Rangers: We are not investigating

first_imgBy Ken StickneyKen.stickney@panews.com Melvin and his supporters have ratcheted up the pressure since then.Last week, members of the chief’s civilian advisory board rallied in front of the Port Arthur Police Station, calling for Billiot’s resignation, insisting the words were particularly insensitive to African Americans and lamenting that Billiot has not apologized.On Tuesday, Melvin said he spoke with Texas Rangers investigators over the phone last week and in his office this week. He said after the criminal investigation of the purported remarks ends, there would be an administrative review.Meanwhile, Sgt. Stephanie Davis, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Tuesday in response to a Feb. 1 emailed inquiry from the Port Arthur News, “An investigation is not being conducted at this time.”Asked about that statement Tuesday, Melvin called it “bad information” and confirmed his two earlier conversations with investigators.Davis was informed by email about Melvin confirming an investigation and asked to clear up the confusion. At 7:51 p.m. Tuesday she responded simply, “The Rangers are aware of the allegations, but there is not an investigation into this matter at this time.” The initial dispute arose over a suggestion that Port Arthur Sgt. Chris Billiot told the Police Association’s executive board in a Jan. 18 meeting that,  “Chief is bleeding and we should step on his neck and cut his head off.”An association spokesman said later no direct threat was made or intended toward the chief.But days later, Patrick met with two city lawyers and the city manager to request that the Texas Rangers investigate those words attributed to Billiot, suggesting they posed a physical threat to the chief and his family.The Port Arthur News learned about the perceived threat and Melvin’s response when City Council member Willie “Bae” Lewis brought to the newspaper a copy of the written communication from Melvin to city officials detailing the complaint and his request.center_img Next UpMaybe it’s a matter of perception.Or maybe it’s a matter of timing.But a spokeswoman for the Texas Rangers insisted late Tuesday there is no current investigation of a continuing imbroglio involving Port Arthur Police Chief Patrick Melvin and the city’s Police Association — even as the police chief insists there is one.last_img read more

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A short walk links engineering and medicine

