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Commentary: 2012 Resolutions for the Construction Industry

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Careful construction industry people (and others) may want to make the following New Year's resolutions for 2012:

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• Resolve—to make all reasonable efforts to settle disputes directly with the other party and leave your attorney alone;

• Resolve—to carefully document every event that might give rise to a claim or dispute through letters, e-mails and notes of meetings and conversations (that should be written during or immediately after the events) and with photographs, videos, etc.;

• Resolve—to consider segregating your e-mail correspondence by job and subject matter to make it accessible if the need arises;

• Resolve—to be aware that what you say in e-mails (or on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is accessible to every junior high student and may end up as an exhibit in court or arbitration;

• Resolve—to watch out for deadlines such as completion dates, times for asserting mechanic’s liens, statutes of limitations, etc.;

• Resolve—to read every contract document carefully—to question confusing, unclear, misleading or unfavorable provisions—and not to sign until you know, understand and are satisfied with every term and provision (unless you have no choice and are willing to assume some risk);

• Resolve—to “put it in writing,” using familiar and well-understood contract forms, purchase orders, authorizations-for-extras and other forms designed to make responsibilities clear and avoid later hassles;

• Resolve—to alert office personnel about what to do with legal papers handed to them by deputy sheriffs, process servers or other mysterious people;

• Resolve—to alert your people about what to do if newspaper, magazine, radio or television reporters start asking questions or poking around (say “no comment” but with other words meaning the same);

• Resolve—to communicate, write letters, answer letters—and write the last letter on the particular subject;

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