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Category: Construction


CA Supreme Court Set to Rule on Important Occurrence Issue Certified by Ninth CircuitMar 09, 2018

The California Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments over whether an insurer is required to cover allegations that a builder negligently failed to supervise an employee who sexually assaulted a middle school student while working at the student’s school. The question was originally certified to the California Supreme Court by the Ninth Circuit in 2016, but nothing happened until the court heard arguments on March 6, 2018. The case is…

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Florida Supreme Court: Notice of Right to Repair is a CGL “Suit;” SDV Amicus Brief Supports DecisionJan 05, 2018

The New Year started off with a bang for Florida construction insurance policyholders.  In late December, the Florida Supreme Court acknowledged a contractor’s right to a CGL defense during Florida’s right-to-repair process.  Under Florida law, a property owner may not sue a contractor for construction defects without first providing written notice and an opportunity to repair. Altman Contractors, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Ins. Co. decided that the notice to repair is…

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N.J. Appellate Court Applies Continuous Trigger Theory in Property Damage Case and Determines “Last Pull” for CoverageNov 13, 2017

The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, published an important decision addressing several fundamental issues regarding how a commercial general liability (CGL) policy applies to long-term property damage.  The court held that: (1) a continuous trigger theory of coverage may be applied to third-party liability claims involving progressive property damage caused by an insured’s allegedly defective work; (2) the “last pull” (i.e., the cutoff point) of the continuous trigger is…

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Privity Problems Continue for Additional Insureds in the Second CircuitNov 07, 2017

On October 4, the Second Circuit held that a sub-subcontractor’s insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify an owner and general contractor after a construction accident.  The court focused on the language of two separate additional insured endorsements in coming to its decision and ultimately interpreted the endorsements to require direct contractual privity with the named insured, which neither the owner nor the general contractor had.  This ruling is…

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Overbroad Wrap Exclusion Can Hamper Additional Insured Risk TransferOct 20, 2017

SDV Partner Gregory Podolak recently published “Overbroad Wrap Exclusion Can Hamper Additional Insured Risk Transfer,” another Expert Commentary article for IRMI: As wrap use has grown, so has the use of “wrap” exclusions. Wrap exclusions are added via endorsement to commercial general liability (CGL) policies and exclude (or, in some cases, modify) coverage for damages related to project work insured by a wrap. The intent is to avoid duplicative coverages—the…

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California Court of Appeal Clarifies Intent of Faulty Workmanship ExclusionsOct 19, 2017

A California Court of Appeal recently released a policyholder-friendly decision clarifying the meaning of the often-arising Faulty Workmanship exclusions — j.(5) and j.(6).  The court emphasized the importance of policy language and took a plain-meaning approach to interpret the exclusions.  It found that exclusion j(5) narrowly applies only to damage occurring during active physical construction activities and that j(6) narrowly applies only to the specific part of the insured’s work…

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South Dakota Supreme Court Holds That Faulty Workmanship Constitutes an “Occurrence”Sep 07, 2017

If you have a commercial general liability policy that is subject to South Dakota law, damages resulting from faulty workmanship constitute an “occurrence” under your policy.  In a pro-policyholder decision out of South Dakota, the court in Owners Ins. Co. v. Tibke Construction, Inc. held that damages caused by a subcontractor’s failure to test soil compaction before constructing a home constituted an “occurrence” under a commercial general liability policy.  This…

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Florida’s New Statute of Repose for Construction Defect ClaimsJul 07, 2017

On June 15, 2017, Governor Rick Scott ratified H.B. 377, which amends Florida’s statute of repose for construction defect claims to include, for the first time, a definition for contract completion.  The new version of F.S. 95.11(3)(c) provides that: An action founded on the design, planning, or construction of an improvement to real property, with the time running from the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of…

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Connecticut District Court to Review Proposed Class Action in Defective Concrete SuitJul 06, 2017

Thousands of Connecticut homeowners have fallen victim to a defective concrete epidemic.  Over the last thirty years, the foundation in many homes, particularly in the Northeast region of the state, was built with a concrete aggregate that contained the mineral pyrrhotite.  When exposed to the elements, including water and air, pyrrhotite oxidizes, resulting in cracking and disintegration over time.  For Connecticut homeowners, this has resulted in disaster, both financially and…

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Additional Insured Coverage Under Excess PoliciesJul 05, 2017

SDV Partner Gregory Podolak recently published “Additional Insured Coverage Under Excess Policies,” another Expert Commentary article for IRMI: As part of their insurance and indemnity requirements, project owners and general contractors often require additional insured coverage in excess of $1 million from the project’s subcontractors. Subcontractors ordinarily satisfy this limits obligation through a combination of primary and excess general liability insurance, with parties expecting the coverage to be consistent throughout….

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AIA Releases New Insurance ExhibitMay 16, 2017

The American Institute of Architects (“AIA”) released the latest revisions to its form construction contract documents at the AIA’s National Conference on April 27-29, 2017. The 2017 forms include updates to the principal owner-architect agreements, owner-contractor agreements and the general conditions documents. Notably, the AIA included a specific exhibit for insurance and bonds. The AIA’s decision to include a standalone insurance form underscores the increased reliance on insurance as a…

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SDV at the “Women Who Build” SummitFeb 24, 2017

On Wednesday, February 22, two of SDV’s own, Alexandra Byrd and Stella Szantova Giordano, attended the “Women Who Build” summit in Hartford, CT.  Only in its second year, this event attracted 200 women from the construction industry and featured both U.S. and international speakers.  The summit was organized by the Construction Institute, a non-profit industry group that promotes education and relationship building among construction professionals. “I was blown away by…

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South Carolina Supreme Court Requires Transparency by Rejecting an Insurer’s “Cut-and-Paste” Reservation of RightsFeb 16, 2017

An insurer’s “cut-and-pasted” reservation of rights, simply reciting policy language, may be inadequate to notify the insured of the particular grounds upon which coverage may be denied. What should an insured expect from an insurer’s reservation of rights? Click here to read our latest Case Alert to find out how the Supreme Court of South Carolina is now demanding transparency from insurers when issuing a reservation of rights.    

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Introduction to Insuring Construction ProjectsFeb 01, 2017

On February 14 from noon to 1 PM EST, SDV Attorney Stella Szantova Giordano will present an introductory workshop on insuring construction projects at the University of Hartford’s Construction Institute.  This 1-hour workshop will provide an overview of the most common insurance used for construction projects, including commercial general liability, builder’s risk and professional liability. Attendees may expect to familiarize themselves with the insurance terminology applicable to construction projects; gain…

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Oregon Supreme Court Confirms Broad Duty to DefendJan 13, 2017

A subcontractor’s insurer refused to defend a general contractor even though they were named additional insured on its CGL Policy. Where does the insurer’s duty to defend begin? Where does it end? Click here to read our latest Case Alert to find out how the Supreme Court of Oregon reaffirms its stance on what is an insurer’s duty to defend.

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