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    Arizona Court of Appeals Upholds Judgment on behalf of Homeowners against Del Webb Communities for Homes Riddled with Construction Defects

    Federal Court Asks South Dakota Supreme Court to Decide Whether Injunction Costs Are “Damages,” Adopts Restatement’s Position on Providing “Inadequate” Defense

    No Coverage Where Cracks in Basement Walls Do Not Amount to Sudden Collapse

    9 Positive Housing Statistics by Builder

    Building Codes Evolve With High Wind Events

    New York Converting Unlikely Buildings into Condominiums

    Construction Defect Lawsuit May Affect Home Financing

    Earth Movement Exclusion Bars Coverage

    Ill-fated Complaint Fails to State Claims Against Broker and FEMA

    Building Permits Hit Five-Year High

    That Boilerplate Language May Just Land You in Hot Water

    Subcontractor’s Claim against City Barred by City’s Compliance with Georgia Payment Bond Statute

    Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules in Builder’s Implied Warranty of Habitability Case

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    The Harmon Hotel Construction Defect Trial to Begin

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    The Leaning Tower of San Francisco

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    White and Williams Defeats Policyholder’s Attempt to Invalidate Asbestos Exclusions

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    Connecticut Crumbling Concrete Cases Not Covered Under "Collapse" Provision in Homeowner's Policy

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    FAIRFIELD CONNECTICUT BUILDING CONSULTANT
    DIRECTORY AND CAPABILITIES

    The Fairfield, Connecticut Building Consultant Group at BHA, leverages from the experience gained through more than 5,500 construction related expert witness designations encompassing a wide spectrum of construction related disputes. Drawing from this considerable body of experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to Fairfield's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, as well as a variety of state and local government agencies.

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    Fairfield, Connecticut

    Trump Tower Is Now One of NYC’s Least-Desirable Luxury Buildings

    July 08, 2019 —
    Trump Tower, once the crown jewel in Donald Trump’s property empire, now ranks as one of the least desirable luxury properties in Manhattan. The 36-year-old building has been turned into a fortress since Trump won the presidency, ringed with concrete barriers and the two main entrances partially blocked off. It hasn’t been substantially updated in years. And Trump’s name has been a huge turnoff in liberal New York City. For anyone who owns a unit in the tower, the past two years have been brutal. Most condo sales have led to a loss after adjusting for inflation, property records show. Several sold at more than a 20% loss. By contrast, across Manhattan, just 0.23% of homes over the past two years sold at a loss, according to real-estate data provider PropertyShark, although the firm doesn’t adjust for inflation. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Shahien Nasiripour, Bloomberg

    Effective October 1, 2019, Florida General Contractors Have a Statutory Right to Recovery of Attorney Fees Against a Defaulted Subcontractor’s Surety

    July 01, 2019 —
    Florida contractors will soon have a level playing field, at least related to the right to recovery of attorney fees in certain circumstances. Effective October 1, 2019, the Florida statute by which legal fees may be recovered from insurers and sureties was amended to expressly afford that right to contractors. Florida’s Insurance statute, Chapter 627, affords a right to recovery of attorney fees when a judgment is obtained against an insurer and in favor of any insured pursuant to a policy or contract executed by the insurer. See Fla. Stat. § 627.428. In the construction context, the Florida Legislature has also applied this right to the recovery of attorney fees from sureties, for example in circumstances where suit is brought against a surety under a payment or performance bond. See Fla. Stat. § 627.756. But there was an oddity to this statute – it specifically provided this right for “owners” and “subcontractors”, but “contractors” were skipped over. For as long as Section 627.756, Florida Statutes has been on the books, the right to recovery of attorney fees against a surety under a payment or performance bond was only afforded to owners, subcontractors, laborers, and materialmen. Specifically, since at least 1977, Section 627.756, Florida Statutes substantially provided as follows (emphasis added): Section 627.428 applies to suits brought by owners, subcontractors, laborers, and materialmen against a surety insurer under payment or performance bonds written by the insurer under the laws of this state to indemnify against pecuniary loss by breach of a building or construction contract. Owners, subcontractors, laborers, and materialmen shall be deemed to be insureds or beneficiaries for the purposes of this section. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Warren E. Friedman - Peckar & Abramson, P.C.
    Mr. Friedman may be contacted at wfriedman@pecklaw.com

    Another Reason to Always Respond (or Hensel Phelps Wins One!)

