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    Local # 0780
    433 Meadow St
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    Leveraging from more than 7,000 construction defect and claims related expert witness designations, the Fairfield, Connecticut Building Consultant Group provides a wide range of trial support and consulting services to Fairfield's most acknowledged construction practice groups, CGL carriers, builders, owners, and public agencies. Drawing from a diverse pool of construction and design professionals, BHA is able to simultaneously analyze complex claims from the perspective of design, engineering, cost, or standard of care.

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    California Assembly Passes Expedited Dam Safety for Silicon Valley Act

    June 22, 2020 —
    In an effort to move forward a $576 million Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project, the California State Assembly passed AB 3005 on June 8, the Expedited Dam Safety for Silicon Valley Act, facilitating the construction of the project. Tim Newcomb, Engineering News-Record ENR may be contacted at Read the full story... Read the court decision
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    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What Every Employer Should Know

    April 06, 2020 —
    Smith Currie provides this update regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as part of its continuing effort to monitor developments concerning the Coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”) and provide guidance as to potential issues that may arise in businesses across the United States. On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”), which contains provisions requiring certain private employers to provide paid leave to employees who cannot work because of Coronavirus, expanding Family and Medical Leave Act coverage, providing for federal tax credits to affected employers, and providing eligible states the ability to further fund their unemployment trust fund accounts. The Act is effective as of April 2, 2020 and will remain in place through December 31, 2020. Below, we provide a summary of the Act and several of its key components, including the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”), the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, and the Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act. Reprinted courtesy of Smith Currie attorneys Donald A. Velez, Karissa L. Fox and Sarah K. Carpenter Mr. Velez may be contacted at Ms. Fox may be contacted at Ms. Carpenter may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Insurer Granted Summary Judgment on Denial of Construction Defect Claim

    January 27, 2020 —
    The court granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment, confirming there was no duty to defend or indemnify a construction defect claim against the insured. Fontaine Bros. v. Acadia Ins. Co., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148056 (D. Mass. Aug. 29, 2019). The City of Worcester contracted with Fontaine Brothers, Inc. to install a new ice refrigeration system at the City's indoor ice rink. After construction, the condensers in two chiller units eroded and stopped operating. The City sued Fontaine for the costs of leasing temporary chillers and installing new ones. The City alleged that Fontaine installed condensers with carbon steel tubes instead of contractually required stainless stell tubes.Further, Fontaine and its subcontractors did not adequately maintain the condensers, in breach of the contract. Fontaine's insurer, Acadia Insurance Company, denied coverage. Fontaine sued Acadia. The court noted that the City's complaint plainly alleged faulty workmanship by Fontaine. However, the City's complaint did not allege that Fontaine intended the condensers to corrode and left open the possibility that Fontaine was unaware of any potential problem or did not foresee the corrosion likely to result from the use of carbon steel components or the maintenance work being done by its subcontractor. Therefore, the Cit's complaint did not foreclose the possibility that the corrosion resulting from Fontaine's alleged faulty workmanship and maintenance might be shown to be an unforeseen or unintended consequence of reckless or negligent conduct. Accordingly, it was possible that there was an occurrence under the policy language. 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

    Hawaii Federal District Court Remands Coverage Dispute

    June 15, 2020 —
    Accepting the insured's amended complaint, the federal district court of Hawaii remanded the coverage action to state court. Hale v. Lloyd's, London, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9061 (D. Haw. Jan. 17, 2020). Hale purchased a policy for his home in Hilo, Hawaii, from Defendant Pyramid Insurance Centre. The policy was memorialized by a Lloyd's Certificate issued by Defendant Lloyd's. On September 19, 2017, Hale entered Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Included in the bankruptcy proceeding was Hale's home and a secured home mortgage loan now owned by Defendant Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC. The Bankruptcy Court issued a discharge order on January 18, 2018. On May 9, 2018, Hale's home was destroyed, being covered with lava from the Kilauea volcano eruption. Hale filed a claim with Lloyd's based upon the loss of his home. The claim was denied. Subsequently, however, Lloyd's issued a check for the full amount of the policy. Both Hale and Specialized Loan were listed as payees on the check. 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

    Connecticut Supreme Court Further Refines Meaning of "Collapse"

