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

    Fairfield Connecticut Building Expert 10/ 10

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    Local # 0740
    20 Hartford Rd Suite 18
    Salem, CT 06420

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    Local # 0720
    2189 Silas Deane Highway
    Rocky Hill, CT 06067

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    Local # 0755
    2189 Silas Deane Hwy
    Rocky Hill, CT 06067

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    Local # 0710
    110 Brook St
    Torrington, CT 06790

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    3 Regency Dr Ste 204
    Bloomfield, CT 06002

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    FAIRFIELD CONNECTICUT BUILDING EXPERT
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    Leveraging from more than 7,000 construction defect and claims related expert witness designations, the Fairfield, Connecticut Building Expert Group provides a wide range of trial support and consulting services to Fairfield's most acknowledged construction practice groups, CGL carriers, builders, owners, and public agencies. Drawing from a diverse pool of construction and design professionals, BHA is able to simultaneously analyze complex claims from the perspective of design, engineering, cost, or standard of care.

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    Fairfield, Connecticut

    Court Finds That $400 Million Paid Into Abatement Fund Qualifies as “Damages” Under the Insured’s Policies

    November 21, 2022 —
    In Sherwin-Williams Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, et al., the Court of Appeals for Ohio’s Eighth District reversed the lower court, finding that money paid by the insured into an abatement fund was “damages” as that undefined term was used in the policyholder’s insurance policies. 2022-Ohio-3031, ¶ 1. Sherwin-Williams is a cautionary tale about how insurers may try to narrow the meaning of undefined terms in their insurance policies. The dispute in Sherwin-Williams focused on coverage for $400 million that the policyholder and other defendants were ordered to pay into an abatement fund to be used by California cities and counties to mitigate the hazards caused by lead paint in homes. Id. ¶ 1. Although the underlying litigation proceeded in California, Ohio law governed coverage, which raised issues of first impression in Ohio. Id. Among other things, the insurers argued that the money paid into the abatement fund did not qualify as “damages” under the policies. Id. ¶ 57. The insured argued that, because the insurers did not define “damages” in the policies, the term had to be given its ordinary meaning. Id. ¶ 56. Reprinted courtesy of Lorelie S. Masters, Hunton Andrews Kurth and Yaniel Abreu, Hunton Andrews Kurth Ms. Masters may be contacted at lmasters@HuntonAK.com Mr. Abreu may be contacted at yabreu@HuntonAK.com Read the court decision
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    Insurer in Bad Faith For Refusing to Commit to Appraisal

    October 08, 2014 —
    The court denied State Farm's motion for summary judgment on the insured homeowners' bad faith claim for State Farm's failure to agree to an appraisal. Currie v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 2014 WL 4081051 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 19, 2014). Superstorm Sandy caused a tree to crash in the insureds' home. The loss was reported to State Farm. The State Farm adjuster verbally quoted the roof replacement at more than $100,000. State Farm eventually paid $60,000 for the roof replacement. The insureds' adjuster estimated the loss at $363,804.98. The insureds demanded an appraisal. State Farm rejected the demand because the claim involved certain items for which State Farm did not admit liability, including damage to the interior hardwood floors. State Farm contended that since the dispute went beyond the amount of loss, an appraisal was not an appropriate method of resolution. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tred R. Eyerly, Insurance Law Hawaii
    Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

    Nine ACS Lawyers Recognized as Super Lawyers – Including One Top 10 and Three Top 100 Washington Attorneys