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,by Jeffrey R Wakefield UVM Stretching between Votey Hall, home to the University of Vermont’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences(link is external), and the Larner College of Medicine’s Medical Education Center(link is external) is a jumble of chain link fences, construction equipment and hulking, partially built structures – ground zero of an ambitious construction program, about half done, being undertaken by the university and its teaching hospital, the UVM Medical Center.But even the roundabout walkway between the buildings that gives construction hazards a wide berth can be traversed in a little under four-and-a-half minutes.Both the nearness of the buildings and the impediments that prevent an even quicker passage between them are significant—foundational elements of an ongoing commitment the university is making to what may be the great intellectual enterprise of our time: using the quantitative methods of mathematics, computer science and engineering to understand biological systems and solve deeply complex biomedical problems.In a sign of this commitment, the university this fall unveiled a new undergraduate major in biomedical engineering three years in the making. It joins a Ph.D. in bioengineering launched in 2010 and previews a master’s in the discipline the university will put in place within two years.UVM’s emergent trio of biomedical engineering degree programs has top tier potential, says the university’s provost, David Rosowsky.In his previous job as dean of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rosowsky presided over one of the nation’s leading biomedical engineering departments.As he was eyeing UVM from afar and after he arrived in 2013, Rosowsky was impressed by the talent of the faculty in both the engineering college and the university’s highly ranked medical school—and by how many faculty in both academic units had educational backgrounds and active research programs in biomedical engineering.He was also struck by something that was missing at RPI and, to an extent, limited it: the fact that “our College of Medicine”—RPI has neither a medical school nor a clinical translational research facility like UVM Medical Center—“sits right on our campus, co-located with the rest of the university,” he says.The combination of faculty talent and interest and the nearness of the two colleges presented “an obvious opportunity to invest in an area that was very compelling to students, very compelling to federal agencies supporting research and very attractive to employers,” he says.Two years after Rosowsky arrived, as part of a strategic plan developed by the university’s president, Tom Sullivan, UVM began construction on a new $104 million STEM facility—one of the impediments that necessitates the circuitous path from Votey to the med school. Across the way, the UVM Medical Center recently broke ground on another—a new patient care facility that will bring engineering and medicine even closer.The investment in the new STEM facility doesn’t overlook biomedical engineering. A large, state-of-the-art biomedical engineering teaching and research lab will be housed in Votey Hall, much of which will be gutted and rebuilt as part of the STEM project.Consequential CollisionsThe proximity of engineering and medicine at UVM is rare in American higher education. At the vast majority of the 50 universities that have both accredited biomedical engineering programs and medical colleges, the two units are located across town from one another (think Tufts in Medford and Tufts Medical School in Boston’s Chinatown) or even across the state (Cornell in Ithaca and Weill Cornell Medicine in Manhattan, for example).The location of the schools being a “stone’s throw from one another creates unique synergy,” says Luis Garcia, dean of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.Rachael Oldinski, a rising faculty star in biomedical engineering in the college, is a case in point. Oldinski and a group of faculty at the College of Medicine’s Vermont Lung Center are hard at work on an ingenious invention she calls a “lung Band-Aid” —a patch of organic matter derived from seaweed that can be used to repair the hole of a collapsed lung and “potentially save a life,” she says. But if a post-doctoral student at the med school, Darcy Wagner, hadn’t wandered over to Votey to catch a seminar Oldinski was teaching and talk with her afterwards about a challenge she and her advisor, Dr. Dan Weiss, a pulmonary specialist at the Lung Center, were facing, the invention may never have been conceived.“She came to my seminar and said, ‘This is what we’re having trouble doing,’ and I said, ‘Well, I have something that will probably solve your problem,’” Oldinski says. “And then she came back to me and said, ‘You know I think your solution would actually be good for something else.’ One thing led to another and to another, and the lung Band-Aid was born. It happened only because of the people and the location,” Oldinski says.Explosive GrowthBiomedical engineering as a field is experiencing explosive growth, says Jason Bates, a biomedical engineer and professor of pulmonary medicine in the Larner College of Medicine, who helped launch the bioengineering Ph.D. as interim director of the School of Engineering, a role he played from 2010 to 2014. Bates and Jeff Frolik, professor of electrical engineering in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, are co-directors of the new undergraduate program.The growth is being driven along two tracks, says Bates. “There’s the technology involved in healthcare delivery,” he says, which grows exponentially every year and includes everything from smart prosthetics to diagnostic tools like CAT scanners to the safe and standardized manufacture of new pharmaceuticals.