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CONSTRUCTION DEFECT NEWS

Homeowner's Claim for Collapse Survives Summary Judgment

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The insurer failed to present adequate evidence on summary judgment that damage caused by the collapse of a swimming pool was not covered. Klein v. State Farm Ins. Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3030 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. July 11, 2017).

Klein notified State Farm that his in-ground pool collapsed on February 5, 2014, with a side wall falling into the pool, causing damage to brick, borders and the patio around the pool. Upon inspection, State Farm's agent found that the cover of the pool had partially fallen into the pool, and that the vinyl pool liner had a tear. State Farm covered the damage to the pool liner, but denied coverage for the in-ground swimming pool walls, the brick border and the patio surrounding the pool. State Farm maintained that the loss was due to a "collapse," which was excluded under the homeowner's policy.

Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Insurance Law Hawaii

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

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Unlicensed Contractor Shoots for the Stars . . . Sputters on Takeoff

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Garret Murai - California Construction Law Blog

Elon Musk . . .

Eccentric engineer.

Technology billionaire.

And, now, litigation bad ass.

Frequent readers of the California Construction Law Blog know that we’ve talked about the importance of being properly licensed when doing construction work and the risks to you if you don’t.

One California contractor recently found this out the hard way.

In Phoenix Mechanical Pipeline, Inc. v. Space Exploration Technologies Corp., California Court of Appeals for the Second District, Case No. B269186 (June 13, 2017), contractor Phoenix Mechanical Pipeline, Inc. (Phoenix) lost its boosters . . . err britches . . when it sued Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (Space X) due to its failure to have a California contractor’s license.

Reprinted courtesy of Garret Murai, Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP

Mr. Murai may be contacted at gmurai@wendel.com

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New Jersey Supreme Court Ruled Condo Association Can’t Reset Clock on Construction Defect Claim

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — David Suggs – Bert L. Howe & Associates, Inc.

The New Jersey Law Journal reported that New Jersey Supreme Court “justices reversed an Appellate Division ruling that found three suits filed against contractors by the Palisades at Fort Lee Condominium Association on various dates in March and April 2009 and September 2010 were within the six-year limit because the association received notice of construction defects in the building in an engineer's report issued in June 2007.”

The justices stated that the statute of limitations is not reset when property changes hands: "An owner of a building cannot convey greater property rights to a purchaser than the owner possessed. If the building's owner knew or reasonably should have known of construction defects at the time of the sale of the property, the purchaser takes title subject to the original owner's right—and any limitation on that right—to file a claim against the architect and contractors."


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Miami's Downed Construction Cranes Spark Debate on Safety

September 20, 2017 — Nathan Crooks - Bloomberg

In Miami’s central Edgewater district along Biscayne Bay on Wednesday, a collapsed construction crane hung from the top of a high-rise condominium under development, dangling over low-rise apartments below. Residents wondered why it hadn’t been taken down or better secured as Hurricane Irma headed toward the city.

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SBA Institutes Changes in Surety-Bond Guarantee Program

September 20, 2017 — Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

The Small Business Administration has made changes in its surety bond guaranty program that industry officials say will benefit small construction firms.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at ichniowskit@enr.com

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U.S. Housing Starts Steady, Permits Rise Ahead of Hurricanes

September 20, 2017 — Sho Chandra - Bloomberg

Steady U.S. new-home construction in August together with a jump in permits indicate the housing market was moving ahead before a likely temporary hit from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, government figures showed Tuesday.

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Greenbuild International Conference and Expo

September 20, 2017 — Beverley BevenFlorez-CDJ STAFF

Former President Bill Clinton will be giving a keynote address at this year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. The conference attracts Architects, Builders/Contractors, Building Owners, Code Officials, Developers, Educators/Schools, Engineers, Financial Service Providers, and more. Exhibiters include over 600 suppliers and top manufacturers of the latest green building equipment, products, services and technology fields. The conference features education programs, a master series, plenaries, workshops, tours, and summits.

