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    Seattle, Washington

    Washington Builders Right To Repair Current Law Summary:

    Current Law Summary: (SB 5536) The legislature passed a contractor protection bill that reduces contractors' exposure to lawsuits to six years from 12, and gives builders seven "affirmative defenses" to counter defect complaints from homeowners. Claimant must provide notice no later than 45 days before filing action; within 21 days of notice of claim, "construction professional" must serve response; claimant must accept or reject inspection proposal or settlement offer within 30 days; within 14 days following inspection, construction pro must serve written offer to remedy/compromise/settle; claimant can reject all offers; statutes of limitations are tolled until 60 days after period of time during which filing of action is barred under section 3 of the act. This law applies to single-family dwellings and condos.

    Construction Expert Witness Contractors Licensing
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    A license is required for plumbing, and electrical trades. Businesses must register with the Secretary of State.

    Construction Expert Witness Contractors Building Industry
    Association Directory
    MBuilders Association of King & Snohomish Counties
    Local # 4955
    335 116th Ave SE
    Bellevue, WA 98004

    Home Builders Association of Kitsap County
    Local # 4944
    5251 Auto Ctr Way
    Bremerton, WA 98312

    Home Builders Association of Spokane
    Local # 4966
    5813 E 4th Ave Ste 201
    Spokane, WA 99212

    Home Builders Association of North Central
    Local # 4957
    PO Box 2065
    Wenatchee, WA 98801

    MBuilders Association of Pierce County
    Local # 4977
    PO Box 1913 Suite 301
    Tacoma, WA 98401

    North Peninsula Builders Association
    Local # 4927
    PO Box 748
    Port Angeles, WA 98362

    Jefferson County Home Builders Association
    Local # 4947
    PO Box 1399
    Port Hadlock, WA 98339

    Construction Expert Witness News and Information
    For Seattle Washington

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    With over 4500 engineering, construction, and builders standard of care related expert designations, the Seattle, Washington Construction Expert Directory delivers a streamlined multi-disciplinary expert retention and support solution to lawyers and construction practice groups concerned with construction defect and claims litigation. BHA provides construction related consulting and expert witness support 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 licensed architects, registered professional engineers, ASPE certified professional estimators, ICC Certified inspection and testing professionals, the firm brings national experience and local capabilities to Seattle and the surrounding areas.

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    Seattle, Washington

    Shoring of Ceiling Does Not Constitute Collapse Under Policy's Definition

    November 12, 2019 —
    Despite the need to shore up the ceiling, the building was not in a state of collapse under the language of the policy. Ravinia Vouge Cleaners v. Travelers Cas. Ins. Co. of Am., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123594 (N.D. Ill. July 24, 2019). Ravinia Cleaners held a property policy issued by Travelers for the building from which it operated its dry-cleaning business. On February 2, 2015, there was heavy snowfall. On February 4, Ravinia reported to Travelers a leak coming from the ceiling. A temporary "shoring " was placed on the ceiling. Ravinia reported to Travelers that there was damage to the roof on February 25, 2015. Travelers hired an engineer who observed a buckling truss and roof displacing downward. The inspector recommended that the building be vacated and not occupied until adequate shoring was in place. Travelers denied coverage because the building was in a state of imminent collapse which was caused by the weight of ice and snow, and defective construction of the truss system. The policy excluded damage relating to a "collapse of a building." Collapse was defined by the policy as "an abrupt falling down or caving in of a building or any part of a building," such that the building could not be occupied for its intended purpose. There were exceptions to the exclusion, however, if the cause of the collapse was: (1) weight of snow; or (2) use of defective materials or methods in construction if the collapse occurred after construction. The policy also excluded damage from a building being in a state of imminent collapse unless the damage was caused by: (1) weight of snow; or (2) use of defective materials or methods in construction if the collapse occurred during construction. 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

    Where There's Smoke...California's New Emergency Wildfire Smoke Protection Regulation And What Employers Are Required To Do