“Then there’s the technology involved in making fundamental investigations into biology as a biomedical system,” he says. “Medicine and biology have developed to the point where you just can’t get away from the need for serious quantitative methodology in much of it. Engineers are people with hammers looking for nails. And in medicine, we’ve got a lot of nails.”All that growth means better healthcare outcomes for patients—and a burgeoning job market for biomedical engineers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 23 percent increase in the number of biomedical engineering jobs between 2014 and 2024, a “much faster than average” rate of growth according to the bureau. In 2015 the median income of biomedical engineers was of $86,220.That rosy projection rings true for alum Dan Nardi (B.S. in mathematics, 2002/M.S. in computer science, 2004), vice president for operations at Livongo, a Chicago-based chronic disease management company, and a member of the CEMS advisory board who was an early advocate of the new undergraduate degree.“Being out in Silicon Valley a lot and just picking up as much as I can on all the blogs, I certainly think there is more and more demand,” he says. Nardi also mentors healthcare startups in the Chicago area “and a lot of entrepreneurs want to have a background like this because there’s so many applications.”UVM biomedical engineering graduates would be welcomed by “a whole new wave of startups,” he says.More Than Bricks and MortarThe university’s investment in biomedical engineering extends beyond the bricks and mortar of the new biomedical lab and the STEM facility of which it is part. According to Garcia, the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences brought on a new instructor in the discipline in August and plans a tenure track “cluster hire”—two biomechanical engineering faculty recruited simultaneously, one with a concentration in electrical engineering and one in mechanical—this academic year.The university is also investing in a program that will award “substantial seed grants,” according to Rosowsky, to teams of faculty from engineering and medicine who jointly submit research proposals.The grant program is a way of further ramping up research partnerships between colleagues in UVM’s engineering and medical colleges, a group that has often worked together in the past whose tradition of collaboration led to the bioengineering Ph.D.The new undergraduate program should promote even more connection, Garcia says. Faculty from the two schools will be entwined, with engineering faculty primarily teaching the first three years, medical school faculty offering special topics courses senior year, and much interplay all four years. “You’re going to be working together teaching, and working together in developing some of the programs,” he says. “We see a clear spillover into doing more research together.”Wanted: Gender BalanceThe attractiveness of the new undergraduate program and the popularity of the major across higher ed should help the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences continue its strong enrollment growth, a strategic goal of the university and the state of Vermont. The unit has more than doubled its enrollment in the last decade. It will also help with another challenge facing UVM and universities everywhere: tipping the scale toward gender balance in the male-dominated field of engineering.“Biomedical engineering nationwide is about 40 percent female,” says Garcia. “We’re confident our program will get to that level,” which should boost overall engineering enrollment well above its current ratio of 21 percent female to male, a figure higher than the national average for engineering schools but not where the college wants to be.A larger female enrollment would, in turn, “attract other underrepresented categories,” says Frolik. “All the students would be taking the same first and second year classes, so we’ll have a much more diverse population.” Why more women are attracted to biomedical engineering is a complicated question. Bates and others guess that it’s “because of the more immediate social implications of being able to directly help people.”Oldinski says role modeling plays a large part. “Where did a lot of women start to become comfortable within engineering?” she asks. “I think biomedical engineering was one place. And as soon as you have one biomedical engineering professor, there’s your pipeline of female students.”The example of Kiki Cunningham, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Old Chatham, N.Y., who’s switching to biomedical engineering now that the major is available, suggests that those reasons may be intertwined.While in high school at Emma Willard in Troy, Cunningham got a tour of the General Electric facility in nearby Schenectady and was inspired by a young woman there, who told her about a project she was working on to make synthetic skin for burn victims. Cunningham was drawn to the person but also to the field’s ability to make a human impact. “Originally I wanted to go into internal medicine to help people,” she says. “After that presentation and after doing more research, I saw more ways I could help people being a bioengineer than an M.D.”Good to GreatUVM’s expansion of its biomedical engineering program is a clear advance for undergraduate education at the university; the only surprise is that it didn’t come earlier. “UVM has everything you’d want for the degree,” Oldinski says. “The students have the ability to get into the classroom, to go over to the hospital, to volunteer, to work with faculty in the College of Medicine and the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, the Material Science program in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Nursing and Health Science.”And the educational experience is delivered—in both engineering and medicine (as well as in the university as a whole)—via a teacher-scholar model emphasizing small classes taught by faculty with expertise in research and teaching.As the undergraduate enrollment grows and feeds the soon-to-come-online master’s program, as both programs serve as a pipeline to the doctoral program, and as all student levels swell a research program already growing due to increased collaboration between next-door-neighbor faculty in engineering and medicine, it’s hard not to get carried away by biomedical engineering’s potential at UVM. “This is a great opportunity for the university,” says Rosowsky. “It’s also a great fit for the university.”last_img read more

