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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Does An Informal Agreement To Mediate Stop The Limitation Period From Running?

Mediation seems like apple juice:  no harm in taking it and it might do some good. But mediation has a trap: — the limitation period. If a party enters into mediation and lets the limitation period go by, then that’s real harm. In a number of reported cases, one party to a mediation did exactly […]

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Can An Entire Agreements Clause Make A Party To An Agreement Also A Party To Another Agreement?

In construction projects, there will often be several agreements between the various participants. Those agreements may contain “entire agreement” clauses to ensure that the parties are bound only by the terms of the agreement they sign. But could the entire agreement clause have the opposite effect if it refers to one of the other agreements? […]

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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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Alberta Court Of Appeal Upholds The Dismissal Of A Claim Which Ought To Have Been Arbitrated

One challenge facing a party to an arbitration clause is preserving a claim against the running of the limitation period. Starting the wrong claim may mean that the claim will be dismissed. That is now apparent from the recent decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in A.G. Clark Holdings Ltd. v. HOOPP Realty Inc.. […]

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Alberta Court Of Appeal Holds That A Court Action Is Not A Notice Of Arbitration

In previous articles I have warned readers about the dangers of the limitation period in relation to arbitration claims. You can look at my prior articles dated July 17, 2011, February 26, 2012 and August 26, 2012. These dangers are highlighted by the recent decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Lafarge Canada Inc. […]

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Can A Company Be Made Liable On A Contract By “Piercing The Corporate Veil”?

An incorporated company is the most common form of business organization, and this is no truer than in the construction industry.  One of the purposes of incorporation is to ensure that the liability for the business activities of the organization is solely that of the company and not that of the shareholders.  But what happens […]

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Does The CCDC Dispute Resolution Clause Require Arbitration?

Most building contracts contain dispute resolution clauses which refer to arbitration.  A dispute resolution clause can be mandatory – it can require arbitration – or it can be permissive – it can permit arbitration if all parties agree to arbitration when the dispute arises. One would think that the most important thing to make clear […]

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What Is The Priority Between Building Mortgages And Construction Liens In Respect Of Holdback Amounts Greater Than The Statutory Holdback?

The priorities between lienholders and mortgagees under the Construction Lien Act are not easy to understand.  They are even more difficult to understand and apply when the owner holds back more than the statutory minimum, and when the liens are discharged by security provided by the owner or mortgagee. Under sub-section 44(1) of the Act, […]

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