I am the CEO of a prominent and established developer. It’s been a long wonderful road. We are blessed with a great team who have worked together with great success. When I look back, the only thing I wish I could change is how much time, effort and money we had to spend on legal issues along the way. Project disputes, arbitration, litigation — isn’t there a better way?
-Pondering While Tapping My Fingers
Dear Mr. P.,
The old “ponder paired with the rolling finger tap” says it all, and is the go-to response by CEOs when pondering legal fees. So true, Mr. P., the wheels of justice can grind at times and the so-called “system” is definitely not perfect. The best way forward is to agree in advance on the fairest and most efficient path to assert and dispose of the dispute and assign attorneys’ fees to the loser. Reasonable project players should be able to agree on dispute resolution. Otherwise, you have a red flag. Mr. P., lawyer up early and then write it up! Thankfully there has been improvement. In ancient times the law of retribution applied and a builder (or even the builder’s son) could be put to death for a construction mistake. Who would be the best judge to apply these “eye for an eye” laws established under the Code of Hammurabi (approx. 1750 BC)?
- 229 If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.
- 230 If it kills the son of the owner, the son of that builder shall be put to death.
- 231 If it kills a slave of the owner, then he shall pay, slave for slave, to the owner of the house.
- 232 If it ruins goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.
- 233 If a builder builds a house for someone, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own means.