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Xtra Mile Events raises a glass with ERDINGER Alkoholfrei

first_imgMultisport events company, Xtra Mile Events, has announced that ERDINGER Alkoholfrei will be supporting five major Xtra Mile Events this season as part of the non-alcoholic beer brand’s expanded sponsorship program across the UK.ERDINGER Alkoholfrei will be present at Oulton Park Spring Duathlon (16 March 2014), Ffit Conwy Llandudno Sea Triathlon (29 June 2014), Peak District Triathlon at Chatsworth (13 July 2014), Eirias Middle Distance+ and Eirias Standard Distance+ (9 August 2014) and Oulton Park Autumn Duathlon (5 October 2014).(The confirmation of ERDINGER Alkoholfrei’s sponsorship of key events on the 2014 Xtra Mile race calendar comes hot-on-the-heels of a deal between ERDINGER and One Step Beyond Events for all its major events in 2014, including the sold out Cambridge Half Marathon and the televised Outlaw Triathlon.) Related The ERDINGER Alkoholfrei team will be handing out samples to all Xtra Mile race finishers, reinforcing the recovery message through the ‘great tasting isotonic drink’. All athletes will also have the opportunity to win merchandise via their various Xtra Mile competitions.ERDINGER will also promote Xtra Mile Events through its channels – with all sponsored events listed on the ERDINGER Alkoholfrei events calendar.Xtra Mile Race Director Simon Hill commented, ““We are hugely excited to announce that ERDINGER Alkoholfrei will be sponsoring five of our major events this year. They are a huge name in triathlon and we are privileged to have them at the finish line of these great events.”Further sponsors of Xtra Mile Events include Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative (Official Bicycle Retail Partner), Starley Bikes (Official Specialist Bike Brand), Clif Bar (Official Sports Nutrition Partner), Zone3 (Official Wetsuit Partner), Aftershokz (Official Headphone Partner), Up & Running (Official Sports Retail Partner) and Athlete Matters (Official Physio and Rehab Partner).www.xtramileevents.comwww.erdinger-alkoholfrei.co.uklast_img read more

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Colliers completes $18.95M sale in Tucson

first_imgColliers International in Greater Phoenix recently completed the sale of a 143,650-square-foot Class A office building for $18.95 million, or $131.95 a square foot.W. P. Carey Inc. on behalf of CPA®:17 – Global, one of its managed REITs, purchased the building, which is leased to a single tenant. The seller was Summit Properties of Seattle.Neil Glassmoyer, senior vice president; Tivon Moffitt, vice president; and Peter Bauman, senior associate; all of Colliers International in Greater Phoenix, served as brokers for the buyer and seller.“The transaction is the largest office sale in Tucson based on square footage since January of 2008 and involves one of the highest quality assets in the market,” Moffitt said.“This sale shows demand for assets in the Tucson market that have investment-grade tenants,” Bauman said.Constructed in 2002, the building is located at 3350 E. Hemisphere Loop in Tucson and is situated on 16 acres at the Tucson International Business Center.“The buyer acquired this Class A office building well below replacement cost with a high-quality tenant in place,” Glassmoyer said.Gino Sabatini, W. P. Carey Managing Director and Co-Head of Global Investments, noted, “The quality of the tenant and the criticality of the asset to their operations made this an attractive investment for W. P. Carey. The building’s size along with significant improvements made by the tenant are key factors in meeting the tenant’s unique requirements and consequently enhanced the investment value of the asset for us.”last_img read more

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Reports probe Tamiflu benefits, call for clinical data transparency

