Personal Injury Construction

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Be Careful Who You Hire: Unlicensed Contractors are Employees of the Hirer

In Randall Blackwell v. Ray Vasilas, (D067239, Superior Court No. 37-2013-00064563-CU-PO-CTL) the Fourth Appellate District held the Privette Doctrine does not protect a hirer from liability to an independent contractor’s...more

California Supreme Court Raises the Bar on Dangerous Conditions on Public Property Claims

Earlier we wrote about the affirmative defense of “design immunity” which can be used by public entities to shield themselves from personal injury claims dangerous conditions on public property. Under the design immunity...more

New York Court Holds Insurer Timely Disclaimed Coverage on Basis of Classification Limitation

In its recent decision in Black Bull Contr., LLC v Indian Harbor Ins. Co., 2016 NY Slip Op 00002 (1st Dep’t Jan. 5, 2016), the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, had occasion to consider whether...more

Berkeley Balcony Collapse Leads To Calls For More Scrutiny of The Construction Industry

On June 16, 2015 six students died and seven others were seriously injured when the balcony on which they were standing collapsed. The group was celebrating a 21st birthday party at an apartment located in the “Library...more

SB 800 – Can Builders Enforce It, Or Not?

15 years ago, the California Supreme Court held in Aas v. Superior Court, 24 Cal.4th 627 (2000), that homeowners could not recover for construction defects unless the defects caused consequential damages to the building. In...more

Negligence – Premises Liability – Property Owner Not Liable For Painter’s Accident – No Evidence of Negligence by the Property...

Tomas Vebr v. Gary A. Culp et al. - Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District (October 28, 2015) - Workers’ compensation insurance is required for issuance of a contractor’s license in California pursuant to...more

Appellate Court Notes

Appellate Court Advance Release Opinions: Released after 11:30 a.m. AC36320 - Valencis v. Nyberg - This decision upheld the granting of a PJR for ~ $1.5 million in favor of the plaintiff property owner when the...more

Denver City Council Passes Construction Defect Litigation Reform Ordinance

After successive failures to pass similar legislation at the state level, the Denver City Council is following Lakewood and other municipalities to pass reforms to curb construction defect litigation. Designed to address...more

Federal Court in Pennsylvania Holds Design Professionals’ Negligence Claim Against Pump Supplier Barred By Economic Loss Rule

Elliot-Lewis Corp. v. Skanska USA Building, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98405 (E.D. Pa. July 27, 2015) - This dispute arises out of a major renovation and expansion of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (the...more

Labor Code § 2708 Presumption of Employer Negligence is Not Applicable Against Homeowners Who Hired Unlicensed Painting Company

In Vebr v. Culp (Filed 10/28/2015, No. G050730), the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of homeowners, where an employee of an unlicensed painting company was injured...more

Would OSHA “Punt” on Inspecting an NFL Team?

The tragedy this August that claimed the life of one worker and injured another during construction of the new $1.1B Minnesota Vikings football stadium reminded us that serious accidents can happen at any site no matter the...more

The Buck Stops Over There: Have Indemnitors Become the Insurers of First and Last Resort?

Insurance and indemnity are the primary risk management strategies on construction projects. Insurance, such as commercial general liability insurance, insures against third party claims for bodily injury and property damage,...more

Homebuilders Welcome Recent Court Decisions

Arizona homebuilders will welcome with open arms two recent legal rulings of substantial impact to their industry. In the first decision, on July 28, 2015, in Sullivan v. Pulte Home Corp., No. 1 CA-CV 14-0199, the Arizona...more

Reports of the Death of SB800 are Greatly Exaggerated – The Court of Appeal Revives Mandatory SB800 Procedures

In a 20 page opinion, the Court of Appeal for the Fifth District repudiated the holding of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove, LLC (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 98 (“Liberty Mutual”), and held that plaintiffs in...more

Summary of California Appellate Decisions -August 2015

Insurance; Duty To Defend; Insurance Coverage; Intentional Acts; Sexual Misconduct - Gonzalez v. Fire Insurance Exchange (2015) 234 Cal.App.4th 1220, 184 Cal.Rptr.3d 394 (WL 960927) - Facts: This is an...more

California Court of Appeals Holds Liability Insurer May Obtain Equitable Subrogation Against its Insured’s Contractual Indemnitor...

In Valley Crest Landscape, Inc. v. Mission Pools of Escondido, Inc., 238 Cal.App.4th 468 (2015), the California Court of Appeals held that an insurer could successfully recover on a claim for equitable subrogation against the...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds That Insured May Settle Tort Claim Without Insurer Consent Under “Fair and Reasonable” Standard

In Babcock & Wilcox Co. v. American Nuclear Insurers, a divided Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, deciding an issue of first impression under Pennsylvania law, recently held that when an insurer defends its insured subject to a...more

Duty to Cooperate Ruling Narrows Insurers’ Ability to Foreclose Coverage for Settled Class Action Claims

Insurance policies typically include a cooperation clause, which requires the insured to cooperate with the insurer in the defense of a covered claim. Insurers routinely use this clause as a sword against their insureds by...more

Construction-Related Auto Accidents

As any driver in Southern California can attest, our roads and highways are always “under repair”. While these construction zones not only slow down traffic, adding to your already slow drive home from work, they can also be...more

If You Can't Say Anything Nice: Criticizing Contractors Can Be Costly

Construction projects can turn acrimonious — and bad feelings often survive dispute resolution. But think twice before voicing thoughts or opinions about a fellow project participant. A false statement about another’s...more

Arizona Court Clarifies Premise Liability

In a recent Arizona Court of Appeals case, the court clarified the rules for liability of a property owner to a person injured on the premises. In Lee v. M & H Enterprises, Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (filed April 21,...more

Texas Supreme Court Eliminates Premises Liability for Concurrent Acts of Premises Employees

In Magdalena Adrienna Abutahoun, et al. v. The Dow Chemical Company, 2015 WL 2147979, the Supreme Court of Texas affirmed the overturning of a jury verdict against Dow, finding it owed no duty related to the plaintiffs’...more

Upheld: Injured Subcontractor’s Lent Employee Has No Claim Against Landowner or General Contractor After Choosing Workers’...

In Lee v. M and H Enterprises, Inc., — P.3d —- (decided Apr. 21, 2015), the Arizona Court of Appeals recently clarified why, in most cases, landowners and general contractors are not liable when subcontractor employees are...more

Project Management Firm Not Liable for Subcontractor’s Injuries

The Suffolk (MA) Superior Court, in Rodrigues, et al. v. Tribeca Builders Corp., et al. (Civil Action No. 13-00730-C), recently granted summary judgment to a project management firm retained by a property’s landlord/owner,...more

Litigation Alert: "Texas Supreme Court Affirms Protection for Business Property Owners"

The Supreme Court of Texas, interpreting Chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code, affirmed that business property owners have broad protections against suits for injuries claimed by contractors, subcontractors...more

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