    August 14, 2023 —
    Our blog articles usually cover construction-related issues, but Ahlers Cressman & Sleight, PLLC – once again – is honored to announce nine members of our firm were awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” in Washington. To become a Super Lawyer, only the top attorneys are nominated by their peers. Once nominated, candidates are researched and evaluated by an independent third-party across twelve key categories, such as experience, honors/awards, verdicts/settlements, and others. Next potential Super Lawyers are evaluated by a highly-credentialed “Blue Ribbon Panel” of peers before final selection. The process is extremely competitive and only 5 percent of the total lawyers in Washington are nominated as Super Lawyers. The following – including one Top 10 and three Top 100 attorneys – are Ahlers Cressman & Sleight, PLLC’s Super Lawyers: John P. Ahlers, one of the firm’s founding partners, was again recognized as a Top 10 Super Lawyer in Washington State for 2023 – this is his seventh year in a row in the Top 10. A founding member of Ahlers Cressman & Sleight, PLLC, he has been named a Super Lawyer in Construction Litigation since 2001—23 years in a row. To read Mr. Ahlers’ full profile, click here. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Travis Colburn, Ahlers Cressman & Sleight
    Mr. Colburn may be contacted at travis.colburn@acslawyers.com

    Is Your Website Accessible And Are You Liable If It Isn't?

    January 06, 2020 —
    To anyone who does business online - ­beware. While the ADA has been in play for years, it did not necessarily account for all the technological advances that have been made over time. Specifically, when it comes to accommodations - what accommodations can and should be made within a website, and whether accommodations should be made on all websites or just some. However, because of this, a new type of lawsuit has emerged, and is slowly becoming more prominent. Since the Supreme Court refused to clarify this particular area of law, we must turn to the recent Ninth Circuit Ruling in Robles v. Domino's for guidance. What Happened in Robles v. Domino's? As part of a spree of litigation, Guillermo Robles had sued Domino's Pizza due to the lack of accessibility for the Domino's smartphone application and website. Mr. Robles is blind, and neither the website nor application, which allowed users to order Domino's food for pickup or delivery, and offer exclusive discounts, were accessible to him. The Domino's website and application were both incompatible with his chosen software, prompting a lawsuit in 2016. After a short success in the trial court due to the lack of guidance given to websites and applications in how to accommodate for the ADA, the Ninth Circuit overruled the trial court, finding that: (1) the ADA applied to Domino's as there was a nexus between the Domino's website and app, and physical restaurants; and (2) the lack of guidance to Domino's did not violate its right to due process. The ultimate effect of Robles v. Domino's found that businesses cannot necessarily avoid ADA litigation, even though the federal government hasn't given guidelines on how to make a website or mobile application accessible. What Happened at the Supreme Court? Back in June, Domino's appealed the Ninth Circuit decision, prompting a flurry of amicus briefs. This was done, in part, because there is a circuit split between the Sixth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits requiring that a website has a physical nexus to a place of public accommodation (i.e. a "brick-and-mortar" location), and the First, Second, Fifth and Seventh Circuits, which will rule that a website is a place of public accommodation if it does something a place of public accommodation would do (i.e. Netflix showing films). In addition, parties aside from Domino's have been looking for further guidance given the lack of comments from the Department of Justice and Congress. This is especially relevant because the Department of Justice has been considering the application of the ADA to the internet from 1996 to 2018, resulting in some inconsistent comments regarding the need for rule making. This had pushed Domino's and others to attempt to end the ongoing regulation through litigation and furthermore, due to the decision in the Ninth Circuit, to avoid the Domino's holding from creating a "defacto" requirement. How Do