Justia U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Construction Law
Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Azar
Baltimore filed suit against the Government, alleging that HHS's Final Rule, prohibiting physicians and other providers in Title X programs from referring patients for an abortion, even if that is the patient's wish, violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Final Rule, instead, requires them to refer the patient for prenatal care. Furthermore, the Final Rule requires entities receiving Title X funds, but offering abortion-related services pursuant to another source of funds, to physically separate their abortion-related services from the Title X services. After the district court issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the Government from implementing or enforcing the Final Rule because the Final Rule is likely not in accordance with law, the Government appealed. While the appeal of the preliminary injunction was pending and after discovery, the district court issued a permanent injunction on different grounds.The Fourth Circuit consolidated the appeals and a majority of the full court voted to hear both cases en banc. The court upheld the district court's grant of the permanent injunction on two grounds: first, the Final Rule was promulgated in an arbitrary and capricious manner because it failed to recognize and address the ethical concerns of literally every major medical organization in the country, and it arbitrarily estimated the cost of the physical separation of abortion services; and second, the Final Rule contravenes statutory provisions requiring nondirective counseling in Title X programs and prohibiting interference with physician/patient communications. Accordingly, because the court affirmed the permanent injunction in Case No. 20-1215, the appeal of the preliminary injunction in Case No. 19-1614 is moot and the court dismissed it. View "Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Azar" on Justia Law
US f/u/b of Modern Mosaic, Ltd v. Turner Construction Co.
Modern filed suit against Turner, alleging claims arising from a subcontract outlining Modern's role in the construction of an FBI facility. The Fourth Circuit held that the district court properly applied West Virginia's law and rejected all of Modern's claims based on the plain language of the contract. In this case, the district court granted Turner summary judgment on the field verification claim, and subsequently ruled in favor of Turner on the remaining claims.The court held that Modern and Turner were two sophisticated parties that entered into a detailed contract spelling out their rights and responsibilities in the construction of the FBI facility, and the provisions of that contract directly addressed the very issues raised in this appeal. Furthermore, the provisions of the contract compelled the result reached by the district court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "US f/u/b of Modern Mosaic, Ltd v. Turner Construction Co." on Justia Law
Slay’s Restoration, LLC v. Wright National Flood Insurance Co.
A subcontractor hired by a property owner's contractor to repair flood damage to the owner's property was not injured in its business or property by reason of a pattern of racketeering allegedly carried out by the property owner's insurance company and its independent consultants to reduce the amount paid on the property owner's insurance claims for reimbursement of the repair costs. In this case, the Fourth Circuit held that the property owner's subcontractor, Slay's Restoration, was not proximately caused by conduct of the insurance company, and Slay's Restoration therefore failed to state a plausible claim under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against the insurance company and its consultants upon which relief could be granted. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of Slay's Restoration's complaint. View "Slay's Restoration, LLC v. Wright National Flood Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Posted in: Construction Law
Dan Ryan Builders, Inc. v. Crystal Ridge Dev., Inc.
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
Construction Supervision Svcs v. Branch Banking & Trust
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
Carnell Construction Corp. v. Danville RHA
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
Ellis v. Louisiana-Pacific Corp.
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