January 2012

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An Alabama state court judge, Judge J. Scott Vowell of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama, recently entered an order indicating that a section of Alabama’s new immigration law prohibiting the courts of Alabama from recognizing or enforcing contracts entered into with “an alien unlawfully present in the United States” is unenforceable because it violates Alabama’s Constitution.  In the case before Judge Vowell, the plaintiffs sued a car dealer for selling them salvage cars without disclosing the cars’ history.  The car dealers alleged that the plaintiffs were illegal aliens and moved to dismiss based on the Law’s prohibition on enforcing contracts entered into with illegal aliens. (more…)

Governments throughout the U.S. are awarding massive infrastructure contracts to Chinese construction companies instead of to their more expensive American competitors. Two of the largest projects that have been awarded to Chinese construction companies in the past few years include the renovation of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge in New York City and the rebuilding of the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland. The resulting effect on the U.S. construction industry and broader economy remains to be seen. (more…)

The news is full of chatter about how the United States is falling behind the world; emerging economies are surpassing the United States; and the United States loosing its position in the world. That is all bull. We can flush toilets and have access to water. These two apparently simple services, most people take for granted, may not exist in the areas of the world that are allegedly moving to usurp the United States. (more…)

Alabama’s new immigration law, the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act (H.B. 56) has received substantial nationwide publicity since its passage in July 2011.  Nevertheless, it remains to be seen how much practical impact the law will have on the construction industry and other businesses and individuals in Alabama, particularly in light of federal court decisions stopping enforcement of numerous provisions, and calls by Alabama’s Governor to “tweak” the law. (more…)

The Empire State Building, the most iconic skyscraper in America, became the tallest building to receive LEED Gold certification for existing buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council. The 2.85 million square foot office tower and tourist attraction celebrating its 80th birthday engaged in a more than two-year overhaul costing a total of $500 million dollars, including $100 million dollars to achieve the certification. A study determined that the significant investment was actually low for the number of square feet in the building. (more…)