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04.11.2018 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Adjusters may be personally liable under Washington law
The Washington Court of Appeals recently held that the obligation to act in “good faith” applies to the adjuster working for an insurer, not just the insurer that employed the adjuster. This rule not only permits insureds to go directly after the person at the insurance company responsible for denying a claim in bad faith,...
04.23.2018 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
In Washington, insurers can’t “unring the bell” after wrongful denial of coverage
For the second time in two months, a federal court in Washington state has rejected an insurer’s attempt to avoid the consequences of its wrongful failure to defend its insured by effectively changing its mind and later—in this case much later—offering a defense. In Rushforth Construction Co. v. Wesco Ins. Co., plaintiff Rushforth was a...
04.23.2018 // CONSTRUCTION LAW WATCH
Identifying the Pitfalls and Landmines in Construction Contracts
A contractor often enters into a contract negotiation or bid process where there is little to no ability to negotiate the terms of the contract. It is for all practical purposes a “take it or leave it” deal.  Sometimes, this is a result of the owner’s or prime contractor’s unwillingness to negotiate. Sometimes, this is...
02.20.2018 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
In Washington, an insurer cannot refuse to defend, change its mind, and still expect to control the defense or avoid bad faith
A recent decision from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington again demonstrates the decidedly pro-policyholder nature of insurance-coverage law in the state of Washington. Like so many coverage cases, 2FL Enterprises, LLC v. Houston Specialty Insurance Co., arose from underlying construction-defect litigation. The insured, 2FL Enterprises, first notified its insurer, Houston...
12.29.2017 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Traps await the unwary in claims-made insurance policies
Under typical Commercial General Liability policies, which are triggered by an “occurrence” during the policy period, an insured can safely wait until being served with a complaint to notify the insurer about the litigation. But policies written on a “claims made” basis, such as many Errors and Omissions policies or Employment Practices Liability policies, raise...
10.03.2017 // EDUCATION & PUBLIC AGENCY CONSTRUCTION LAW
Grant Requirements for the Oregon School Capital Improvements Matching Program
Recipients of a grant under the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program (OSCIM Program) must enter into a Grant Agreement with the State of Oregon. The Agreement includes several items that directly relate to the construction contracting process. First, the Agreement requires the recipient of a grant to complete its construction project in “accordance with...
09.12.2017 // EDUCATION & PUBLIC AGENCY CONSTRUCTION LAW
Grants for School Facilities in Oregon
School districts across Oregon have access to several types of state-funded grants. Two of these grant programs are administered by the Office of School Facilities (created by the Oregon Legislature in 2015): the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program (OSCIM Program), and the Technical Assistance Program (TAP). The OSCIM Program is the largest grant program...
08.25.2017 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Forget the rose-colored glasses when filling out insurance applications
Keeping your fingers crossed, with perhaps a little truculence thrown in for good measure, should not guide an insured’s answers in filling out an insurance application. Rather, as the decision in a recent case from federal district court in Florida shows, insureds filling out renewal applications should view the world through a pessimistic eye. In...
06.05.2017 // EDUCATION & PUBLIC AGENCY CONSTRUCTION LAW
Tips for your next Construction Manager / General Contractor Project
Many school districts are moving forward with capital projects large and small in the coming months. At both ends of the spectrum, many districts are hoping to gain financial and logistical benefits by engaging construction managers / general contractors (“CM/GC”) early in the process. This is a great time to discuss some good practices to keep...
05.11.2017 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Not so fast insurance company, that judgment against your insured may in fact be covered
Yesterday, the Oregon Court of Appeals dealt a hefty blow to insurance companies seeking to exclude coverage for property damage to multi-family dwellings and for awards of attorney fees. In Hunters Ridge Condominium Ass’n v. Sherwood Crossing, LLC, the Oregon Court of Appeals held that an insurance company’s “Multi-Unit New Residential Construction” exclusion was unclear...