Hybrid Contracts for The Sale of Goods and Services and the Predominant Factor Test
February 15, 2021 — David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates
Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code (also known as the UCC) applies to transactions for goods. “Goods” is defined by Article II of the UCC as “all things (including specially manufactured goods) which are movable at the time of identification to the contract for sale other than the money in which the price is to be paid, investment securities (chapter 678) and things in action.” Fla. Stat. s. 672.105(1).
The UCC does NOT apply to transactions for services. Transactions for services are governed by common law.
Oftentimes, transactions or contracts include BOTH goods and services. In this scenario, referred to as a hybrid contract, does the UCC or common law apply? In this scenario, courts apply the predominant factor test to determine whether the UCC or common law governs the transaction:
Whether the UCC or the common law applies to a particular hybrid contract depends on “whether the[ ] predominant factor, the [ ] thrust, the[ ] purpose [of the contract], reasonably stated, is the rendition of service, with goods incidentally involved (e.g., contract with artist for painting) or is a transaction of sale, with labor incidentally involved (e.g., installation of a water heater in a bathroom).” In such instances, the determination whether the “predominant factor” in the contract is for goods or for services is a factual inquiry unless the court can determine that the contract is exclusively for goods or services as a matter of law.
Allied Shelving & Equipment, Inc. v. National Deli, LLC, 154 So.3d 482, 484 (Fla. 3d DCA 2015) (citations omitted). Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Penn Station’s Revival Gets a $1.6 Billion Down Payment
February 08, 2021 — James S. Russell - Bloomberg
The newly opened Moynihan Train Hall at New York Penn Station, America’s busiest rail hub, is the culmination of a vision that New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan first promoted in the early 1990s. Moynihan, a champion of civic-minded federal architecture, proposed converting a portion of the Farley Post Office building to expand the crowded and much-unloved Penn Station facilities underneath Madison Square Garden. That scheme was repeatedly delayed, but on January 1, 2021, the result of those efforts – a $1.6 billion train hall designed by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) – welcomed its first passengers.
It’s a beautiful new space. Roofed by elegant bubbles of glass tensioned by almost-invisible cables, the shafts of daylight in contrast to the gloom of the long-neglected Penn Station are heartening. The hall is lined by glass-walled ticket offices for the Long Island Railroad and Amtrak. Sleek new escalators descend to the platforms. Airy new entrances draw passengers from the west. Above one entrance, breakdancers ebulliently leap from cloud to cloud in a stained-glass sky — an artwork by Kehinde Wiley. Above the other, an abstract skyline by Elmgreen & Dragset hangs overhead like urban stalactites. A waiting room evokes a suavely Art Deco diner. Moynihan Hall is a bracing restorative vision, at a time when rail travel needs all the help it can get.
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Reprinted courtesy of James S. Russell, Bloomberg
"Multiple Claims" Provisions on Contractor's Professional Liability Policy Creates a Trap for Policyholders
May 24, 2021 — Michael V. Pepe - Saxe Doernberger & Vita
In Berkley Assurance Company v. Hunt Construction Group, Inc., 465 F.Supp.3d 370 (S.D.N.Y., 2020), professional liability insurer Berkley sued its insured, Hunt, a construction management firm, seeking a declaration that it did not owe Hunt a duty to defend and indemnify against breach of contract claims. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted Berkley’s motion for summary judgment and denied Hunt’s motion for partial summary judgment. Among other things, the court held that the policy’s automatic extended reporting period did not apply to Hunt’s first claim. The multiple claims provision barred Hunt’s second claim because the claims were related.
The court’s holding creates a potential trap for policyholders who wait to see how a claim develops before reporting it to their insurance carrier. This case demonstrates that waiting to see how a claim develops can result in a loss of coverage. Policyholders need to be aware of this trap and report all claims and circumstances immediately. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Michael V. Pepe, Saxe Doernberger & Vita
Mr. Pepe may be contacted at MPepe@sdvlaw.com
UPDATE: Trade Secrets Pact Allows Resumed Work on $2.6B Ga. Battery Plant
April 19, 2021 — Mary B. Powers - Engineering News-Record
Construction on a $2.6-billion battery manufacturing plant near Atlanta can continue under an agreement reached April 11 between two rival South Korean auto battery makers—including SK Innovation, which is owner of the half-completed project.
Reprinted courtesy of Mary B. Powers, Engineering News-Record
ENR may be contacted at ENR.email@example.com
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Elon Musk’s Proposed Vegas Strip Transit System Advanced by City Council Vote
January 11, 2021 — Sarah McBride - Bloomberg
Elon Musk’s tunneling company Boring Co. is already building a transit system for Las Vegas convention-goers. Now, he wants to build one for the rest of the city.
On Wednesday, the Las Vegas City Council voted unanimously to advance plans to dramatically expand Musk’s Loop project from a convention center transit system to a citywide network that would include hotels and, one day, potentially even the airport.
The proposed expansion brings the tunnel-based transportation system as far north as Ogden Avenue, near attractions such as the Downtown Container Park and classic casinos like the Golden Nugget. Proposed stops en route include the Arts District and the Stratosphere tower, the spaceship-like landmark that is part of a hotel. The precise location of stations will be determined later in the process, according to documents submitted to the council. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Sarah McBride, Bloomberg
Idaho District Court Affirms Its Role as the Gatekeeper of Expert Testimony
March 15, 2021 — Melissa Kenney - The Subrogation Specialist
Many subrogation claims involving fire losses rely heavily on expert testimony. Expert testimony is admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 if it is both relevant and reliable. In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), whose standard has been incorporated into Federal Rule of Evidence 702, the Supreme Court instructed federal trial courts to act as a “gatekeeper” of expert testimony, giving them the power to exclude expert testimony that is not supported by sufficient evidence. In Maria Fernanda Elosu and Robert Luis Brace v. Middlefork Ranch Incorporated, Civil Case No. 1:19-cv-00267-DCN, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14449 (D. Idaho Jan. 22, 2021) (Brace), the United States District Court for the District of Idaho exercised its gatekeeper role when it granted in part and denied in part the defendant’s motion to exclude expert testimony pursuant to Daubert and Federal Rule of Evidence 702.
