Gerard W. Ittig

Legal Columnist

Gerard Ittig, of Ittig & Ittig, P.C., in Washington, D.C., specializes in construction law. He can be contacted at 202.387.5508, or

Articles by Gerard W. Ittig

May 2003
Cashing a check may be seen as accepting a settlement A recent Virginia case highlights the danger of cashing checks that contain notations of “final payment.” In Gelles & Sons v. J. Stack Inc., Gelles performed masonry work worth close to $100,000. At project completion, Gelles was owed $26,000, which Stack refused to pay. READ MORE
May 2003
Some time ago, a friend of mine who worked for a construction management firm explained one of his company’s philosophies. The firm divided all owners into two types: the first consisted of owners which regularly bought construction services; the second (such as hospitals, schools, prisons, etc.) engaged in major construction only occasionally. The difference is extremely important. READ MORE
April 2003
The problem of apparent authority This tale of sloppy paperwork should serve as a wake-up call: A contractor needed a crane and operator. At the end of each day, the crane operator presented a “work authorization” form to one of the contractor’s foremen to sign, primarily concerning hours worked. None of the foremen was authorized to sign contracts or change orders for the contractor. READ MORE
March 2003
Building schools involves some unique parameters. The budget is often inflexible, the completion date and interim milestones are based on school semesters, and project management may be left to the architect, who has built-in conflicts regarding errors and omissions in the drawings. How disputes arise Some examples, with questions: 1. A four-story, L-shaped dormitory. READ MORE
March 2003
It used to be said that the definition of a “claim” was “an unresolved change order.” That concept has been expanded because of the sheer quantity of claims and litigation in construction. Now, most contracts seek to impose restrictions and limits on change orders and claims. READ MORE
February 2003
It’s a lie! It’s a fraud! These are fighting words, but they are too often spoken. In construction-contracting litigation, allegations of fraud, deceit and misrepresentation are also too often raised. Generally, the law does not micromanage business dealings. READ MORE
January 2003
Analyze this scenario: An owner calls you because of your enticing advertisement. “No job too big or too small.” “Over 20 years of satisfied customers.” READ MORE
November 2002
There is an expression in the law that most litigation occurs because of missing facts or missing documents. A written notice for an extra item or for a time extension was not sent; both parties did not sign the contract; the owner denies that the light fixtures delivered were the ones he or she orally approved. READ MORE
October 2002
Problems in the major category In a prior article, I discussed "punch list" issues. Normally, these are matters that concern minor touch up, repair and completion. So what happens when the problems are in the major category? In order to answer this question, let's assume that the defective installation is the electrical contractor's fault. READ MORE