Case Studies

Proved Bad Faith on an Ohio Public Works Project

Our representation of a general trades contractor on an Ohio public works project claim triggered a finding that the State had engaged in bad faith by "sowing conflict and dissension" on the job and resulted in a substantial award for our client.

Established the Spearin Doctrine in Ohio

Our firm represented a site contractor who was sued for the settlement of a school. After a hotly contested trial, the contractor prevailed in all respects and the ensuing winning appeal decision established the Spearin doctrine in the state of Ohio.

$35.5M Scioto Greenways Redevelopment

Kegler Brown served as construction counsel to the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation when it was charged with redeveloping the Scioto River Greenways and the face of Columbus’ downtown riverfront. This involved removing a dam and conducting substantial river restoration, which brought about the creation of 33 acres of new parkland and 1.5 miles of multi-use trails that connected the Scioto Mile network of parks. This project, noteworthy for both its size and local significance, was completed in late 2015 and won “Public Project of the Year” in the U.S.A. from the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) Public Works Project of the Year Awards.

Columbus Commons Downtown Development

This challenging demolition project in the heart of downtown Columbus yielded a gem of a park in an important urban setting. The high visibility project was concluded timely and on budget, with no legal disputes, and has encouraged further revitalization of the city core.

The Penta Career Center

Taxpayers generously funded a cutting-edge 400,000 square foot joint vocational school (JVS) - larger than any in the state and perhaps even the country. Employing creative contracting techniques, including Quick Pay, allowed the school to open an entire school year early, on budget and with no construction claims or disputes.

Ohio Stadium Renovation

The challenge was to complete a $200 million renovation of this legendary stadium between several football seasons where delay was not an option. Even when faced with a secondary labor boycott, prompt legal action allowed the project to complete on time, so that Buckeye fans could witness a national championship season.

Butler Regional Highway

This was the largest highway contract ever issued in Ohio - to connect I-75 to downtown Hamilton. The project was completed under budget and open to the public 18 months early with no disputes. This highway project was named “federal highway of the year” and yielded a substantial early completion incentive bonus for the contractor.

Workout and Friendly Foreclosure of Failing Pipeline Company’s Assets

In this case, the pipeline company failed during completion of a major project for a mid-stream transporter during the rainy winter season; the mid-stream transporter alleged faulty construction and the pipeline company defaulted on its loan. Attorneys at Kegler Brown negotiated a loan workout between the lender, the mid-stream transporter and the pipeline construction company, as well as other creditors, to complete construction, release liens, sell assets and pay debts.

Design + Construction Defect Litigation

We represented the Montgomery County (Ohio) Board of County Commissioners in connection with a large-scale park and outdoor entertainment development in a metropolitan area. Various aspects of the development were not completed as represented and we initiated litigation against a number of parties, including an international landscape architecture firm, as well as other contractors and product suppliers. After two weeks of jury trial, the matter was resolved through our client’s receipt of an amount in excess of all repair and remediation costs, as well as its seven-figure legal fees and related costs.

Mediated Ohio School Facilities Commission Project

Kegler Brown attorneys represented a prime mechanical and plumbing contractor in Ohio and obtained a six-figure settlement on a school delay claim through mediation. Settled within only five months of the initial engagement, the dispute involved the state of Ohio's Article 8 process and defending against damages asserted by the the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

Achieved Settlement for Metropolitan Housing Authority

Working closely with one of the most sophisticated and well-known public housing authorities in the U.S., our team obtained a very favorable settlement with respect to a critical construction dispute that involved asbestos abatement and contract termination provisions.

Mediated Dispute Between Painting Sub and ODOT

Representing a painting subcontractor, the lawyers at Kegler Brown obtained a settlement in our client's favor that involved several claims for additional work. A critical part of the representation was navigating the claim through the Ohio Department of Transportation's contract dispute process and then ultimately having the dispute settled through mediation.

