Category Archives: Law

Some Overview of License Defense for a Physician

[P]rofessional discipline for a physician [involves] the process by which your medical license comes under attack and your defense of it.

Violation. The process of professional discipline starts with your violation of law. California statutes contain a large list of prohibitions for physicians, the violation of which triggers professional discipline against the physician’s license. Some examples include:

o Excessive use of alcohol or drugs,
o Billing fraud,
o Dishonesty,
o Disciplinary action taken against you by other regulatory agencies,
o Unprofessional conduct, which includes, among other generalities, violation of a provision of the Medical Practice Act.

Notice that these violations incorporate other laws, and also disciplinary action taken against you by other agencies. This creates an infinite pool of possible violations. The laws applicable to physicians are voluminous and growing, with most of the laws being unknown to you and everyone else, but your violation of any one of them can start the process of professional discipline.

Reporting. The CA Medical Board learns of your violation from a number of sources, including from informants (beware employees). CA law also requires reporting from certain persons. For example,

o A physician must report his own felony charge, or misdemeanor or felony conviction. [Doesn’t it feel unfair to force people to rat on themselves?]
o A district attorney must report a physician’s felony charge.
o 805 Report—A hospital must report actions taken against physicians.
o Professional liability insurers must report settlements and judgments for claims for death or personal injury.

The ideal scenario is to stop the process before a report is made. Once the report gets made, you’re in the system, and the system has a life of its own.

License Defense Proceedings. As outlined above, the legal proceedings flow like this:

Investigation – Suspension – Hearing / Plea Bargain – Sentence

For the Medical Board, the investigation is an appetizer, leading to the first course — whether a suspension is warranted. From there you can demand a hearing, or you can immediately start to plea bargain for a reduced sentence. Usually the physician’s violation is an established fact (like a DUI), so the discussion isn’t whether you violated the law, but what’s the punishment.

The Medical Board has standard ranges of discipline for each offense. For example, the range for excessive treatments is a minimum of 5 years probation up to a maximum of license revocation; the range for dishonesty related to patient care, billing etc. is a 1 year suspension + from 7 years probation up to license revocation. For some offenses, e.g. billing fraud, the Medical Board imposes permanent revocation of your license. You argue your case hoping for a sentence closer to the minimum.

The law uses two factors in locating your punishment between the minimum and maximum. You should ague both factors, that is, (1) you do not pose a risk to patient safety, and (2) you are in rehab and getting appropriate treatment and education.

Collateral Damage. The scariest thing in license defense is the cascade effect among the various agencies that regulate the medical industry. The agencies cross-default their violations, meaning that a violation of one agency’s regulations will trigger discipline by another agency, which triggers discipline by still another agency. Everyone’s coming to the party, and you’re the piñata.

Information Is That a Patent, Trademark or Copyright?

If you wouldn’t know a patent if one bit you [1], you are not alone. Most of the public doesn’t know the difference, and there are lawyers who are uncertain of the differences. Today, though, you are lucky enough to have this article in front of you to learn the difference. Bear in mind, however, this is just an overview. If you want to know more, refer to the footnotes.

Patents

First – a patent provides a patent owner with the exclusive right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter throughout the United States.[2] In other words, if the idea isn’t a process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter that can be made, used, offered for sale or sold, a patent won’t cover it.

Trademarks

Second – a trademark is a word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof used to distinguish the goods or services of one person in commerce from the goods or services of another person.[3] So, if the idea is used as a brand of a company’s goods or services, it is a trademark.

Copyrights

Third – copyright applies to literary works, musical works, dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, sound recordings; and architectural works in any tangible medium of expression[4]. Copyright thus applies only if (1) the idea is within one of these 8 areas and (2) the idea is recorded in a tangible medium of expression.

So, what is the ‘takeaway’ from these definitions.

One – Ideas alone are not protectable. To apply for a patent, trademark registration, or copyright registration, the idea must be made into something tangible, or at least recorded onto paper or into an electronic file for people to see.

