Court Dismisses Coverage Action In Lieu of Pending State Case
July 25, 2021 — Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii
The insurer's coverage action was dismissed by the federal court in favor of the pending case in state court. Southern-Owners Ins. Co. v Marquez, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108125 (S.D. Fla. May 4, 2021).
The underlying lawsuit was filed because of of an incident involving a golf cart on a sidewalk owned by the AOAO. The Marquezes owned the golf cart that injured the Murphy's child.
Southern-Owners issued a CGL policy to the AOAO. The Marquezes submitted a claim to Souther-Owners for coverage in the underlying lawsuit as additional insureds under the policy. Southern-Owners defended the AOAO and the Marquezes in the underlying lawsuit pursuant to a reservation of rights. The underlying complaint alleged that the Marquezes negligently permitted their daughter to operate the golf cart on the AOAO's pedestrian walkway. Further, the AOAO negligently failed to reasonably maintain the premises. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas Supreme Court Finds Payment of Appraisal Award Does Not Absolve Insurer of Statutory Liability
April 19, 2021 — Allison Griswold & Sarah Smith - Lewis Brisbois
The Texas Supreme Court recently published its long-awaited decision in the Hinojos v. State Farm Lloyds. In it, the court affirmed its holding in Barbara Technologies, finding that payment of an appraisal award does not absolve an insurer of statutory liability when the insurer accepts a claim but pays only part of the amount it owes within the statutory deadline, and a policy holder can proceed with an action under the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act.
In 2013, Louis Hinojos made a claim for storm damage to his home. State Farm’s initial inspection resulted in an estimate below the deductible, but Hinojos disagreed and requested a second inspection. At the second inspection, the adjuster identified additional damage resulting in a payment to Hinojos of $1,995.11. Hinojos then sued State Farm – and State Farm invoked appraisal approximately 15 months after suit was filed. The appraisal resulted in State Farm tendering an additional payment of $22,974.75. State Farm moved for summary judgment, arguing that timely payment of an appraisal award precluded prompt payment (or Chapter 542) damages. The trial court granted summary judgment and Hinojos appealed (notably Barbara Technologies had not yet been decided). The Court of Appeals affirmed State Farm’s victory on the basis that “State Farm made a reasonable payment on Hinojos’s claim within the sixty-day statutory limit….” Hinojos petitioned the Texas Supreme Court for review.
Reprinted courtesy of Allison Griswold, Lewis Brisbois
and Sarah Smith, Lewis Brisbois
Ms. Griswold may be contacted at Allison.Griswold@lewisbrisbois.com
Ms. Smith may be contacted at Sarah.Smith@lewisbrisbois.com Read the court decisionRead the full story...
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Tort Claims Against an Alter Ego May Be Considered an Action “On a Contract” for the Purposes of an Attorneys’ Fees Award under California Civil Code section 1717
April 12, 2021 — Tony Carucci - Snell & Wilmer Real Estate Litigation Blog
California Civil Code section 1717 entitles the prevailing party to attorneys’ fees “[i]n any action on a contract,” where the contract provides for an award of attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party, regardless of whether the prevailing party is the party specified in the contract or not. But what about an action that alleges tort causes of action against an alter ego of a contracting party but that does not include a breach of contract claim against the alter ego? This was the question facing the California Court of Appeal in 347 Group, Inc. v. Philip Hawkins Architect, Inc. (2020) 58 Cal.App.5th 209.
In that case, the plaintiff 347 Group sued and obtained a default judgment for breach of contract against defendant Philip Hawkins Architect, Inc. Id. at 211–12. 347 Group had also sued Philip Hawkins individually as well as Design-Build, Inc., the company Hawkins founded after putting Philip Hawkins Architect, Inc. into bankruptcy. Id. at 212. 347 Group originally alleged claims for breach of contract, fraudulent conveyance, and conspiracy against Hawkins and Design-Build, seeking to establish that Hawkins and Design-Build were the alter egos of the contracting party, Philip Hawkins Architect, Inc., but later dismissed the breach of contract claim. Id. Hawkins and Design-Build eventually prevailed on the tort causes of action, and moved for attorneys’ fees. Id. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Tony Carucci, Snell & Wilmer
Mr. Carucci may be contacted at email@example.com
Breaking The Ice: A Policyholder's Guide to Insurance Coverage for Texas Winter Storm Uri Claims
August 30, 2021 — Kelly A. Johnson - Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.
The devastating extreme cold weather event in Texas often referred to as Winter Storm Uri, which lasted from February 14 to February 18, 2021, caused significant damages to homes and businesses in the region. Temperatures during the winter storm were the coldest on record since 1883, with some areas reaching as low as negative 6 degrees.4 Millions of Texans were impacted and many lives were lost.
