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    California Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: SB800 (codified as Civil Code §§895, et seq) is the most far-reaching, complex law regulating construction defect litigation, right to repair, warranty obligations and maintenance requirements transference in the country. In essence, to afford protection against frivolous lawsuits, builders shall do all the following:A homeowner is obligated to follow all reasonable maintenance obligations and schedules communicated in writing to the homeowner by the builder and product manufacturers, as well as commonly accepted maintenance practices. A failure by a homeowner to follow these obligations, schedules, and practices may subject the homeowner to the affirmative defenses.A builder, under the principles of comparative fault pertaining to affirmative defenses, may be excused, in whole or in part, from any obligation, damage, loss, or liability if the builder can demonstrate any of the following affirmative defenses in response to a claimed violation:

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    Leveraging from approximately five thousand engineering, construction, and builders standard of care related expert designations, the Anaheim, California Construction Expert Directory delivers a comprehensive construction and design expert support solution to construction claims professionals seeking effective resolution of construction defect and claims matters. BHA provides construction related trial support and expert consulting services to the nation's leading construction practice groups, Fortune 500 builders, general liability carriers, owners, as well as a variety of public entities. Employing in house assets which comprise testifying architects, design engineers, construction cost and standard of care experts, licensed general and specialty contractors, the firm brings national experience and local capabilities to Anaheim and the surrounding areas.

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    Anaheim, California

    Supreme Judicial Court of Maine Addresses Earth Movement Exclusion

    March 01, 2021 —
    In Bibeau v. Concord Gen. Mut. Ins. Co., 2021 WL 243867, 2021 ME 4, the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine addressed an earth movement exclusion contained in a residential homeowners policy. In 2017, the insured submitted a claim to Concord for damage to the insured’s home which included foundation cracks and settlement resulting in interior damage to the home. The insured contended that the damage was the result of a 2006 water line leak. Concord denied the claim based on the Earth Movement exclusion contained in it’s policy which precluded coverage for losses caused by earthquakes, landslides, mudslides, mudflow, subsidence, sinkholes or “[a]ny other earth movement including earth sinking, rising or shifting; caused by or resulting from human or animal forces or any act of nature”. The insured filed suit asserting a breach of the policy and unfair claims settlement practices. According to the insured’s expert, the damage was caused by a 2006 water line leak -- which in turn caused the foundation to settle. Concord's expert, however, concluded that the settling was caused by the house being built on “unprepared or uncontrolled fill” which allowed the house to settle at different rates. Despite the disagreement regarding the cause of the settling, the parties ultimately agreed that the damage was the result of earth moving under the house's foundation. Concord moved for summary judgment and the trial court entered summary judgment for Concord, reasoning that because there was no genuine dispute that the losses were caused by “subsurface soils being undermined and earth movement,” the Earth Movement exclusion precluded coverage. The trial court further concluded that the disagreement over the cause of the settlement was not material because regardless of the cause of the earth movement, the losses were clearly excluded by the policy's Earth Movement exclusion. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of James M. Eastham, Traub Lieberman
    Mr. Eastham may be contacted at

    Alleging Property Damage in Construction Defect Lawsuit

    September 14, 2020 —
    When there is a construction defect lawsuit, there is an insurance coverage issue or consideration. As I have said repeatedly in other articles, it is all about maximizing insurance coverage regardless of whether you are the plaintiff prosecuting the construction defect claim or the contractor(s) alleged to have committed the construction defect and property damage. It is about triggering first, the insurer’s duty to defend, and second, the insurer’s duty to indemnify its insured for the property damage. The construction defect claim and lawsuit begins with how the claim and, then, lawsuit is couched knowing that the duty to defend is triggered by allegations in the lawsuit (complaint). Thus, preparing the lawsuit (complaint) is vital to maximize the insurer’s duty to defend its insured. In a recent opinion out of the Eleventh Circuit, Southern-Owners Ins. Co. v. MAC Contractors of Florida, LLC, 2020 WL 4345199 (11th Cir. 2020), a general contractor was sued for construction defects in the construction of a custom home. A dispute arose pre-completion and the owner hired another contractor to complete the house and remediate construction defects. The contractor’s CGL insurer originally provided a defense to the general contractor but then withdrew the defense and filed an action for declaratory relief asking for the declaration that it had no duty to defend the contractor because the underlying lawsuit did NOT allege property damage. The trial court agreed with the contractor and granted summary judgment in its favor finding that the underlying complaint did not allege property damage beyond defective work. But, on appeal, the Eleventh Circuit reversed. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
    Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at

    Does a Broker Forfeit His or Her Commission for Technical Non-Compliance with Department of Real Estate Statutory Requirements?

