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Judges standing behind bench

The Supreme Court held that the contractual one-year statute of limitations for bringing claims against the contractor was substantively unconscionable and reversed the Court of Appeals.

Recent Supreme Court Decision Could Have Substantial Impact on Builders

Monday, January 23, 2023 — Cassidy Ingram - Ahlers Cressman & Sleight

On October 27, 2022, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a decision which could have a substantial impact on the enforceability of contract clauses that require litigation to be commenced within a stated period of time from project completion. In Tadych v. Noble Ridge Construction, Inc.,the Supreme Court held that the contractual one-year statute of limitations for bringing claims against the contractor was substantively unconscionable and reversed the Court of Appeals.

In Tadych, plaintiff owners (the Tadychs) contracted with defendant contractor (Noble Ridge Construction, Inc., or NRC) for the construction of a custom home in 2012. The contract included a one-year claim limitations clause that required claims to be raised within a one year period from project completion and that any claims not raised during the one-year period would be waived. In December 2013, as the project neared completion, the Tadychs met with NRC to identify any outstanding project issues. The Tadychs noted several, including rainwater pools at the landing at the bottom of the stairs and several nicks and cracks on the stucco exterior walls.

The Tadychs moved into the home on April 8, 2014, and the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development conducted its final site inspection on April 15 and approved the residence for occupancy on April 23. In January or February of 2015, the Tadychs began to notice a shift in their home. In February of 2015, the Tadychs engaged the Construction Dispute Resolution (CDR) to review NRC’s work. CDR raised concerns about the adequacy of the home’s construction and prepared a written report in March 2015 indicating several deviations from the architectural plans and building codes. The Tadychs sent this report to NRC, who assured the Tadychs that NRC’s work followed all requirements and rejected any claims that there were deviations from the plans. The Tadychs continued to notice issues with the home through October 2016.

Reprinted courtesy of Cassidy Ingram, Ahlers Cressman & Sleight

Ms. Ingram may be contacted at cassidy.ingram@acslawyers.com

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Arizona flag button

This article is an interesting and helpful read for those who engage in new home residential sales and real estate transactions generally.

The Unwavering Un-waivable Implied Warranty of Workmanship and Habitability in Arizona

Monday, January 23, 2023 — Robert A. Henry & Emily R. Parker - Snell & Wilmer Real Estate Litigation Blog

The Arizona Supreme Court recently issued an opinion on the scope of the implied warranty of workmanship and habitability (the “implied warranty”) in contracts between homebuyers and builder/vendors that provides clear guidance of the law in this area, specifically on the issue of whether the implied warranty can be waived or disclaimed. It is also an interesting and helpful read for those who engage in new home residential sales and real estate transactions generally.

The case: Zambrano v. M & RC, II LLC, 254 Ariz. 53 (2022). The takeaway holding: the implied warranty of workmanship and habitability cannot, under any circumstances, be disclaimed or waived.

From a practice perspective, the foregoing is likely all one needs to ultimately know. However, the majority opinion (authored by Justice Timmer) and the dissent (authored by Justice King, and joined by Justice Bolick) are in these authors’ opinions worth a read for those who want a better understanding of the contours of how “public policy” plays into the analysis of the enforceability of contract terms, especially in the real estate context and even more particularly in connection with contracts for the sale of new homes. The careful analysis of both the majority opinion and the dissent provides an excellent history of the implied warranty, the public policy behind it, and its scope and application in the context of competing public policies, most notably the freedom to contract.

Reprinted courtesy of Robert A. Henry, Snell & Wilmer and Emily R. Parker, Snell & Wilmer
Mr. Henry may be contacted at bhenry@swlaw.com
Ms. Parker may be contacted at eparker@swlaw.com


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Construction worker in site looking at laptop

Attorney Christopher G. Hill analyzes BAE Systems Ordnance Systems, Inc. v. Fluor Federal Solutions, LLC.

Motions to Dismiss, Limitations of Liability, and More

Monday, January 23, 2023 — Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings

Remember BAE Sys. Ordnance Sys. V. Fluor Fed. Sols? I examined that case on two occasions previously here at Construction Law Musings. Previously the discussions were about the mix (or lack thereof) between fraud and contract and about how careful contract drafting is key.

In the most recent opinion in this ongoing litigation from March of 2022, the Court examined various motions to dismiss the Complaint and Counterclaim in the matter. As a reminder, the basic facts are as follows.

