With Goldberg Segalla as your legal partner, you’ll begin every new construction venture supported by trusted advocates who firmly grasp the complex environment you operate in — and have the tools to help you master it.
Lawyers in our Construction Practice Group truly understand construction — not only construction law, but also the multifaceted needs of clients in each distinct sector of this industry. We have experience with public, private, and hybrid projects of all sizes. Our clients include contractors, subcontractors, construction managers, building owners, renewable and traditional energy firms, environmental consultants, insurers, architects, engineers, suppliers, and others involved in construction and development.
We bring to each construction matter an efficient, multidisciplinary team that synthesizes the strengths and knowledge of our Commercial Litigation, Business Law, Employment and Labor, General Liability, Global Insurance Services, OSHA and Worksite Safety, Professional Liability, Workers’ Compensation, and other practices whose experience is critical to success in this industry.
We Speak Your Language
Our team includes leaders and members in these and other organizations:
- American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Coverage (ACCEC)
- American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), including a New York State Board of Directors member and regional council members
- Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America and AGC of New York State, including an Insurance Task Force member
- Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA)
- Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)
- Defense Research Institute (DRI), including a former National Chair of the Construction Law Committee
- Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC)
- Professional Women in Construction (PWC)
- Various state and regional development associations and committees
Leading the Way
Our team is made of recognized leaders who are driving innovation in construction law.
Goldberg Segalla’s rankings in the 2018 U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” survey include recognitions — driven primarily by client evaluations — in Construction Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation, Insurance Law, Employment Law, and other areas that are critical to success for construction-focused clients.
Our work on litigation arising from massive, multimillion-dollar construction and renewable energy projects in a number of states played a major role in landing the firm in the Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business directory for commercial litigation in Upstate New York for three consecutive years, with our construction practice and lead partner Christopher Belter being singled out both by the Chambers editors and by clients interviewed during the selection process.
In the area of construction worksite personal injury litigation — particularly in New York, where the state’s thorny “Scaffold Law” comes into play — Goldberg Segalla is a leading voice among defense practitioners. Our Construction Practice Group serves as the editors of Construction Site Personal Injury Litigation: New York Labor Law §§ 200, 240(1) and 241(6), the premier legal treatise on this topic, published by the New York State Bar Association.
Our attorneys are frequent speakers and publishers to both the construction industry and the legal community on construction topics. To keep clients informed of changes in the law that may affect them, we frequently conduct in-house seminars on evolving substantive and legal issues, publish the biannual Labor Law Update newsletter, and produce the blog OSHA: Legal Developments and Defense Strategies
By assessing the associated risk of any construction project from the start, we help construction companies and project owners minimize exposure and avoid or reduce potential costs. We assess whether current insurance policies and contracts adequately protect the entity from any foreseeable risks.
Beyond analyzing insurance policies and business relationships, we advise owners and contractors on a broad range of complex risk management issues and guide them in selecting and implementing proactive risk management programs.
Backed by the extensive transactional and litigation experience of our Commercial Litigation and Transactional attorneys, our team prepares and negotiates construction-related contracts with a focus on avoiding risk, minimizing potential liability, and protecting the business for the long term. We have done this successfully for clients on a wide range projects, so we know how to navigate the intricate relationships among the many parties involved in construction contracts.
For private businesses that regularly serve the government or are looking to expand their business into government projects, we help navigate the complex and unique legal and business issues involved in government construction contracting. We have extensive experience advising on ways to avoid future litigation and counsel on the full range of issues that frequently arise, including:
- Contract certifications
- Cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs)
- False Claims Act
- Government competition requirements
- Overcharges and pricing issues
- Pre- and post-award bid protests
- Requests for proposals (RFPs)
- Service Contract Act (SCA) compliance
- State procurement laws
- Suspension or debarment
When necessary, however, we bring the advantage of our extensive trial experience to pursue bid protests or represent clients in litigation before state and federal courts and agencies, including the Court of Federal Claims, the Board of Contract Appeals, and the Government Accountability Office.
Construction Insurance, OCIPs, and Bad Faith Claims
Goldberg Segalla’s Global Insurance Services team has been ranked among the biggest and best practices of its kind in the world. We leverage that team’s knowledge and experience to help construction clients manage risk through practical and thorough insurance coverage analysis. We have extensive experience handling issues such as damages resulting from product or construction defect, fire and global warming claims, and employer’s liability exclusions in commercial general liability (CGL) policies involving construction site subcontractors.
Our combined strength in construction and insurance coverage makes us exceptionally qualified to advise owners or contractors on the implementation of, and compliance with, owner-controlled insurance programs (OCIPs), which owners of large-scale construction projects increasingly require. This type of policy provides uniform and universal insurance coverage for the owner, general contractor, and any-tier subcontractors working on the construction site, with the goal of creating a uniform safety/risk management program — and a unified defense — in the event of subsequent litigation related to worker injury, construction defect, or workers’ compensation.