    January 13, 2020 —
    Connecticut courts have been inundated with collapse cases the past couple of years due to insureds' living in homes that were constructed with defective concrete manufactured by J.J. Mottes Concrete Company. In a duo of cases, the Connecticut Supreme Court responded to a certified question from the U.S. District Court, holding that collapse required that the building be in imminent danger of falling down. Vera v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2019 Conn. LEXIS 339 (Conn. Nov. 12, 2019). Plaintiffs had resided in their home since 2009. The home was built in 1993. In August 2015, after learning about the problem of crumbling basement walls affecting homes in their community due to cement manufactured by Mottes, they retained a structural engineer to evaluate their basement walls. The engineer found spider web cracking approximately 1/16 of an inch wide in the basement walls and three small vertical cracks. There were no visible signs of bowing. The engineer did not find that the walls were in imminent danger of falling down, but recommended that the basement walls be replaced. Plaintiffs submitted a claim under their homeowners policy to Liberty Mutual. The claim was denied. The policy did not define collapse, but stated that collapse did not include "settling, cracking, shrinking, bulging or expansion." 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

    Updated 3/13/20: Coronavirus is Here: What Does That Mean for Your Project and Your Business?

    March 16, 2020 —
    The outbreak of COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) has wreaked a considerable human toll of death, physical suffering, fear, and anxiety internationally. Much of the fear and anxiety results from a lack of information or a full understanding about the spread of the disease, protection against infection, and treatment. At Smith, Currie & Hancock, we urge our clients, friends, and colleagues to take seriously, but calmly and prudently, the threat of this disease to protect yourselves, your loved ones, and your businesses. The first step in that process is to inform yourselves with reliable information. Toward that end, we direct your attention to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 website: In addition to the human toll, coronavirus has caused substantial disruptions to economies worldwide. In that regard, the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words,” is particularly foreboding. Satellite images taken by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of China at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak and approximately a month later show a dramatic decline in air pollution, signifying and illustrating a sharp decline in industrial activity and transportation caused by the disease. Reprinted courtesy of Smith Currie attorneys Alexander Gorelik, Joshua E. Holt, Brian N. Krulick, Shoshana E. Rothman, A. Michelle West, and Brian S. Wood Mr. Gorelik may be contacted at Mr. Holt may be contacted at Mr. Brian may be contacted at Ms. Shoshana may be contacted at Ms. West may be contacted at Mr. Wood may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    General Contractors Have Expansive Common Law and Statutory Duties To Provide a Safe Workplace

    February 18, 2020 —
    On November 21, 2019, the Washington Supreme Court handed down its decision in Vargas v. Inland Washington, LLC.[1] At the time of the incident in May 2013, Mr. Vargas, the plaintiff, was helping pour the concrete walls for what would become a parking garage for an apartment building. He was employed by Hilltop Concrete Construction. Inland Washington was the general contractor, and subcontracted with Hilltop to pour concrete. Hilltop, in turn, entered into agreements with Ralph’s Concrete Pumping and Miles Sand & Gravel to provide a pump truck, certified pump operator, and supply concrete. A rubber hose carrying concrete whipped Mr. Vargas in the head. It knocked him unconscious and caused a traumatic brain injury. Vargas, through his guardian ad litem, along with his wife and children, sued Inland Washington, Ralph’s, and Miles. The trial court initially dismissed on summary judgment Vargas’ claims that Inland Washington was vicariously liable for the acts of Hilltop, Ralph’s, and Miles. Later, the trial court also granted Inland Washington’s motion for summary judgment that it was not directly liable as a matter of law. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Paul R. Cressman Jr., Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC
    Mr. Cressman may be contacted at

    Tall Mass Timber Buildings Now Possible Under 2021 IBC Code Changes

    February 03, 2020 —
    The International Code Council (ICC) has approved 17 changes to the 2021 editions of the International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code, allowing for mass timber buildings up to 18 stories. With the addition of three new mass timber construction types (Type IV-A, IV-B, and IV-C), this is the first time in the history of the modern building code that significantly new construction types have been added to the code. Building Materials The primary building material that makes tall mass timber (TMT) buildings possible is cross-laminated timber (CLT). CLT is manufactured from dimension lumber (nominal 2x lumber) laid side-by-side or mass plywood panels of a specified width. Laminations of lumber are typically laid perpendicular to each other to form panels of various thicknesses that are bonded together using heat resistant adhesives that cure in large hydraulic presses. CLT commonly consists of an odd number of laminations. These solid wood panels can be anywhere from 6 inches to 20 inches nominal thickness and 60 feet long. Typical CLT panels will be 6 inches to 14 inches nominal thickness. The panels are fabricated off site, transported onto the construction site and assembled in a manner that is efficient and remarkably fast. CLT panels can be used as floor, wall, or roof building elements supported by glued-laminated beams and columns. Reprinted courtesy of Kenneth Bland, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved. Read the court decision
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