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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

Statute of Repose and Independent Contractor Defense Bar Asbestos Claims in New Jersey

In a unanimous decision, New Jersey’s intermediate appellate court applied the statute of repose and the independent contractor defense and reversed a $1.8 million verdict awarded to the widow of a union asbestos insulator. ...more

Under Construction - September 2013: Economic Loss in Colorado

The economic loss doctrine generally holds parties to the benefits, burdens and obligations set out in their contracts and bars tort claims such as negligence, misrepresentation and theft for purely economic loss when a...more

Arizona Supreme Court Has the Final Word—Again—on Economic Loss Doctrine

Last week, in Sullivan v. Pulte Home Corp., No. CV-12-0419-PR, Arizona’s highest court took on a lingering question about the scope of economic loss doctrine since its landmark decision of Flagstaff Affordable Hous. Ltd....more

Australia: It's never too late - getting sued more than 20 years later

The recent judgment of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Dymocks v Capral [2013] NSWSC 343 held an architect and supplier liable for events that happened in 1989. This case is an important reminder that contracts...more

Defendants in New Jersey Construction Case May Seek Contribution Credits for Fault of Co-Defendants Dismissed Under the 10-Year...

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently held that when claims against certain defendants are dismissed by virtue of the New Jersey 10-year statute of repose, fault may still be apportioned to the dismissed defendants under the...more

Expert Fees Properly Awarded Under Offer of Judgment

In Martinez v. Brownco Construction Co. Inc., the California Supreme Court decided a unique issue under California’s offer of judgment procedure, Code of Civil Procedure Section 998. The court concluded that a second...more

West Virginia Reverses Course, Concludes that Faulty Workmanship is Covered Under a CGL Policy

Last week, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia issued an opinion holding that faulty construction work qualifies as an “occurrence” under a CGL policy if it causes “bodily injury” or “property damage.” Cherrington...more

NC Court of Appeals Rejects Expansive View of Employer Liability

I’m an awful cook. I might even be dangerous. But at least I can say that I’ve never started a fire while attempting to cook. Mr. Timothy Spradley, however, did just that when he was staying at a Candlewood Suites Hotel in...more

Say it Ain’t So Joe! – Developer Learns There is More Than One Meaning for SOL

I was in trial last month. I couldn’t have asked for a better judge. Smart, fair . . . and witty. During the pretrial conference, opposing counsel and I were arguing over whether there was a difference between...more

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