Skippere Spear is an assistant attorney general at the Colorado Department of Law and a member of the ADR Task Force referred to in this article. He can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dennis Largent is an area engineer at the Colorado Department of Transportation and co-chair of the ADR Task Force, He can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
This article offers a glimpse at what public owners think of litigation vis-à-vis construction ADR, using the experience of the Colorado Department of Transportation, and responses to an informal telephone survey of state DOTs and AGs conducted by co-author Skippere Spear.
Between January of 2003 and January of 2008 the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) awarded 617 construction projects. In 2003, contractors had filed approximately 14 claims for $9 million. In 2006, contractors had filed approximately 40 claims for $35 million. By 2008, contractors had filed 108 claims for approximately $1.6 billion over a five-year period.
To address this large increase in the number of claims, CDOT initiated a “Quality Assurance Review” (QAR) in 2005 to review the CDOT claims procedure and to identify possible improvements. The QAR final report was submitted to CDOT in November 2006. It concluded that the addition of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes to resolve disputes at the lowest possible level would benefit both CDOT and contractors.1