You Prepare? While there is an off-chance that this kind of civil ADA litigation will resurface to the Supreme Court, these claims tend to settle relatively quickly, and ultimately may prevent courts from providing any solid or concrete guidance on accessibility until either the Department of Justice provides guidelines or Congress amends the ADA to specifically address website accessibility. However, a determination of what is "accessible" may be put forward due to the new proposed regulations for the CCPA set forth by California's Attorney General. The proposed regulations specifically state that a privacy policy should be accessible to consumers with disabilities, and at a minimum, should provide information on how a consumer with a disability can access the notice in an alternative format. Importantly, this removes the arguments on whether or not the website would have to be a place of public accommodation. It is now widely applicable to every website. Given the CCPA is to be enforced by the Attorney General, this presents a possible situation where the state of California will determine what is accessible through enforcement actions. In the absence of guidelines however, you have four actions you can take to protect your business.
    1. Learn the standards. There are unofficial accessibility guidelines such as WCAG 2.0AA that are treated as an industry standard. While this may not completely protect you from claims made by litigants, this will help your business move towards compliance.
    2. Know and negotiate. When dealing with third party service providers or developers, make sure that accessibility is brought up, discussed, and addressed before moving forward with using that service provider or developer. If the developer or service provider cannot assure that their product is accessible, be prepared to walk away. A business may be found liable for the inaccessibility of an online service provider used by the business to provide the business's services.
    3. Beta test often. As technology changes or websites are updated to be more device-friendly, new code or functions may make a website less accessible for accessibility devices and software. In addition, just because a website meets the WCAG 2.0AA, this may not account for all accessibility issues, so it would be prudent and beneficial to be thorough.
    4. Get help. Consider hiring third parties to help you evaluate a plan for accessibility and keep you up-to date for online accessibility issues.
    Nonetheless, there is still a significant risk and uncertainty for anyone who does business online, as any business has to be aware of the current general framework of laws and industry accessibility guidelines to hope they meet the murky definition of "accessible." Kyle Janecek is an associate in the firms Privacy & Data Security practice, and supports the team in advising clients on cyber related matters, including policies and procedures that can protect their day-to-day operations. For more information on how Kyle can help, contact him at kyle.janecek@ndlf.com. Jeff Dennis (CIPP/US) is the Head of the firm's Privacy & Data Security practice. Jeff works with the firm's clients on cyber-related issues, including contractual and insurance opportunities to lessen their risk. For more information on how Jeff can help, contact him at jeff.dennis@ndlf.com. About Newmeyer Dillion For 35 years, Newmeyer Dillion has delivered creative and outstanding legal solutions and trial results that align with the business objectives of clients in diverse industries. With over 70 attorneys working as an integrated team to represent clients in all aspects of business, employment, real estate, privacy & data security and insurance law, Newmeyer Dillion delivers tailored legal services to propel clients' business growth. Headquartered in Newport Beach, California, with offices in Walnut Creek, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, Newmeyer Dillion attorneys are recognized by The Best Lawyers in America©, and Super Lawyers as top tier and some of the best lawyers in California and Nevada, and have been given Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review's AV Preeminent® highest rating. For additional information, call 949.854.7000 or visit www.newmeyerdillion.com. Read the court decision
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    Mortgagors Seek Coverage Under Mortgagee's Policy

