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

October 2004
Nine Points to Help Reach Agreements There are hundreds of books and articles on the “art” of negotiation. Many of them are helpful, but too many are filled with war stories whose instructions may be hard to apply to your specific issue. Some people are natural negotiators. Through force of personality, an ability to read body language or intuition, these rare people are fun to know and watch. READ MORE
September 2004
Ambiguities, vagueness in contracts can be disastrous Drafting construction contracts takes skill. Interpreting someone else’s contract can be equally challenging, and more so if clauses can be read to have multiple, possibly contradictory meanings. The English language can be precise, but used carelessly or deliberately, it can also be vague or ambiguous. READ MORE
August 2004
Settlement agreements may be the nail that saves you Settlement agreements come in all forms, some of which are called by different names. A number of related concepts have been the subject of prior articles, including “accord and satisfaction” and “final lien waivers.” Hand-shake agreements are not wise in construction contracting. READ MORE
July 2004
When a job goes really wrong, for any number of reasons, it can result in the owner deciding that the contractor is so much at fault that their contract comes to a premature end. An owner’s default termination of a contractor has many ramifications. A prior article discusses termination issues that confront the contractor. READ MORE
June 2004
Independent contract hires can create tricky situations There was a time when you joined a company for life. Times have changed. Now we are looking for guarantees. If you do not negotiate for your employment, you are lost. There are basic terms and conditions for an employee or a contract hire. READ MORE
May 2004
A 200-year-old chasm you may have to cross There is an old expression that hard cases make bad law. The reference is to a split in the legal system that has existed for a thousand years. What if one side in a legal battle has all the law on his side, but the equities go the other way? This challenge has, and still does, confront judges and juries. American law originated in England. READ MORE
April 2004
Defining the gray areas At its heart, unconscionability is equivalent to unscrupulous conduct, but this area of the law is generally uncharted waters. Can we come up with a helpful definition? In one case, a contractor garnered huge profits on a government job. When the government realized what had happened, it sued to recoup some of those “excess” profits. READ MORE
February 2004
A number of years ago, I hired a carpentry company to work on my house. At completion, the company’s president came over with his final invoice. I told him that the invoice was wrong. His crews had neglected to note extra trim I had ordered and extra work I had requested on some windows. Where did he go wrong? READ MORE
January 2004
Contracts are drafted by committee. The group always includes an attorney who may or may not give practical considerations to the language drafted. That language, however, is of paramount importance to you. So what do you do when confronted with a book of terms and conditions? Ignore them? Try to reason through what the clauses say? Call your attorney? READ MORE