For insurers, the complex nature of construction projects and the number of parties involved create high potential for bad faith claims over what may have been rightfully denied coverage. Our approach to avoiding or defending bad faith claims starts with proactive management of the insurance claim or coverage request process from day one. We employ early motion practice to dismiss bad faith and extracontractual claims at the onset of litigation, ensuring the proper confines of discovery.
One of the key differentiators of Goldberg Segalla’s construction team is our deep understanding of the business of construction. That means we understand the intricate financial relationships at play and put that knowledge to work during the project financing phase, where we help clients develop innovative solutions with a focus on expediting revenue procurement and generating cash flow for both the short term and the long term. We analyze financing arrangements, bids, contracts, and other related notices, and we have significant experience with tax-exempt or other special bonds as well as various government programs, incentives, grants, and tax incentives that enable our clients to take their projects to the next level.
Whether privately funded or government-funded, many large-scale construction projects require performance and payment bonds. Our construction team guides owners, general contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, and suppliers through the full range of bonding issues
in order to safeguard their investments and control risk. We have extensive experience with guaranty, surety, and preemptive mechanic lien bonds — along with other complex issues related to public bond and federal grant financing — and our advocates work closely with clients to analyze bids, defaults, contracts, and other related notices in order to protect their interests.
The opportunities keep growing for woman-owned or minority-owned companies to obtain additional contracted-for work and exposure to governmental contract bids. As one example, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo increased the requirement for utilization of minority- or woman-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) for state-awarded contracts to 30 percent. Our attorneys guide clients through the application process at the federal, state, and local levels. We assist contractors in obtaining MWBE certification or re-certification, and we help ensure compliance with the various mandates imposed on utilizing MWBE-certified firms.
Goldberg Segalla’s Construction Practice Group is a team of efficient, creative problem solvers dedicated to protecting contractors, construction managers, and design professionals against the broad range of defect claims that could threaten their business livelihoods and their reputations.
We have a strong track record of protecting clients and their work product on projects of all sizes and scope, ranging from schools and hotels to pipelines and renewable energy infrastructure. In fact, our work has helped rewrite the law at the appellate level in favor of the design professional community.
We represent the full range of parties that may be implicated in high-exposure defect claims, including:
- Contractors and subcontractors
- Energy firms
- Environmental consultants
But we’re not just construction litigators. We are business and professional liability lawyers too, and we apply to every case our deep understanding of each client’s business and their work on the project. We understand and appreciate the contractual relationships at play and put that knowledge to work for our clients. Our exceptional industry knowledge and savvy greatly increases the value we provide when giving proactive, risk-minimizing counsel throughout all phases of a project — from initial conception and design all the way through completion and beyond — so companies and professionals can focus on their business and their practice rather than on protracted lawsuits.
When design or construction defect claims arise, we bring extensive experience protecting clients against claims involving issues and allegations including:
- Defective workmanship
- Design defects
- Faulty or defective materials
- Improper installation
- Indemnification and contribution
- Negligent engineering and inspection
- Negligent supervision of construction projects
- Professional negligence
Delay and Acceleration Claims
Our construction team deeply understands the constraints placed upon owners and contractors during any given construction project. Foreseeable and unexpected delays arise, for any number of reasons, and affect the completion date for the subject project. Regardless of the reason or necessity for the delay, various projects still need to be completed by the originally intended and contracted-for date, thus giving rise to what is known as acceleration, along with the resulting compression of the production schedule to make up for lost time.
With our attorneys’ extensive experience, we can help decipher the protections required prior to an issue arising and continue to work with clients from the start to completion of a project, thereby effectively identifying situations that can trigger acceleration and advising clients on ways to ensure they are not left on the hook for additional costs. In the event litigation is unavoidable, our clients can rest assured we will be with them every step of the way to protect their interests.
Excavation and Underpinning
When excavation occurs on a construction site, it is crucial to take additional steps like underpinning and shoring to protect the surrounding properties, buildings, and their occupants to avoid or mitigate the risk of adjacent property damage or the collapse of structures on them. The potential for damage to adjacent structures is not limited to the act of excavation itself, though: The resulting damage can also arise from improperly performed underpinning and shoring.
Goldberg Segalla’s construction attorneys have successfully defended owners, general contractors, various-tier subcontractors, and design professionals from claims of negligent construction such as those related to excavation and underpinning. We know from experience that frequently the protections afforded to adjacent property owners depends on the location of the construction work. For example, in New York City, the Court of Appeals has mandated that contractors requiring excavation to occur are subject to strict liability for resulting damage, regardless of the depth of the excavation. The imposition of strict liability affects not only the excavation and underpinning contractors, but also the owner and general contractor.
Our experience with the caselaw in various jurisdictions, along with deeply understanding the relationships among all parties potentially in play, positions us to provide superior representation in the event of excavation- or underpinning-related claims.
Goldberg Segalla’s Construction practice combines deep worksite injury litigation experience in some of the country’s toughest jurisdictions with the invaluable capabilities of a rapid response team available 24/7.