Two – Ideas are not protectable if describing an act by a person. A common mistake by untrained people preparing a patent application is to refer to an act performed by a person. Something done by a person is not a process, machine, manufacture, or a composition of matter so a patent does not apply. The same applies for copyright. A registration for choreography or other act performed by a person (such as yoga) applies to what is on the document. If someone sees you or someone else perform your choreography or yoga, and then based on memory does your choreography or yoga, or even teaches someone else the moves, they are not infringing your copyright.[5]

Three – Patents apply to useful items created by people – not to laws of nature nor equations, nor to illegal items. There have been, over the years, patents for various machines, patents for the things that come out of machines, and even design patents for shoes, but not for burglary tools, as those not legally useful. Be aware, also, that a patent application for a process or software must not rely solely on a law of nature or an equation describing a nature process. A patent application not claiming a tangible output or reference to a tangible item is likely abstract.[6] In addition, the output should be capable of being identified back to the process or software to avoid source vagueness.

Four – Trademarks protect the public – not the company. The purpose of trademarks is for the public to have reasonable certainty to the identity of the company supplying the purchased goods and services. The trademark registration process (and in court for infringement determination) includes a review of whether there is a likelihood of confusion by the relevant public as to the source of the goods.[7]

Five – Copyright protects creativity, not effort. For this reason, instructions, tables, lists, software syntax, fonts, and the processes within software do not have copyright protection. Copyright does, though, protect the creative material within them, such as comments and even made-up text.[8]

____________

[1] See U.S. Patent 6,836,994 for a ‘Fish biting indication device’

[2] This is a mash-up of 35 U.S. Code sections 101 and 154 (a)(1).

[3] This is a mash-up of 15 U.S. Code sections 1125 (a) (1) and 1052.

[4] This is 17 U.S. Code § 102 rephrased to be succinct.

[5] See Bikram’s Yoga College v. Evolation Yoga, No. 13-55763 (9th Cir. 2015).

[6] In Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. __, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014), the U.S. Supreme Court said that software is not eligible for a patent if the process fails to “offer a meaningful limitation beyond generally linking ‘…the [method] to a particular technological environment’.” Though the law here is abstract.

[7] Again a mash-up. See 15 U.S.C. §1052, TMEP §1207 and the Model Civil Jury Instructions, 15.18 of the Ninth Circuit,

[8] We can then prove copying of the comments and made-up text, and thus of infringement!

Non-Disclosure of Agreements for Startups

Protecting intellectual property is important for a startup business, but private business information should also remain within the business. Non-disclosure agreements are one way a new startup can protect itself.

Non-public information that should be protected by a non-disclosure agreement includes not only research and development, but time lines, internal communications, client lists, marketing plans, private information held by human resources, and any other business or employee information that would cause harm or loss if disclosed inappropriately.

For a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to be bin

ding, it needs to be legal, enforceable, and usually in writing.  But, according to attorney Jake Posey, the people signing need to do so while not under duress or undue influence. It needs to spell out specifically the information that is protected and cannot be disclosed. It also needs to detail consequences if the NDA is breached.

Legality of an NDA means the provisions cannot direct the signer to break the law or overlook a crime or public health or safety hazard. An employee is both required by law and protected from retaliation if he or she reports a crime such as embezzlement or fraud. If that disclosure to law enforcement also requires protected information to be disclosed, that employee is not in breach of contract. Federal regulations from the EPA, OSHA, and the EEOC cannot be specifically excluded from a legal business contract.

If a signer reveals protected information covered under a non-disclosure agreement, they are in breach of contract, and may be liable for loss. The “privilege to disclose” is a legal definition of breaching an NDA in the event of crime or public safety or health.

Signing under duress is one legal avenue for signers to remove legal restrictions if they breach an NDA. Signing under duress, however, does not mean any consequences for not signing, but those involving threat to life or limb. It is common to make employment contingent on signing an NDA. This is not considered under duress.

