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    Home Builders & Remo Assn of Fairfield Co
    Local # 0780
    433 Meadow St
    Fairfield, CT 06824

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    20 Hartford Rd Suite 18
    Salem, CT 06420

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    Rocky Hill, CT 06067

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    Construction Expert Witness News and Information
    For Fairfield Connecticut


    How Long is Your Construction Warranty?

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    FAIRFIELD CONNECTICUT CONSTRUCTION EXPERT WITNESS
    DIRECTORY AND CAPABILITIES

    The Fairfield, Connecticut Construction Expert Witness Group is comprised from a number of credentialed construction professionals possessing extensive trial support experience relevant to construction defect and claims matters. Leveraging from more than 25 years experience, BHA provides construction related trial support and expert services to the nation's most recognized construction litigation practitioners, Fortune 500 builders, commercial general liability carriers, owners, construction practice groups, and a variety of state and local government agencies.

    Construction Expert Witness News & Info
    Fairfield, Connecticut

    Ninth Circuit Rules Supreme Court’s Two-Part Test of Implied Certification under the False Claims Act Mandatory

    May 13, 2019 —
    For those contractors in the government arena, read on. The False Claims Act (“FCA”) was enacted to deter knowingly fraudulent actions by contractors which resulted in a loss of property to the Government. Intent to defraud with resulting financial hardship was required. Contrary to popular misconception, the statute was not designed to punish all false submissions to the Government simply because those submissions, or claims, are later found to be false. The statute’s inclusion of the requisite element of knowledge is consistent with this notion:
    1. A defendant must submit a claim for payment to the Government;
    2. the claim must be false or fraudulent;
    3. the defendant must have known the claim was fraudulent when it was submitted (also known as scienter); and
    4. the claim must have caused the Government to pay out money.
    See 31 U.S.C. § 3729(a). Despite these explicit elements (in addition to common law elements of fraud), over the last two decades, contractors have seen ever-expanding theories of FCA recovery presented by qui tam plaintiffs and the Government. For example, under the FCA, the false “claim” evolved over time: the claim no longer needs to be an express false claim (i.e. the truthfulness of the claim is a direct condition of payment); the claim can be “implied” misrepresentation or “half-truth”. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Meredith Thielbahr, Gordon & Rees Scully Mansukhani
    Ms. Thielbahr may be contacted at mthielbahr@grsm.com

    Alabama Supreme Court Reverses Determination of Coverage for Faulty Workmanship

    August 26, 2019 —
    Although the lower court held that the insured contractor was entitled to coverage and indemnification under a CGL policy despite claims based upon faulty workmanship, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. David Group, Inc., 2019 Ala. LEXIS 52 (Ala. May 24, 2019). The David Group (TDG) specialized in custom-built homes. The Shahs purchased a newly built home from TDG in October 2006. After moving in, the Shahs experienced problems with their new home that TDG was unable to correct. In February 2008, the Shahs sued TDG. The complaint alleged that serious defects existed, resulting in health and safety issues, building code violations, poor workmanship, misuse of construction materials, and disregard of property installation methods. The case went to arbitration and an award of $12,725 was issued to the Shahs. Nationwide was TDG's CGL carrier and initially defended TDG. After Nationwide withdrew its defense, TDG sued seeking a judgment declaring that Nationwide was obligated to defend and indemnify. The trial court denied Nationwide's motion for summary judgment and issued a partial summary judgment in favor of TDG on the issue of coverage. Nationwide appealed. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

