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June 2015

Construction Law Update

Second Quarter 2015

Gordon & Rees's Construction Group is pleased to publish the latest issue of our Construction Law Update, a quarterly take on trends of interest to design professionals, contractors, and developers throughout the country.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE
  1. Protecting the Intellectual Property of Architectural Works: The Fundamentals of Copyright and Trademark Protection

  2. In Oregon, Time (Limitations), They Are A-Changin’

  3. The California Court of Appeals Clarifies the Purpose of Public Contract Code § 7107 & the Ramifications for Public Entities Violating the Same

  4. Gordon & Rees Construction Attorneys Making Headlines

  5. Gordon & Rees Construction Law Blog

  6. About Gordon & Rees's Construction Group

I. Protecting the Intellectual Property of Architectural Works: The Fundamentals of Copyright and Trademark Protection
     
By Richard P. Sybert and Hazel Mae B. Pangan
   

In the United States, architects, engineers, and other construction and design professionals may avail themselves of intellectual property law to protect their original designs and construction of certain building structures. The federal Copyright Act was amended in 1976 by the 1976 Act, and again in 1990 by the Architectural Works Copyright Act (“AWCPA”), to expand copyright protection to architectural drawings and to architectural structures or buildings themselves. U.S. trademark law, as codified in the federal Lanham Act and case law, also potentially provides building owners with protection for architectural works where the design of the building, as captured in an image on a good or in connection with the provision of a service, functions as a source identifier for the goods or services.

To read a full, expanded version of this article, click here.

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II. In Oregon, Time (Limitations), They Are A-Changin’
   
By Daniel J. Nichols
 

With apologies to the music legend, Oregon’s statutes of limitations and repose for construction defect claims can be as open to interpretation as Bob Dylan’s lyrics. Recently, the Oregon Court of Appeals appears to have settled (for now) the question of how many years a lawsuit can exist before it is forever barred. However, the Oregon Supreme Court recently dampened the hopes of contractors in regard to the statute of repose.

To read a full, expanded version of this article, click here.

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III. The California Court of Appeals Clarifies the Purpose of Public Contract Code § 7107 & the Ramifications for Public Entities Violating the Same
     
By Bryce D. Carroll and Michael D. Wilson, Jr.
   

On April 1, 2015, in East West Bank v. Rio School District, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal held that whereas under Public Contract Code § 7107, a public entity can withhold funds owed to a contractor when there are liens on the property or when there is a good faith dispute concerning whether the work was properly performed, the public entity cannot withhold funds due to a contractor over a dispute over the contract price. In reaching its holding, the court noted its disagreement with Martin Brothers Construction, Inc. v. Thompson Pacific which held otherwise. The Court also held that the doctrine of “unclean hands” does not apply to Public Contract Code § 7107, to limit a contractor’s potential recovery of damages and attorney’s fees.

To read a full, expanded version of this article, click here.

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IV. Gordon & Rees Construction Attorneys Making Headlines

Gordon & Rees Chicago partner, Tom Cronin, and senior counsel, Lindsay Watson, recently obtained summary judgment in a high-exposure multi-plaintiff construction injury lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois. The court ruled that Gordon & Rees client, a demolition contractor, was not liable under Sections 343 and 414 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, finding that the client did not have any actual or constructive notice of the alleged dangerous condition of the scaffold, nor did the client control the manner in which Plaintiffs were erecting the scaffold. More

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V. Gordon & Rees Construction Law Blog

The Gordon & Rees Construction Law Blog continues to post new content addressing topical issues affecting the construction industry throughout the country. From analysis of new court decisions, discussions of timely legislation, and commentary on real-world, project-specific issues, Gordon & Rees’s Construction Law Blog provides insight on the issues that affect the construction industry now.

We invite you to visit the blog at www.grconstructionlawblog.com and see for yourself what we are up to. If you like what you see, do not hesitate to subscribe under the “Stay Connected” tab on the right side of the blog. There you can choose how you would like to be informed of new content (Twitter, LinkedIn, email, etc.). If you have any questions about the blog or would like to discuss further any of its content, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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VI. About Gordon & Rees's Construction Group

Gordon & Rees's Construction Group consists of more than 80 lawyers covering the nation in 35 offices. In 2014, the firm opened offices in Oakland, Calif.; Tampa, Fla.; and Birmingham, Ala.

Gordon & Rees’s construction attorneys focus their practice on the comprehensive range of legal service required by all participants in the construction industry – architects, engineers, design professionals, design joint ventures, owners, developers, property managers, general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, product manufacturers, lenders, investors, state agencies, municipalities, and other affiliated consultants and service providers.

We serve clients who design, develop, or build all types of structures, including commercial buildings, single and multifamily residential projects, industrial facilities, universities, hospitals, museums, observatories, amusement parks, hotels, shopping centers, high-rise urban complexes, jails, airports, bridges, dams, and power plants. We also have been involved in projects for tunnels, freeways, light rail, railway stations, marinas, telecom systems, and earth-retention systems. Our experience includes private, public, and P3 construction projects.

If you have questions about this issue of the Construction Law Update or our nationwide construction practice, click here to visit our practice group page or contact partner Tom Cronin.

Thomas G. Cronin
Gordon & Rees, LLP
1 North Franklin
Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 980-6770
tcronin@gordonrees.com

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