The US Army Joint Munitions Command (“Army”) contracted with BAE Systems OrdnanceSystems, Inc. (“BAE”) to operate and maintain the Radford Army Ammunition Plant (“RFAAP”)under a basic ordering agreement (“BOA”). Under BOA Task Order 002, BAE contracted to replace the legacy NC facility at the RFAAP with a newer one (the “NC Project”). Initially, BAE subcontracted the NC Project to Lauren Engineers & Constructors (“Lauren”), but later terminated Lauren. Despite terminating Lauren, BAE’s timeline to complete the NC Project remained unchanged and BAE was required to use Lauren’s design for the NC Project. BAE gave interested bidders access to the Lauren design and other related documents and required the selected subcontractor to perform in accordance with the 85% complete Lauren design, that the Lauren design could be relied on for accuracy, and the selected subcontractor only had to complete the unfinished parts. Fluor Federal Solutions, LLC (“Fluor”) submitted a request for information (“RFI”) asking BAE about the standards referenced in the SOW. Fluor was unable to determine the completeness of the Lauren design but relied on BAE’s assertion that the design was 85% complete. BAE rejected Fluor’s initial bid as being too high given what BAE had already paid Lauren for its design and told Fluor to lower its bid because the design was close to complete. Fluor lowered its price and submitted another bid proposal that outlined a firm-fixed-price design/build that forecasted 32 months to complete the NC Project. BAE awarded Fluor an Undefinitized Contract Action (“UCA”) in the amount of $9 million dollars, later increased to $32 million. Under the UCA, Fluor began procuring materials and physical construction before a formal subcontract was agreed upon. On December 17, 2015, BAE and Fluor agreed to a fixed-price design and build subcontract (the “Subcontract”) in which Fluor agreed to design, construct, and partially commission the NC Project for $245,690,422.00, which included money spent already in the UCA. When this litigation began, Fluor was scheduled to complete its work by December 2020, 2.5 years beyond the originally agreed-upon completion date.

Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill

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

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NYC Prepares to Implement Large Building Emissions Limits

January 23, 2023 — James Leggate - Engineering News-Record

Construction firms are poised to play a key role in cutting New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions as large building owners move to comply with a local law limiting emissions from their properties. But some concerns remain around the law and the way it will be carried out.

Mr. Leggate may be contacted at leggatej@enr.com

Court: “Literal” Reading Of Insurance Statute Is “Poppycock”

January 23, 2023 — Patrick M. McDermott & Kevin V. Small - Hunton Insurance Recovery Blog

The Fourth Circuit recently held that a “literal” interpretation of a North Carolina insurance law was “poppycock.” Whitmire v. S. Farm Bureau Life Ins. Co., No. 21-1643 (4th Cir. 2022). The case involved a North Carolina statute that required an insurer to provide notice by mail addressed to the insured’s “last known post-office address in this State.” The person that was to receive notice under the statute had lived in North Carolina but then moved to South Carolina. The insurer provided notice at the person’s South Carolina address. It did not provide notice at the person’s last known address in North Carolina. So the beneficiary of the life insurance argued that notice did not meet the North Carolina statute because it was not provided at “last known post-office address in this State,” i.e. North Carolina.

Reprinted courtesy of Patrick M. McDermott, Hunton Andrews Kurth and Kevin V. Small, Hunton Andrews Kurth
Mr. McDermott may be contacted at pmcdermott@HuntonAK.com
Mr. Small may be contacted at ksmall@HuntonAK.com

Pike Construction Co LLC Has Announced Thrive at Montvale Senior Living Community in Montvale, NJ Has Been Awarded Two 2022 SHN Architecture & Design Awards

January 23, 2023 — Thrive at Montvale

PATERSON, N.J., Jan. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Thrive at Montvale is an innovative state-of-the-art senior complex with luxury design features that encourage social interaction. Pike Construction, Co. LLC, was the General Contractor of this development and Co-Developer, along with Thrive Senior Living. The Architectural team of HQW Architects of Sparta, NJ, and Reach Architects of Austin, Texas, provided architectural design services.

Thrive at Montvale took second place honors in the Assisted Living Category and also earned a second-place award for the Independent Living category. The independent living category includes all newly developed rental senior housing or senior apartments.

Thrive at Montvale is a 215,000 sq ft facility comprised of 203 rental units, 90 independent living units, 81 assisted living units, and 32 memory care units.

The facility is the first partnership project between Thrive Senior Living, Atlanta, GA, and Pike.

Pike is a family-owned company based in Paterson, New Jersey. Pike is a general contracting and real estate development firm established in 1958. Since its inception, the company has built more than 15,000 senior housing units ranging in project size from $10 million to over $150 million in total construction costs.