    September 16, 2019 —
    Here at Construction Law Musings, Hensel Phelps Construction Co. is best known as the company that got whipsawed between indemnity rules and the lack of a statute of limitations for state agencies. However a recent case out of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia gave them a win and illustrates, once again, that failing to appear or respond is never a good option. In Hensel Phelps Construction Co. v. Perdomo Industrial LLC, the Alexandria, VA federal court looked at an arbitration award entered for Hensel Phelps and against Perdomo under the Federal Arbitration Act. The facts of the case showed that Perdomo “double dipped” into the deep end of refusal or failure to respond. First of all, the contract required arbitration and any award was enforceable in any state or federal court having jurisdiction. Based upon this language, Hensel Phelps filed a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association against Perdomo and its surety, AAA sent notice to both Perdomo and Surety, and. . . neither responded or appeared at what was ultimately 8 days of hearings. After hearing Hensel Phelp’s evidence and the total lack of defenses from Perdomo and Surety, the panel issued an award in favor of Hensel Phelps, finding Perdomo LLC in default and holding Perdomo LLC and Allied World jointly and severally liable in the amount of $2,958,209.71 and Perdomo LLC individually liable in the amount of $7,917,666.30 plus interest. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com

    Motion to Strike Insurer's Expert Opinion Granted

    August 13, 2019 —
    The court granted the insured's motion to strike the testimony of the insurer's expert because the opinion lacked sufficient explanation or analysis. Affinity Mut. Ins. v. Thacker Air Conditioning Refrigeration Heating, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84713 (N.D. Ind. May 20, 2019). The insured owned a market that needed renovations. The roof over an addition to the market extended from the wall of the extension to the top of the existing roof. The area between the old and new roofs was filled with blown-in insulation, so that the structural support from the new overbuilt roof was not visible. The weight of the overbuilt roof rested on top of the existing roof at the point where they met. This added additional weight on the trusses supporting the main roof. In 2014, the market upgraded the building with heating and insulation. Thacker was a subcontractor for work on the hearing system. Six gas furnaces, spaced about 35 feet apart along the length of the building, were placed by Thacker. The total weight of each unit was estimated at 280 pounds. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

    White House’s New Draft Guidance Limiting NEPA Review of Greenhouse Gas Impacts Is Not So New or Limiting

    September 09, 2019 —
    On June 21, 2019, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued draft guidance clarifying the treatment of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in environmental impact reviews of federal projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Those wishing to comment on the draft must submit comments within 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The draft guidance is part of the Trump Administration’s continuing efforts to streamline the permitting and environmental review process for infrastructure and energy projects. It replaces NEPA guidance on climate impacts issued in 2016 by the Obama administration, which was rescinded by President Trump’s Executive Order 13783 early in 2017. Although some initial reports suggest that the new draft guidance significantly pulls back from the Obama administration’s approach, on closer comparison it does not depart that much from the major recommendations of the rescinded guidance. In general, NEPA requires federal agencies proposing to undertake, approve or fund a major federal action to evaluate its environmental impacts, including both direct and reasonably foreseeable indirect effects; to consider alternatives and mitigation; and to discuss cumulative impacts resulting from the incremental effects of the project when added to those of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future projects. The new draft and the rescinded 2016 guidance contain similar recommendations regarding an agency’s obligations to consider indirect and cumulative GHG impacts, as well as on the use of cost-benefit analysis and the contentious Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) metric. Reprinted courtesy of Norman F. Carlin, Pillsbury and Eric Moorman, Pillsbury Mr. Carlin may be contacted at norman.carlin@pillsburylaw.com Mr. Moorman may be contacted at eric.moorman@pillsburylaw.com Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Jury Awards Aluminum Company 35 Million in Time Element Losses