Defended Architect in First-Of-Its-Kind Claim By School District

Kegler Brown successfully defended an architectural firm against claims that it negligently “assessed” the buildings and facilities of a public school district. The case arose because the State of Ohio was providing substantial funds for school districts to completely refurbish their campuses based on an “assessing” architect’s determination of need; the assessing architect was assigned under contract with the Ohio School Facilities Commission. The school district alleged that it lost hundreds of thousands of state dollars because the assessing architect failed to adequately determine its needs. In an attempt to hold the assessing architect liable and create a cottage industry for plaintiffs’ counsel, the district threatened to file suit. Our lawyers determined the threat to be real and, in order to avoid venue in the school district’s small rural county, we recommended filing a declaratory judgment action in Franklin County based on the State’s involvement in the project. The school district filed a counterclaim and sought to change venue. However, the court ruled that venue was proper in Franklin County. Ultimately, the case was tried to a jury with a favorable verdict for the architect, which discouraged further lawsuits against assessing architects across the state of Ohio.

$50M Redevelopment in Downtown Columbus

Kegler Brown’s construction lawyers provided counsel to the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation in its effort to create the country’s first museum dedicated entirely to the American veteran’s experience. This substantial redevelopment project on the Scioto Peninsula in downtown Columbus involved the demolition of an existing 4,000-seat auditorium, followed by reconstructing a new National Veterans Memorial & Museum, which broke ground in December 2015. Construction is underway on this project, and with its location near COSI and the Scioto Greenways, it will be a significant addition to the west bank of the riverfront in downtown Columbus.

Achieving Multimillion-Dollar Decision for General Contractor Against the State of Ohio

During the construction of dormitories for the Ohio Schools for the Deaf and Blind, TransAmerica Building Company Inc. was blamed for a delay in the $44 million project. Through aggressive litigation, Kegler Brown tried the case against the Ohio School Facilities Commission in the Court of Claims. This case was closely watched by the construction industry to determine the direction of construction claims against public authorities in Ohio.

The case, TransAmerica Building Company, Inc. v. Ohio School Facilities Commission, etc. v. Steed Hammond Paul Inc., etc., Case No. 2013-00349, was tried over three weeks in May-June 2015 and a favorable decision was eventually received for TransAmerica in excess of $2 million that found the State and its agents acted in bad faith. The case was recently settled for 100% of the award.

Landmark Case for the Enforceability of Liquidated Damages Clauses in Ohio

In a case that wound through the courts and was decided by the Ohio Supreme Court, Kegler Brown represented the village of Piketon, which enforced substantial liquidated damages for late project completion of a public road construction contract. The case, Boone Coleman Constr., Inc. v. Piketon, 145 Ohio St.3d 450, 2016-Ohio-628, was argued before the Ohio Supreme Court in June 2015, and a victorious decision was received in February 2016.

This landmark case with statewide ramifications was not only a victory for our client, but is now the law on liquidated damages in Ohio, determining the enforceability of liquidated damages clauses in the state and being the subject of many amicus briefs and public interest. Amicus briefs in support of our position included The County Commissioners Association of Ohio, The Ohio Municipal League, The Ohio School Boards Association and The Ohio Township Association.

Proving the State at Fault for Delaying Project

In the case of Wood Electric, Inc. v. Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, 081216 OHCOC, 2014-00987, we represented an electrical contractor in the Ohio Court of Claims against the State of Ohio in a dispute involving a delayed multimillion-dollar school project. With our help, our client proved that the State and its agents delayed the work and adversely affected its productivity. This trial involved complicated schedule and delay issues, as well as important issues of compliance and waiver of the State’s one-sided contract documents. Trial was completed in April 2016 and a favorable decision was received that August that awarded full damages.

Ongoing Advise with Bridge Park Development

Dublin Scioto River’s “Bridge Park” development is the largest suburban redevelopment project in Central Ohio history, featuring a hotel, convention center and mixed-use properties on the east bank of the Scioto River in Dublin. Work on this $300 million project is well underway and we are providing ongoing advice to the owner-developer on all aspects of project issues.

Subcontractor Wins Interest and Fees

In a dispute over a Delaware County water plant project that resulted in claims of delay, liquidated damages, disputed change orders and Ohio’s Prompt Pay Act, our subcontractor client was awarded almost all of its claim after the jury threw out the contractor’s counterclaim. The contractor was found to be in bad faith and in violation of Ohio’s Prompt Payment Act, which entitled our client to 18% interest and attorney’s fees.

River Project Litigation Settled

In 2017, we represented a subcontractor who has been in business for over 100 years in a dispute involving the work of its sub-subcontractor. Concerning caisson work from 2014 performed in the riverbed of the Scioto River in downtown Columbus, litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio was settled on favorable terms for our client.