October 15, 2013
Joseph Natarelli, National Construction Industry Group Leader, Article "State Contractors and Bond Producers Need to 'Get in the Game' to Reverse Court Decision" Featured in Construction Accounting and Taxation
Legislatures rarely enact laws proactively to prevent problems. While the reasons may vary, they tend to instead react to significant events or scandals. For example, in Connecticut, the mass shooting of children and teachers in a Newtown elementary school last December spawned stringent firearms regulations. Allegations that former Connecticut governor John Rowland accepted gifts and favors from state employees and private contractors led to changes in state contracting, ethics, and campaign finance laws.
One such notable exception occurred this year when the legislature did not act in the wake of a seminal decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court late last year. The decision, State v. Lombardo Brothers Mason Contractors, Inc., et al., 307 Conn. 412 (2012), effectively exposes architects, engineers, designers, and contractors who perform work under a state contract to unending liability for allegations of defective workmanship.
As the commercial construction industry recovers all too slowly from the worst recession since World War II, state contractors and their insurers and bonding companies should be concerned about the implications of the decision. Indeed, they may need to personally “get in the game” and inform lawmakers about the consequences of the decision if they want the legislature to act.