first_imgDec 9, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – In an update of a review on the role of neuraminidase inhibitors in seasonal flu prevention and treatment, the authors reversed a previous conclusion that oseltamivir (Tamiflu) prevents complications like pneumonia in healthy patients because they were unable to reconstruct the data in one of the key studies that found a benefit.The review was published today in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), along with an investigation that the journal conducted with England’s Channel 4 News on the authors’ attempts to obtain the raw data from Roche, which supported the earlier studies and is the maker of Tamiflu.The BMJ’s investigative report and an accompanying editorial say difficulties the review authors had in verifying the data cloud government stockpiling policies and point to other problems with drug company transparency in the drug approval process and medical journal publishing practices. They also wrote that an earlier Cochrane Library review, published in 2006, should have been more rigorous.Though today’s BMJ articles focus on seasonal flu and healthy patients, they may have implications for pandemic flu, because Tamiflu is the drug of choice for managing H1N1 infections, especially in those with severe illness and those at high risk for complications.Analysis includes 20 studiesThe research team, which included experts from Australia and a doctoral student from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, analyzed 20 published trials on neuraminidase inhibitor use in seasonal flu that focused on prevention, treatment, and adverse reactions. However, they dropped eight trials that were included in the 2006 review, because they were never published and the researchers weren’t able to verify the results. According to the BMJ investigative report, Roche wouldn’t send the authors the raw data without a signed confidentiality agreement.They concluded that neuraminidase inhibitors have a modest effect against seasonal flu symptoms in healthy adults, but a scarcity of good data undermines the previous finding that Tamiflu is useful in preventing flu complications. The investigators wrote that independent randomized trials are needed to resolve uncertainties.During negotiations with the authors over the raw data, Roche sent them a group of observational studies. An analysis of those studies in the same issue of BMJ found that oseltamivir may reduce the risk of pneumonia in healthy patients who have flu, but the benefit is small and side effects and safety should be considered. The authors of the analysis also said interpreting the observational studies was difficult, because some patients were included in more than one study.In an editorial in the same issue of BMJ, the journal’s editor-in-chief, Dr Fiona Godlee, and Mike Clarke, director of the Cochrane Centre in Oxford, England, wrote that Roche hasn’t done anything wrong by current pharmaceutical standards, but they said the current system isn’t working and “gives a false sense of security.”They wrote that drug company studies are often shrouded in secrecy and aren’t always subject to full independent review. They call for more publicly funded trials and said governments should pass laws requiring access to raw data on licensed drugs.Data access limitedFred Hayden, MD, a virologist at the University of Virginia and coordinator of influenza activities at the Wellcome Trust, an independent medical research funding charity based in London, was the corresponding author of an analysis that included raw data from some of the Roche-supported studies that Australian researchers couldn’t obtain from Roche. That report, published in a 2003 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, has been widely use to support Tamiflu use for preventing flu-related pneumonia and hospitalizations. Hayden said that after several moves he was unable to track down the raw data and advised them to request it from Roche.Hayden told CIDRAP News that the 2003 findings are still valid and that he supports the researchers’ access to the primary data. Roche said in a response to BMJ that it would provide the raw data to researchers who have a legitimate need for it on a password-protected Web portal. “There’s no question that this is the right thing to do,” Hayden said.The new BMJ review might send a confusing message to clinicians who are in the midst of treating pandemic H1N1 patients, Hayden said. He said the review focuses on uncomplicated seasonal influenza, and he cautioned physicians not to generalize too broadly from it in their management of pandemic H1N1 cases.Studies on patients with H5N1 avian influenza infections from