Construction Litigation

At MIRAGEAS & AVERY, we are proud to have represented clients in the construction industry for more than thirty years.  This focus on the construction industry has allowed us to develop the expertise needed to counsel clients through the many legal obstacles facing construction industry professionals.

A primary focus of our office has always been assisting construction professionals through the litigation process.  The attorneys and staff at MIRAGEAS & AVERY are equipped to handle litigation in all of the trial and appellate courts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, both state and federal.  We have successfully represented clients in a number of significant construction suits involving some or all of the following issues:  design defects, concealed conditions, delays and changes to schedule, cost overruns and change orders.

MIRAGEAS & AVERY also offers assistance in risk identification and management throughout all phases of construction, starting with initial bidding and contract negotiation. The insight gained from litigating construction-related disputes provides us with the ability to identify and counsel clients on the various obstacles that can arise throughout the construction process.  We know from experience how to avoid potential claims, and have the expertise to efficiently handle claims that do arise.

In the past, the attorneys at MIRAGEAS & AVERY have represented residential and commercial contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, developers, engineers, surveyors, project managers and other design professionals.

Areas of Focus

  • Lien and Bond Claims
  • Home Improvement Contractors
  • New Home Construction
  • Public Bidding
  • Engineering & Design
  • Change Order & Delay Claims

Lien and Bond Claims

The mechanic’s lien is one of the most effective ways for contractors to secure payment for their labor and materials.  Unfortunately, contractors all too often fail to utilize this important legal tool.  Attorneys Mirageas and Avery are extremely knowledgeable on the mechanic’s lien statutes of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and can assist your business with streamlining its processes for filing liens.  We regularly draft and file lien documents on behalf of our construction industry clients; pursue aggressive enforcement of the established lien through District and Superior Court litigation,  including the levy and sale of real property if necessary.  We can also “root out” and successfully defend against any defective mechanic’s lien claim that has not been filed in compliance with the statutory requirements.

Public bond statutes in Massachusetts and Rhode Island afford security and ensure prompt payment to contractors on public projects where mechanic’s liens are prohibited.  In Massachusetts, any subcontractor or supplier that does not have a direct contract with the general contractor must provide notice of their claim to the general contractor within 65 days.  The bond claimant is then entitled to a speedy trial in Superior Court, and the reimbursement of its attorney’s fees upon securing a favorable judgment. Attorneys Mirageas & Avery have over 40 years of combined experience prosecuting state and federal bond claims, and rebuffing the attempts of sureties to delay or reduce payment that is due to our contractor clients.

Lien and Bond Blogs:

“Lien Rights” Not Synonymous with “Bond Rights” Under Mass Prompt Pay Act”

“Understanding the Consequences of Delay in Settling Insurance Claims”

“Claims Manager” Indistinguishable from Insurance Company for Purposes of Unfair Settlement Practices Act”

Home Improvement Contractors

The Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) statute contains strict requirements for the registration and practice of home improvement contractors, but few contractors are aware of either the statute’s breadth or the severe consequences that can stem from non-compliance.  All home improvement contracts must contain certain mandatory provisions, with which the attorneys at MIRAGEAS & AVERY are well versed.  Our office has significant experience with drafting smart, understandable contracts between homeowner and contractors, as well as between general contractors and subcontractors agreements.  In addition, we regularly litigate claims for violations of the HIC statute and the Massachusetts State Building Code.

Home Improvement Construction Blogs:

“The Who, What When and Where of Code-Related Injuries”

“Catch Building Code Violations Before They Catch Up to You”

New Home Construction

Prosecuting and defending claims for defects found in new home construction  is a specialized area of law that requires a knowledgeable attorney to review the applicable sale, construction and warranty documents.  The attorneys at MIRAGEAS & AVERY have successfully represented contractors, developers and new homeowners in suits alleging defective construction and breach of warranty.  Attorney Peter M. Mirageas is a licensed construction supervisor with in-depth knowledge of the State Building Code and best construction practices.  Our office has a wide network of engineers, building code experts and other industry professionals that can be accessed to competently draft expert opinions on defect claims, and provide testimony at hearings and trial if necessary.

New Home Construction Blogs:

 “CONDOMINIUM OWNERS:  Should your Owners’ Association Be Taking the Lead on Construction Litigation?”

Public Bidding

Construction contractors and suppliers should understand their right to challenge the award of any public construction contract that they believe has been denied to them in violation of the public bidding laws of Massachusetts.  These challenges are referred to as “bid protests,” and are governed in Massachusetts by several different statutes, each of which apply to a specific scope of work within the realm of public construction and procurement.  The Commonwealth’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is empowered to review and issue non-binding decisions on bid protests filed on Chapter 30B projects (governing contracts with local authorities for supplies and services).  The Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General employs a “Bid Protest Unit” to review protests filed under Chapter 30 (for public works) and 149A (for public buildings).

The attorneys at MIRAGEAS & AVERY regularly represent clients in connection with bid protest proceedings, and can quickly identify the case law and precedential rulings developed by the OIG and OAG applicable to  any public bid dispute.

Public Bidding Blogs:

“Bid Protest 101”

“Public Bidding Projects: Authorities Are Permitted to Conduct Their Own Background Check on Eligible Bidders”

Engineering and Design

Our office represents developers, engineers, architects, project managers and other design professionals, as well as their insurers, in connection with claims for professional negligence and breach of contract claims arising out of both public and private construction projects.  We have over 40 years of combined experience reviewing various engineering, design and construction manager contracts, and pride ourselves on the ability to achieve outstanding results at the trial of complex litigation matters.

Engineering and Design Blogs:

“Bad Faith Representations to Pay Architect for Design Services Land Building owner in Hot Water”

“Can Homeowners Hold Design Professionals Directly Responsible for Negligent Design and Planning?”

Change Order and Delay Claims

Aside from simple claims of non-payment, the majority of construction-related disputes arise out of disagreements concerning changes to the scope of work and time for project completion.  Large general contractors typically utilize standard-form construction contracts containing terms governing change order and delay claims that are often difficult to decipher, or which have been ignored by one or more of the contracting parties.   In other cases, the parties’ contract does not contain any guidance on how to handle unexpected changes to the scope of work or project schedule.

The attorneys at Mirageas & Avery have significant experience with negotiating, arbitrating and, if necessary, litigating such disputes in a professional and efficient manner.

Change Order and Delay Claim Blogs:

“An Offer You Can’t Refuse”

“Contractors and Subcontractors: You May be Entitled to Damages Despite a ‘No Damages for Delay’ Clause”