Startup For Ready to Talk to Angel Investors

Startup businesses need to have their financial, regulatory, organizational, and intellectual property ducks in a row before planning for any capital fund-raising. Angel investors are offering capital funding in exchange for equity ownership. Competition for startup funding is fierce, and risk is high for investors. Below are some of the questions you can expect from investors.

Leadership and Management
• Are the founders still part of the leadership team?
• Is there a founder’s agreement in place that details how much of the company equity each founder owns and under what circumstances that capital can be liquidated?
• Who are your key leaders and what experience do they have in the industry?
• How to you plan to scale up leadership and management with acapital expansion?

Intellectual Property
• Have you secured intellectual property rights?
• Is there anyone outside of the company who can claim rights to any part of your intellectual property?
• Do you have a prototype or demonstration model?

Regulation
• What regulatory agencies have authority to oversee your business and product, and what have you done to secure regulatory approvals?

Market and Competition
• What is your market and your market share?
• Who is your competition and what is their market share?
Plan to be able to speak extemporaneously and knowledgeably on markets and competition for your business.

Financials
• Have 2-3 year projections with the capital expansion.
• Where has the previous investment money come from?
• Have the leadership team members invested in the company?

Organizational Structure
• How is the business structured?
• What is the exit plan?

Any early traction? Attorney Jake Posey advises that you should be able to speak comfortably about early successes and your business values; be able to address social and environmental responsibility, transparency, and plans for diversity and inclusion.

Info Law on Drugs in the UAE

The UAE is a Muslim country and illicit drugs are strictly forbidden. Drug offences are severely punished including by imprisonment and deportation after the jail term has been served. Here are five points to consider in relation to drugs laws in the country, in order to ensure you stay on the right side of the law:

1.) Often drugs that would be legal in your home country will wind up on the list of prohibited drugs in the UAE. Consult the list of banned substances before taking any drugs into the country or consuming inside the UAE.

2.) Possession of medicines like sleeping pills, painkillers and antidepressants can be illegal in the country without a proper prescription from a UAE doctor. Consult a doctor before taking any such medication.

3.) Care should be taken when reentering the country from outside to ensure there are no traces of any drug – legal or otherwise in the country visited – as the smallest infraction can attract very harsh penalties.

4.) Even transiting through the UAE one should take care to ensure all medications are accompanied with a proper prescription. It may be wise to carry with a translated and attested prescription copy to avoid any potential problems. The importation of illegal drugs into the country is considered a serious crime.

5.) Though not common, cases of drink spiking do occur. It is extremely important that woman do not accept drinks from strangers and maintain vigilance when out at pubs and bars. It is possible criminal charges could result if a woman is discovered to have an illegal substance in her system.

What Will Be Happens When a Bicyclist Gets Hit by a Car Turning Right

Bicycle accidents often can result in some extremely serious injuries. At times, they can even be fatal.

There are a number of injuries that can stem from a right turn accident. Head injuries are one of the most common, and the resulting brain injuries can be devastating. If driver negligence is found during a lawsuit, then the compensation for a brain injury can rightfully be substantial, usually much more than you’d get from the initial payout offer from an insurance company.

If you are the victim of a car striking you on your bicycle, remain as alert as possible and get medical attention even if it doesn’t appear you have injuries. Remember, avoiding the doctor is a sign to the other party that you don’t think you need to be compensated for any medical bills. But injuries can sometimes sneak up slowly, manifesting noticeably only after it’s too late.

Bystanders: if you witness such an accident, be sure to offer to be a witness and give your contact information to the victim. Cooperate with the police at the time of the accident and give your contact information.

There are a lot of things that have to happen after a bicyclist gets hit by a car turning right, and some of it will depend on the aftermath. It’s quite chaotic, and hard to follow along with all the things that have to happen, while at the same time trying to not only continue living your life, but recover your life’s routines.

