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"Construction Alert" Texas Supreme Court Confirms Owners May Bring Negligence Claim Directly Against Subcontractors

Several cases have held that a homeowner cannot sue a subcontractor for defective work because the homeowner’s contract is with the general contractor and not the subcontractor. Those cases left it to the general contractor...more

Confirmation That the Limitation Period for 'Building Actions' is 10 Years, Not Six

The recent Victorian Court of Appeal decision of Brirek Industries Pty Ltd v McKenzie Group Consulting (Vic) Pty Ltd [2014] VSCA 165 (Brirek Case) has settled the appropriate time period, at least in Victoria, in which a...more

Brirek Industries Pty Ltd v McKenzie Group Consulting (Vic) Pty Ltd – more claims against building practitioners?

On 6 August 2014, the Victorian Court of Appeal handed its decision in Brirek Industries Pty Ltd v McKenzie Group Consulting (Vic) Pty Ltd [2014] VSCA 165. The decision clarified the operation of limitation periods in...more

Architects and Design Professionals Can Be Held Liable for Defects Based On Third Party Claims

A homeowners association, on behalf of its members, sued a condominium developer and various other parties for construction design defects that allegedly made their homes unsafe and uninhabitable for a significant portion of...more

California Supreme Court Expands Architect’s Duty of Care to Future Homeowners

A new decision issued by the California Supreme Court holds that, even in the absence of contractual privity, an architect on a residential building project owes a duty of care to future homeowners to provide design services...more

Alabama Supreme Court Reverses Course, Finds Insurance Coverage for Faulty Workmanship Claims

Companies such as homebuilders, construction companies and contractors face significant financial risk from bodily injury and property damage claims arising from allegedly faulty workmanship or construction defects. Although...more

Principal Architects on Residential Projects Liable for Construction Defects Outside Their Control; Developers and Owners May Pay...

On July 3, 2014, the California Supreme Court decided the much watched case Beacon Residential Community Assoc. v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP. The court held that the “principal architect” “owes a duty of care to future...more

California Supreme Court Holds Design Professionals Owe a Duty of Care to Future Homeowners

The California Supreme Court in Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (July 3, 2014), held – based on common law principles – that an architect owes a “duty of care” to future homeowners...more

The California Supreme Court Decides In Favor Of Homeowners In Disputes With California’s Architects

In the case of Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore Owings and Merrill et. al. (July 3, 2014, S208173) Cal.4th, a condominium homeowners association, sued the developer of the project and the project architect...more

California Supreme Court Upholds Design Professionals' Duty to Future Residential Purchasers

Design professionals, such as architects and engineers, often seek to avoid liability to third party property purchasers for their negligence by arguing that their role in preparing plans was too remote for a duty to be...more

Texas Supreme Court Unanimously Blocks Contractors' Economic Loss Tort Claims Against Designers

Texas contractors have long tried to directly sue their owners’ professional design firms -- rarely with success -- when faulty plans cause economic losses such as increased costs from delays and disruptions. A few cases in...more

Federal District Court in Pennsylvania Allows Negligence Suit Against Builder Despite Lack of Privity of Contract Between the...

A Federal Court in Pennsylvania has handed down a ruling that may expand the pool of potential plaintiffs in construction litigation. See AMCO Insurance Co. v. Emery and Associates, 926 F. Supp. 2d 634 (W.D. Pa. 2013). In...more

No Lawsuit for You! When Subcontractors Cannot Sue the General Contractor

Can a subcontractor sue a general contractor over a work site accident? A recent decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court loudly and clearly said, "NO." Why not? The court ruled in Patton v. Worthington Associations, Inc....more

Condominium Construction Defects Legislation Introduced

Proposed legislation to reduce the cost of construction defect claims and encourage condominium construction has been introduced in the Colorado legislature. The long-awaited bill, Senate Bill 14-220, sponsored by Sen. Jessie...more

Alabama Supreme Court Clarifies Position on Construction Coverage Question: Damage to Contractor’s Work Resulting from Faulty...

In an important decision for policyholders in the construction business, the Supreme Court of Alabama recently clarified that Alabama law is in accord with the growing majority of jurisdictions finding coverage for property...more

Did You Unknowingly Sign Away Your Ability To Sue? Double Check Your Construction Agreement!

By statute, the time to bring a lawsuit against a contractor for hidden construction deficiencies can be as long as 10 years. That means that, say, a property owner could sue his or her architect or general contractor for...more

The Construction Advantage

We hope you enjoy Bernstein Shur’s first edition of The Construction Advantage. This newsletter will provide you with insight into the current legal issues in construction, news and updates. We hope in this newsletter and...more

Texas Supreme Court Reverses Lower Court’s Holding Excluding Construction Defect Claim From Coverage Under CGL Policy

In a victory for contractors, the Texas Supreme Court recently held that a contractor does not lose coverage under its commercial general liability (“CGL”) policy merely because it entered into a contract agreeing to perform...more

Texas Supreme Court Rejects Insurer Attempt to Expand Limited Insurance Exclusion for Liability Assumed by Contract, Holding that...

In a highly anticipated ruling earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court rejected Amerisure Insurance Company’s attempt to radically expand the scope of a common exclusion for liability assumed by contract found in many...more

Certificate of Qualified Expert Not Always Required for Claim Against a Design Firm in Maryland

For over 15 years, Maryland law has required that a party asserting a claim against a design professional – such as an architect or an engineer – for negligence in the rendition of professional services must file a...more

Texas Supreme Court Rules CGL Policy’s “Contractual Liability" Exclusion Does Not Bar Coverage for Claims Arising From...

On January 17, 2014, the Supreme Court of Texas rejected a commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurer’s attempt to invoke the “contractual liability” exclusion to deny coverage under a standard CGL policy regarding a...more

Texas Supreme Court Holds “Contractual Liability” Exclusion Inapplicable

In a long and highly anticipated decision issued today, the Texas Supreme Court held that a standard “contractual liability” exclusion does not void coverage for claims alleging that a contractor failed to construct a project...more

Utah Court of Appeals Limits Third-Party Beneficiary Contract Claims Against Appraisers, but Recognizes Tort Based Third-Party...

In Lilley v. JPMorgan Chase, et al, 748 UT Adv. Rpt. 48, 213 Utah App. 285, Nov. 20, 2013, the Utah Court of Appeals affirmed an order of the District Court dismissing the Plaintiffs’ breach of contract action against an...more

“John Doe” Saves the Day in Washington: Avoiding S.O.L. Defense by Properly Naming “Doe” Defendants

In Powers v. W.B. Mobile Servs., Inc., 311 P.3d 58, 2013 WL 5645561 (2013), Division Two of the Washington Court of Appeals held that if a plaintiff (1) names a “John Doe” defendant with “reasonable particularity,” files suit...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Limitations and Repose for Architects and Contractors

November was a relatively light month for the Illinois Supreme Court on the civil docket, with only one civil case on for argument. Today, we report on the oral argument in Gillespie Community Unit School Dist. No. 7 v. Wight...more

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