    September 23, 2019 —
    On July 3, 2019, a Delaware jury determined that fourteen property insurers for Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp., an aluminum producer that filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations three years ago, owe Noranda over $35 million in time element losses that Noranda sustained as a result of two separate catastrophic incidents that occurred at its aluminum facility in 2015 and 2016. In August 2015, an aluminum explosion occurred at Noranda’s facility, resulting in substantial property damage and bodily injuries. Though the insurers paid for Noranda’s property damage claim, the insurers only covered $5.64 million of Noranda’s $22 million time element claim. In January 2016, the same facility sustained significant damage as a result of equipment failure. The insurers again paid for Noranda’s property damage claim arising from the equipment failure but declined to pay any of its $22.8 million time element claim. Reprinted courtesy of Michael S. Levine, Hunton Andrews & Kurth and Daniel Hentschel, Hunton Andrews & Kurth Mr. Levine may be contacted at mlevine@HuntonAK.com Mr. Hentschel may be contacted at dhentschel@HuntonAK.com Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    New Jersey Federal Court Examines And Applies The “j.(5)” Ongoing Operations Exclusion

    October 07, 2019 —
    In PJR Construction of N.J. v. Valley Forge Insurance Company, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127973 (D.N.J. July 31, 2019) (PJR Construction), a New Jersey federal court held that the “j.(5)” “Ongoing Operations Exclusion” applied to bar coverage for property damage to property on which a construction company allegedly performed faulty work. The court’s opinion follows prior New Jersey state court precedent, including Ohio Casualty Insurance Company v. Island Pool & Spa, Inc., 12 A.3d 719 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2011) (Island Pool), but also provides additional guidance on the elements which can make the Ongoing Operations Exclusion applicable to exclude coverage. In PJR Construction, a commercial property owner engaged a construction company to build a 26,000 square foot swim club and related 3,000 square foot pavilion building in New Jersey. After about 75% of the work was completed, the property owner fired the construction company and denied it access to the property. The owner later sued the construction company in New Jersey state court alleging “shoddy workmanship” in, among other things, sealants, flashing, water resistant barriers, masonry and the handicap ramps. The construction company sought coverage from its CGL insurer, which denied coverage based on, among other things, the j.(5) Ongoing Operations Exclusion. After the denial of coverage, the company sued the insurer in New Jersey federal court seeking a declaration of coverage. Reprinted courtesy of Anthony L. Miscioscia, White and Williams LLP and Timothy A. Carroll, White and Williams LLP Mr. Miscioscia may be contacted at misciosciaa@whiteandwilliams.com Mr. Carroll may be contacted at carrollt@whiteandwilliams.com Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Ahead of the Storm: Preparing for Dorian

    September 16, 2019 —
    While Hurricane Dorian churns in the Atlantic with its sights currently set on the east coast of Florida, storm preparations should be well underway. As you are busy organizing efforts to secure your job sites, we at Peckar & Abramson offer some quick reminders that may prove helpful:
    • Review your contracts, particularly the force majeure provisions, and be sure to comply with applicable notice requirements
    • Even if not expressly required at this time, consider providing written notice to project owners that their projects are being prepared for a potential hurricane or tropical storm and that the productivity and progress of the work will be affected, with the actual time and cost impact to be determined after the event.
    • Consult your hurricane plan (which is often a contract exhibit) and confirm compliance with all specified safety, security and protection measures.
    • Provide written notice to your subcontractors and suppliers of the actions they are required to take to secure and protect their portions of the work and the timetable for completion of their storm preparations.
    Reprinted courtesy of Peckar & Abramson, PC attorneys Adam P. Handfinger, Stephen H. Reisman and Gary M. Stein Mr. Handfinger may be contacted at ahandfinger@pecklaw.com Mr. Reisman may be contacted at sreisman@pecklaw.com Mr. Stein may be contacted at gstein@pecklaw.com Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of