One of the things that will happen at some point after a bicyclist is struck by a car will be determining liability. Both motorists and bicyclists have to abide by the rules of the road.

The first step in determining liability is to figure out if it was driver negligence or bicyclist negligence that caused the accident. Examples of biker negligence can include riding the wrong way on a one-way street, running a red light or a stop sign, or turning without warning into traffic.

On the other hand, if a motorist veers into the bicycle lane (which is typically the case when making a right turn), or is distracted while driving, or doesn’t look over their shoulder when they are turning, they could easily be found to be the negligent ones. Most commonly referred to as the “right hook” incident, in most situations a car turning right and hitting a bicyclist will be judged at fault.

That said: it’s never a sure thing, and you’ll definitely want to get bike crash attorneys in LA on your side.

News A Legal Way for a Non-resident to Pay in Currency Buying Property in Ukraine

More and more foreigners are considering a possibility to buy property in Ukraine, particularly in large and popular among foreigners cities like Lviv and Kyiv, as capital investment or as a place of temporary residence.

Specificity of currency regulation in Ukraine may make it harder to pay because in Ukraine payments can be made only in Ukrainian hryvnias, however, under certain conditions, a foreigner may pay in currency for purchased property in Ukraine. This article will consider how and when it is possible.

Recently, more and more foreigners are considering a possibility to buy property in Ukraine, pa

Particularly in large and popular among foreigners cities like Lviv and Kyiv, as capital investment or as a place of temporary residence. One reason for this purchase is that real estate in Ukraine has very attractive price and there is an option to buy a large apartment in historical area in relatively low cost. Specificity of currency regulation in Ukraine may make it harder to pay because in Ukraine payments can be made only in Ukrainian hryvnias, however, under certain conditions, a foreigner may pay in currency for purchased property in Ukraine. This article will consider how and when it is possible.

According to the legislation of Ukraine, the only means of payment in the country is hryvnia. And transactions in any foreign currency is a violation of currency legislation of Ukraine, for illegal buying, selling, exchanging, using currency values (in this case – foreign currency) as a means of payment or collateral sanctions such as warning fines and even confiscation of currency values according to the Art. 162 of the Administrative Offences Code of Ukraine are provided.

At the same time, purchase of real estate by a non-resident may be an exception according to certain conditions. For example, in Ukraine, there is no ban on the purchase of real estate for foreigners, that is why foreigners and stateless persons can acquire ownership of buildings, residential buildings (apartments, houses, commercial premises), nonagricultural lands within the settlements and nonagricultural lands outside the settlements with real property assets with private ownership. It means that foreigners and stateless persons can not buy only agricultural lands, other property they can buy without any restrictions.

The issue of payment transactions by non-residents in Ukraine are regulating by the Regulations on the foreign investment in Ukraine, approved by the National Bank of Ukraine №280 from 10.08.2005 (amended). Thus, if a non-resident concludes the acquisition of real estate with the seller who is a resident of Ukraine, the non-resident can pay by currency in such ways:
1. opening an investment account and transferring funds to it in currency from abroad;
2. transferring funds to the current account of a resident in currency from abroad;
3. selling currency from the investment account and crediting funds in UAH from the sale of currency for further foreign investment;
4. fund transferring in UAH or currency to the current account of resident, investment account of another foreign investor or correspondent account in the foreign bank;
5. fund transferring in currency of 1 classification group and UAH from the current individual account of a non-resident in authorized bank to his/her investment account;
6. fund transferring in UAH from personal investment account to open account of international financial organization in authorized bank with approval of central executive body that ensures the formation of state financial policies, the implementation of bond issue in Ukraine for investments in these bonds.

In fact, we are interested only in paragraph 2, which is in bald. This legal framework entitles any non-resident to pay in currency for an agreement in Ukraine by transferring non-cash funds to the merchant in foreign currency. Naturally, the seller of real estate should have an open account in currency before intended transaction. Thus a seller, after currency transferring to his account may withdraw currency, not Ukrainian hryvnia, from this account and the only limit for it is a daily limit on cash withdrawals in the amount of 250 thousand UAH (about $ 9,000), so the seller will have the only discomfort as the withdrawal of money will take some time.

