Subcontractors have gotten accustomed to incorporation clauses in their contracts. While an incorporation clause can incorporate any document, most typically, it’s the prime contract between the general contractor and the project owner. Subcontractors will sometimes even accept these documents sight unseen which can be a recipe for disaster. But not in the next case.
In Remedial Construction Services, LP v. AECOM, Inc., Case No. B303797 (June 15, 2021), the 2nd District Court of Appeal examined whether a subcontractor was bound to an arbitration provision contained in a prime contract that was incorporated by reference into the subcontractor’s contract. In this case, it was the prime contractor who was in for a surprise.
The Remedial Construction Case
In 2015, Shell Oil Products US, LLC entered into a prime contract with AECOM Technical Services, Inc. for the demolition, remediation and restoration of the Gaviota oil terminal in Goleta, California. AECOM in turn entered into a subcontract with Remedial Construction Services, LP to perform portions of the work. When AECOM refused to pay Remedial for delay costs asserted by Remedial, Remedial filed suit.