different countries have shown that early oseltamivir treatment can reduce mortality, and clinicians are seeing the same pattern for patients with pandemic H1N1 flu.Hayden is part of a World Health Organization (WHO) panel of antiviral experts that met in June to update WHO guidance for pandemic H1N1 management. He said the group meets again in January to review the most recent data, and he doesn’t think the BMJ review will have much of an impact on the discussions.WHO evaluating reportsCharles Penn, PhD, a scientist with the WHO’s global influenza program, told CIDRAP News that the WHO is still evaluating all of the BMJ reports to see how they might affect its antiviral guidelines. However, he said the review isn’t based on any new evidence and that its conclusions contain findings about neuraminidase inhibitor use that are already well known, such as a modest benefit in otherwise healthy patients.He pointed out that the pandemic H1N1 virus is affecting a different age range than seasonal flu, with a small number of very severe cases, including some involving viral pneumonitis. Researchers are building up a body of evidence from 6 months of clinicians’ experience in managing pandemic H1N1 patients, and the data suggest oseltamivir is having an impact on severity and hospitalizations.When queried about a response from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the BMJ review, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner referred CIDRAP News to a recent perspective article by Tim Uyeki, MD, MPH.Uyeki, a medical epidemiologist in the CDC’s Influenza Division, wrote in a Nov 18 article in the New England Journal of Medicine that evidence “supports the benefit of neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamiviror zanamivir) in reducing complications, including deaths, among hospitalized patients with 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1).”Uyeki cited three observational studies of oseltamivir in seasonal flu that showed reduced mortality in hospitalized patients.”Taken together,” Uyeki concluded, “although data are limited, findings of observational studies all point in the same direction, suggesting benefit of early neuraminidase inhibitor treatment for hospitalized influenza patients as well as for patients presenting >48 hours after illness onset.”Some conclusions already acceptedVincent Racaniello, PhD, professor of microbiology at Columbia University and author of Virology Blog, told CIDRAP News that the BMJ studies are well done and the conclusions are valid, but he said scientists have known for a long time that neuraminidase inhibitors are marginally effective. “They were approved because there are no other antivirals available,” he said. “In people with lab-confirmed influenza, they work about 70% of the time in reducing symptoms by a day. That’s been known for years and these meta-analyses confirm that.”He said the new BMJ review’s conclusion that there is no benefit from postexposure prophylaxis for influenza-like illness contradicts earlier studies, but he said some of the illnesses might not have been flu and may not have been affected by neuraminidase inhibitors. “That’s one reason why the authors of this study call for more trials,” Racaniello said. The other reason they support more study is because they’re not sure that the drugs don’t prevent complications, he added.The issue the BMJ articles raise about the release of clinical trial data is “terrific,” Racaniello said. “This is immediately relevant because, for example, many people would like to see the results of H1N1 clinical trials before deciding to take the vaccine. They aren’t widely available, yet the vaccine is in use,” he added.Racaniello predicted that the new review won’t have much affect on policies regarding the use of neuraminidase inhibitors. The drugs help, even if experts aren’t sure if they help with complicated influenza, he said. “The study emphasizes the fact that we don’t have very good drugs against influenza and we need to have more. Some are in development, but it’s not enough.”Jefferson T, Jones M, Doshi P. Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2009 Dec 8;339 (Early online publication) [Full text]Cohen D. Complications: tracking down the data on oseltamivir. BMJ 2009 Dec 8; web extra [Abstract]Freemantle N, Calvert M. What can we learn from observational studies of oseltamivir to treat influenza in healthy adults? BMJ 2009 Dec 8;339 [Full text]Godlee F, Clarke M. Why don’t we have all the evidence on oseltamivir? BMJ 2009 Dec 8;339 (Editorial) [Full text]See also:Uyeki T. Antiviral treatment for patients hospitalized with 2009 influenza A (H1N1). N Engl J Med 2009 Nov 18 [Full text]last_img read more