It is important to know that by the National Bank of Ukraine №407 from 11.25.2016, “On the establishment of threshold payments in cash” the maximum amount of cash payments under contracts of sale subjected to notarization is set in amount of 50 thousand UAH, equivalent to $ 1,800 USA. Thus, based on the actual prices, any transaction in the sale of real estate can be issued with a cash-free payment.

Also legitimate grounds for payments in foreign currency, which aim to minimize the risks of both parties, are worth mentioning in this article. For example, to minimize the exchange rate risks of the parties, they may initially determine the binding of payments to the equivalent in foreign currency, the Article 524 of the Civil Code of Ukraine gives such a right. It’s legal tool allowing the parties to make a prediction.

But despite all licensing rules currency legislation of Ukraine is often transgressed concluding contracts for sales of real estate and the parties prefer to hold cash payments through the actual transfer of money from hand to hand. In documents, such an agreement is a non-cash transaction without formal violations, but the parties should be ready to pay some fees for the bank that will issue some documents to the buyer on the payment to the seller’s account and to the seller on money withdrawal from the bank account after payment.

Also we have to note that many of the limitations of the National Bank of Ukraine on the use of foreign currency, including one that is already on bank accounts, provokes involved parties, especially the residents of Ukraine, to avoid formal contracts and limit with the formal signing of the underestimated sale of property. In such transactions, the estimated value of the property in the contract is substantially different from the real value at the moment of sale. Resident without any contract, with only verbal arrangements, pays the difference in cash. In fact, this scheme is very common and it can be applied between parties that have known each other for long time (relatives, old friends connected persons). But this type of transactions is extremely risky for strangers. It should be used very carefully, especially by foreigners, because in this case, the buyer, a non-resident, must understand that in case of termination of the contract because of any reason, for example, declaring it invalid, the buyer can claim the refund only in the quantities indicated in the formal agreement.

Summing it up, before signing the contract of sale of real estate, non-residents are better to consult with a lawyer to minimize their risks and avoid legal problems with acquired real estate in the future.

This 5 Tips to Fight Traffic Ticket in New Jersey

Getting a traffic ticket in New Jersey is a difficult situation. It generates a kind of tension even before you haven’t really started dealing with it. A traffic ticket can cause you a lot of confusions.

There are several things to be taken care while fighting a traffic ticket. Many drivers forget these aspects leading themselves to have a traffic ticket.

You need to respect the police officer because he is the one who can avoid a ticket. If you get a traffic ticket, review it properly.
Afterward, make a note of your surrounding relating to your violation. Find eye witnesses from your location and be sure that all your doubts are clarified.

Take a look at these 5 tips to fight a traffic ticket in New Jersey.

1. Be Respectful:

Calm down the moment you get a traffic ticket. Getting on the nerves of the officer can cost you a lot. Don’t be aggressive with your intent, speak respectfully.

Try to understand the matter with discipline. Avoid speaking harshly as it becomes easier for an officer to charge you further. Questioning the lawyer is absolutely fine. But, exhibiting your anger cannot help you from avoiding a traffic ticket. People release their anger, perhaps because most of them are drunk, while others trying to get rid of the cop.

A verbal abuse to the officer can cost you extra tickets and charges. He may charge you for the contempt.

On the other hand, it’s good to be respectful; it will help you for better.

2. Review The Ticket:

Review the ticket properly once it reaches you. Read all parts of the ticket and understand it nicely. This will help you analyze your problem.

Check each word properly. If seen any mistake regarding any of the information, solve it. Solve the question there itself.
You should make a clear observation of the reason behind your traffic ticket. It will be beneficial in dealing with the ticket further.

Not having an accurate view of the traffic ticket can cost you during the trial.

