Construction Today - September 2016 - 105

IN THIS SECTION
Drahota
Jp.108
Drahota' emphasis on
preconstruction services
helps it succeed.

Platinum Exteriors
Inc.Jp.110
Platinum Exteriors Inc.'s
waterproofing expertise
makes it a go-to provider.
in connection with the work, irrespective of whether the accident or
damage was caused by the contractor's negligence.
During renovations, an employee of one of Grace Construction's
sub subcontractors was injured by a service elevator gate. The employee sued Burlington Coat Factory and the company that made the
elevator for negligence, claiming that his injuries were the result of
negligent construction and maintenance of the elevator. Burlington
Coat Factory and the elevator company agreed to settle the claim with
the employee.
Burlington Coat Factory then sought reimbursement from Grace
Construction's insurer for the settlement amount. The insurer rejected the claim, citing, among other things, the first indemnity clause
that stated that Grace Construction was only liable for claims if they
were the result of the negligence of the contractor, a subcontractor or
their employees and agents.

Where's the Responsibility?
Burlington Coat Factory then filed a lawsuit claiming that Grace
Construction breached its contract. According to Burlington Coat
Factory, the second indemnity provision held the contractor liable
for all costs associated with a personal injury claim, regardless of
who was at fault. Grace Construction countered that nothing in the
contract protected Burlington Coat Factory from claims related to its
own negligence.
The Superior Court noted that Pennsylvania courts narrowly
interpret indemnity clauses and that a party cannot place the responsibility for its own negligence on another party unless the contract
provides for it clearly and unequivocally. Furthermore, conflicting
provisions in a contract are interpreted against the party that drafted
it, here Burlington Coat Factory. Therefore, in the event of conflicting

Company Profiles
106
108
110
112
116

Frampton Construction Co. LLC
Drahota
Platinum Exteriors Inc.
Rampart Construction Co. LLC
Balfour Beatty Construction

indemnity provisions, the less expansive provision generally will govern. As a result, the
court gave the contractor the benefit of the
narrower provision, which held the contractor liable only for incidents that occurred as a
result of the contractor's negligence.
This case serves as a warning to companies
involved in construction that the specific
wording of a contract dramatically alters the
rights and liabilities of the parties. Sometimes including multiple provisions about
the same issue in a contract may seem like
"belt and suspenders," but if not carefully
drafted, could create a conflict which actually
reduces one's rights. Therefore, companies
should take care to include precise, consistent and complete terms in a contract.

Timothy Quinn is an associate in the construction and litigation group at
Pittsburgh-based law firm Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP. He may be reached
at tcq@muslaw.com.

105

SEPTEMBER 2016 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Construction Today - September 2016

Contents
Construction Today - September 2016 - Cover1
Construction Today - September 2016 - Cover2
Construction Today - September 2016 - 1
Construction Today - September 2016 - Contents
Construction Today - September 2016 - 3
Construction Today - September 2016 - 4
Construction Today - September 2016 - 5
Construction Today - September 2016 - 6
Construction Today - September 2016 - 7
Construction Today - September 2016 - 8
Construction Today - September 2016 - 9
Construction Today - September 2016 - 10
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Construction Today - September 2016 - 21
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Construction Today - September 2016 - 47
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Construction Today - September 2016 - 49
Construction Today - September 2016 - 50
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Construction Today - September 2016 - 54
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Construction Today - September 2016 - 56
Construction Today - September 2016 - 57
Construction Today - September 2016 - 58
Construction Today - September 2016 - 59
Construction Today - September 2016 - 60
Construction Today - September 2016 - 61
Construction Today - September 2016 - 62
Construction Today - September 2016 - 63
Construction Today - September 2016 - 64
Construction Today - September 2016 - 65
Construction Today - September 2016 - 66
Construction Today - September 2016 - 67
Construction Today - September 2016 - 68
Construction Today - September 2016 - 69
Construction Today - September 2016 - 70
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Construction Today - September 2016 - 73
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Construction Today - September 2016 - 104
Construction Today - September 2016 - 105
Construction Today - September 2016 - 106
Construction Today - September 2016 - 107
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Construction Today - September 2016 - 127
Construction Today - September 2016 - 128
Construction Today - September 2016 - Cover3
Construction Today - September 2016 - Cover4
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