Party Relationships: Contract Form Can Dictate

Party Relationships: Contract Form Can Dictate

Virginia Construction Law News and Notes

When parties go into relationships they often think the relationship is one thing; but legally the relationship may be another. Judge Hughes' recent decision in the case of PEAC Consulting, LLC v. The Ridley Group & Associates, et al., decided September 20, 2013 (CL12-4821, Richmond Circuit Court) emphasizes the importance to the relationship question of the documents and titles actually used by the parties themselves when they create the relationship.

In that case, the plaintiff claimed there was a joint venture relationship with another company in seeking award of a public procurement; however, the trial court disagreed because the proposal that was submitted to the public body identified the parties as "two primary subcontractors." While the court allowed plaintiff's claims to proceeds on other basis, the distinction between joint venturers and subcontractors can be significant; particularly with respect to rights, obligations, and damages. Bottom line, what you call yourself matters, so carefully chose your words, and seek appropriate legal counsel regarding the legal consequences, advantages, and disadvantages of what you could or do choose.

These articles are meant to bring awareness to these topics and are not intended to be used as legal advice.

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