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Construction Case Law Update - December, 2014

FLORIDA STATE CASES - Employer Liability Policies & Worker’s Compensation – Although decedent-employee’s estate had standing as a judgment creditor to sue the tortfeasor-employer’s liability insurer for breach of...more

Ninth Circuit Enforces Waiver of Subrogation Clause in Design/Build Agreement Against Post-Construction Property Insurer

Travelers Indem. Co. v. Crown Corr, Inc., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21101 (9th Cir. 2014) - This action arose out of the construction of the University of Phoenix Stadium (the “Stadium”), home of the Arizona Cardinals. ...more

Guardrail Ends – Open and Obvious Court Ends Liability for Contractor and Engineer Based Upon Slavin Doctrine

The Slavin Doctrine has been on the books for more than fifty years and is a favorite defense used by contractors, architects and engineers defending against personal injury and wrongful death claims. Generally, the Slavin...more

More “Texas Justice” For Policyholder On Contractual Liability Exclusion

On October 29, the Fifth Circuit reversed itself for the second time this year in a case involving the interpretation of a contractual liability exclusion in a CGL policy. This recent decision by the Fifth Circuit in...more

New York Court Revisits Architect’s Duty Under Contract and Tort Principles

Issues of privity and whether claims sound in breach of contract or negligence are common in construction defect cases involving architects and New York is no exception. Indeed, New York courts have long wrestled with...more

No CGL Coverage for Faulty Workmanship Under Pennsylvania Law

In State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. McDermott, 2014 WL 5285335 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 15, 2014), a federal court recently held that an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify its insured against an underlying construction defect...more

High Court Clarifies Duties To Subsequent Purchasers – Brookfield Multiplex v Owners Corporation

The duty of care owed by a builder to subsequent purchasers of a building has long been a source of contention. In a decision handed down on 8 October 2014, the High Court in Brookfield Multiplex Limited v Owners Corporation...more

High Court Finds No Duty of Care From Builder to Owners Corporation

The High Court has held that a builder of a serviced apartment complex does not owe a duty of care in negligence for financial loss arising from defects in common property to an owner's corporation (Brookfield...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

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

Limitation of Liability Clauses

Many industry form documents and custom construction contracts contain provisions shifting or limiting the respective parties’ risks. One of the more potentially significant risk-limiting provisions seen primarily in...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

The Construct - May 2014

In This Issue: - Green Law Corner - You Decide: Green Globes vs. LEED: The U.S. General Services Administration recently added Green Globes as an additional third-party green building certification system for...more

Illinois Court Holds Insured Cannot Deselect Insurer In Connection With Underlying Settlement

In its recent decision in AMCO Ins. Co. v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 2014 Ill. App. LEXIS 296 (May 5, 2014), the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, had occasion to consider whether an insurer selected by an insured’s...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

Builders Beware! You Cannot Hide Behind SB 800!

In Burch v Superior Court (Premier Homes et al.) 2014 DJDAR 1991 (decided February 19, 2014) plaintiff Burch, a Pacific Palisades homeowner, sued defendants Premier Homes, the developer, and Custom Home Builders, the general...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

Texas Supreme Court Limits Liability Exclusion in Ewing

On January 17, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court issued a key ruling clarifying the scope of contractual liability exclusions in insurance policies. In Ewing Const. Co., Inc. v. Amerisure Ins. Co., 2014 WL 185035 (Tex. Jan. 17,...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

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