Construction disputes can threaten business interests and cost those involved significant time and money. The construction litigation attorneys at the Voelker Litigation Group represent many parties in Chicago and other Cook County communities that find themselves embroiled in these matters. Our clients have included public and private owners, homeowners' associations, construction firms, subcontractors, suppliers, developers, engineers, design professionals, and bond and surety companies. Construction litigation can arise out of business operations, compensation, insurance, environmental compliance, defects, regulatory compliance, governmental permits, employee claims, and mechanics liens.Protect Your Rights during a Construction Dispute
Many construction disputes turn on a contractor or subcontractor's failure to perform its duties under a contract. In many cases, a failure to perform under the contract is governed by the same laws as other breaches of contract. The court will look at the four corners of the written agreement and interpret the contract according to its plain language. However, in some cases, special statutes may apply.
Under 815 ILCS 603, known as the Contractor Prompt Payment Act, for example, certain provisions are read into construction contracts. If a contractor performed according to the contractual terms and payment is approved by an owner or his agent, the owner must pay the amount due pursuant to the application within 15 calendar days of the approval. However, a payment application is deemed approved 25 days after it is received by the owner unless the owner provides a written statement within that period, stating the amount withheld and why.
Moreover, if payment to a contractor or subcontractor is not made in a timely fashion, the owner may be liable for the amount of the payment, plus interest equal to 10% per annum. When a contractor or subcontractor is not paid as required by law, it can provide written notice within seven calendar days and suspend performance of the contract without penalty for breach of contract until the payment is made.
In some cases, it is the property owner or developer, not a contractor or subcontractor, which fails to perform under the contract terms. There may be causes of action arising out of contract, warranties, and tort law, and it may be necessary for insurance companies to get involved.
Remedies may vary depending on the cause of action asserted and successfully proven. Generally, the purpose of contract damages is to compensate a non-breaching party to a contract. If a contractor, subcontractor, or other builder provides a less than full performance or defectively performs, the cost of correcting the defective condition can potentially be recovered, so that the plaintiff is put in the position it would have been in had there been a full performance. However, if correcting the deficiency would be unreasonably destructive to a builder's work, or the costs of correction are unreasonably disproportionate to the benefit or the purchase, the measure of damages is the amount by which the property's value is reduced.
Depending on the circumstances and the causes of action proven, a property owner that is harmed by a contractor's failure to perform may be able to recover actual damages, loss of use and enjoyment, appraisal fees and storage charges, reasonable cost of rental or similar property, and interest on the damages. In limited circumstances, such as fraud, exemplary or punitive damages that punish a defendant and deter similar malicious future conduct may be awarded as well.Enlist a Chicago Attorney for Your Litigation Needs
Construction industry practice and construction litigation frequently involve technical issues. The Voelker Litigation Group is made up of skilled Chicago lawyers with experience in handling commercial disputes and the technical information that may arise in them. Call our attorneys at 312-870-5430 or contact us via our online form. We represent clients in Cook County communities like Mount Prospect, Oak Lawn, and Highland Park, as well as in cities like Bloomington, Peoria, and Springfield. Our firm also has provided legal guidance in Florida, California, and Wisconsin, among other states.