3. Make a note:

Getting a traffic ticket and fighting it is a difficult process. Whenever you are charged with a traffic ticket, make a note of the situation around.

Basically, it’s about putting down the important notes.

It may include the date & time, location, weather, and if there was any traffic or not. Understanding these elements is very important. During the trial, noting down the date, time, weather conditions and traffic will help you to generate more evidence.

This note will help you defend yourself accurately. In court, you will be easily able to question in case any mistaken note is created by the officer.

4. Record statements from witnesses:

After getting a traffic ticket, you need to look around for witnesses. Because they have seen you charged with a ticket. Eye witnesses can help you make your case easier.

Approach the eye witnesses around and record their statements.

If there is a positive statement, your ticket can be dismissed. After noting their statements, don’t forget to get their contact details. During the time of trial, they will be helpful in proving your violation as wrong.

More the evidence and witnesses more are the chances for the ticket to get dismissed.

5. Clarify your doubts:

Handling legal issues are anyhow always a task.

When you are caught and given a traffic ticket, there might be a lot of doubts circulating around your head. To apprehend the reason behind your traffic ticket is important. They can be instrumental in the court. Also, you may be able to stay confident throughout the trial.

The best way to clear them is to consult a lawyer, probably a traffic ticket lawyer.

Someone who understands the law very well can clarify all your legal doubts. A consultation from an attorney can make you more confident about the case.

If you are in need, it’s always better to hire an attorney. A good traffic ticket lawyer New Jersey can help you dismiss your ticket easily.

Conclusion:

The above-mentioned tips can help you fight a traffic ticket. Why deal with so many legal proceedings and penalties when you can fight it out. Consult a lawyer before reacting to a lawyer. Your lawyer is the right man to provide you all the legal help.

A good traffic ticket lawyer in New Jersey has all the potential to dismiss a traffic ticket. All you need to do is find an attorney who suits your case. A right attorney will be able to understand your case and can provide a suitable verdict.

Property for Purchasing in Italy for Foreign Citizens

Despite the fluctuations in the markets across Europe in recent years, statistics suggest that there is an increase in investment in the Italian real estate market on the part of foreign investors.  Italy has always had a powerful charm, enticing people to its shores from all over the globe.  The lure of the wonderful climate, unique history and culture, not to mention the fabulous cuisine and wines, all combine to make Italy a superb choice for a holiday or retirement property.

Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia appear to rank higher in the preferences of foreign investors.  British citizens are among those who have shown particular interest in real estate investment in Italy.  Property purchase in Italy need not be any more stressful than buying in the UK with the right professional advisors by your side.  There are considerable variations in the  process of property purchase

in Italy compared with that in the UK and it is wise to be aware of the differences in the procedure before you start out.

The term “foreign” describes both EU and non-EU citizens and incorporates non-EU citizens legally residing in Italy.   Such citizens have the right to purchase a property or a company, providing they can produce evidence of their right to stay in Italy, such as the visa. Should the prospective purchaser be a non-EU citizen who does not hold the right to reside in Italy or to purchase property, it will be necessary to verify that a reciprocal agreement exists between the non-EU citizen’s country of origin and Italy allowing an Italian citizen either to reside or buy property in the country of origin of the non-EU individual attempting to invest in the Italian real estate market.

As far as the definition of property is concerned, according to article 812 of the Italian Civil Code: “property it is to be considered as anything that is naturally or artificially connected to the soil;  the soil itself, water sources and streams, trees, buildings and other constructions, even if only transitionally connected to the soil”.

In order to complete the purchase of a property, the foreign citizen must follow a rather complex procedure which necessitates the use of the services of a notary.  Should they not be particularly proficient in Italian, they can request the deed is drafted into another language (the notary must be proficient in the specific language) or request the assistance of an interpreter for the translation of the Italian contract.

