California: Do Not Waive Goodbye to Arbitration

Author: Mia Kelly

August 13, 2018 9:00am

A June 6, 2018 California Appeals Court decision in Von Becelaere Ventures, LLC v. James Zenovic (24 Cal.App.5th 243) held a contractor waives the right to arbitrate a “construction dispute under the terms of the contract by failing to request a stay of a mechanic’s lien pending the outcome of arbitration.”  In that case, Von Beccelaere Ventures, LLC (“VBV”) entered into a contract with James Zenovic Construction…

Future Apartment-to-Condominium Conversion May Not Be a Way to Escape From Construction Defect Suits in Washington

Author: Bryan D. Scholnick

August 13, 2018 9:00am

If you have traveled to Seattle in the last few years, you may have noticed the number of cranes.  Other than the large number of buildings under construction for Amazon and other technology companies, many of the buildings seen under construction are multi-unit, high-rise apartments.  A decade or more ago, one would have expected many of these to be condominium buildings.  However, between then and now, Washington…

McMillan Albany LLC v. The Superior Court of Kern County: A Landmark Decision for California Builders and the Understanding of the Right to Repair Act

Author: Allison Lawrence

May 14, 2018 8:00am

Builders have long awaited a decision on the hot button topic of whether or not homeowners may assert common law causes of action such as negligence and strict liability against builders in relation to construction defects. This past January, the California Supreme Court held the “Right to Repair Act” is the exclusive remedy for construction defect claims. The Court also held that all claims seeking recovery for defect damages are subject to…

No Coverage Where Negligence is Inseparable with Professional Service

Author: David Ramirez

November 26, 2017 11:52am

In the recent matter of Energy Ins. Mutual Ltd. v. Ace American Ins. Co. (2017 WL 3476705), the First District Court of Appeals found that a professional services exclusion barred coverage for wrongful death and other claims blamed on pipeline inspectors’ failure to identify and properly mark a gas pipeline that was ruptured during construction of another pipeline, resulting in injuries and damages.

Court of Appeal Addresses Statutes of Limitations for Latent Construction Defects and Damage to Real Property

Author: David Ramirez

November 26, 2017 11:47am

In the recent matter of Estuary Owners Association v. Shell Oil Company, (2017 WL 3172554), the First Appellate District Court of Appeal recently confirmed California’s latent defect statute of limitations, as set forth in California Code of Civil Procedure section 337.15, bars only claims based on construction defects.  The Court of Appeal also confirmed under California’s three-year statute of limitations for damage to real property, as set forth in California…

Additional Insured Coverage as to Ongoing Operations

Author: David Ramirez

November 26, 2017 11:38am

In the recent case of McMillin Management Services v. Financial Pacific Ins. Co. (2017 WL 5377823, November 14, 2017), the Fourth District Court of Appeals held that an insurer had a duty to defend a general contractor under an “ongoing operations” additional insured endorsement for damages occurring after the named insured subcontractor completed its work.  The Court of Appeal determined the endorsement did not limit coverage…

Your Release May Not Be as Broad as You Think

Author: James E. Sell

September 29, 2017 3:11pm

In Iqbal v Ziadeh (2017) 10 Cal.App.5th 1, plaintiff was hired by a used car lot, Yosemite Auto, to determine why a car recently towed to the lot would not start. Unbeknownst to plaintiff, the tow truck operator had disconnected the transmission shift linkage to do so. The tow truck operator then failed to reconnect the shift linkage after towing the car. Plaintiff confirmed the car was in “park” and crawled underneath it to determine…

New York High Court Declines to Extend Coverage to Additional Insured who was the Sole Cause of the Accident Giving Rise to the Claim

Author: James E. Sell

August 10, 2017 2:09pm

Requiring a subcontractor to name an owner and prime contractor as “additional insureds” under the subcontractor’s liability policy is a common method to transfer risk on a construction project. When a subcontractor comes onto a project, an owner and prime contractor are potentially exposed to liability risks for that subcontractor’s negligence and additional insured endorsements represent a way to apportion these risks. The…

Builder Must Respond To Notice Of Claim Within Statutory Time Frame As Required In California’s Civil Code

Author: David Ramirez

August 10, 2017 1:58pm

Recently, in Blanchette v. Superior Court, (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 521, California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal held that if a builder fails to acknowledge receipt of a homeowner’s Notice of Claim within 14 days, as required by the Right to Repair Act (“SB800”), specifically California Civil Code §913, the homeowner is released from the requirements of SB800 and may proceed with the filing of a lawsuit.

Damage to an Underground Storage Tank is Not a Covered Risk

Author: David Ramirez

August 10, 2017 1:56pm

In the recent decision entitled Tustin Field Gas & Food v. Mid-Century Ins. Co. (2017 WL 2839139) the Second District Court of Appeals ruled a split in an underground storage tank, caused by the tank sitting on a rock for years, was not a covered “collapse” as a matter of law.

Be Careful Who You Indemnify

Author: Patrick Mendes

November 19, 2015 9:01pm

In the indemnity hierarchy, an owner typically requires its general contractor to indemnify the owner from and against “any and all claims arising out of, related to, arising out of, etc.” the general contractor’s scope of work. Similarly, the general contractor will require indemnification from its subcontractors. This dynamic continues with each party pointing to the next down a proverbial “indemnity ladder.” In this typical scenario, it is good to be the “owner,” perched high atop the indemnity hierarchy.

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