Injury to Employees Endorsement Eliminates Coverage for Insured Employer
February 01, 2021 — Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii
The court granted summary judgment to the insurer based upon an endorsement which barred coverage for injuries to employees. Northfield Ins. Co. v. Z&J Mgt. LLC, 2020 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 10801 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Dec. 18, 2020).
Ravi Sooklal sued his employer, Z&J Management LLC (Z&J), for injuries at the job site. Northfield, who had issued a CGL policy to Z&L, denied coverage based upon two endorsements. The first was titled "Injury to Employees of Insureds" and the second was "Employers' Liability." Northfield sued for a declaratory judgment and now moved for summary judgment. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
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COVID-19 Response: California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Implements Sweeping New Regulations to Prevent COVID-19 in the Workplace
December 14, 2020 — Peter Shapiro, Drake Mirsch & Jade McKenzie - Lewis Brisbois
On November 19, 2020, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) proposed sweeping and significant new emergency standards to reduce employee exposure to COVID-19. These standards have been accepted by the Office of Administrative Law and are effective as of November 30, 2020. Accordingly, it is critical that employers familiarize themselves with these new requirements and begin to implement these standards as quickly as possible.
The standards include COVID-19 prevention in the workplace, multiple COVID-19 infections and outbreaks in the workplace, “major” COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace, prevention in employer provided housing, and prevention in employer-provided transportation to and from work. They apply to all California employers and places of employment, except places with one employee who does not have contact with others, employees working from home, or employees in specified health care facilities, services or operations when covered by section 5199.
COVID-19 Prevention Program
Employers are required to establish, implement, and maintain an “effective” written COVID-19 Prevention Program. Under the Program, an employer is responsible for developing a system for communicating about COVID-19, identifying and evaluating COVID-19 hazards, investigating and responding to COVID-19 cases, correcting COVID-19 hazards, providing training and instructions to employees regarding COVID-19, ensuring all employees are physically distanced, providing face coverings, implementing policies regarding personal protective equipment and recordkeeping, ensuring COVID-19 cases are excluded from the workplace, and prohibiting symptomatic employees from returning to work unless certain requirements are met.
Reprinted courtesy of Peter Shapiro, Lewis Brisbois
, Drake Mirsch, Lewis Brisbois
and Jade McKenzie, Lewis Brisbois
Mr. Shapiro may be contacted at Peter.Shapiro@lewisbrisbois.com
Mr. Mirsch may be contacted at Drake.Mirsch@lewisbrisbois.com
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Construction Managers, Are You Exposing Yourselves to Labor Law Liability?
February 22, 2021 — Timothy P. Welch - Hurwitz & Fine, P.C.
When dealing with construction site accidents, who a party is matters. Under Labor Law sections 200, 240(1) and 241(6) owners, contractors, and their agents
have a non-delegable duty to provide reasonable and adequate protection to workers from risks inherent at work sites, with a specific emphasis placed on elevation-related hazards. Given the near strict liability nature of Labor Law section 240(1), it is critical to identify whether a party is a proper Labor Law defendant from the get-go.
While identifying the owner (and usually the contractor) may be relatively straightforward, identifying “their agents” has proven to be a more complex undertaking. It should be noted that the requirements set forth in the Labor Law are non-delegable from the standpoint of the owner or contractor, however, the duties themselves can be assigned to “agents” of an owner or “agents” of a contractor. When such an assignment occurs, the same non-delegable duty held by the owner or contractor is imposed on the agents as well. Moreover, “once an entity becomes an agent under the Labor Law it cannot escape liability to an injured plaintiff by delegating the work to another entity.”
An entity that often skirts the line between being an agent and not, is the Construction Manager. Traditionally, the Construction Manager has been found to be outside the purview of the Labor Law when its scope of work is narrowly focused on scheduling and general coordination of the construction process. However, when a Construction Manager’s scope expands, so does its risk that it may, in fact, become a proper Labor Law defendant. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Timothy P. Welch, Hurwitz & Fine, P.C.
Mr. Welch may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
California Case Is a Reminder That Not All Insurance Policies Are Alike Regarding COVID-19 Losses
April 05, 2021 — Neal I. Sklar & Joshua A. Morehouse - Peckar & Abramson, P.C.A recent case from the Central District of California reminds us that not all insurance policies are alike. Depending on the particular policy, losses from the COVID-19 outbreak could qualify as property damage and therefore could be recoverable under an all-risk insurance policy.