    Property Owner’s Defense Goes Up in Smoke in Careless Smoking Case

    September 23, 2019 —
    Property owners owe a duty of reasonable care to avoid causing harm to neighboring properties. When a property owner knows or should know about a condition that poses a risk of danger to neighboring properties, the property owner must exercise reasonable care to make the condition safe. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently held that, where hundreds of discarded cigarette butts had accumulated in a bed of mulch over an extended period of time prior to the fire at issue, the owner of the property with the mulch beds owed a duty of care to its neighbors to prevent a foreseeable fire. In Steamfitters Local Union No. 602 v. Erie Insurance Exchange, 2019 Md. App. LEXIS 430 (May 30, 2019), a fire originated in a strip of mulch at property owned by the Steamfitters Local Union No. 602 (Union) and caused damage to neighboring properties. The fire occurred when an unknown person discarded a cigarette butt into the mulch. Following the fire, investigators found “hundreds, if not thousands of cigarettes” in the mulch where the fire originated. A representative for the Union acknowledged that there were more butts in the mulch “than there should have been” and that, “[i]n the right situation,” a carelessly discarded cigarette could cause a fire. The Union, however, had no rules or signs to prohibit or regulate smoking at the property, where apprentices would often gather prior to class. The insurance companies for the damaged neighbors filed subrogation actions alleging that the Union, as the property owner, failed to use reasonable care to prevent a foreseeable fire. A jury found in favor of the subrogating insurers and against the Union. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Michael J. Ciamaichelo, White and Williams LLP
    Mr. Ciamaichelo may be contacted at ciamaichelom@whiteandwilliams.com

    As Some States Use the Clean Water Act to Delay Energy Projects, EPA Issues New CWA 401 Guidance

    August 26, 2019 —
    In just the past few weeks, three states have used their Clean Water Act 401 authority to delay, for an indefinite period, FERC-authorized pipeline expansion projects. On May 6, 2019, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality denied, without prejudice, Jordan Cove’s application for a Section 401 water quality certification. Jordan Cove plans to build an LNG export terminal at Coos Bay, Oregon, if it can obtain the necessary federal and permits. Under Section 401(a) of the Clean Water Act, any applicant for a federal permit to conduct any activity, including the operation of facilities which may result in any discharge into the navigable waters, shall provide the permitting agency a certification from the State in which the discharge may originate that any such discharge will comply with the applicable provisions of the Clean Water Act, including effluent limitations and state water quality standards. The States have a “reasonable time”—which shall not exceed one year after the receipt of the 401 application—in which to act, or the state’s authority may be waived by this inaction. The Oregon DEQ concluded that Jordan Cove has not demonstrated that its project, as presently configured, will satisfy state water quality standards. The 401 applications submitted by Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. (Transco) to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New York State Department of Environmental Protection were similarly rejected without prejudice on May 15, 2019 (New York) and June 5, 2019 (New Jersey). This use of the states’ 401 authority has frustrated plans to build and operate LNG pipelines around the country. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Anthony B. Cavender, Pillsbury
    Mr. Cavender may be contacted at anthony.cavender@pillsburylaw.com

    Construction Reaches Half-Way Point on San Diego's $2.1 Billion Mid-Coast Trolley

    May 06, 2019 —
    Project officials for the $2.1-billion Mid-Coast Trolley in San Diego recently celebrated the halfway point of construction. The event was held at the construction staging yard near the Voigt Drive Trolley station, where workers gather for their morning briefings. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Greg Aragon, ENR
    ENR may be contacted at ENR.com@bnpmedia.com

    The Private Works: Preliminary Notice | Are You Using the Correct Form?

    August 20, 2019 —
    The Private Works – Preliminary Notice form which contractors, subcontractors and suppliers had become accustomed to using for many years changed in 2004. Despite this change in law, many in the construction industry have still not started using the correct new form. Changes in the law, championed by the American Subcontractors’ Association, gave a significant new benefit to subcontractors and suppliers by giving the subcontractor or supplier some expectation of actually receiving notice of when a Notice of Completion or a Notice of Cessation has been recorded on many private works projects. The law also changed the language of the California Preliminary Notice that subcontractors and suppliers must use to protect their mechanics’ lien, bond claim and stop payment notice rights. If Owners do not send out the Notice of Completion as required by law they incur a diminishing of the protections afforded to them when they record a Notice of Completion or Notice of Cessation on many private works projects. The revised law requires private project owners to notify all subcontractors and suppliers within 10 days after recording a Notice of Completion or Notice of Cessation that a Notice of Completion or a Notice of Cessation has actually been recorded. In order to receive such notice, the subcontractor or supplier must properly serve the new form of Preliminary Notice. If this properly occurs and the private project owner provides the required notice, then the subcontractor or supplier will have 30 days to record a Mechanics’ Lien. However, if an owner under such circumstances fails to properly notify a subcontractor or supplier within 10 days after recording a Notice of Completion or Notice of Cessation, then the Subcontractor or supplier will have 90 days to record a Mechanics’ Lien. The details of the law can be found in California Civil Code sections 8190, 8414 and 8416. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of William L. Porter, Esq., Porter Law Group
    Mr. Porter may be contacted at bporter@porterlaw.com

