Texas Federal Court Holds Insured’s Claim for Mechanic’s Lien Barred by Exclusions 3(a) and (d)

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas recently held that an insured's claim regarding a mechanic's lien was excluded from coverage under the title insurance policy under Exclusions 3(a) and 3(d). See Hall CA-NV, LLC v. Old Republic Nat'l Title Ins. Co., 2020 WL 869722 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 20, 2020). In the case, the insured...
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Changes to Iowa Mechanic’s Lien Law: Staying Informed Is Key

Iowa's mechanic's lien law saw a change in February after an Iowa Supreme Court Ruling. Previously, under Iowa statute, contractors were able to recover attorney's fees for all projects in addition to the amount owed. After the February ruling, this stipulation will no longer be applicable to residential projects, specifically for "homestead" prope...
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From GCs to Material Suppliers: Avoiding Slow Payments

Experience in the construction industry can tell you a lot about what makes a good general contractor (GC). Qualities such as industry knowledge, project and time management, and delegation skills certainly boost a GC's resume, but a professional of such high caliber can have their reputation tarnished with two words: slow payment. There is a laund...
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Don’t Sign Your Lien Rights Away

Reading the fine print is one of the better-known clichés, but there's a reason for it. Many sayings start from a small truth and grow to become world renown. Another famous saying, at least in the business-to-business credit world, is that construction creditors have a toolbox full of items they can use to better situate themselves to get paid. Co...
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Japan's Economy Begins to Slip Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The Japanese economy may be the next victim of the coronavirus as tourism has fallen significantly since the outbreak. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has been facing the pressure of a possible recession, according to a recent article in Reuters, and Japan said it will be willing to take "appropriate action" for economic recovery.The threat of recession ha...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 4, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—US Economy—Hawks and Doves on Same PageIt was expected the Fed would take action at some point, but that they chose to do this now was a shock as they had been asserting there was no immediate plan as recently as three weeks ago. That there was unanimous support was also a bit of a surpr...
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Record Construction Spending Starts 2020

Construction spending in the U.S. hit a record high to start 2020. Total construction spending improved 1.8% in January from the revised December data, according to a Census Bureau release earlier this week. The increase is the most in roughly two years, and the $1.369 trillion is a record high. Spending is also 6.8% higher in January than it was i...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for March 2, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—US Economy—Lots of Data to Work with This Week There will be a chance to gauge just how important the virus outbreak has been. The various iterations of the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) will be released and several will be parsed very carefully. We already know the Chinese PMI plumme...
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"Shark Tank" Entrepreneur Suffers $400,000 Loss After Email Scam

There's no better motivator to learn the signs of fraud than financial loss. This was the case for businesswoman and "Shark Tank" entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran who lost nearly $400,000 to an invoice email scam reported last week.According to People, an invoice was emailed to Corcoran's bookkeeper, "approving the payment for a real estate renovation...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for February 28, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—US Economy—Meanwhile—Back at the RanchIt would seem that everything else in the economy stopped once the issue of the coronavirus hit, but as important as this outbreak has become, there is a certain amount of life that still goes on. One of the ongoing issues has to do with where people...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for February 26, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—US Economy—Home Prices Ratcheting UpThe price of homes has been rising again—by 3.8% in 2019. In truth, the price of homes has been inching up consistently for years, but the pace quickened in the last year. The price hikes are varied with the highest being in the hottest markets (as one...
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Strategic Global Intelligence Brief for February 24, 2020

By Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., NACM Economist—Short Items of Interest—US Economy—Consumer Confidence WatchTomorrow, the Conference Board will release its latest survey data on the mind of the consumer. As long-time readers know by this time, I am not a huge fan of these consumer surveys as the consumer is notoriously fickle and hard to read. One day they a...
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Construction Confidence into 2020 Looks Optimistic

Confidence among construction contractors did not waiver during the end of 2019 and into the beginning of 2020, according to recent index results released by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The index spiked in November then remained steady in December.Several variables remained above the growth expectations threshold in December 2019: sa...
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Trade Negotiations Between US and India Reach First Steps

Following a two-day meeting in India, the U.S. and India concluded ongoing trade talks, which may begin a bilateral U.S.-India trade deal, according to a recent article in Reuters. The White House has not given any details on what the trade agreement may look like.Prior to meeting Feb. 24-25, the two nations negotiated for months on terms related t...
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