New York Assembly Reconsiders ‘Bad Faith’ Bill
May 31, 2021 — Copernicus T. Gaza, Robert S. Nobel, Craig Rokuson, Eric D. Suben - Traub Lieberman
The New York State Assembly is considering A07285, which creates a private right of action for bad faith “if the insurer unreasonably refuses to pay or unreasonably delays payment without substantial justification.” The bill was first introduced in 2013 but was reintroduced on May 3, 2021 and has received some recent attention. According to the bill, an insurer acts unreasonably when it (among other things):
- Fails to provide the claimant with accurate information regarding policy provisions relating to the coverage at issue; or
- Fails to effectuate in good faith a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim or portion of a claim and where the insurer failed to reasonably accord at least equal or more favorable consideration to its insured's interests as it did to its own interests, and thereby exposed the insured to a judgment in excess of the policy limits or caused other damage to a claimant; or
- Fails to provide a timely written denial of a claimant's claim, or portion thereof, with a full and complete explanation of such denial, including references to specific policy provisions wherever possible; or
- Fails to act in good faith by compelling such claimant to initiate a lawsuit to recover under the policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in such suit; or
- Fails to timely provide, on request of the policy holder or the policy holder's representative, all reports or other documentation arising from the investigation of a claim; or
- Refuses to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation prior to such refusal.
Reprinted courtesy of Copernicus T. Gaza, Traub Lieberman
, Robert S. Nobel, Traub Lieberman
, Craig Rokuson, Traub Lieberman
and Eric D. Suben, Traub Lieberman
Mr. Gaza may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Nobel may be contacted at email@example.com
Mr. Rokuson may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Suben may be contacted at email@example.com Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of
Cybersecurity "Flash" Warning for Construction and Manufacturing Businesses
April 26, 2021 — Jeffrey M. Dennis - Newmeyer Dillion
The FBI recently released its 2020 Internet Crime Report (Report), which details and analyzes complaints received through the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). In 2020, IC3 received a record number of complaints – nearly 800,000, with reported losses in excess of $4.1 billion. Companies must acknowledge that cybercrime is a real, dangerous threat to their business, and understand how, and why, these threats continue to escalate. At a minimum, businesses should take several proactive steps to protect themselves.
What is IC3?
IC3 is an online platform hosted by the FBI, which exists to provide the public with a trusted place to report cybercrime to the FBI. Since its inception in 2000, the IC3 has received 5.6 million complaints, and has averaged approximately 440,000 complaints over each of the last five years. The complaint figure for 2020 is nearly double that average. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Jeffrey M. Dennis, Newmeyer Dillion
Mr. Dennis may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Comply with your Insurance Policy's Conditions Precedent (Post-Loss Obligations)
May 31, 2021 — David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates
I am of the opinion that if your property insurer requests a sworn proof of loss, furnish one with the assistance of counsel (preferably). Ignoring the insurer’s request or refusing to comply with insurer’s request is NOT value-added; it is simply placing you at a disadvantage based on the insurer’s argument that you, as the insured, materially breached the policy. I generally find no value having to confront this expected argument. Instead, I find value making an effort to comply with post-loss obligations including the insurer’s request to submit a sworn proof of loss. Working with counsel can help you comply with post-loss obligations (conditions precedent) while not weakening the value or merits of your claim.
By way of example, in Edwards v. Safepoint Ins. Co., 46 Fla. L. Weekly D1086a (Fla. 4th DCA 2021), the insured did not provide its property insurer with the requested sworn proof of loss. The insurer moved for summary judgment that the insured’s failure to submit the sworn proof of loss was a material breach of the policy that rendered the policy ineffective. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment. The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed explaining “[a] total failure to comply with policy provisions made a prerequisite to suit under the policy may constitute a breach precluding recovery from the insurer as a matter of law. If, however, the insured cooperates to some degree or provides an explanation for its noncompliance, a fact question is presented for resolution by a jury.” Edwards, supra, quoting Haiman v. Federal Ins. Co., 798 So.2d 811, 812 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001). Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of David Adelstein, Kirwin Norris, P.A.
Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at email@example.com
Wisconsin Court of Appeals Re-affirms American Girl To Find Coverage for Damage Caused by Subcontractors
September 20, 2021 — Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii
The trial court's finding of no occurrence and no property damage due to faulty workmanship was reversed by the appellate court. No. 5 Walworth v. Engerman Contracting, Inc., 2021 Wis. App. LEXIS 401 (Wis. Ct. App, July 30, 2021).
Engerman was the general contractor on a construction project at a residence. Engerman was hired to build a poll complex. Engerman subcontracted the project to Downes Swimming Pool Co., Inc. Downes purchased shotcrete (sprayed concrete) from Otto Jacobs Company LLC for the swimming poll walls and base.