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On The Job In Los Alamos: Uli’s New Store Manager

first_imgOn the job in Los Alamos Tuesday is new Manager Daphne Renee Harris at Uli’s Clothing Boutique at 800 Trinity Dr. Ste. G. Uli’s is a women’s and children’s boutique with distinctive gifts, books and toys. They are known for their ability to dress specific body types and personal styles to their best look. They have a loyal following of clients from all over the country that fly to meet with Uli’s staff  for wardrobe and style development. Visit www.ulislosalamos.com. #worklosalamos #wherediscoveriesaremade. Photo by Jenn Bartram/ladailypost.comlast_img read more

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Sensirion releases most accurate digital humidity sensor

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

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Nikola showcases zero-emission products

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

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Injunction to restrain an adjudication: Matthew Harding (t/a M J Harding Contractors)vs Gary George Leslie Paice and Kim Springall

first_imgThe FactsThe claimant building contractor entered into a JCT Intermediate Form of building contract on 25 March 2013 with the defendant property developers for the construction and fit out of two residential properties together with associated works. The contract provided for adjudication. Work commenced in April 2013 but the relationship deteriorated and by 18 September 2013 the developers purported to terminate the contract alleging a failure to proceed regularly and diligently, refusal by the contractor to accept the contract administrator and refusal of access to the site.The contractor rejected the termination and claimed that his work was ahead of schedule. He claimed he was being delayed by the developer’s failure to appoint a replacement architect and provide necessary design information. Work stopped during September 2013 and on 20 November 2013 the contractor gave notice of suspension.On 3 January 2014, the contractor purported to terminate the contract.In accordance with clause 8.12.3 of the contract, following termination the contractor was entitled to submit his account to the developer and he did so on 8 August 2014 claiming a gross valuation of £797,859.49 of which some £397,912.48 was said to be outstanding. Under the interim certificate mechanism in the contract, payment had to be made within 30 days and any pay less notice issued at least seven days prior to the expiry of the 30 day period. No valid pay less notice was issued, nor any payment made and the contractor commenced adjudication proceedings.The contractor maintained that this was a simple adjudication. He had made an application for payment. There was no valid pay less notice. Therefore the money was therefore due.The developers argued that they, not the contractor, had terminated the contract therefore the contractor had no entitlement to payment.The adjudicator’s decision was issued on 6 October 2014. He concluded that the contractor had terminated the contract and that the contractor was entitled to the £397,912.48, principally because of the lack of a valid pay less notice. On 14 October 2014 the developers commenced adjudication against the contractor alleging the correct value of the contract works was approximately £340,000 and not the £797,854.49 that the contractor had claimed in his account on 8 August 2014.The contractor applied for an injunction to restrain the developers’ adjudication on grounds that the developers had acted unreasonably and oppressively by commencing adjudication without first having complied with the 6 October adjudication decision.The IssueThe contractor had submitted a post termination account under which the developers were required to pay the “amount properly due”. Did the developers’ failure to issue a valid pay less notice mean that the adjudicator’s decision that the £397,912.48 must be paid comprise an inviolable determination of the “amount properly due” in respect of the account, thereby making it unchallengeable in later adjudication proceedings? The DecisionThe judge concluded that the adjudicator in the third adjudication had not determined what sum was “properly due” but only that the developers must pay the amount stated in the contractor’s account where there was no valid pay less notice. Accordingly, the developers could require another adjudicator to ascertain the sum that was “properly due” in respect of the contractor’s account. However, the judge noted that this did not give the developers the right to decline to pay the amount specified in the 6 October adjudication decision. CommentaryThis dispute concerned the particular payment provisions consequential upon termination which used different wording to the mechanism for interim certificates and the final account. Nevertheless, it would still have been prudent for the developers to have issued a pay less notice, if only on a protective basis. The contractor contended that this omission converted the sum claimed in the 8 August account to an immutable valuation. The judge thought that this draconian approach could not be right.Philip BarnesFenwick Elliott LLPlast_img read more

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Justice advisory council’s future up in the air after reshuffle

first_imgUncertainty surrounds the future of the advisory council set up by former lord chancellor Michael Gove to examine ways to eliminate waste and abuses in the criminal justice system.Within days of taking up her post, incoming lord chancellor Liz Truss confirmed that Gove’s programme of prison reform will ‘continue at pace’. However, she has yet to comment on the future of the advisory council, which her predecessor pledged to establish after scrapping the controversial two-tier criminal legal aid contracting regime in January.The council has met at least once since its chair, Gary Bell QC (pictured) of No5 Chambers, a friend of Gove, wrote in the Gazette in May calling for submissions.Council member and solicitor Paul Selby, a partner at Smethwick firm Mann & Co, said: ‘The first meeting was really to go through all the areas which people felt quite strongly about. There’s quite a wide cross-section of people. The next meeting is going to be a lot more specific.’ Bell did not respond to requests for comment.The council, which was heavily criticised by the Law Society for being unrepresentative and failing to reflect the diversity of the profession, plans to make recommendations before the end of the year. ‘It would be a shame if it just gets left behind, but we will see,’ Selby said.Meanwhile controversy over the appointment of Truss, the third non-lawyer lord chancellor in succession, continued last week. A former incumbent, Lord Falconer of Thoroton (Charles Falconer QC) said her appointment breached the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.Truss’s credentials were also called into question by Bob Neill MP, chair of the House of Commons justice select committee. He told the Gazette that the committee would seek reassurance that Truss will ‘continue to keep up the good relationship that Michael Gove established’.last_img read more

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