November 8th-10th, 2017
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
415 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02210

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Arizona Court of Appeals Awards Attorneys’ Fees in Quiet-Title Action

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Kevin Walton - Snell & Wilmer Real Estate Litigation Blog

In Arizona, a party successfully quieting title to property may recover its attorneys’ fees if it satisfies three requirements: (1) the party requests a quitclaim deed from the party adversely claiming title twenty days before bringing the quiet-title action; (2) the party tenders five dollars for the execution and delivery of the deed; and (3) the adverse party fails to comply. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 12-1103(B). Recently, in McCleary v. Tripodi, No. 2 CA-CV 2016-0145, 2017 WL 3723472 (Ariz. Ct. App. Aug. 29, 2017), the Arizona Court of Appeals awarded attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party under this statute.

In McCleary v. Tripodi, Mrs. Tripodi, who became the administrator of her husband’s estate upon his death, wrongfully recorded three deeds purporting to transfer property to herself. After unsuccessfully attempting to get Mrs. Tripodi to quitclaim the property, the plaintiffs filed a quiet-title action. The trial court agreed that the plaintiffs were the legal and rightful owners, granted summary judgment in plaintiffs’ favor, and awarded attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs.

Reprinted courtesy of Kevin Walton, Snell & Wilmer
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Preventing Acts of God: Construction Accidents Caused by Outside Factors

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings

For this week’s Guest Post Friday here at Musings, we welcome back Seth Smiley. Seth, a native of Baton Rouge, is the owner of Smiley Law Firm. He is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Louisiana and California. Seth Smiley is the son of a general contractor, and acquired valuable work experience in the construction industry prior to entering law school. He earned his J.D. from Loyola, New Orleans in 2009. In his practice, Seth handles all aspects of construction cases, from initial contracting all the way to final payment once work is complete. Other areas of focus include commercial lease disputes, personal injury, business formation, and insurance property damage claims. Seth loves to fight insurance companies. Seth is currently the primary author of the Smiley Law Blog. The blogs primary focus is to provide value for current and prospective clients regarding trending legal issues in which the attorneys at Smiley Law Firm cover.

There are several factors a construction team can control on a job site. The foreman can ensure scaffolding is secure and that all employees are properly trained, and all workers can take steps to ensure a reasonably safe work site. Accidents can and will happen despite the best efforts of those involved.

Reprinted courtesy of Christopher G. Hill, The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill

Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com

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Contractors: Revisit your Force Majeure Provisions to Account for Hurricanes

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

We now know and can appreciate the threat of hurricanes. Not that we did not appreciate the reality of hurricanes–of course we did–but Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma created the type of actual devastation we fear because they hit close to home. The fear came to life, creating panic, anxiety, and uncertainty. It is hard to plan for a force majeure event such as a hurricane because of the capriciousness of Mother Nature. But, we need to do so from this point forward. No exception! And, I mean no exception!!

A force majeure event is an uncontrollable event that cannot be anticipated with any degree of definitiveness. The force majeure event will excusably delay or hinder performance obligations under a contract. One type of force majeure event is a hurricane—an uncontrollable and unforeseen act of Mother Nature.

Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Florida Construction Legal Updates

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dadelstein@gmail.com

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CONSTRUCTION DEFECT NEWS

Harrisburg Sought Support Before Ruinous Incinerator Retrofit

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Jonathan Barnes & Richard Korman - Engineering News-Record

When former Harrisburg, Pa., Mayor Stephen Reed (D) and his aides set out to retrofit the city’s aging incinerator in late 2000, the project spun out of control over the coming years, enlarging the debt the city owed on the facility to $300 million and sinking Harrisburg into financial ruin.

Reprinted courtesy of Jonathan Barnes, ENR and Richard Korman, ENR
ENR staff may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com


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Maria Latest Threat to Puerto Rico After $1 Billion Irma Hit

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Brian K. Sullivan & Ezra Fieser - Bloomberg

Hurricane Maria was on course to hit Puerto Rico just two weeks after Irma caused as much as $1 billion in damages on the bankrupt island.

