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Ohio Refuses To Extend Spearin Doctrine To Cases Involving Delay Due To Plan Changes

Wednesday, July 04, 2007 12:26 pm

Ohio Refuses To Extend Spearin Doctrine To Cases Involving Delay Due To Plan Changes

The Supreme Court of Ohio reinforced the supremacy of express no-damages-for-delay clauses in construction contracts where the delays were due to plan changes. It declined to expand a doctrine allowing for delay damages due to unanticipated job site conditions.

In 1997, Dugan & Meyers submitted a successful competitive bid to serve as the lead contractor for the construction of three buildings on the campus of The Ohio State University (OSU). The parties executed a written contract by which the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (the State) agreed to pay Dugan & Meyers $20.9 million to complete construction work according to plans and specifications prepared by an associate architect.

The contract provided that Dugan & Meyers was to complete the work "on or before 660 consecutive days" following the contract's executive. It further provided that if the contractor did not complete the work within this period, the department would be "entitled to retain or recover from [Dugan & Meyers], as liquidated damages, and not as a penalty, the amount of $3,000 per day for each and every calendar day thereafter until such Work [was] completed and accepted."

Although construction p [...]

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