    August 26, 2019 —
    California employers need to pay heed to the recently announced California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) emergency regulation related to their duty to protect employees from the potential harm caused by wildfire smoke. As of July 29, 2019, employers are required to actively monitor their local Air Quality Index (AQI) and take steps to protect their employees from the harmful particulate matter contained within wildfire smoke. Which Workplaces Are Impacted? The regulation applies to all workplaces exposed to wildfire smoke with an AQI level of 151 or greater (ranging from "unhealthy" to "hazardous"). "Exposed" workplaces are those that are not in enclosed buildings, structures, or vehicles with mechanical ventilation and the ability to close all windows and doors. Outdoor occupations including construction, agriculture, landscaping, maintenance, commercial delivery, and others that expose the worker to the outside air for more than one hour will be the most impacted by this new regulation, although firefighters engaged in fighting wildfires are expressly exempt from the statute. What If I Have A Potentially Exposed Workplace? Employers with outdoor workplaces that are exposed to wildfire smoke are required to monitor the AQI before each shift, and "periodically throughout the day," all to ensure that the Air Quality Index for PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 micrometers or smaller) remains below 151. This can be done by visiting certain governmental websites, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's AirNow website (, which allow for regular email alerts to be issued to the employer. An employer with a potentially exposed workplace must also set up a communication system capable of communicating to all affected employees (in a language readily understood) the status of wildfire smoke hazards. The communication system must also provide the employees a process to inform the employer of worsening air quality and/or any adverse symptoms that they may be experiencing (e.g., asthma or chest pain). Finally, employers are required to add to their Injury and Illness Protection Program (IIPP) the provision of effective training and instruction (i.e., approximately 15 minutes) regarding:
    1. the health effects of wildfire smoke;
    2. the right to obtain medical treatment without fear of reprisal;
    3. how employees can obtain the current AQI for PM2.5;
    4. the requirements of this regulation;
    5. the employer's communication system regarding wildfire smoke;
    6. the employer's methods for protecting employees from wildfire smoke;
    7. the importance, limitations, and benefits of using a respirator when exposed to wildfire smoke; and
    8. the proper use and maintenance of respirators.
    The Required Provision of Respiratory Protective Equipment Employers with exposed workplaces are required to provide effective NIOSH-approved respirators (e.g., N95 filtering facepiece respirators) when AQI for PM2.5 levels are 151-200 (unhealthy), 201-300 (very unhealthy), or 301-500 (hazardous). The N95 respirator typically costs less than a dollar per mask and can be easily purchased online. Employers are also required to clean, store, and maintain these respirators for times of need. Employees are free to decide whether to use a respirator when the AQI for PM2.5 level is between 151-500, although employers must be prepared to offer the equipment at an AQI level of 151 or higher. Use of the respirator by an employee exposed to an AQI for PM2.5 level that exceeds 500, however, is required by law. What Should Potentially Exposed Employers Do Now? Employers should immediately begin supplementing their IIPP platforms to include this regulation's prescribed training regarding wildfire smoke. Companies should also develop an adequate monitoring and communication plan regarding wildfire smoke hazards and effectively train their supervisors on the same. Finally, acquiring an adequate supply of N95 filtering respirators now will help ensure that employers are prepared for the next wildfire. Michael Studenka is a partner in Newmeyer Dillion's Labor & Employment practice group. His practice focuses on the life cycle of Employment law. Mike advises and trains companies on proactive measures to keep them protected and in compliance, and leverages his significant trial experience when faced with litigation. You can reach out to him at Read the court decision
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    “Based On”… What Exactly? NJ Appellate Division Examines Phrase and Estops Insurer From Disclaiming Coverage for 20-Month Delay

    August 20, 2019 —
    On May 28, 2019, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division examined the phrase “based on” in an assault-and-battery exclusion, finding that the phrase means “to make, form, or serve as the foundation of any claim, demand or suit.” C.M.S. Investment Ventures, Inc. v. American European Insurance Company, No. A-2056-17T3, 2019 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1215, at *8-9 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. May 28, 2019) (CMS). The CMS case is also notable because the Appellate Division held that a 20-month delay in disclaiming coverage was unreasonable and therefore warranted estoppel. In CMS, the insured was allegedly warned by its tenant about a faulty ground-floor window that failed to lock properly. Afterward, an intruder broke into the tenant’s apartment and sexually assaulted the tenant, who sued the insured on a premises liability claim. Before she filed suit, the tenant sought payment from the insured’s CGL insurer directly. The insurer denied coverage based on the assault-and-battery exclusion and closed the file, but never informed the insured. Later, the tenant sued the insured, which sought a defense and indemnity from its insurer, which again denied coverage based on the exclusion. The insured then sought a declaration of coverage on grounds that the exclusion was ambiguous, and the insurer “was estopped from denying coverage, because it waited [20] months to inform CMS of its coverage decision.” The trial court ruled in the insured’s favor which led to the appeal in CMS. Reprinted courtesy of Timothy Carroll, White and Williams LLP and Anthony Miscioscia, White and Williams LLP Mr. Miscioscia may be contacted at Mr. Carroll may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Helsinki Stream City: A Re-imagining Outside the System

