July 28, 2011

Firm Featured In The Alaska Contractor

Atkinson, Conway & Gagnon is featured in the current edition of the The Alaska Contractor magazine. The magazine is a publication of the Associated General Contractors of Alaska ("AGC").

shovel.pngAtkinson, Conway & Gagnon has been a member of AGC for decades. The firm's longstanding contruction law practice is discussed at length in the magazine article. "Founded in 1962, Atkinson, Conway & Gagnon boasts extensive experience in all phases of construction law. Its attorneys have represented contractors, architects, engineers, lenders, title insurance companies and property owners in both small residential and large commercial disputes."

The firm's lead constuction law attorney is Robert J. Dickson. As Mr. Dickson explains, "there are no simple cases" in construction disputes. "All involve big money." The firm's lawyers nevertheless endeavor to meet the client's needs in a business-like and effective manner. As attorney Bruce Gagnon states, "Clients come in, and we help them achieve their goals as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. It's that simple."

July 7, 2008

Weekly Summary of Alaska Supreme Court Opinions

Well, after a few months of having other things to occupy my time, namely these darling three month olds (Isaac & Aaden), IMG_0527.jpg it is time for me to renew Atkinson Conway & Gagnon’s attempt to, ahem, timely summarize the Alaska Supreme Court decisions of the week.

First up is Pebble Limited Partnership v. Parnell, S-13059/S-13060, in which the Alaska Supreme Court rejected an attempt to remove an initiative from the November ballot that will impose new requirements on mining in Alaska. The opinion has no real reasoning, as it’s actually an order with an opinion to follow, issued so that the State has time to print ballots for the election this fall. I won’t go into the arguments regarding the merits of the underlying mining initiative, but if you listen to the radio or watch TV for five minutes, you are almost sure to see ads from both sides of the issue.

The only other opinion of real interest is Edenshaw v. Safeway, Inc., S-12583, in which the Alaska Supreme Court held that to prevail on a premises liability claim in Alaska, a plaintiff does not need to show that the business owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition. Instead, the Court held there was only a basic reasonableness test, in which the business owner’s notice of a dangerous condition was a factor to consider, but not a dispositive or required one. This case is a departure from prior cases in which the Alaska Supreme Court held that the State of Alaska had to have actual or constructive knowledge of a defect in a highway to be liable if that defect caused an injury. In Edenshaw, the Court distinguished these prior cases by noting that a grocery store (which was where the injury occurred in Edenshaw) is a much more tightly controlled area, and thus it was more reasonable to impose a general duty of care on the business owner regardless of whether the business owner had actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition on the property.

This opinion will have a significant effect in future litigation, as business owner now can be exposed to liability for injuries caused by dangerous conditions of which they were both not aware and had no reason to be aware. It is also certain to make premises liability cases more expensive and difficult to defend, as the question of the reasonableness of an owner’s actions will almost always be a fact question. Consequently, now that a business owner cannot rely on a lack of notice, constructive or actual, to avoid liability as a matter of law, it will be very difficult to obtain summary judgment or resolution of a premises liability case short of actual trial.

January 31, 2008

New Office/Retail Building Nearing Completion

One of Atkinson, Conway & Gagnon's favorite clients, Ruby Investments, Inc., is getting close to finishing up the construction of a new 15 story mixed use office/retail building in Midtown Anchorage. The project is a known as 188 West Northern Lights, which not coincidentally is the building's address. (Clever thing, that!) It's a terrific project that will have some unique architectural features to dress up Midtown. The building's location, at the intersection of Northern Lights Boulevard and C Street, will make it a real landmark right at the main crossroads in the heart of town. We put together the architect's contract and the construction contract for Ruby Investments and we helped them negotiate those deals.

As with most large real estate developments, this one was not without its little hiccups. But it was all worked out through the art of negotiation and the application of a bit of brain prowess in crafting the necessary documents. Now the building is nearing completion and Ruby Investments is lining up tenants to move in and enjoy the great location and swanky new building. Check out the live web cam of the project: 188WNL Cam

We're proud of the small role we played in helping the Ruby Investments team bring this project together. It's just another example of how a lawyer can have a positive influence on a client's business. (Excellent thing, that!)