Clean Air and Climate: State and Federal Law Developments

January 23, 2023 — Beverley BevenFlorez – CDJ Staff

This one-day seminar presented by the Seminar Group will “explore recent and emerging legal developments in the laws, regulations, and litigation addressing air quality and climate.” In particular, it will cover “the Supreme Court's decision in West Virginia vs. EPA and the Inflation Reduction Act and their implications for federal and state responses to climate change.” The event’s “objective is to provide a detailed overview of both the challenges and opportunities these developments create.”

February 7th, 2023
Hilton Garden Inn Downtown
1821 Boren Ave
Seattle WA, 98101

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No Parking sign

Soon, real estate developers in Oregon and California will no longer be required to build off-street parking facilities for certain projects located near public transit.

Parking Reform Takes Off on the West Coast

Monday, January 23, 2023 — Allan Van Vliet - Gravel2Gavel Construction & Real Estate Law Blog

Starting January 1, 2023, real estate developers in Oregon and California will no longer be required to build off-street parking facilities for certain projects located near public transit. Both states enacted new rules during the course of 2022 which are effective as of the beginning of 2023, and which seek to reduce the costs of building at least some new projects in major population centers.

In California, A.B. 2097 was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in September, and prohibits city governments throughout the state (including in charter cities) from enforcing any local land use provisions which would require the developer to build parking spaces as part of their project if the project is located within one half-mile of a major public transit stop. The law applies to both residential and commercial projects. Cities can continue mandating parking for individual projects if they find that doing so is important to support the development of affordable housing—this exception was added to allay concerns that the bill would undermine “density bonus” programs which have become an important tool for the promotion of new affordable housing development around the state.

In Oregon, following a 2020 executive order by Governor Kate Brown, the state Land Conservation and Development Commission (the body responsible for land use and planning regulation in Oregon) embarked on a two-year rulemaking process which culminated in July of 2022 with the approval of a set of “Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities Rules.” Like the California legislation, these rules (in part) limit the ability of Oregon’s most populous cities to enforce parking minimums for new development projects. Unlike the California law, the Oregon rules encourage cities simply to repeal their parking mandates entirely. Cities subject the new rules which choose not to repeal their parking mandates in full must, as an alternative, adopt new local policies to reduce the amount of land dedicated to parking in certain geographies or in connection with certain uses.

Reprinted courtesy of Allan Van Vliet, Pillsbury

Mr. Van Vliet may be contacted at allan.vanvliet@pillsburylaw.com

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The underlying suit alleged that Coyne had was engaged in fraud, misrepresentation and concealment by omitting material facts in connection with the sale of the home.

No Coverage for Alleged Misrepresentation Claim

Monday, January 23, 2023 — Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The court found there was no coverage for a misrepresentation claim against the insured sellers of a residence. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Coyne, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186417 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 12, 2022).

Aaron and Tobi Beckman purchased a home from Denise Coyne. The Bockmans alleged in the underlying suit that Coyne represented that the property had a "2-car garage." A disclosure statement signed by Coyne stated she had disclosed all conditions which might lower the value of the property or adversely affect the Bockman's decision to buy the property. After purchasing the property, the Bockmans learned that they could not fit their two vehicles in the attached garage. The Bockmans alleged that substantial remediation was necessary to expand the depth of the garage to fit two cars within it.

The underlying suit alleged that Coyne had was engaged in fraud, misrepresentation and concealment by omitting material facts in connection with the sale of the home. Coyne allegedly engaged in negligent misrepresentation by failing to inform the Bockmans of the depth of the attached garage.

Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert

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

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Businessman crossing finish line

Lewis Brisbois’ client was sued for injuries that occurred during the construction of a dog park.

Appellate Team Secures Victory in North Carolina Governmental Immunity Personal Injury Matter

Monday, January 23, 2023 — Sam Friedman & Christopher Meeks - Lewis Brisbois

Atlanta, Ga. (January 12, 2023) - Atlanta Appellate Partners Seth M. Friedman and Christopher Meeks obtained a significant appellate win on behalf of a city in North Carolina when the North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s denial of the city’s motion for summary judgment.

In the underlying case, Lewis Brisbois’ client was sued for injuries that occurred during the construction of a dog park. The city moved for summary judgment on the grounds that it was immune from suit under the doctrine of governmental immunity. The trial court denied the motion and held that the city waived its governmental immunity through the purchase of a liability insurance policy. Lewis Brisbois was subsequently retained to handle the appeal.

Before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Lewis Brisbois argued, on behalf of its client, that well-established North Carolina law, along with a particular provision in the city’s insurance policy, rendered the city immune from the plaintiff’s claims. The appellate court agreed, holding that the city was immune from all liability and entitled to summary judgment on all of the plaintiff’s claims. The court's full opinion can be read here.

