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

A Subcontractor Recovers Against The Owner In Unjust Enrichment

A subcontractor who fails to register a construction lien faces an uphill battle in asserting a claim in unjust enrichment against the owner. That is because the owner will rely upon its contract with the contractor for any benefit that the owner has obtained from the subcontractor’s work. The owner will also assert that there […]

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Contractor’s Contract With The Buyer Of Land Was A Sufficient Reason To Deny A Construction Lien And Unjust Enrichment Claim To The Contractor

In J. Lepera Contracting Inc. v. Royal Timbers Inc. the Ontario Divisional Court recently dealt with a claim in unjust enrichment by a contractor who had done work for the purchaser of land. The purchaser had agreed to buy the land under an agreement of purchase and sale, but later defaulted under that agreement, and […]

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Privy Council Defines Extra Work Under A Fixed Price Building Contract

In Mascareignes Sterling Co Ltd v Chang Cheng Esquares Co Ltd (Mauritius), the Privy Council of the United Kingdom recently set out some helpful principles to define the entitlement of a contractor to extra payment under a fixed price contract. The Privy Council held that the power to award extra payments under a fixed price […]

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General Lien Provision Inapplicable If Main Contract So Provides: Ontario Court Of Appeal

A construction and builders lien claimant may, in some circumstances, file a general lien. The general lien allows the claimant to claim a lien over a number of properties to which it has supplied services or materials. Section 20(2) of the Ontario Construction Lien Act (the Act), unlike the lien statutes in other provinces, enables […]

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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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The Seven Principles Of Value For Unjust Enrichment

What is something worth? And if it’s worth something to you, is it worth the same to me? Or is everything in the eyes of the beholder? These are tough questions at the best of times. But they are even tougher in the case of a claim for unjust enrichment. In unjust enrichment, value is […]

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