes" clause.
There are other important terms that must be nailed down in construction contracts, such as payment and performance.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in MI
At Willis Law, we believe that litigation should be the last way to resolve disputes. We often advise clients that it is better to work out a compromise beforehand, if possible.
We use ADR whenever we can, as it is less costly than litigation and helps preserve positive working relationships among commercial construction clients. ADR keeps contract disputes out of court using arbitration and mediation:
- Mediation: When the judge orders mediation, it can be an effective and cost-saving way of settling the dispute by putting all parties in the same building and having an experienced nonbiased attorney negotiate the case and hopefully find some common ground between the parties.
- Arbitration: Our attorneys are proud members of the American Arbitration Association and the Home Construction Arbitration and Mediation.
When our attorneys do pursue construction litigation, they are skilled trial lawyers who prepare each case thoroughly and represent clients with aggressive commitment.
Filing and Enforcement of Liens
Michigan's Construction Lien Act provides contractors with a remedy when an owner fails to pay for a construction project. In order to file a construction lien, you must follow the requirements established by the Act. We will file all documents necessary to get a lien against a delinquent property owner. We will defend a lien against allegations of improper billing, poor workmanship, and a missed deadline.
At Willis Law, our lawyers work to resolve construction law disputes involving nonpayment or disputed payments in the way that best protects our clients' interests both now and in the longer term.
Contact a Kalamazoo, Michigan, Construction Litigation Lawyer
To learn more about our construction litigation and ADR practice, call an attorney at Willis Law. We serve West Michigan with cost-effective representation. Contact us today to set up an appointment.
Shaun Willis is the contributing author for this content.
Michael J. Willis J.D., C.P.A.
Shaun P. Willis J.D.
Frank D. Willis J.D.
Donald H. Smith, J.D.
Mariko C. Willis, J.D.
Samuel R. Gilbertson J.D.
Jennifer L. Grahek, J.D.
Adam D. Bancroft, J.D.
Davis C. Martin, J.D.
Aric D. Kasel, J.D.
Verelle Kirkwood J.D.
Kristyn Meylenberg J.D.
Austin J. Beaudet