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How Much Are Your Trees Worth?

In Texas, more than your dog. Gilbert Wheeler, Inc. v. Enbridge Pipelines (East Texas), L.P. is good news for landowners. The Texas Supreme recognized the intrinsic-value-of-trees exception to the general rule for damages to...more

New Jersey Appellate Court Limits Measure of Damages for Contaminated Properties

On August 27, 2014, the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled in favor of Puritan Oil against a New Jersey property owner, finding that where the oil company had already taken steps to remedy contamination it caused on...more

Editorial: Drowning in Place: Local Government Costs and Liabilities for Flooding Due to Sea-level Rise

Many areas of Florida are experiencing increased tidal flooding due to sea-level rise (SLR). Florida has experienced eight to nine inches of SLR over the past 100 years. The roughly four and one-half inches of rise in the...more

N.J. Federal Court Dismisses Environmental Suit Against Lockheed Martin for Lack of Health Threat

A New Jersey federal court recently dismissed an environmental suit against Lockheed Martin, rejecting the plaintiffs’ argument that any exposure to particular environmental contaminants is harmful. Leese v. Lockheed Martin...more

Texas Supreme Court Opinions and Orders (8/29/14)

As expected, the last order list of the Supreme Court's fiscal year was a busy one. The Court issued opinions in 12 argued cases, so I apologize in advance for the length of this post. There were no grants and no mandamus...more

City May be Liable for Damage to Residence from Falling Tree Under Inverse Condemnation

When is a tree a “public improvement” for purposes of inverse condemnation? According to one court, when the tree was planted by a city as part of a forestry program and maintained over a period of time. City of Pasadena v....more

"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

Texas Supreme Court Opinions and Orders (8/14 - Part 2)

In its weekly orders on Friday, August 22, 2014, the Supreme Court was busy. The Court issued 7 opinions, granted 4 petitions for review, and set 4 mandamus petitions for argument. Scott Stolley summarized 3 of the opinions,...more

Vermont: There is No Cause of Action for Negligence in Adjusting a Property Loss

Last week, the Vermont Supreme Court firmly rejected the notion that an insured can bring a cognizable claim for negligence against his or her carrier in connection with the inspection and handling of a first-party property...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

City May Be Liable for Damage to Home Caused by Falling Tree in Inverse Condemnation and Nuisance

During a windstorm, a tree owned by the City of Pasadena fell on Mr. O’Halloran’s residence, causing damage to his home. Mercury Casualty Company paid Mr. O’Halloran for the damage pursuant to his homeowner’s insurance...more

Nuisance Claims Becoming More Than a Mere Nuisance in Texas

Plaintiffs Bob and Lisa Parr obtained a $2.9 million verdict in April 2014 against Aruba Petroleum, Inc. for health problems allegedly related to oil and gas drilling operations and air emissions near their home. The large...more

“California’s Right To Repair Act Is Not A Homeowner’s Exclusive Remedy When Construction Defects Cause Actual Property Damage.”

The California Court of Appeals recently issued two decisions holding that California’s Right to Repair Act (“SB 800”) is not the exclusive remedy for a homeowner seeking damages for construction defects that have also...more

If A Tree Falls In The City, Is It Serving A Public Purpose?

Today’s posting has nothing to do with corporate law and everything to do with trees. On November 30 and December 1, 2011, the City of Pasadena experienced an unusually violent windstorm. Wind speeds in excess of 100 miles...more

Bank Must Face Homeowner’s Negligence Claim Because It Owes A Duty To Use Reasonable Care In Processing Loan Modification

In Alvarez v. BAC Home Loans Servicing L.P. (August 7, 2014, A138443) --- Cal.App. 4th ---, the First District Court of Appeal reversed a judgment entered in favor of Defendants as to fraud, unfair competition and negligence...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

Milliken v. Jacono: Home Seller not Required to Disclose Murder/Suicide

In a unanimous decision handed down July 21, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that psychological stigma is not a material defect of real estate which sellers must disclose to buyers. The Court held that the...more

NC Supreme Court Reminds Court of Appeals That Typical Lender-Borrower Relationship is Not a Fiduciary One

The North Carolina Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that a run-of-the-mill lender and borrower are not fiduciaries, reversing the Court of Appeals decision that would have this issue to go to the jury. The case is Dallaire...more

Main Street Cashes $3.1 Billion in Checks from Wall Street

With the mortgage crisis almost a decade in the rear-view mirror, some harmed homeowners are just now starting to see reparations for the transgressions of the country’s largest financial institutions. ...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

Court Confirms Bank Can Be Held Liable for Conduct and Representations Occurring During Loan Modification Process

A California Court of Appeal recently held that a defaulting mortgagee can assert claims for breach of contract, wrongful foreclosure, unfair business practices and negligent misrepresentation against the foreclosing bank...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

Statute of Repose: A New Weapon in Environmental Defense Counsel’s Arsenal

The June 9, 2014, Supreme Court ruling in CTS Corp v. Waldburger represents a victory for companies and landowners with legacy environmental liabilities in states with a statute of repose applicable to tort claims. Moreover,...more

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