    Ruling Closes the Loop on Restrictive Additional Insured Endorsement – Reasonable Expectations of Insured Builder Prevails Over Intent of Insurer

    July 31, 2019 —
    On June 5, 2019, the Court of Appeal in McMillin Homes Construction, Inc. v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Company, 35 Cal. App. 5th 1042 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019) issued an important opinion on the scope of additional insured insurance coverage for developers and general contractors in California. Specifically, the “care, custody and control” (“CCC”) exclusion will be read to only exclude coverage for additional insureds who exercised exclusive control over the damaged property. Thus, general contractors who share control of the property with their subcontractors, as is typical on most projects, will not be denied coverage under this exclusion. I. Facts & Procedural History McMillin Homes Construction, Inc. was a Southern California developer and general contractor. In 2014, homeowners sued McMillin for roofing defects in a case called Galvan v. McMillin Auburn Lane II, LLC. Pursuant to a subcontract, the roofer, Martin Roofing Company, Inc., provided McMillin with additional insured coverage under Martin’s general liability insurance policy. The insurer, National Fire and Marine Insurance Company, covered McMillin under an ISO Form CG 20 09 03 97 Additional Insured (“AI”) endorsement. After McMillin tendered its defense of the Galvan lawsuit under the AI endorsement, National Fire declined to provide McMillin with a defense to the homeowners’ lawsuit, relying on a CCC exclusion contained in the AI endorsement for property in the care, custody or control of the additional insured. McMillin then sued National Fire for breach of the policy, bad faith and declaratory relief in McMillin Homes Construction, Inc. v. National Fire & Marine Insurance Company. In McMillin Homes, the trial court found the CCC exclusion in the AI endorsement applied and held in favor of the insurer, National Fire. The trial court found the exclusion for damage to property in McMillin’s “care, custody, or control” precluded coverage for the roofing defect claims, as well as any duty on the part of the insurer to defend the home builder, McMillin. McMillin filed an appeal from the trial court’s ruling. II. Case Holding The Court of Appeal reversed to hold in favor of McMillin, interpreting the CCC exclusion narrowly and finding a duty on the part of the insurer to defend the general contractor pursuant to the AI endorsement on the roofer’s insurance policy. It held that for the CCC exclusion to attach, it would require the general contractor’s exclusive control over the damaged property, but here, the general contractor shared control with the roofer. The Court of Appeal noted that where there is ambiguity as to whether a duty to defend exists, the court favors the reasonable belief of the insured over the intent of the insurer. Here, that reasonable belief was that the coverage applied and the exclusion was narrow. The Court of Appeal relied upon Home Indemnity Co. v. Leo L. Davis, Inc., 79 Cal. App. 3d 863 (Ct. App. 1978) (“Davis”), as a judicial interpretation of the CCC exclusion. That case synthesized a string of case law into a single conclusion: that courts may hold the exclusion inapplicable where the insured’s control is not exclusive. In the opinion in McMillin Homes, coverage turned upon whether control was exclusive: “[t]he exclusion is inapplicable where the facts at best suggest shared control.” The Court of Appeal stated the “need for painstaking evaluation of the specific facts of each case. Here, McMillin coordinated the project’s scheduling, but Martin furnished the materials and labor and oversaw the work; they therefore shared control. Even if the rule in Davis did not apply and the exclusion was found to be ambiguous, the court stated that “control” requires a higher threshold than merely acting as a general contractor. Liability policies are presumed to include defense duties and exclusions must be “conspicuous, plain, and clear.” Furthermore, because “construction defect litigation is typically complex and expensive, a key motivation [for the endorsement] is to offset the cost of defending lawsuits where the general contractor’s liability is claimed to be derivative.” This is especially true because the duty to defend is triggered by a mere potential of coverage. Under the insurer’s construction of the exclusion, coverage would be so restrictive under the AI endorsement that it was nearly worthless to the additional insured. III. Reasonable Expectation of the Insured Prevails over the Intent of the Insurer Like most commercial general liability policies, National Fire’s policy excluded coverage for property damage Martin was contractually obliged to pay, with an exception for “insured contracts.” Typically, “insured contracts” include prospective indemnification agreements for third party claims. The National Fire policy contained a form CG 21 39 Contractual Liability Limitation endorsement, which deleted indemnity agreements from the definition of “insured contracts” to effectively preclude coverage for the indemnity provision between