After completion, the pool immediately began leaking. An investigation determined that the shotcrete material was not installed correctly, contributing to cracking in the pool walls and the steel reinforcing bars were not sufficient to prevent cracks in the pool walls. The owner demolished the pool and constructed a new one. Thereafter, the owner sued Engerman, its insurers (General Casualty Company of Wisconsin and West Bend Mutual Insurance Company) and Downes and its insurer. Downes filed a third-party complaint against Jacobs and its insurer (Acuity Mutual Insurance Company) alleging Jacobs negligently provided inferior shotcrete to Downes. 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
Design Immunity Does Not Shield Public Entity From Claim That it Failed to Warn of a Dangerous Condition
May 17, 2021 — Garret Murai - California Construction Law Blog
Readers of this blog are familiar with the concept of the design immunity defense.
Codified at Government Code section 830.6, it provides in pertinent that a public entity is not liable for an injury caused by a plan or design of a public improvement where the plan or design has been “approved in advance . . . by the legislative body of the public entity or by some other body or employee exercising discretionary authority to give such approval or where such plan or design is prepared in conformity with standards previously so approved” if the trial or appellate court finds that there “is any substantial evidence upon the basis of which (a) a reasonable public employee could have adopted the plan or design or the standards therefor or (b) a reasonable legislative body or other body or employee could have approved the plan or design or the standards therefor.”
In the next case, Tansavatdi v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Case No. B293670 (January 29, 2021), the 2nd District Court of Appeal examined whether the design immunity defense also serves as a defense to a claim that a public entity has a duty to warn of a dangerous condition on public property. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Garret Murai, Nomos LLP
Mr. Murai may be contacted at email@example.com
Search in Florida Collapse to Take Weeks; Deaths Reach 90
July 25, 2021 — The Associated Press (Freida Frisaro & Bobby Caina Calvan) - Bloomberg
Authorities searching for victims of a deadly collapse in Florida said Sunday they hope to conclude their painstaking work in the coming weeks as a team of first responders from Israel departed the site.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said 90 deaths have now been confirmed in last month's collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South in Surfside, up from 86 a day before. Among them are 71 bodies that have been identified, and their families have been notified, she said. Some 31 people remain listed as missing.
The Miami-Dade Police Department said three young children were among those recently identified.
Crews continued to search the remaining pile of rubble, peeling layer after layer of debris in search of bodies. The unrelenting search has resulted in the recovery of over 14 million pounds (about 6.4 million kilograms) of concrete and debris, Levine Cava said. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of Bloomberg
Clearly Determining in Contract Who Determines Arbitrability of Dispute
April 26, 2021 — David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates
As you know from prior postings: “Arbitration provisions are creatures of contract and must be construed ‘as a matter of contract interpretation.’ ” Fallang Family Limited Partnership v. Privcap Companies, LLC, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D639e (Fla. 4th DCA 2021) (citation omitted). Thus, if you prefer to arbitrate potential disputes, instead of litigating potential disputes, you want to include an arbitration provision in your contract. While there are positives and negatives to arbitration, no different than litigation, these positives and negatives should be considered during the contract negotiation process when dealing with the dispute resolution process in the contract.
Generally, under the law, the arbitrability of a dispute is determined by the court. However, this can be deferred to the arbitrator with clear and unmistakable language in the contract.
By way of example, the American Arbitration Association includes a rule that allows an arbitrator to rule on the arbitrability of the dispute, i.e., the claims asserted are subject to the governing arbitration provision in the contract. Recent law has suggested that if the objective is to authorize an American Arbitration Association arbitrator to make this determination, the contract clearly and unmistakably needs to state this intent and generally referring to the American Arbitration Association rules is not good enough. For this reason, I have included in arbitration provisions language that specifically states, “In the event of any dispute as to the arbitrability of any claim or dispute, the parties agree that an appointed arbitrator within the American Arbitration Association shall make this determination.” I have also included in arbitration provisions the converse so that if there is a dispute as to the arbitrability of a claim or dispute, the court, and not the arbitrator, will make this determination. 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
Georgia State and Local Governments Receive Expanded Authority for Conservation Projects
May 31, 2021 — David R. Cook Jr. - Autry, Hall & Cook, LLP
In the 2020-2021 session, the Georgia General Assembly amended existing laws to expand state and local governments’ authority to enter conservation projects. In connection with these projects, the contractor guarantees that cost savings or revenue increases will cover any payments for the project.
Read more about conservation projects
, including Guaranteed Energy Savings Performance Contracts
With regard to school systems, conservation projects had previously included facility alterations designed to reduce energy or water consumption or operation costs. But the new law expands the permitted projects to include equipment purchases used in new construction or building retrofit, addition, or renovation. It also adds training programs incidental to the contract. Read the court decisionRead the full story...
Reprinted courtesy of David R. Cook Jr., Autry, Hall & Cook, LLP
Mr. Cook may be contacted at email@example.com