Archives: Contract construction

Subscribe to Contract construction RSS Feed

Insurance Coverage for Premises Liability

I admit it, I admit it –  I’m addicted to the TV show “Bar Rescue.” (When my daughter was about 12 years old, and my wife was out shopping for the day, we once binge-watched about six hours straight, which probably could get me into trouble with the child welfare authorities.)   The idea of the … Continue Reading

The Illegal Acts Exclusion and “Entrustment” of Property

There’s an excellent, but sad and haunting, nonfiction book written by Jeff Hobbs called  “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace.”  It’s about a kid who grew up among poverty, gangs and tough guys in a rough section of Newark, but who was naturally gifted and ended up at Yale. Unfortunately, he couldn’t outrun … Continue Reading

Direct Actions against Insurance Companies

Labor Day has just passed as I write this, and this summer (that went by too quickly) was a busy one for the New Jersey appellate courts, insurance-wise.  The New Jersey Supremes, for example,  dealt with a question often posed by our clients in construction defect cases: Namely, can a claimant proceed directly against a … Continue Reading

More developments in insurance coverage for construction defects

Back in the days of the environmental insurance coverage wars, we on the policyholder side argued (eventually successfully in New Jersey) that the word “sudden”, as used in the 1973 version of the pollution exclusion, meant “unexpected” and did not have a temporal connotation. My friends in the defense bar often criticized us for trying … Continue Reading

Insurance coverage for construction defects

The ongoing battles over construction defect coverage remind me of the good old days in the ‘80’s and ‘90s when we used to fight over asbestos and environmental coverage claims (we still have some of those claims, but to a much lesser extent). Construction defects even involve battles over the appropriate trigger of coverage!  Ah, … Continue Reading

Insurance Coverage for Alleged Intentional Harm

I’ve sometimes commented on this blog that my first boss in the business warned me: “If you assume there’s no coverage, you won’t find any.” There are plenty of risk managers and brokers who believe that general liability insurance coverage exists primarily to protect against people falling down in the parking lot. Not suprisingly, many … Continue Reading

“Ordinance or Law” Coverage for Costs of Repair

I was saddened to learn that Judge Ruggero Aldisert, formerly of the Third Circuit, recently passed away.  I never had the privilege of appearing before Judge Aldisert, and I never met the man, but I feel indebted to him for writing two excellent books that were published through NITA:  “Logic for Lawyers” and “Winning on … Continue Reading

Calculating Business Interruption Damages

When I was in college, there was an English professor named Frank Kinahan, who taught a class called “The Little Red Schoolhouse.”  A lot of my fellow students (not me, of course!) apparently thought that if they could just write their papers in enough of an arcane and convoluted manner, people (including their professors) would … Continue Reading

Additional Insured Coverage

Years ago, there was a Bell Labs facility behind my house, and on Sunday afternoons, the engineers (mostly Indian and Pakistani) would get together and play cricket on the large lawn. I watched the matches quite a bit, but I never could get a grip on the rules. Then a British friend told me that … Continue Reading

The Allocation of Defense Costs in Long-Tail Claims

The great CLE instructor Jim McElhaney, a Professor Emeritus at Case Western, used to tell the story of a “professional expert” testifying at trial on cross-examination.  The guy was apparently a kindly old gentleman with an Irish brogue, and also an engineer, and indeed made most of his money in the litigation game. “You’re a … Continue Reading

Construction Defects and the “Your Work” Exclusion

My old law partner Carl Salisbury is on the warpath against carriers’ efforts to escape construction defect coverage.  He has some interesting things to say about a recent pro-carrier South Carolina decision.  You can read Carl’s excellent blog post by clicking here.  (I promise not to call them “business risk” exclusions any more, Carl.)… Continue Reading

“Your Work” and the “Products-Completed Operations” Hazard

Here’s some advice I would give to anyone contemplating becoming a general contractor:  Don’t.   The liability insurance coverage picture is too muddy, and coverage for completed operations is too uncertain.  My secondary, and perhaps more realistic, advice: Review your subcontractors’ general liability coverage and make sure there’s adequate protection if you need to bring suit … Continue Reading

Additional Insureds and Certificates of Insurance

A few months back, I got a call from the general counsel of a construction company.  His employer was the general contractor in a construction defect case, and he needed some advice with respect to the applicable “additional insured” coverage. “Now, you do know about this stuff, right?” he asked.  “I don’t want to have … Continue Reading

Insurance Coverage and Allocation Issues Conference

On May 20, 2014, I’ll be speaking at Perrin’s Emerging Insurance Coverage & Allocation Issues Conference at The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. My panel (shared with the inimitable Gary Kull of Carroll, McNulty & Kull, representing the insurance industry view of things), will focus on “Best Practices for Additional Insureds.” If you can make … Continue Reading

Completed operations coverage for construction defects

When I was in grammar school, the class wise guy was a kid named Nicky DeLuca.  One day, we were in gym class, and the coach was trying to teach us the importance of fundamentals in basketball.  “You have to have a strong foundation,” the coach said.  “It’s like building a house.  You have to … Continue Reading

Additional Insured Coverage and the Employer’s Liability Exclusion

My late Uncle Carmen was an accountant who worked for the IRS.  One tax season, I was grousing about how complicated the 1040 form could be. Uncle Carmen didn’t suffer fools gladly, and, with the veins bulging from his neck, insisted that NOTHING ON EARTH COULD BE SIMPLER.  My response was to engage in a … Continue Reading

Insurance coverage for “intentional” torts

One of the celebrities we lost in 2013 was the novelist Tom Clancy. I wasn’t a Clancy devotee, but I have to admit that “Red Storm Rising” and “The Hunt for Red October” were excellent military thrillers. In “Red October,” the KGB officer on board the Russian submarine (Red October) thinks that, rather than surrendering … Continue Reading

Determining the number of “occurrences”

There’s an old story about famous Greek orators. When Demosthenes would speak, the people would say, “My, what a pretty speech!”  But when Cato would speak, the people would say, “On to Carthage.”  That’s because Cato was a one-issue guy (“Carthage must be destroyed”), and was excellent at convincing his listeners of the need for … Continue Reading

Can an insurance policy shorten the statute of limitations?

With the one-year anniversary of Sandy just having passed, many policyholders are asking how long they have to sue their carrier. Be careful. Many insurance policies contain limitations periods that shorten the general six-year statute of limitations for breach of contract in New Jersey. Such provisions are enforceable both in New Jersey and in New … Continue Reading

“Newly Acquired Premises” and The Rule of Ambiguity

Insurance company claims personnel tend to view the concept of “ambiguity” as the last refuge of a scoundrel.  That’s because unhappy policyholders often reflexively argue that a particular term in dispute is “ambiguous.” On the other hand, miserly insurance companies often argue that the term is perfectly clear. Neither side usually understands what the term … Continue Reading

The Coinsurance Penalty and Replacement Cost Coverage

I confess:  I sometimes wonder whether some claims personnel have ever heard of the “red face” test.  In other words, you should only take a negotiating position if it doesn’t actually cause you to blush.  Otherwise, how could seemingly rational people contend that buying “expanded” coverage means that the policyholder has no coverage?  (And how … Continue Reading

Advertising Injury Coverage and “Implied Disparagement”

Insurance claims personnel have a natural, probably genetic, aversion to certain topics.  One of them is insurance coverage for “advertising injury.”  So, if your advertising injury claim is in any way unusual, chances are that as a policyholder you’re going to run into trouble with your carrier. Some brief background:  Commercial general liability policies typically … Continue Reading