    September 14, 2020 —
    In a recent Arizona Court of Appeals case, CK Revocable Trust v. My Home Group Real Estate LLC, 2020 WL 4306183 (7/28/2020), the Court of Appeals addressed the distinction between “substantive” and “technical” statutory requirements for real estate broker commission agreements. The Court explained that failure to comply with a substantive requirement would preclude the broker from recovering a commission, but failure to comply with a technical requirement would not. As examples of such substantive requirements, the Court identified the statutory requirement that the broker be licensed at the time the claim for commission arose, and the statutory requirement that the listing agreement be signed by both the broker and the client. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Kevin J. Parker, Snell & Wilmer
    Mr. Parker may be contacted at

    Proximity Trace Used to Monitor, Maintain Social Distancing on $1.9-Billion KCI Airport Project

    September 07, 2020 —
    In order to maintain social distancing on site, steel erector National Steel City of Plymouth, Mich., is using the Proximity Trace wearable sensor from Triax Technologies on the $1.9-billion Kansas City International Airport (KCI) single-terminal reconstruction project. Jeff Yoders, Engineering News-Record Mr. Yoders may be contacted at Read the full story... Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    You May Be Able to Dodge a Bullet, But Not a Gatling Gun

    November 16, 2020 —
    In the days before cable, and long before Netflix, I watched my fair share of spaghetti westerns on lazy weekend afternoons. Bullets zinging past cowboys, knocking off hats, and ricocheting off rocks. But while you might get lucky and dodge a bullet, not so with a Gatling gun.* In the next case, C. W. Johnson & Sons, Inc. v. Carpenter, Case No. B300187 (August 7, 2020), a contractor who was unlicensed during a portion of a project dodged a bullet. However, I’m not so sure that he’s going to be able to dodge the hail of bullets that are coming after. The C. W. Johnson & Sons Case As cases go, the C. W. Johnson & Sons case is pretty straightforward. In March 2016, Contractor C. W. Johnson & Sons, a family owned flooring company, was contracted to install flooring at Randall Carpenter’s house for a total contract price of $68,343. Work was performed between March and September 2016 including some warranty, repair and corrective work after September 2016. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Garret Murai, Nomos LLP
    Mr. Murai may be contacted at

    New York Court Finds No Coverage Owed for Asbestos Losses Because Insured Failed to Prove Material Terms

    February 15, 2021 —
    In the long-tail insurance context, it is not unusual to have issues arise addressing “lost” or “missing” policies. In an opinion issued on January 22, 2021, a New York court ruled that an insurer did not owe coverage to its insured for underlying asbestos claims because the insured had failed to establish the material terms of a “lost” policy under which it sought coverage for the underlying claims. The lawsuit, Cosmopolitan Shipping Company, Inc. v. Continental Insurance Company,[1] arose out of a coverage dispute between Plaintiff Cosmopolitan Shipping Co., Inc. (Cosmopolitan) and its insurance carrier, Continental Insurance Company (CIC), in connection with bodily injury claims arising out of asbestos exposure. The case provides a good analysis of what an insured must do to establish coverage under a “lost” or “missing” policy. During and after World War II, Cosmopolitan chartered and operated a number of shipping vessels on behalf of United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). In the 1980s, seamen who had worked on board Cosmopolitan’s vessels between 1946 and 1948 filed lawsuits against Cosmopolitan seeking damages for injuries arising out of alleged exposure to asbestos on Cosmopolitan’s vessels. Cosmopolitan sought coverage from CIC for the claims, alleging that CIC had insured Cosmopolitan’s vessels during the relevant time period under a protection and indemnity policy issued to the UNRAA (the P&I Policy). Reprinted courtesy of Gregory S. Capps, White and Williams LLP and Marianne E. Bradley, White and Williams LLP Mr. Capps may be contacted at Ms. Bradley may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds $400 Million Award for Superstorm Sandy Damages

    February 22, 2021 —
    In New Jersey Transit Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London,1 New Jersey’s highest court upheld an appellate decision2 finding that New Jersey Transit Corporation (“NJT”) was entitled to full coverage under its property insurance policy for damages caused by Superstorm Sandy. In July 2012, NJT secured a multi-layered “all risks” property insurance program from eleven insurers for the policy period of July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013. The policies covered all perils and damage to NJT’s property unless specifically excluded. The primary layer, issued by Lexington Insurance Company, provided the first $50 million of coverage. The second layer provided coverage up to $100 million, the third layer provided an additional $175 million, and the fourth layer provided coverage of $125 million, for a total of $400 million in coverage. The excess layer insurers included Certain Underwriters At Lloyd’s, London, Torus Specialty Insurance Company, and several other carriers. All participating insurers’ policies included a standard policy form and separate endorsements, some of which were included in all policies and some of which were unique to specific insurers. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Kerianne E. Kane, Saxe Doernberger & Vita
    Ms. Kane may be contacted at

    Lucky No. 7: Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Issues Pro-Policyholder Decision Regarding Additional Insured Coverage for Upstream Parties

    November 02, 2020 —
    In Scottsdale Ins. Co. v. Columbia Ins. Group, Inc,1 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a subcontractor’s insurer was obligated to defend and indemnify the project owner’s insurer for damages associated with the subcontractor's employee's personal injury lawsuit where the underlying complaint alleged negligence by the additional insureds. The case cements the notion that under Illinois law, one can significantly benefit from the facts presented in third party complaints as a basis for additional insured coverage. Rockwell Properties (“Rockwell”) was the project owner, along with Prairie Management & Development (“Prairie”), the general contractor, on a construction project in Chicago. Prairie subcontracted HVAC services to TDH Mechanical (“TDH”). When an employee of TDH Mechanical sustained serious injuries performing work at a construction site, a suit was lodged against Rockwell and Prairie in state court. The lawsuit did not bring any claims against TDH but instead alleged that both Rockwell and Prairie had negligently failed to supervise the subcontractors’ work on-site, thus contributing to the worker’s injuries. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Daniela Aguila, Saxe Doernberger & Vita
    Ms. Aguila may be contacted at