Insurance analysts predict that Uri will lead to the largest number of insurance claims in the state, totaling $20 billion in claimed losses.5 In fact, Uri is set to surpass Hurricane Harvey as the most devastating natural disaster in Texas, which resulted in $19 billion in insured losses. Further, Uri will be the largest insured loss from a United States winter storm in the industry’s history.6
The catastrophic Uri losses range from damage to property caused by the bursting of frozen pipes, collapsed roofs, weakened structures, loss of power, lack of public utility services, and the expenses incurred in the disruption of normal business operations. In addition, some commercial businesses were unable to operate due to bad weather conditions on the roads, while others were forced to halt operations due to power outages. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Kelly A. Johnson, Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.
Ms. Johnson may be contacted at KJohnson@sdvlaw.com
Updated Covid-19 Standards In The Workplace
August 23, 2021 — Mustafa Karim - Wilke Fleury
With California reopening, many Californians will be heading back to the workplace soon and are wondering if employers may require their employees to get vaccinated. According to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), an employer may require employees to receive an FDA-approved vaccination against COVID-19 infection so long as the employer (a) does not discriminate against nor harass employees on the basis of a protected characteristic, (b) provides reasonable accommodations related to disability or sincerely-held religious beliefs, and (c) does not retaliate against anyone for engaging in protected activity.
On June 15, 2021, California lifted its mask mandate across the state. The California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) updated its guidance for the use of face coverings stating that masks are no longer required for fully vaccinated individuals. However, masks are still required on public transit, indoors in k-12 schools, childcare, other youth settings, healthcare settings, long-term care facilities, correctional and detention facilities, and homeless shelters. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Wilke Fleury LLP
Alabama Federal Magistrate Recommends Dismissal of Construction Defect Declaratory Judgment Action Due to Expanded Duty to Defend Standard
May 31, 2021 — Anthony L. Miscioscia & Margo Meta - White and Williams
While the starting point for assessing an insurer’s duty to defend requires comparing the allegations contained within a complaint to the language contained within the insured’s policy, the majority of states require an insurer to do more. In Alabama, a failure of the underlying complaint to allege damages falling within the policy’s terms is not necessarily fatal to coverage – if there are facts provable by admissible evidence to place the loss within coverage.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama recently examined Alabama’s broadened duty to defend standard in Frankenmuth Mutual Insurance Company v. Gates Builders, No. 20-00596, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83645 (S.D. Ala. Apr. 29, 2021). In Frankenmuth, the magistrate judge was tasked with determining whether the court should abstain from hearing an insurer’s declaratory judgment coverage action pending the resolution of the underlying state court action.
The underlying state court action arose out of an allegedly defective construction project. Frankenmuth’s insured, Gates Builders, was hired to perform exterior and structural rehabilitation work at the Resort Conference Center Condominium (the Condominium) in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The project began in July 2014 and concluded in June 2015. In 2019, Gates Builders was informed that the Condominium’s decks were sagging. Gates Builders shored up the decks and provided the Condominium with a quote for the cost of repairs. In July 2020, the Condominium’s Association filed suit, alleging that the work performed in 2014 and 2015 was faulty and had caused damage to the Condominium.
Reprinted courtesy of Anthony L. Miscioscia, White and Williams
and Margo Meta, White and Williams
Mr. Miscioscia may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Meta may be contacted at email@example.com Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of
Building the Secondary Market for Reclaimed Building Materials
August 30, 2021 — Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings
For this week’s guest post Friday, Musings welcomes Mark Rabkin of Deconstruction Management, Inc., the first, dedicated, for-profit deconstruction management firm in the country. Based in Northeast Ohio, it through all stages of building removal from property acquisition to deconstruction to recycling and architectural salvage.
With 10 years of professional experience as an independent risk advisor focusing on sustainable real estate and development, Mark counsels his clients on effective strategies to reduce hazards and mitigate losses. Mark oversees the marketing and administrative functions of Deconstruction Management, Inc. and is responsible for managing the architectural salvage and the upcycled material reuse and resale side of the business.
Mark is a leader in the advocacy of sustainable building strategies both locally and nationally. Mark serves as the volunteer Director of Advocacy for the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the United States Green Building Council. He is also an active contributor on many of the chapter’s strategic implementation teams. Mark is a member of Entrepreneurs for Sustainability, the Council of Smaller Enterprises’ Sustainability Task Force and is an active participant in the Sustainable Cleveland 2019 Initiative. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
Mr. Hill may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
CalOSHA Updates its FAQ on its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Regulations
March 22, 2021 — Garret Murai - California Construction Law Blog
As we reported in early December, CalOSHA adopted emergency temporary regulations requiring, among other things, that employers implement a written COVID-19 prevention program, that notice be given by employers to employees in the event of potential COVID-19 exposure, and that employers continue to pay employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 even if the employee has no paid time off available. In conjunction with the emergency temporary regulations, CalOSHA posted a FAQ on the emergency regulations.
On February 26, 2021, CalOSHA updated its FAQ. Among other things, the updated FAQ updates the following sections of the FAQ:
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- Scope of Coverage: Clarifies that the emergency regulations apply even to workplaces with only one employee but that it does not apply to employees working remotely.
Reprinted courtesy of Garret Murai, Nomos LLP
Mr. Murai may be contacted at email@example.com