COVID-19 has in many cases imposed significant costs on contractors, and in a host of ways. Contractors’ attempts to recover these costs from owners or insurers have at times been frustrated by contractual or policy language written after a lengthy time, during which the risk of a pandemic on the scale of COVID-19 was not as much of a concern as it is now. This has led contractors to explore new, often creative legal theories in their attempts to recover costs flowing from COVID-19.
A recent Complaint filed in the Central District of California focuses on all-risk property insurance policies and the potential for contractors who have purchased such policies to classify contamination from COVID-19 as an insurable property loss.
In AECOM v. Zurich Insurance Company, Case No. 2:21-cv-00237-JAK-MRW (C.D. Cal), a contractor purchased “all-risk” property insurance from Zurich. This policy covered “economic losses from all risks not expressly excluded.” According to the Complaint, the presence of COVID-19 on its properties “physically alter[ed] air, airspace, and surfaces preventing… (the contractor) from using its properties for their intended purpose and function.”
Reprinted courtesy of Neal I. Sklar, Peckar & Abramson, P.C.
and Joshua A. Morehouse, Peckar & Abramson, P.C.
Mr. Sklar may be contacted at email@example.com
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White and Williams Recognized by BTI Consulting Group for Client Service
April 12, 2021 — White and Williams LLP
White and Williams is proud to be included in BTI Consulting Group’s report of “The 70 Law Firms Improving Client Service Performance More Than All Others."
The pandemic forced law firms to navigate and respond instinctively as new client situations popped up daily and weekly. White and Williams was quick to establish a Covid-19 team and resource center to help clients navigate the rapidly developing business and legal issues brought on by the pandemic and provide timely and practical advice. This recognition is a testament to the firm’s commitment to provide clients with best-in-class service and the trust that clients have instilled in the firm. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of White and Williams LLP
FDOT Races to Re-Open Storm-Damaged Pensacola Bridge
April 12, 2021 — Jim Parsons - Engineering News-Record
Buffeted by hurricanes, northwest Florida’s largest-ever infrastructure effort is finally seeing the light at the end of the storm. The three-mile-long bridge across Pensacola Bay is expected to reopen to traffic this spring after an ongoing replacement effort abruptly became an emergency repair job as well.
Reprinted courtesy of Jim Parsons, Engineering News-Record
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Powering Goal Congruence in Construction Through Smart Contracts
February 22, 2021 — Michael Matthews - Construction Executive
The $814 billion U.S. commercial construction market requires a unique assembly of designers, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to work together in a highly orchestrated manner to make sure that the right labor, material, equipment, tools and information all comes together at the right place and time. Alignment and coordination between companies is critical for a project to be successful; completed safely, on time, on budget and resulting in an asset that performs as designed.
Yet the industry is slowed by an operating model bogged down by transactional and informational barriers that destroys value across the construction supply chain. Companies are connected through contracts and purchase orders that are undercut by mistrust that yields adversarial relationships and conflicting priorities that result in restricted transparency, elongated payment cycles and an abundance of resource-sucking reconciliations, audits and disputes.
With margins already razor thin, company protectionism cascades down from owners, developers and operators to contractors, subcontractors and suppliers with each player focused on optimizing their piece at the expense of the whole. Perhaps this is part of the reason 98% of megaprojects experience cost overruns or delays, 95% of projects are unable to meet even one business objective; and 70% of all construction projects are not completed within 10% of the proposed budget.
Reprinted courtesy of Michael Matthews, Construction Executive
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Cybersecurity “Flash” Warning for Construction and Manufacturing Businesses
April 05, 2021 — Jeffrey M. Dennis - Newmeyer Dillion
On March 23, 2021, the FBI’s Cyber Division issued a “Flash” warning for several business sectors, including industrial, commercial, manufacturing and construction businesses. The FBI is warning that a strain of ransomware, known as “Mamba,” has been used to weaponize a widely-used encryption software known as DiskCryptor. Mamba works through the open-source DiskCryptor program to encrypt a company’s operating system and demand ransom payment. This new ransomware attack is a threat to any business which employs DiskCryptor, specifically manufacturing and construction companies.
What Should I Do?
If your company utilizes DiskCryptor, the FBI suggests a number of recommendations to mitigate and ward off any ransomware attack. Most of these suggestions fall within the guidelines of proper cyber hygiene, and include (but are not limited to) the following:
Read the court decisionRead the full story...
- Regularly back up data, as well as copies of data;
- Segment your network;
- Request administrator credentials to install software;
Reprinted courtesy of Jeffrey M. Dennis, Newmeyer Dillion
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