Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C., FCIArb

Has The Limitation Period For Constructive Trust Claims Been Thrown Wide Open?

Constructive trust claims are a natural for construction projects. Unpaid subcontractors and suppliers may have improved the land owned by or secured to the owner or mortgagee. But they may have a worthless claim against a bankrupt contractor and may have let the time for filing a construction lien claim pass by. In these circumstances […]

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The Traps And Perils Of Limitation Of Liability Clauses

In Swift v. Eleven Eleven Architecture Inc., the Alberta Court of Appeal recently considered the impact and scope of a limitation of liability clause in a consultant’s contract between an owner and the architects on a building project. The court arrived at three important conclusions. First, the clause did not apply to and did not […]

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Does An Interim Lender To A Construction Project Owe A Duty of Care?

Construction projects don’t often proceed without a lender. And often there is an interim lender which provides financing pending the advancement of funds by the final lender. In this circumstance, two questions arise: First:  Does the interim lender owe a duty of care to the owner or purchaser of the project? Second:  If the interim […]

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Restitutionary Payment May Be Ordered For An “Ineffective” Construction Contract

Owners and contractors should always avoid undertaking a project without a contract.  But if they do build the project without a contract, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has recently recognized in Infinity Steel Inc. v. B & C Steel Erectors Inc. that the party which received the benefit of the work or supplies must […]

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Contractors Beware: Don’t Rely On Quantum Meruit To Fill a Gap in a Contract

The principles of contract interpretation and quantum meruit are obviously quite distinct.  But in its recent decision CH2M Hill Energy Canada, Ltd. v. Consumers’ Co-operative Refineries Ltd., the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has reminded us that they also give rise to two very different and separate payment obligations.  There cannot be an obligation to make […]

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Unjust Enrichment-Are the Services “Incontrovertibly Beneficial”?

Unjust Enrichment – Are the Services “Incontrovertibly Beneficial”?  A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal outside the field of construction law reminds us of the principles of Unjust Enrichment that apply to the payment for services provided to a construction project.  Unless the services were requested by the defendant, payment can only be […]

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Unjust Enrichment

Unjust Enrichment-Construction lien action:  A supplier cannot assert an unjust enrichment claim against an owner, particularly if the contractor has asserted a construction lien claim.  The contract between the owner and the contractor is a juristic reason for the unjust enrichment claim being disallowed, and the absence of any dealings between the owner and the […]

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