Rapid Response Team
The hours and days immediately following a construction site accident are critical. Construction site conditions are fluid — structures change, equipment is moved, and witnesses are often difficult to track down.
Having the right people in place who understand the importance of preserving evidence after an accident is vital to the defense of a claim that may be brought years after a project is completed. Our attorneys have extensive experience and training in post-accident investigations and have created on-call relationships with private investigators, accident reconstruction and safety experts, and other professionals who work together to protect our clients from potential claims. We work with our clients to address OSHA, law enforcement, and other governmental agency investigations.
Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide immediate direction and control over an accident scene.
Worksite Injury Litigation
Goldberg Segalla attorneys have amassed decades of collective experience defending worksite injury cases in state and federal courts throughout the country, and some members of our team themselves have acted as arbitrators or mediators for construction worksite injury claims.
We handle the full range of claims and matters arising from worksite injuries, such as:
- Common-law negligence claims
- Insurance coverage and indemnity disputes
- New York Labor Law/Scaffold Law claims
- Claims of failure to provide a safe place to work
- Alleged Industrial Code violations
- OSHA investigations and claims
- Workers’ compensation issues
By formulating aggressive and creative strategies in defense of our clients, we have successfully helped clients avoid or limit exposure in litigation altogether. We have also effectively resolved worksite injury cases through both dispositive motions and trial. Our keen understanding of the ever-evolving law enables us to develop an effective strategy early in the process. In addition, we provide in-house seminars to clients on the present status of substantive issues, as well as on significant legal issues such as additional insured status, anti-subrogation rules, and liability for failure to procure insurance.
New York’s “Scaffold Law”
Goldberg Segalla has litigated many of the leading cases in New York State involving the “Scaffold Law” sections of New York’s Labor Law — the antiquated, plaintiff-friendly, and controversial law that costs the private sector an estimated $1.5 billion annually and can impose absolute liability on owners and contractors for elevation-related construction accidents.
Through consistently obtaining victories in New York’s appellate and trial courts, we create favorable caselaw for the defense of the industry against Scaffold Law claims, such as cases in which the weight and distance of a falling object is not significant enough to trigger liability, instances when a plaintiff had been directed not to use a piece of equipment and then misused it, and cases in which a plaintiff was warned not to use a cracked plank that caused his fall while others were readily available.
Further demonstrating our prominence in this area, our Construction Practice Group serves as the editorial team for the premier treatise on New York Labor Law litigation: Construction Site Personal Injury Litigation: New York Labor Law §§ 200, 240(1), and 241(6), published by the New York State Bar Association. Our own Labor Law Update newsletter keeps clients informed about significant changes and the latest cases.
In fact, our lawyers are integrally involved in the call for reform of this law, through presenting at municipal and industry conferences as well as publishing critiques in legal and trade journals.
We rely on our deep knowledge of each client’s business — plus our team’s experience with public and private construction projects of all sizes — to determine the most effective remedy for clients when they do not receive payment for the work their company has done.
Our goal is to achieve a favorable settlement or judgment in the client’s favor and to locate assets from which the judgment may be satisfied. We have extensive experience utilizing mechanic’s liens in the proper circumstances and applying trust fund statutes on behalf of subcontractors and suppliers to enforce debt. We are also skilled in the application of statutory remedies, such as New York’s Prompt Payment law, to help clients recover what they have earned.
Our attorneys know how to maneuver the intricate steps required to ensure payment is received for services rendered. When a contractor or subcontractor is not compensated or not fully compensated for the work, labor, and/or materials provided, we bring this extensive experience to help clients evaluate whether filing a mechanic’s lien is a practical method under the unique circumstances of the situation.
Our construction attorneys are well versed in state lien laws and the incredibly strict deadlines associated with them. For example, in New York State, the failure to properly serve the lien and file the proof of service within the time constraints imposed by law can prove fatal to a claim, often prior to the other side even consulting counsel. Because we are so proficient with these regulations, we can simplify and streamline the process for our clients.
We assist clients in all aspects relating to mechanic’s liens, including:
- Filing liens
- Enforcing liens
- Lien removal
- Undertaking and bonding
- Lien dismissal
- Itemizing mechanic’s liens
- Inspection of books and records
- Priority issues
- Trust diversion claims
- Foreclosure actions
- Filing notice of pendency
- Willful exaggeration of lien amounts
- Removing defective liens from a property
Surety Bond Claims
Goldberg Segalla represents sureties in the full spectrum of bond claims and related matters. As leaders in construction and surety law, we are well-versed in the nature of these intertwined industries and the forces that shape them. This deep industry knowledge helps us understand what is important to our clients — and therefore tailor our legal services to protect their interests and better serve their unique needs.
Our work often involves contract surety bonds, including the negotiation of surety agreements, analyzing and managing surety risks and, if litigation is unavoidable, representing clients in all phases of surety disputes.
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