    July 19, 2021 —
    The mortgagor homeowners survived a motion to dismiss their claim for coverageunder the lender's property policy after their home suffered hurricane damage. Gary v. Am. Sec. Ins. Co., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100010 (W.D. La. May 26, 2021). Plaintiffs' home was mortgaged by Pennymac Loan Services, LLC. Pennymac held a property policy with American Security to insure its interest in the home. Plaintiffs were not named as insureds or additional insureds under the policy. Plaintiffs were identified as the borrowers under the policy on the Declarations page. After hurricane damage to their home, plaintiffs sued American Security for coverage for the losses. American Security moved to dismiss, arguing plaintiffs were neither additional insureds nor third party beneficiaries. Lender-placed policies were designed to insure the lender's collateral whenever the borrower failed to maintain adequate insurance. The Loss Payment provisions in the policy stated that "Loss will be made payable to the named insured [Pennymac]. No coverage will be available to any mortgagee other than that shown as the named insured on the Declarations." 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

    Florida Chinese drywall, pollution exclusion, “your work” exclusion, and “sistership” exclusion.

    May 26, 2011 —

    In Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. American Building Materials, Inc., No. 8:10-CV-313-T-24-AEP (M.D. Fla. May 17, 2011), insured drywall supplier ABM was sued by general contractor KB Homes seeking damages because property damage to houses built by KB Homes using defective Chinese drywall supplied by ABM. ABM’s CGL insurer Auto-Owners defended ABM under a reservation of rights and filed suit against ABM and KB Homes seeking a judicial declaration of no to duty to defend or indemnify ABM against the KB Homes lawsuit. On cross motions for summary, the federal district trial court directed entry of judgment in favor of ABM and KB Homes and against Auto-Owners, holding that Auto-Owners had a duty to defend and indemnify ABM against the KB Homes lawsuit.

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    Reprinted courtesy of CDCoverage.com

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    Garlock Five Years Later: Recent Decisions Illustrate Ongoing Obstacles to Asbestos Trust Transparency

    September 03, 2019 —
    In In re Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, 504 B.R. 71 (Bankr. W.D.N.C. 2014), the court confirmed what many asbestos defendants and their insurers long suspected: that “the withholding of exposure evidence by plaintiffs and their lawyers was significant and had the effect of unfairly inflating the recoveries against Garlock” and other defendants. This “startling pattern of misrepresentation” included plaintiffs’ attorneys who, out of “perverted ethical duty,” counseled their clients to file claims against multiple trusts without valid factual grounds for so doing. Such “double dipping” and other abuse not only harms asbestos defendants and insurers, but also dilutes recoveries for legitimate claims. Now – five years after Garlock – the Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a coordinated initiative to fight asbestos trust fraud and mismanagement. However, a series of recent bankruptcy court rulings suggests that this initiative stumbled out of the gate by focusing on the wrong issues. Asbestos defendants and their insurers can learn from the DOJ’s missteps. In November 2017, invoking Garlock, 20 state attorneys general wrote to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to devote DOJ resources to fighting asbestos trust abuse. A September 13, 2018 DOJ press release announced an initiative to increase the transparency and accountability of asbestos trusts. Through its United States Trustee Program (UST), the DOJ objected to the debtors’ proposed legal representative for future claims (FCR) in several Chapter 11 cases involving asbestos liabilities: Lawrence Fitzpatrick in Duro Dyne and James L. Patton, Jr. in Maremont, Fairbanks and Imerys Talc. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Amy E. Vulpio, White and Williams LLP
    Ms. Vulpio may be contacted at vulpioa@whiteandwilliams.com

    “Wait! Do You Have All Your Ducks in a Row?” Filing of a Certificate of Merit in Conjunction With a Complaint

    January 13, 2020 —
    In Barrett v. Berry Contr. L.P., No. 13-18-00498-CV, 2019 Tex. LEXIS 8811, the Thirteenth District Court of Appeals of Texas considered, among other things, the procedural timing requirements of filing a certificate of merit in conjunction with a complaint. The court concluded that the proper reading of the statute requires a plaintiff to file a certificate of merit with the first complaint naming the defendant as a party. In Barrett, after sustaining injuries while working at a refinery, David Barrett (Barrett) filed suit against Berry Contracting, LP and Elite Piping & Civil, Ltd. on July 6, 2016. In Barrett’s first amended complaint, which he filed on August 23, 2016, Barrett added Govind Development, LLC (Govind) as another defendant. Barrett subsequently filed a second amended complaint (omitting Govind) and, on December 27, 2017, shortly before the statute of limitations ran, a third amended complaint (reasserting claims against Govind). On January 28, 2018, after the statute of limitations period ran, Barrett filed a certificate of merit. Govind filed a motion to dismiss the claim, asserting that Barrett violated the statute that required a certificate of merit to be filed with the complaint, Tex. Civ. Prac & Rem. Code §150.002.
    Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §150.002(a) states, In any action or arbitration proceeding for damages arising out of the provision of professional services by a licensed or registered professional, a claimant shall be required to file with the complaint an affidavit of a third-party licensed architect, licensed professional engineer, registered landscape architect or registered professional land surveyor…
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    Reprinted courtesy of Rahul Gogineni, White and Williams LLP
    Mr. Gogineni may be contacted at goginenir@whiteandwilliams.com