Brace, involved a fire at a vacation cabin in McCall, Idaho. The cabin, owned by Maria Elosu (Elosu) and Robert Brace (Brace and collectively with Elosu, Plaintiffs) was part of a homeowner’s association called Middlefork Ranch, Incorporated (MFR). The cabin had a “wrap around” deck with a propane-fired refrigerator on the north side. On the day before the fire, Brace stained the deck using an oil-based stain. That night, Elosu smoked cigarettes on the deck. The next morning, Plaintiffs used rags to clean up excess oil from the deck and an MFR employee changed the propane on the refrigerator and relit the pilot light. At 4:00 p.m., a fire started in or around the cabin while no one was home. The fire was discovered by a group of contractors who testified that the fire was isolated to the east side of the cabin when they first arrived. Importantly, one witness testified that there was no fire and no flames around the propane-fired refrigerator. The fire destroyed the cabin and the contents within. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Melissa Kenney, White and Williams LLP
Ms. Kenney may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Court-Side Seat: Coal-Fired Limitations, the Search for a Venue Climate Change and New Agency Rules that May or May Not Stick Around
February 15, 2021 — Anthony B. Cavender - Gravel2Gavel
This is a brief review of recent significant environmental and administrative law rulings and developments. With the change in presidential administrations, the fate of at least some of the newly promulgated rules is uncertain.
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
BP PLC v. City and County of Baltimore
On January 19, 2021, the Court heard oral argument in BP PLC v. City and County of Baltimore. The respondents filed a Greenhous Gas Climate Change lawsuit in state court, alleging that BP, like other energy companies, is liable for significant damage caused by the sale and promotion of petroleum products while knowing that the use of these products and the resulting release of greenhouse gases damages the environment and public property. Several similar lawsuits have been filed in state courts, pleading common law violations as well as trespass and nuisance law violations The energy companies have tried, unsuccessfully to date, to remove these cases to federal court. The petitioners argue that the federal removal statutes allow the federal courts of appeal to review the lower court’s remand, thus opening the possibility that some of the issues presented in these cases can be tried in federal court, presumably a friendlier forum. A decision on this procedural issue should be rendered in a few months. Read the court decision
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Reprinted courtesy of Anthony B. Cavender, Pillsbury
Mr. Cavender may be contacted at email@example.com
Auburn Woods Homeowners Association v. State Farm General Insurance CompanyJanuary 11, 2021 — Michael Velladao - Lewis Brisbois
In Auburn Woods HOA v. State Farm Gen. Ins. Co., 56 Cal.App.5th 717 (October 28,2020) (certified for partial publication), the California Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s entry of judgment in favor of State Farm General Insurance Company (“State Farm”) regarding a lawsuit for breach of contract and bad faith brought by Auburn Woods Homeowners Association (“HOA”) and property manager, Frei Real Estate Services (“FRES”) against State Farm and the HOA’s broker, Frank Lewis. The parties’ dispute arose out of the tender of two different lawsuits filed against the HOA and FRES by Marva Beadle (“Beadle”). The first lawsuit was filed by Beadle as the owner of a condominium unit against the HOA and FRES for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and an accounting related to amounts allegedly owed by Beadle to the HOA as association fees. The second lawsuit filed by Beadle was for the purpose of setting aside a foreclosure sale, cancelling the trustee’s deed and quieting title, and for an accounting and injunctive relief against an unlawful detainer action filed by Sutter Group, LP against Beadle. The complaint filed in the second lawsuit alleged that Allied Trustee Services caused Beadle’s property to be sold at auction and that Sutter Capital Group, LP purchased the unit and obtained a trustee’s deed upon sale. Beadle claimed the assessments against her were improper and the trustee’s deed upon sale was wrongfully executed. Beadle sought an order restoring possession of her unit and damages.
The HOA and FRES tendered both lawsuits to State Farm. As respects the first lawsuit, State Farm denied coverage of the lawsuit based on the absence of alleged “damages” covered by the policy issued to the HOA affording liability and directors and officers (“D&O”) coverages. State Farm agreed to defend the HOA under the D&O coverage in the second lawsuit. However, State Farm denied coverage of FRES in both lawsuits as it did not qualify as an insured under the State Farm policy issued to the HOA. Subsequently, the HOA and FRES filed an action against State Farm arguing that a duty to defend was triggered under its policy for the first lawsuit and a duty to defend FRES was also owed under the D&O policy for the second lawsuit. After a bench trial, the trial court entered summary judgment in favor of State Farm based on the failure of the first lawsuit to allege damages covered by the State Farm policy under the liability and D&O coverages afforded by the policy. As respects the second lawsuit, the trial court held that FRES did not qualify as an insured and State Farm did not act in bad faith by refusing to pay the HOA’s alleged defense costs in the second lawsuit before it agreed to defend the HOA against such lawsuit. Read the court decision
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Reprinted courtesy of Michael Velladao, Lewis Brisbois
Mr. Velladao may be contacted at Michael.Velladao@lewisbrisbois.com