Reprinted courtesy of Sam Friedman, Lewis Brisbois and Christopher Meeks, Lewis Brisbois
Mr. Friedman may be contacted at Seth.Friedman@lewisbrisbois.com
Mr. Meeks may be contacted at Christopher.Meeks@lewisbrisbois.com


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Business partners clinking champagne glasses

Nine Gibbs Giden partners have been selected to the 2023 Southern California Super Lawyers list.

Congratulations to Nine Gibbs Giden Partners Selected to the 2023 Southern California Super Lawyers List

Monday, January 23, 2023 — Gibbs Giden Locher Turner Senet & Wittbrodt, LLP

Nine Gibbs Giden partners have been selected to the 2023 Southern California Super Lawyers list for the third year in a row!

Congratulations to partners

Jason Adams

Barbara Gadbois

Sara Kornblatt

William Locher

Christopher Ng (Managing Partner)

Glenn Turner, III

Ted Senet

Richard Wittbrodt

Philip Zvonicek



Firefighters with fire in background

Findings to help drinking water utilities increase treatment resilience to wildfires.

Research Project Underway to Prepare Water Utilities for Wildfire Events

Monday, January 23, 2023 — Brown and Caldwell

PORTLAND, Ore., January 17, 2023 — A multi-disciplinary team of utilities, academia, and consultants have convened to develop a study and publish guidance to improve water treatment resilience against the impacts of forest fires.

Critical to water security, forested watersheds provide 75 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater (Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations 2021) and supply drinking water for more than two-thirds of North American consumers (EPA 2019). The frequency and severity of forest fires have been increasing globally with warming temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns due to climate change. Wildfires can cause costly, long-term water treatment issues that push water treatment processes beyond their design and operational response capabilities.

Such issues include filtration effectiveness, disinfection efficacy, the elevation of disinfection by-product formation, and increased bioavailable phosphorus leading to problematic cyanobacterial/algal blooms.

Led by a principal research team of Lynn Stephens (Brown and Caldwell), Dr. Mac Gifford and Yone Akagi (Portland Water Bureau), and Dr. Monica Emelko (University of Waterloo), Water Research Foundation (WRF) project #5168 is funded by the foundation’s Emerging Opportunities Program and the Portland Water Bureau (PWB).

About The Water Research Foundation
The Water Research Foundation (WRF) is the leading research organization advancing the science of all water to meet the evolving needs of its subscribers and the water sector. WRF is a nonprofit, educational organization that funds, manages, and publishes research on the technology, operation, and management of drinking water, wastewater, reuse, and stormwater systems—all in pursuit of ensuring water quality and improving water services to the public. For more information, visit www.waterrf.org

About Brown and Caldwell
Headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., Brown and Caldwell is a full-service environmental engineering and construction services firm with 52 offices and more than 1,700 professionals across North America and the Pacific. For over 75 years, our creative solutions have helped municipalities, private industry, and government agencies successfully overcome their most challenging water and environmental obstacles. As an employee-owned company, Brown and Caldwell is passionate about exceeding our clients’ expectations and making a difference for our employees, our communities, and our environment. For more information, visit www.brownandcaldwell.com



Fireworks

The partnership concluded in elevating these attorneys that each have made significant contributions to the firm and their respective practices.

White and Williams Announces Lawyer Promotions, Four Attorneys Promoted to Partner and One Attorney Promoted to Counsel

Monday, January 23, 2023 — White and Williams LLP

PHILADELPHIA -- White and Williams LLP is very pleased to announce the promotion of the following attorneys: Michael J. Ciamaichelo, Russell P. Lieberman, Tanya A. Salgado and Brett N. Tishler, who have become members of the firm’s partnership. All four attorneys are promoted from counsel to partner. The firm has also promoted Zachery B. Roth from associate to counsel. The partnership concluded in elevating these attorneys that each have made significant contributions to the firm and their respective practices.

“All of our new partners and counsel enrich the firm both internally and externally. They have a demonstrated, deep commitment to client service excellence and through their dedication, personal sacrifice and leadership warranted elevation to partnership and counsel at White and Williams,” said firm Managing Partner Andy Susko. “We are proud to welcome these four lawyers to our partnership and look forward to their continued contributions to the firm’s success.”

Reprinted courtesy of White and Williams LLP
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Some Members of ‘Hype House’ Sued After Owner Claims Rental Home Damages

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Construction site

Trace Labs aims to improve efficiency, reduce errors, and increase transparency and trust in construction.