Maria’s top winds were at 155 miles (250 kilometers) an hour, the National Hurricane Center said in a notice around 6 a.m. New York time. At Category 5, the strongest classification on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, Maria was about 35 miles southeast of San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Reprinted courtesy of Brian K. Sullivan, Bloomberg and Ezra Fieser, Bloomberg


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Party Loses Additional Insured Argument by Improper Pleading

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The Archdiocese failed to plead breach of contract against the County for failure to name the Archdiocese as an additional insured under the liability policy. Pachella v. Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 2017 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 595 (Pa. Commw. Ct. Aug. 14, 2017).

Richard and Pachella filed a complaint against the Archdiocese, alleging that Mrs. Pachella was injured when she tripped and fell on the sidewalk outside of St. Patrick's Parish. At the time, the County was leasing St. Patrick's premises for use as an election polling place. The Archdiocese filed a third party complaint alleging negligence and breach of contract claims under a Lease Agreement between St. Patrick's and the County.

Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Insurance Law Hawaii

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

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On the Road Again: The US Army Corps of Engineers’ Recovery Efforts in Virgin Islands

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CONSTRUCTION DEFECT NEWS

DHS Awards Contracts for Border Wall Prototypes

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Engineering News-Record

The Dept. of Homeland Security has awarded eight contracts to companies to develop prototypes for the Trump administration’s proposed wall along sections of the nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. The contracts are divided evenly between concrete and nonconcrete options. DHS’s Customs and Border Protection agency didn’t specify what sort of materials would be used in the nonconcrete barriers.

Reprinted courtesy of Engineering News-Record

ENR staff may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com

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What If an Irma-Like Hurricane Hit the New York City Metro Area?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Christopher Flavelle & Henry Goldman - Bloomberg

It sounds like a Hollywood disaster movie.

A Category 5 hurricane churning in the mid-Atlantic suddenly veers northwest -- and heads straight for New York City.

The good news is that, for now, experts agree a Cat 5-sized deluge appears to be a meteorological impossibility in the U.S. Northeast, given today’s sea temperatures and weather patterns.

The bad news: A storm doesn’t need to pack the wallop of a Harvey or an Irma to knock out the region. Superstorm Sandy, whose wind speed was a relatively tame 80 miles per hour when it reached New Jersey, did $70 billion of damage in October 2012. Irma made landfall in Puerto Rico at 185 mph.

Reprinted courtesy of Christopher Flavelle, Bloomberg and Henry Goldman, Bloomberg



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Is it time for a summer tune-up?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings

For this week’s Guest Post Friday readers are in for a treat. Lance Godard, founder of The Godard Group, has provided marketing and business development solutions to global law firms for nearly 20 years. He has particular expertise developing strategies that allow lawyers to identify client opportunities, communicate their messages, and grow their practices. Lance has been called a “provocative and engaging leader in the legal profession and social media” and was named one of the “20 Twitterers Lawyers should follow on Twitter.” He is the founder of 22 Tweets, live Twitter interviews with practicing lawyers, which provides a forum for lawyers to tell their story using social media.

The market appears to be picking up. Clients are getting back to work. New opportunities can’t be far behind. What are you doing to find them? To make sure they show up on your radar? To put yourself in a position to see those opportunities that do present themselves, and to land the work when you pitch for it? Maybe it’s time for a marketing tune-up.

Reprinted courtesy of Christopher G. Hill, The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill

Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com

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Coverage Article - To Settle or Not To Settle?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 — Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

My colleagues Rina Carmel, Karin Aldama and I authored an article entitled, "To Settle or Not to Settle? Bad-Faith Implications in Resolving Underlying Actions." The article appears in the current edition of Coverage, published by the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the ABA. The article is here.

The article addresses the obstacles faced when settling liability claims. The insurer and insured may have fundamental disagreements on whether to settle or how much to pay in settlement. Should the insured contribute to the settlement? Whether the insurer should seek from the policyholder, or the policyholder offers to make, a settlement contribution presents thorny issues, including whether such a contribution can convert an excess demand into a demand within limits—which, in turn, affects the standard for evaluating the insurer’s response to the third-party demand. On the other hand, the policy holder may not want to settle and set a bad precedent.

Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Insurance Law Hawaii

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

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