There are a variety of contracts and forms involved with construction projects. Whether the project is public or private, complications and disputes can easily arise. At our firm, we provide diligent construction litigation services to contractors, laborers, consultants, and others involved in the construction industry. Louisiana sets forth various stipulations regarding the performance of construction.
Under Louisiana law, construction litigation may involve claims regarding:
- Breaches of contract
- Breaches of warranty
- Misrepresentation and fraud
- The Louisiana Private Works Act
- The Louisiana Public Works Act
Laborers are expected to perform adequate work that meets the requirements and standards of the project. If they negligently fail to perform their duties, they may be held liable for damages in a lawsuit. They may also be held liable for not having the necessary experience, training, and skill to perform the work.
However, they may not be held responsible for defects caused by faults in the instructions or specifications provided by the contractor. On the other hand, they may be liable in third-party tort claims, unless they show that the faulty instructions were not hazardous or that they had no reason to think the defects were dangerous.
According to the Louisiana Civil Code, a contractor or architect must be held responsible for buildings that collapse in a certain time period because of poor workmanship. For stone or brick buildings, the preemptive time frame is 10 years.
For wood and wood-framed buildings, the preemptive time frame is 5 years. If the negligence of any party is proven, the responsible party will have to provide compensation for the cost of repairs. If the building is completely defective, the negligent party will have to provide compensation for the sum of all contract payments, the cost of returning the property to a pre-construction state, and the cost for removing the damaged building.
Breaches of Contract in Construction Cases
Under Louisiana law, contractors, suppliers, owners, subcontractors, and others may be held liable for a breach of contract. A breach of contract involves any action or inaction that does not comply with the terms of the contract. For example, a claim may be brought against a contractor who fails to perform work within a specified time limit, or who refuses to perform his or her obligations according to the contract.
In order for a construction contract to be valid, it must have:
- The written consent of both parties
- The ability of each party to complete the terms of the contract
- A lawful consideration or cause factor
- Specific terms and subject matter
If a party is found to have breached a contract, he or she will be liable for damages. These may include lost profits and, rarely, completion of specific work. The damages are designed to make it as though the breach of contract did not occur for the non-breaching party. Thus, if the breach of contract resulted in financial loss, the breaching party must make up for the loss.
Breaches of Warranty
Breaches of warranty commonly occur regarding residential home construction. The New Home Warranty Act under Louisiana law sets forth regulations for contractors and others involved in the construction of new homes. The Act states that contractors and others may be held liable for defects and poor workmanship in new houses. There are certain conditions and time frames that apply.
Under the New Home Warranty Act, a construction lawsuit may be filed for:
- Defects in building standards within 1 year
- Defects in heating, plumbing, ventilating, or cooling systems within 2 years
- Defects in major structural systems within 5 years
Breaches of contracts and warranties are common grounds for filing a lawsuit. Parties involved in construction must abide by the terms in the contract, as well as perform thorough, adequate work for public and private projects. If you are facing a construction litigation case, it is important to have experienced Louisiana construction litigation attorneys on your side. We can help you understand the laws related to your situation and walk you through the process.
CALL OUR NEW ORLEANS CONSTRUCTION LITIGATION ATTORNEYS TODAY AT (504) 493-7519
At SVHC, we diligently represent clients in construction litigation cases. If you are involved in a dispute regarding a private or public construction project, our team of New Orleans construction litigation lawyers can analyze your situation and build your case. We have a thorough knowledge of Louisiana construction laws. From start to finish, our firm can represent you in court as your pursue a favorable outcome.