The bridge was designed in the 1960s by a firm that Jacobs acquired in 1999. Construction industry groups, some of which filed amicus briefs in the case, stressed the importance of statutes of limitations in preventing lawsuits years after projects have been completed. As a result of the high court’s refusal to hear the case, Jacobs may be forced to pay out tens of millions of dollars.

The high court’s most notable ruling came in late June, when Chief Justice John Roberts joined the majority in ">upholding the 2010 health-care law’s “individual mandate,”  the statute’s centerpiece. The court upheld most of the law except for its Medicaid expansion.

The decision was a blow to the construction industry and other business-oriented groups, which contend the law is problematic for employers. Obama’s re-election assured that critics’ efforts to repeal the health-care law would be unsuccessful.

The court also heard a handful of environmental cases, including  Sackett v. EPA, in which the ">court unanimously ruled that an Idaho couple could legally challenge an Environmental Protection Agency compliance order requiring them to restore wetlands on property they had purchased to build a new home. Construction groups say the case is a win not only for landowners but also for developers and construction firms.

The court ">ruled on Dec. 4 that federally directed flooding, even if temporary, could be considered a government “taking” of private property under the Fifth Amendment and, therefore, damage caused by the flooding could warrant compensation.