The BUILDCHAIN Project Enhances Data Exchange and Transparency in the EU Construction Industry

Monday, January 23, 2023 — Aarni Heiskanen - AEC Business

Trace Labs, a WEB 3 developer, joins the EU’s efforts to create a smarter and more sustainable built environment with the BUILDCHAIN project. With its 11 EU partners, Trace Labs aims to improve efficiency, reduce errors, and increase transparency and trust in construction.

Efficient, transparent, and trusted data exchange is a powerful tool for driving sustainability, resilience, and energy efficiency in construction. However, there are several obstacles to trusted data exchange in the industry today:

  • Data silos: Construction projects involve multiple parties and stakeholders, each of which may have its systems for storing and sharing information. This can lead to data silos and a lack of coordination, making it difficult to access and trust the data.
  • Lack of standardization: Construction projects may use different formats for storing and sharing data, leading to difficulties in comparing and combining information from various projects.
  • Data security: Construction projects often involve sensitive information, such as building plans, materials lists, and inspection results. Ensuring this information is secure and protected from unauthorized access can be a significant challenge.
  • Lack of incentives: There are often few incentives for construction companies and other stakeholders to share data and collaborate on projects, making establishing trust and transparency challenging.
Reprinted courtesy of Aarni Heiskanen, AEC Business

Mr. Heiskanen may be contacted at aec-business@aepartners.fi

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Construction site

Netflix plans to build a state-of-the-art production facility at a former Army base at the Jersey Shore that will create thousands of jobs.

Netflix Plans $900M Facility At Former New Jersey Army Base

Monday, January 23, 2023 — The Associated Press (Wayne Parry) - Bloomberg

(AP) -- Netflix said Wednesday it plans to build a state-of-the-art production facility at a former Army base at the Jersey Shore that will cost more than $900 million, and create thousands of jobs.

The subscription video streaming company will pay $55 million for a 292-acre site on the former Fort Monmouth military base in Eatontown and Oceanport.

The California-based company plans an additional $848 million worth of investments in 12 sound stages and for other uses related to the film industry.

“We’re thrilled to continue and expand our significant investment in New Jersey and North America,” said Ted Sarandos, the company's co-CEO and chief content officer. “We believe a Netflix studio can boost the local and state economy with thousands of new jobs and billions in economic output, while sparking a vibrant production ecosystem in New Jersey.”

Reprinted courtesy of Bloomberg
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Urban skyline with earth brown to green signalling climate change

Structural engineers are only beginning their quest to halve carbon in new structural systems by 2030 and eradicate it by 2050.

SE 2050 Is In Quixotic Pursuit of Eliminating Embodied Carbon in Building Structures

Monday, January 23, 2023 — Nadine M. Post - Engineering News-Record

Walking to work one November morning, structural engineer Chris Jeseritz was buoyed by a Nelson Mandela quotation on a digital sign on the side of a Seattle office tower: “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”

Reprinted courtesy of Nadine M. Post - Engineering News-Record

Ms. Post may be contacted at postn@enr.com

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White question marks with one red question mark

Many cases that are litigated relating to coverage for certain events under a CGL policy turn on the definition of “occurrence” and whether the event leading to a request for coverage constitutes an “occurrence.”

Are Untimely Repairs an “Occurrence” Triggering CGL Coverage?

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 — Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings

All Class A commercial contractors in Virginia are required to have a minimum level of Commercial General Liability (CGL) coverage. As a general rule, this insurance is there for damage to property or persons arising from an “occurrence” that is covered by the policy. Many cases that are litigated relating to coverage for certain events under a CGL policy turn on the definition of “occurrence” and whether the event leading to a request for coverage constitutes an “occurrence.”

A recent case in Fairfax County, Virginia, Erie Insurance Exchange v. Spalding Enterprises, et al., is just such a case. In the Spalding Enterprises case, the Court considered the following scenario. A homeowner, Mr. Yen contracted with Spalding Enterprises to fix some fire damage at his home. Spalding promised the repairs would be complete in October of 2019. However, after Mr. Yen paid a $300,000.00 deposit, Spalding Enterprises stated that the work would not be completed until November of 2019. Yen then fired Spalding Enterprises and sued for breach of contract, constructive fraud, and violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Spalding Enterprises sought coverage from Erie Insurance for the claim and Erie denied coverage and sought a declaratory judgment that the events alleged in the Complaint by Mr. Yen did not fall under the definition of “occurrence” in the CGL policy held by Spalding Enterprises.

Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill

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

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Builders Standard of Care Expert Witness and Consulting General Contractor area area area

Builders Standard of Care Expert Witness and Consulting General Contractor area area area

Builders Standard of Care Expert Witness and Consulting General Contractor area area area

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