Justia U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Construction Law

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Robert Lang and his construction business (collectively, “Lang”) contracted to sell Dan Ryan Builders, Inc. (“Dan Ryan”) all the lots in a housing development Lang was planning to build. When cracks appeared in the basement slab and foundation walls of a partially constructed house on one of the lots Dan Ryan had purchased, the parties amended their agreement. After further problems developed in the construction of the homes, Dan Ryan filed this lawsuit against Lang seeking monetary damages for breach of contract. After a bench trial, the district court entered judgment in favor of Dan Ryan and ordered Lang to pay Dan Ryan limited damages on the contract claim. Dan Ryan appealed, seeking additional damages. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in its award of damages. View "Dan Ryan Builders, Inc. v. Crystal Ridge Dev., Inc." on Justia Law

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CSS, the debtor, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in 2012. Acting as general contractor or as a first tier subcontractor, CSS placed orders with Subcontractors, the creditor. The court held that construction subcontractors entitled to a lien on funds under North Carolina law had an interest in property when the debtor contractor filed for bankruptcy, by which time the subcontractors had not yet served notice of, and thereby perfected, their liens. Because there is no dispute that the other criteria of the applicable bankruptcy stay exception have been met, the court held that the bankruptcy court and district court correctly allowed Subcontractors to serve notice of, and thereby perfect, their liens post-petition.View "Construction Supervision Svcs v. Branch Banking & Trust" on Justia Law

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Carnell, a "minority-owned" corporation, filed suit against the Housing Authority and Blaine based on claims of race discrimination, retaliation, and breach of contract. The court held that a corporation can acquire a racial identity and establish standing to seek a remedy for alleged race discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d, but that the district court properly dismissed one of the defendants from liability on plaintiff's race discrimination claims; the district court abused its discretion in permitting the use of particular impeachment evidence, which should have been excluded as unfairly prejudicial under Federal Rule of Evidence 403; and the district court properly reduced certain damages awarded to plaintiff on its contract claims, but decided that the strict notice requirements of the Virginia Public Procurement Act, Virginia Code 2.2-4300 through 4377, required the court to narrow further the scope of recoverable contract damages. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Carnell Construction Corp. v. Danville RHA" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's order dismissing their putative class action complaint, claiming that LP negligently designed and manufactured Trimboard, a composite building product designed and marketed for use as exterior trim around windows and doors, and violated the provisions of the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA), N.C. Gen. Stat. 75-1.1 et seq. The court held that the district court did not err in deciding that plaintiffs' negligence claims were barred by North Carolina's economic loss rule (ELR); the district court properly dismissed the UDTPA claim; and the district court properly dismissed the declaratory judgment claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Ellis v. Louisiana-Pacific Corp." on Justia Law