Managing Partner Teno West and Partner Steven Torres Participated in the 2021 CAASNY Annual Meeting

Managing Partner Teno A. West and Partner Steven A. Torres participated in the 2021 CAASNY Annual Meeting on September 12-14, 2021. At the Annual Meeting, both attorneys presented and discussed the relationship between standard delay claims provisions and the halt in the workforce due to COVID-19.

Titled “Mastering Post-COVID Delay and Additional Work Claims: A Public Owner’s Toolbox,” Attorney West and Attorney Torres outlined the nature and type of delay claims that are ordinarily encountered in construction projects, detailing the four types of delay claims and the standard provisions in construction contracts. Focusing on these standard provisions, the presentation discussed how COVID-19 impacted traditional claims provisions and what must be considered moving forward when drafting construction contracts.

As discussed in the presentation, New York issued an Executive Order that shut down construction except for essential construction to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many public construction projects were considered essential, but in order to safely proceed, additional safety measures were implemented at construction sites, including limiting employees; installing health and screening stations for symptoms and testing; and enforcing social distancing measures.

In consideration of limited workers, limited materials, and the obvious issue of delay, the presentation discussed the relationship between standard contract provisions, including Uncontrollable Circumstances and Force Majeure in light of local, state and federal guidelines that would impact the timeline of projects. Attorneys West and Torres highlighted what is included and excluded in these provisions, as well as how to distinguish and determine how any future pandemic would need to be taken into account moving forward.

In ending the presentation, Attorney West and Attorney Torres addressed important factors to consider when moving forward with delay claims in future public construction contracts. These include: procedural and substantive proof of delay, integration of contract law with state orders that address pandemic requirements, consideration of different contract defenses, using current uncontrollable circumstances to analogize potential outcomes, and to reconsider binding arbitration.

Managing Partner Teno A. West and Partner Steven A. Torres will be delivering their presentation “Infrastructure, Energy and the Environment: Integrating Complex Regulatory and Funding Schemes in Routine Procurement and Contract Documents – A County Attorney’s Primer” at the upcoming  CAASNY Annual Meeting to be held May 23-24, 2022 in Cooperstown, New York.

If you wish to discuss this presentation or the issues discussed therein, please contact WGL Managing Partner Teno A. West at 917-922-6226.