Alabama - The Alabama Supreme Court reversed itself and concluded that faulty workmanship can constitute an “occurrence” under a commercial general liability insurance policy which triggers coverage for the insured. In a prior decision, in the very same case, the Supreme Court had reached the opposite conclusion.
Florida – The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida adopted the “injury-in-fact” theory for trigger of insurance coverage in a construction defect case. The purchasers of condominium units sued the contractor alleging latent defects. The contractor’s insurance carrier denied coverage asserting that the injury did not manifest until long after the coverage expired (the policy was an occurrence policy) and therefore, the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify. The court rejected the manifestation theory, and after recognizing that the question was unsettled under Florida law, concluded that the injury-in-fact theory was the appropriate method for determining when coverage was triggered.
Mississippi – On March 17, 2014, the governor of Mississippi signed a bill creating a statewide building code for commercial and residential construction. Unfortunately, the law allows local government officials to “opt out” of the statewide building code. Currently, only three states do not have a statewide building code (Alabama, Texas, and Delaware).
Florida – An action to enforce a construction lien must be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction within one year of recording the lien. The Second District Court of Appeals has recently held that an arbitration proceeding is not a “court of competent jurisdiction” and therefore, filing a claim in arbitration does not operate to preserve the claim of lien.
Georgia - On May 27, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners will select the general contractor to build the new Atlanta Braves Stadium. Four bids were received to build the stadium which is projected to cost around $672 million. The bidders are • American Builders (a consortium of contractors including Mortenson Construction, Barton Malow, Brasfield & Gorrie and New South Construction) • Clark Construction Group • A joint venture between Hunt Construction Group and Holder Construction • Turner Construction Company. The Braves stadium really isn’t a “legal” update, but I am a Braves fan, and I am sure others will be interested too.
(UPDATE: The Brasfield & Gorrie consortium won the job.)