McMillin and Martin. National Fire argued that this endorsement demonstrated its intent to exclude coverage to McMillin for the homeowners’ defect lawsuit. The Court of Appeal stated that the insurer’s intent is not controlling and that the insureds reasonable expectation under the AI endorsement would control. As a result of its ruling, the Court also dealt a significant blow to the argument that the CG 21 39 endorsement is effective as a total bar to additional insured coverage for all construction defect claims. IV. Conclusion The decision is good news for developers and general contractors who rely on subcontractors to provide additional insured coverage. Unless the general contractor exercises exclusive control over a given project, the CCC exclusion in the CG 20 09 03 97 additional insured endorsement may not preclude the duty to defend. Demonstrating that a general contractor exercised exclusive control over the project would be extremely difficult to show under normal project circumstances because the any subcontractor participation appears to eliminate the general contractor’s exclusive control. The case also highlights the need for construction professionals to regularly review their insurance programs with their risk management team (lawyers, brokers, and risk managers). As is often the case, a basic insurance policy review at the outset of the McMillin project could likely have avoided the entire dispute. For owners and general contractors, CG 20 10 (ongoing operations) and CG 20 37 (completed operations) additional insured forms are preferable to the CG 20 09 form at issue in the McMillin case because they do not contain the CCC exclusion. The CG 20 10 and 20 37 forms are readily available in the marketplace and are commonly added to most policies upon request. Had those forms been added, AI coverage likely would have been extended to McMillin without the need for litigation. Similarly, carriers will routinely delete the CG 21 39 Contractual Liability Limitation endorsement upon request. Deletion of the CG 21 39 would have circumvented National Fire’s second argument in its entirety. Additionally, insurance policies, endorsements, and exclusions are subject to revision and are not always issued on standard forms. As a result, it is incumbent upon developers, contractors, and subcontractors to specify the precise overage requirements for construction projects and to review all endorsements, certificates, and policies carefully. Due to the difficulty in monitoring compliance with insurance requirements, project owners and general contractors are finding that it is better to insure projects under project specific wrap-up insurance programs which eliminate many of the issues pertaining to additional insured coverage. Wrap-up programs vary greatly as to their terms and conditions, so however a project is insured, insurance requirements and evidence of coverage should be carefully reviewed by experienced and qualified risk managers, brokers, and legal counsel to assure that projects and parties are sufficiently covered. Gibbs Giden is nationally and locally recognized by U. S. News and Best Lawyers as among the “Best Law Firms” in both Construction Law and Construction Litigation. Chambers USA Directory of Leading Lawyers has consistently recognized Gibbs Giden as among California’s elite construction law firms. The authors can be reached at tsenet@gibbsgiden.com (Theodore Senet); jadams@gibbsgiden.com (Jason Adams) and ccalvin@gibbsgiden.com (Clayton Calvin). Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Recent Bribery and Anti-Corruption Enforcement Trends in Global Construction Industry

    August 26, 2019 —
    Bribery and corruption have long plagued the construction industry, particularly in the developing world and emerging markets. Large contracts often trickle down through layers of subcontractors, presenting opportunities for corruption at each level. The risk is enhanced in certain foreign jurisdictions, where large corporations may be wholly or partially state-owned enterprises and public officials may expect payment in exchange for state-issued licenses or government contracts. Recent enforcement trends indicate that both the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are increasingly targeting the construction industry for anti-bribery and corruption actions under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Several former DOJ officials also recently commented that the construction industry has become a focus of anti-corruption enforcement efforts. The FCPA is a formidable tool for regulators, making it unlawful to influence a foreign government official with any type of payment or personal reward. While certain safe harbors apply — including de minimis payments made to expedite routine governmental action or the payment being lawful in the foreign jurisdiction — these exceptions are construed narrowly and can be difficult to apply in practice. Reprinted courtesy of Ralph A. Finizio, Pepper Hamilton LLP and Anthony Finizio, Pepper Hamilton LLP Mr. Finizio may be contacted at finizior@pepperlaw.com Mr. Finizio may be contacted at finizioa@pepperlaw.com Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of