    August 13, 2019 —
    Modern man lives under the illusion of being the most intelligent being out there. This is the paradox of human nature; we all want to make the best decisions with the knowledge we have at any given time, but on the other hand, our thinking is largely based on how our ancestors organized the world in their time. Possibly the most tangible example of this in our everyday lives is infrastructure. While there seems to be plenty of candidates offering new solutions to the already existing urban environment, there are not that many looking to challenge the current urban order. Cities are full of talk—but who walks the walk? Re-imagining Urban Environments Olli Hakanen, a long-term specialist in re-imagining workspaces and urban environments, has an extensive background in both architecture and consultancy. His latest venture, Respace, aims to address how urban environments are being developed to better suit the needs of their residents as well as the environment. According to the ideology behind Respace, instead of always building something new, often all that is needed is a re-thinking. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Jenni Ripatti, AEC Business
    AEC Business may be contacted at

    Plan Ahead for the Inevitable Murphy’s Law Related Accident

    August 06, 2019 —
    For this week’s Guest Post Friday here at Construction Law Musings, we welcome back Melissa Dewey Brumback. Melissa (@melissabrumback) is a construction attorney and partner in the firm Ragsdale Liggett, PLLC in Raleigh. Melissa has spent over a decade representing engineers and architects, advising them on contract proposals to limit risks, and defending them when litigation does arise. She is the author of the award-winning Construction Law in North Carolina a blog dedicated to the A/E community. Melissa is rated AV, the best rating of the Martindale Hubbell lawyer rating system, is a certified LEED Green Associate, and serves as President of the RL Mace Universal Design Institute. She is also signed up to take a cruise this summer with her family (!). The recent cruise ship fiasco, in which thousands were stranded at sea for an entire week with no running water or toilet facilities, visibly brought to mind the old axiom to “Be Prepared.” As Chris likes to say, Murphy was an optimist. What does this have to do with your construction company? Plenty. Since time is money and a downed project extremely expensive, you should plan in advance for likely emergency situations. Some things to consider: 1. Emergency Contacts: Do you only have a cell number for your key project manager? You should have at least two ways to reach all key employees and subcontractors, as well as owner representatives and the designers of record. Consider that in a large emergency, sometimes entire cell phone towers are out of commission from overuse. A land line comes in awfully handy in such a situation. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at

    Insurer's Motion for Summary Judgment to Reject Collapse Coverage Denied

    November 24, 2019 —
    The insurer unsuccessfully moved for summary judgment seeking to reject the insured's collapse claim. Gnannn v. United Servs. Auto, Ass'n, 2019 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1955 (Conn. Super Ct. July 11, 2019). The insureds' home was built in 1985 and they purchased their home in 1993. A home inspection reported that some settlement and curing related cracks existed in the slab floor, but no signs of abnormal settlement were noticed. The concrete walls were in overall good condition. In 2015, the insureds became aware of abnormal cracking in the basement. USAA was informed of the claim but denied coverage in October 2015. The insureds sued USAA. After suit was filed, the insureds hired an engineer, David Grandpre, to inspect their home. He observed severe cracking in the basement walls caused by an expansive chemical reaction within the concrete. The structure was not in imminent peril of falling down, and it continued as insureds' residence. But Mr. Grandpre noticed bulging and bowing, evidence that the concrete basement walls had failed and had begun to move inward due to the lateral pressure of the soil outside the home. 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

