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07.28.2016 // CONSTRUCTION LAW WATCH
Oregon Court Endorses Broad Definition of “Property Damage”
In a recent case, the Oregon District Court adopted a liberal interpretation of “property damage.” The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association (OSF) suffered a loss during its season: nearby wildfires caused smoke to infiltrate a partially outdoor theater where performances were being held, necessitating cancellations. Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association v. Great American Insurance Company, 2016 WL...
07.21.2016 // CONSTRUCTION LAW WATCH
Don’t Fret Your Flip: Mitigating Risks Particular to Homes Renovated for Resale
The breathless growth of Portland’s housing market has nurtured a growing income opportunity to developers who purchase homes for renovation and resale; so-called “house flippers.” Such homes not only provide potential profit for developers, but also provide turnkey renovations for home purchasers and improved aesthetics for surrounding neighborhoods. However, misconceptions about the flipping and sale...
07.20.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Oregon Court of Appeals rejects bullying by auto insurer
Insureds who have suffered a loss face the certain consequences of physical and financial healing, but they may also have to contend with a little salt poured into the wound by their own insurer. A frequent source of irritation for insureds can be zealous adjusters asking for information that seems irrelevant and needlessly burdensome. Some...
07.18.2016 // CONSTRUCTION LAW WATCH
Joint Ventures and Contractor Licensing Requirements in Oregon and Washington
A client recently asked me to confirm when a joint venture must be licensed to bid and perform construction work. I explained that the answer depends on the name of the joint venture, where the work will be performed, and – depending on the state in which work is to be performed – the stage...
06.23.2016 // CONSTRUCTION LAW WATCH
The Focus is on "Discovery" of Claims after Goodwin v. Kingsmen Plastering, Inc.
Last week, the Oregon Supreme Court held in Goodwin v. Kingsmen Plastering (June 16, 2016), that a property owner must sue a contractor for negligent construction, if at all, within two years of when the property owner “knew or should have known of the injuries or damage that form the basis of their claims” under...
06.15.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Update: Insurer asks for reconsideration of opinion affirming insured's attorney-fee award
Last week, I posted this article about the Ninth Circuit's recent opinion affirming a $3.5 million attorney-fee award in favor of Schnitzer Steel against its insurer, Continental Casualty Co. Continental is unsatisfied with how it lost this battle, arguing in this petition for rehearing that the Ninth Circuit failed to adequately address Continental's argument that...
06.13.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Insureds cannot let sleeping dogs lie during policy periods
A recent opinion by the Washington Supreme Court serves as an important reminder to insureds that changes during a policy’s coverage ought to be carefully minded to avoid gaps in insurance coverage. As I’ve written about before here, one of these changes that insureds often miss is when an insured building becomes vacant — even...
06.10.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Ninth Circuit rejects insurer’s attempt to avoid paying its insured’s attorneys’ fees
As my colleague, Kevin Mapes, wrote in an article last year, an insurer had raised the hackles of policyholder-side lawyers in Oregon in arguing that insureds successfully suing their insurers for coverage could not recover their attorneys’ fees if the insurer had lost its fight in federal court in Oregon, rather than one of Oregon’s...
06.09.2016 // THE POLICYHOLDER REPORT
Courts continue to struggle with specialty cyber-insurance products
Following a significant victory for policyholders earlier this year for cyber security losses under CGL (Commercial General Liability) policies, in PF Chang's China Bistro, Inv. v. Federal Ins. Co. a federal judge in Arizona recently found no coverage for PF Chang’s credit card fraud assessments under a specialty cyber insurance policy. After a 2014 breach,...
03.17.2016 // CONSTRUCTION LAW WATCH
Design Professional Firms Selling Prefabricated Accessory Dwelling Units, Building Substructures, or Micro Homes May Be Liable for Breach of Implied Warranty, or Strict Product Liability.
A recent Illinois State Court of Appeals decision has highlighted the distinction between providing a product for sale to the public on the one hand, and providing a service under a contract on the other. Many design firms are now branching out to market and deliver their own products, satisfying a growing market for prefabricated...