PHILADELPHIA — Regarding a contractor’s retainage claim against a subcontractor and its sureties on a delayed project, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled July 24 that the subcontractor cannot rely on a pay-if-paid clause because the subcontractor prevented the occurrence of a condition precedent regardless of whether its actions were deliberate (Connelly Construction Corp. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, et al., No. 16-555, E.D. Pa., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123009).
HARTFORD, Conn. — An insurer has no duty to provide coverage to its insureds for the cracking of the concrete used in the home’s basement walls because the insureds failed to allege that a sudden or abrupt collapse occurred as required by policy’s collapse provision, a Connecticut federal judge said July 24 in granting the insurer’s motion to dismiss (Kenneth Andrew, et al. v. Allstate Insurance Co., No. 17-1192, D. Conn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123328).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A subcontractor argues to the U.S. Supreme Court in a July 10 brief that there is no split on how federal appellate courts predict how a state high court would rule over whether faulty work that caused damage to an insured’s own work can constitute an “occurrence” (Aspen Insurance [UK] Ltd, et al. v. Black & Veatch Corp., No. 17-1662, U.S. Sup.).
HONOLULU — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 20 affirmed a trial court’s award of fees to a homeowners association (HOA), holding that fees incurred by property owners seeking coverage for damage caused by water leaks were within the scope of the policy (Association of Apartment Owners of The Moorings Inc. v. Dongbu Insurance Co., Ltd., No. 16-16666, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 20251).
SAN FRANCISCO — An agreement was void insofar as it provided that insurers were required to indemnify a subcontractor for its negligence, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 20, upholding the entry of summary judgment to insurers against a county as assignee of the subcontractor’s claims (First Mercury Insurance Co., et al. v. Westchester Surplus Line Insurance Co., et al., No. 16-35888, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 20253).
LAKE CHARLES, La. — Reversing and remanding a lower court’s ruling, a Louisiana appeals panel on July 18 entered summary judgment in favor of an insurer and dismissed a third-party demand for the insurer’s alleged failure to provide coverage for defect claims (Shane Pierce, et al. v. Irma M. Rodriguez, et al., No. 17-681, La. App., 3rd Cir., 2018 La. App. Unpub. LEXIS 214).
LAKELAND, Fla. — In a breach of contract dispute involving a contractor, subcontractor and a surety, a Florida appeals panel on July 18 reversed an order finding that an arbitration clause in a subcontract is void and unenforceable because if the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) applies, it preempts a Florida statute (Sacshe Construction and Development Corp. v. Affirmed Drywall Corp., et al., No. 2D17-4276, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 9998).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M — A commercial general liability insurer has standing to assert a declaratory judgment claim against a condominium association in a coverage dispute over an underlying construction defects action, a New Mexico federal judge ruled July 16 (United Fire and Casualty Co. v. Caskey Drywall NM LLC, et al., No. 17-1108, D. N.M., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117982).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court heard oral arguments on June 12 in a dispute between a commercial general liability insurer, a contractor and a university over whether coverage exists for damages sustained in a construction project as a result of allegedly defective work caused by subcontractors (Ohio Northern University v. Charles Construction Services Inc. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Co., No. 2017-0514, Ohio Sup.).
SEATTLE — Exercising inherent authority, a Washington federal judge on July 13 paused T-Mobile Northeast LLC’s lawsuit seeking coverage for alleged damage caused by a cell phone tower to allow two related lawsuits to proceed (T-Mobile Northeast LLC v. Selective Insurance Company of America, No. 17-1289, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117694).
ROCKVILLE, Conn. — A Connecticut state judge on June 28 determined that only one of five insurers may have to provide coverage to insureds for the deterioration of the insureds’ basement walls as a result of the oxidization of the concrete used to construct the basement’s walls (Richard N. Dino, et al. v. Safeco Insurance Company of America, et al., No. CV166010428S, Conn. Super., 2018 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1262).
SEATTLE — In a water damage and mold coverage suit concerning an insurer’s denial of investigation costs, a Washington federal judge on July 12 ordered an in camera review of documents provided by the insurer to determine whether attorney-client privilege applies (Market Place North Condominium Association v. Affiliated FM Insurance Co., No. 17-625, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116381).
HOUSTON — Under the eight-corners rule, a professional liability insurer has a duty to defend a monastery’s professional negligence claim against an insured contractor, a Texas federal judge ruled July 10, granting partial summary judgment to the contractor and the monastery (Everest National Insurance Co. v. Gessner Engineering LLC, et al., No. 17-2981, S.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113849).
ATLANTA — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals should reverse a district court’s ruling in favor of an excess insurer in a Chinese drywall coverage dispute because the district court failed to apply to correct standard of law in finding that the excess insurer has no duty to indemnify, a contractor argues in a July 9 brief (American Home Assurance Co. v. Gryphon Construction LLC et al., No. 18-12031, 11th Cir.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on July 3 denied a commercial general liability insurer’s motions for default judgment against a subcontractor and condominium association in a coverage dispute regarding an underlying construction defects case (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Environmental House Wrap Inc., et al., No. 17-817, M.D. Fla.).
CHICAGO — A commercial general liability insurer breached its duty to defend a negligent construction work case, an Illinois appeals panel held June 29, finding that the insurer was estopped from denying liability for a default judgment (Country Mutual Insurance Co. v. Badger Mutual Insurance Co., No. 1-17-1774, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 6th Div., 2018 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1118).
NEW YORK — A construction contractor exception to a professional liability exclusion does not apply because an insured was not contracted to perform any construction work, a New York federal judge ruled June 27, finding that an insurer had no duty to defend a professional negligence claim (Liberty Insurance Corp. v. WSP USA Inc., No. 17-4398, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107896).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 25 that only three deductibles and not 636 deductibles applied to an insured for claims arising out of three construction defects lawsuits (ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Company, RRG v. Yarbrough Plastering Inc., et al., Nos. 16-16952 & 16-17141, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17226).
AUSTIN, Texas — In a dispute over a performance bond, a Texas federal magistrate judge on June 26 recommended that an insurer’s motion to dismiss fraud and breach of contract claims be denied (Hunt Construction Group Inc. v. Cobb Mechanical Contractors Inc., et al., No. 17-215, W.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106080).
FORT MYERS, Fla. — An insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify a general contractor in an underlying construction defects case, a Florida federal judge ruled June 21, finding that the “damage to your work” exclusion precludes coverage (Southern-Owners Insurance Co. v. MAC Contractors of Florida LLC, et al., No. 18-21, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103659).