    140 Days Until The California Consumer Privacy Act Becomes Law - Why Aren't More Businesses Complying?

    September 09, 2019 —
    California, for better or for worse, has a reputation as being a trendsetter, and has taken the lead in the United States by passing the "California Consumer Privacy Act," or "CCPA." This massive law has been on the books since 2018, but hasn't taken effect yet. However, the timeframe for businesses to be in compliance is rapidly diminishing. Currently, there are less than five months for businesses to (a) familiarize themselves with what the law requires; (b) determine how and if they are affected by the law; and (c) determine how to be in compliance with the law's demands. Right now, companies aren't making a rush to become CCPA compliant, but this is a mistake. Below are a few of the misconceptions that businesses have, as well as the realities. MISCONCEPTION 1: It doesn't apply to my company. For many businesses, it will apply. The baseline of the CCPA is: (1) does the business do anything with California residents (including employees); (2) is it for-profit; and (3) it either has $25 million annual revenue, "sells" 50,000 pieces of personal information or receives 50% or more of its revenue from personal information. It does not matter if the business is in Nevada, Arizona, Texas or Delaware. So long as there is some connection to Californian residents, exists to make a profit, and otherwise satisfies either the profit, volume, or revenue percentage requirements, it applies. On that note, even if a business does not sell personal information, it does not mean it does not "sell" personal information under the law, as it includes any exchange of personal information for valuable consideration, such as the exchange of consumer data between companies, or the sale of information to a University for study. MISCONCEPTION 2: The Federal Government will stop it. One of the main reasons we have the CCPA is because the Federal Government has not acted on this issue. Furthermore, there is a high likelihood that any Federal law will not be substantially different from the CCPA, keeping the core principles in place. It's also unlikely that such a law will take effect and be passed in the remaining five months before the CCPA begins enforcement. Companies must accept that ideals of transparency, choice, consent and reasonable security as they relate to consumers' personal information are here to stay. MISCONCEPTION 3: California is still changing the law, so I should wait. California is still in the process of fine-tuning the CCPA, but this is no reason to wait. Fixes to questions arising regarding the CCPA have come out piecemeal, and continued changes, including expansions are likely. For example, employees were previously not addressed specifically within the CCPA, but are being addressed in the planned AB 25, excluding employees from some of the CCPA's protections. Conversely, there have also been planned provisions to expand on the protections and enforcement mechanisms of the CCPA, including a broad and expansive private right of action to permit individuals to sue for technical violations of the statute, like having to wait too long for a response to the demand, even if no actual damage is suffered. Again, the foundational requirements of the CCPA will not change via amendment – so companies should act now. MISCONCEPTION 4: It's too expensive. Actually no. Many of the basic actions are not cost-prohibitive, and are actions a business would want to do anyways: (a) Employee training to avoid data breaches and how to respond to user requests; (b) data mapping to quickly find, access, and arrange protections for consumer data; and (c) ensuring you have reasonable cyber security. This can even be turned into a competitive advantage, as consumers increasingly value companies that share their interests, including their privacy. A compliance mistake could be extraordinarily costly. Currently, a violation for statutory violations of the CCPA can carry a penalty between $2,500 to $7,500 per individual violation. Furthermore, there is a private right of action with statutory damages of $100 to $750 per individual violation that could quickly balloon to exceed $5 million at a minimum, and invites class action/lawsuits for a data breach. While this is true of almost every legal risk, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The penalties on the higher end of the spectrum are for willful violations, and attempts to comply with the law can act to curb potential risks. What Should I Do? If you feel CCPA compliance is important to your business, and decide to prepare for the CCPA with us, our firm has created a 90-day CCPA compliance program where our team will collaborate with you to determine a scalable, practical, and reasonable way for you to meet your needs, without breaking the bank. Let us provide you a free initial consultation to see if our CCPA compliance program works for you. Kyle Janecek is an associate in the firm's Privacy & Data Security practice, and supports the team in advising clients on cyber related matters, including policies and procedures that can protect their day-to-day operations. For more information on how Kyle can help, contact him at Jeff Dennis is the head of the firm's Privacy & Data Security practice. Jeff works with the firm's clients on cyber-related issues, including contractual and insurance opportunities to lessen their risk. For more information on how Jeff can help, contact him at About Newmeyer Dillion For 35 years, Newmeyer Dillion has delivered creative and outstanding legal solutions and trial results that align with the business objectives of clients in diverse industries. With over 70 attorneys working as an integrated team to represent clients in all aspects of business, employment, real estate, privacy & data security and insurance law, Newmeyer Dillion delivers tailored legal services to propel clients' business growth. Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, with offices in Walnut Creek, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, Newmeyer Dillion attorneys are recognized by The Best Lawyers in America©, and Super Lawyers as top tier and some of the best lawyers in California and Nevada, and have been given Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review's AV Preeminent® highest rating. For additional information, call 949.854.7000 or visit Read the court decision
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    Indiana Federal Court Holds No Coverage for $50M Default Judgment for Lack of Timely Notice of Class Action

    August 26, 2019 —
    In Greene v. Kenneth R. Will, a CGL insurer recently prevailed in a declaratory judgment action arising from an underlying class action alleging pollution and nuisance claims against the insured, VIM Recycling LLC, an Indiana-based waste-recycling facility.[1] “[T]his case has some whiskers on it,” the Indiana federal district court recounted in its exhaustive decision granting the insurer relief. The court relieved the insurer of indemnifying a $50 million default judgment against the insured, which, the court observed, “proved to be a bad neighbor” and “nuisance in both the legal and colloquial sense.” The court held that the insured failed to provide timely notice of the class action. “The judgment against the [insured] came about when a group of nearby homeowners decided that they had had enough of VIM’s polluting behavior and brought this class action to recover damages for environmental violations, nuisance and negligence based on the impact of the waste facility on their homes and property,” the court explained. Eventually, the court entered a default judgment against the insured for $50,568,750, plus an award of $273,339.85 in attorney’s fees. Because the insured was “judgment-proof,” the class action plaintiffs “aligned” with the insured “hoping to collect on their monumental judgment” from the insured’s CGL insurer. Within a few weeks’ time, the class action plaintiffs sued the insurer seeking a declaration of coverage for the default judgment against the insured. Reprinted courtesy of Anthony L. Miscioscia, White and Williams LLP and Timothy A. Carroll, White and Williams LLP Mr. Miscioscia may be contacted at Mr. Carroll may be contacted at Read the court decision
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