Bankruptcy on a Construction Project: Coronavirus Edition

A stack of bills (money) illustration

Attorney Garret Murai provides a primer on bankruptcies on a construction project.

May 25, 2020
Garret Murai - California Construction Law Blog

Experts are warning of a wave of bankruptcies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. In some industries, such as the hard hit retail sector, that rising tide has already begun as J. Crew and Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy protection this past week.

While the federal government’s stimulus package, including the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program which is part of the larger 2.2 trillion CARES Act, may help to stem the tide of bankruptcies, Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings increased 26% in April over the same period last year.

How the pandemic will impact the construction industry is uncertain. Anecdotally, we’ve been hearing from clients that some project owners are stalling projects that are still in the planning stages as they evaluate the situation, which suggests long term impacts that can be ridden out rather than short term impacts that can devastate on-going construction projects.

Nevertheless, with 24-7 coverage of the pandemic, project owners, contractors, material suppliers, and equipment lessors are understandably concerned with the impact a bankruptcy might have on a construction project. So, here’s a primer on bankruptcies on a construction project.

Mr. Murai may be contacted at


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