The sale is facilitated by the following steps:

— The first contract to be signed together with the seller is the preliminary contract
— The price of the property, the timings of the sale, the deposit and details relating to the property are defined.
— The agreement is binding for both parties: should the buyer not wish to proceed with the purchase, the seller is entitled to keep the deposit.
— Should the seller not wish to proceed with the sale, they will have to pay double the amount of the deposit to the buyer.
— The sale deed, called the “rogito”, is signed by both parties in the presence of the notary and witnesses.
— The deed is then taken to the Revenue Agency and registered within the public registry by the notary, who will also proceed to the cadastral transfer: the property is transferred through a deed recording at the appropriate Ufficio del Territorio (which depends on the area where the property is located)
— Throughout all the steps listed above the support of an experienced property lawyer is crucial during this phase.

On a fiscal level, the purchase of a property from a private individual is subject to the registration charge, mortgage registration fee and the Land Register fee.   The charges vary depending on whether tax-breaks for the purchase of the first house apply.

The registration charge is in the sum of 2% of the sale price if tax breaks apply, if there no tax-break the registration charge amounts 9%.  The mortgage registration fee and the land register fee both amount to 50 Euros.

However, should the property be bought from a construction company, VAT amounts to 10%, in case of no tax break, should a tax-break apply the rate is  4% VAT.  The registration charge, the mortgage registration fee and the Land register fee is 200 euros.

Once you own your Italian property you will need to address a number of issues surrounding real estate ownership in Italy.  Perhaps the most pressing is dealing with the tax liabilities attaching to an  Italian residence or commercial property.   The tax responsibilities for property owners in Italy are very different from those in the UK and can be far more burdensome, in that the complexity of the system has created a situation whereby certain taxes can only be paid via an Italian bank account.  The tax regulations change frequently and there is no room for error and the penalties are costly.

The Construction Disputes

When a dispute over payment or performance interferes with a construction project or the use of a piece of real estate, all parties involved must critically assess their options with regard to negotiating a settlement or protecting their interests at trial.

For architects, engineers, developers, contractors, subcontractors, property owners and other parties involved in construction projects, a lot needs to go right in order for their project to reach completion without leading to a dispute. From scheduling delays to payment and surety bond issues, one problem will often lead to several others—creating a hostile set of circumstances that is ripe for litigation.

Of course, parties to construction contracts and others involved major development projects will often be able to resolve their differences amicably—and a negotiated resolution will often be in the best interests of all parties. But, depending upon the specific circumstances and parties involved, in some cases going to court will be the only option. With this in mind, here are five examples of construction-related disputes that will often lead to complex litigation:

1. Construction Defects

When a property owner claims that a structure is unsafe or has not been built according to specification, this can lead to complex litigation involving multiple parties. If the owner’s allegations are legitimate, contractors, subcontractors and other companies involved in the project will often be left to sort out liability amongst themselves.

2. Contract Disputes

Construction projects typically involve numerous contracts, from financing agreements to building contracts and contracts establishing payment and performance obligations amongst architects, engineers, builders and suppliers. Contract breaches and disagreements over the proper interpretation of contract provisions can both lead to contentious disputes.

3. “Pay If Paid” and “Pay When Paid” Disputes

These contract clauses frequently lead to disputes among contractors and subcontractors. While a “pay if paid” clause can shift the parties’ entire payment risk to the subcontractor, a “pay when paid” clause may obligate the contractor to compensate the subcontractor regardless of whether payment from the property owner remains outstanding.

4. Professional Liability Claims Against Architects and Engineers

In many cases, disputes involving construction projects’ safety, structural integrity and regulatory compliance will lead to professional liability claims against architects and engineers. Like other types of construction disputes, professional liability claims can lead to litigation involving the parties’ insurance companies as well.

5. Surety Bond Disputes

Statutory provisions for public projects and private construction contracts will frequently require contractors and subcontractors to provide surety bonds. Disputes over bid bonds, performance bonds and payment bonds can lead to multi-party litigation involving the surety, the contractor and the guaranteed party (the “obligee”).