White and Williams Announces Lawyer Promotions

Gold stars on white background

The newly elected partners and promoted counsel represent the wide array of practices, including commercial and general litigation, corporate and securities, insurance coverage, product liability, subrogation and tax.

January 15, 2019
White and Williams LLP

White and Williams is pleased to announce the election of Siobhan Cole, Matthew Ferrie, Joshua Galante, Rochelle Gumapac, Geoffrey Sasso and Benjamin Staherski to the partnership. The firm has also promoted Brandon Arber, Adam Berardi, Kevin Koscil and Greg Steinberg from associate to counsel.

The newly elected partners and promoted counsel represent the wide array of practices that White and Williams offers its clients, including commercial and general litigation, corporate and securities, insurance coverage, product liability, subrogation and tax. These accomplished lawyers have earned this advancement based on their contributions to the firm and their practices.

“We are delighted to elect these six lawyers to the partnership and promote four exceptional associates to counsel. The group demonstrates the breadth of services and the deep bench that we offer to our clients at White and Williams," said Patti Santelle, Managing Partner of the firm. “The contributions of this talented group have enhanced the growth and reputation of our firm and reflect our deep commitment to our clients. We look forward to their continued success.”

Five Innovations Powering the Construction Equipment of the Future

January 15, 2019
Allen Schaeffer - Construction Executive

When it comes to the latest trends and innovation in construction, drones, big data, smart and connected jobsites, virtual reality and artificial intelligence get most of the headlines. These technologies appear to hold great promise to enhance and further enable the interface of man and machine to work faster, smarter, safer and more efficiently.

However, innovation in construction also is taking on new forms as it relates to efficiency and environmental sensibility in the design and operation of machines and equipment. For the last decade, machine design and manufacturing revolved substantially around achieving progressively more stringent emissions standards. Due to their unmatched combination of power, efficiency, performance, reliability and durability, diesel engines are the primary power source in the overwhelming majority of construction equipment.

Reprinted courtesy of Allen Schaeffer, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

Insurer Prohibited from Bringing Separate Contribution Action in Subrogation to Rights of Suspended Insured

Businessman holding up his hand

An insurer may not file its own action to assert claims solely as a subrogee of a suspended corporation, where the corporation could not otherwise assert the claims on its own behalf.

January 15, 2019
Christopher Kendrick & Valerie A. Moore - Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP

In Travelers Property Casualty Co. of Amer. v. Engel Insulation, Inc. (No. C085753, filed 11/30/18), a California appeals court held that an insurer may not file its own action to assert claims solely as a subrogee of a suspended corporation, where the corporation could not otherwise assert the claims on its own behalf.

In Engel, a homeowners association filed a construction defect action against the developer, Westlake. Travelers defended Westlake as an additional insured on the policy of a subcontractor. After the case settled, Travelers brought a subrogation action against another subcontractor for contribution to the defense costs. However, Westlake had its corporate status suspended for failure to pay taxes, and the subcontractor moved for judgment on the pleadings, which was granted.

Reprinted courtesy of Christopher Kendrick, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP and Valerie A. Moore, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP
Mr. Kendrick may be contacted at ckendrick@hbblaw.com
Ms. Moore may be contacted at vmoore@hbblaw.com

60-Mile-Long Drone Inspection Flight Points to the Future

Drone hovering in front of building and man standing at rail

The flight was made on Nov. 8 as part of three days of test flights.

January 15, 2019
Tom Sawyer - Engineering News-Record

Black & Veatch announced in December the successful conclusion of a 60-mile-log, non-stop, proof-of-concept drone-based inspection flight conducted by a remote pilot in a command center miles away in rural Illinois.

Mr. Sawyer may be contacted at sawyert@enr.com

U.S. Housing Starts Top Forecasts, Permits Rise to Seven-Month High

January 9, 2019
Sho Chandra - Bloomberg

U.S. new-home construction rebounded last month to the best pace since August while permits rose to a seven-month high, a sign homebuilding is potentially stabilizing even as higher prices and borrowing costs pose headwinds.

Construction Dec. Jobs Surge by 38,000, Led by Heavy-Civil SectorConstruction Dec. Jobs Surge by 38,000, Led by Heavy-Civil Sector

January 9, 2019
Tom Ichniowski - Engineering News-Record

Construction added a strong 38,000 jobs in December but the industry’s unemployment rate showed mixed results, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.

Mr. Ichniowski may be contacted at kormanr@enr.com

Top 10 Insurance Cases of 2018

January 9, 2019
Jeffrey J. Vita & Grace V. Hebbel - Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.

2018 was a year of landmark decisions regarding insurance coverage for a variety of emerging claims, including cyber fraud, the "Me Too" movement, and wildfires. Read on to learn more as well as to find out what cases you should keep your eye on as 2019 unfolds.

1. Black & Veatch Corp. v. Aspen Ins. (Uk) Ltd
882 F.3d 952 (10th Cir. 2018)
United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
February 13, 2018
Will New York join the majority in finding that faulty work by a subcontractor is a covered occurrence?

Reprinted courtesy of Jeffrey J. Vita, Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C. and Grace V. Hebbel, Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.
Mr. Vita may be contacted at jjv@sdvlaw.com
Ms. Hebbel may be contacted at gvh@sdvlaw.com

5th Annual California Construction Law Seminar

January 9, 2019
Beverley BevenFlorez – CDJ Stafff

This two-day seminar will cover the latest developments and issues that needed to understand how to complete a successful project. The conference will cover the following topics: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Computer / Software / Internet, Construction, Contracts, Drugs / Narcotics, Insurance, Labor & Employment, Litigation, Technology. Attendees will include contractors, subcontractors, owners (public and private), attorneys, construction managers, bond program managers, surety representatives, architects, and engineers.

March 6th-7th, 2019
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel
1707 4th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Unpaid Hurricane Maria Insurance Claims, New Laws in Puerto Rico, and the Lesson for all Policyholders

Money bills floating in air

Hurricane Maria caused an estimated $100 billion in damage.

January 9, 2019
Walter J. Andrews & Cary D. Steklof - Hunton Andrews Kurth

Puerto Rico’s dire insurance situation more than a year after Hurricane Maria remains a constant reminder of why policyholders must diligently pursue their property and business interruption claims in the immediate aftermath of a storm. The numbers are staggering. On an island the approximate size of Connecticut, Hurricane Maria caused an estimated $100 billion in damage. According to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of Puerto Rico, the hurricane resulted in more than 287,000 insurance claims. Roughly 11,000 of those claims, representing an estimated $2 billion in losses, remain unresolved.

Reprinted courtesy of Walter J. Andrews , Hunton Andrews Kurth and Cary D. Steklof , Hunton Andrews Kurth
Mr. Andrews may be contacted at wandrews@HuntonAK.com
Mr. Steklof may be contacted at csteklof@HuntonAK.com

Spearin Doctrine 100 Years Old and Still Thriving in the Design-Build Delivery World

Gold 100 under spotlight

The Spearin doctrine is a landmark construction decision.

January 9, 2019
John P. Ahlers - Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC

The Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Spearin, [1] also referred to as the Spearin doctrine, is a landmark construction decision.[2] The Spearin doctrine provides that the Owner impliedly warrants the information, plans and specifications which an Owner provides to a General Contractor. If a Contractor is bound to build according to plans and specifications prepared by the Owner, the Contractor will not be responsible for the consequences of defects in the plans and specifications.

Mr. Ahlers may be contacted at john.ahlers@acslawyers.com

Ohio Supreme Court Holds No Occurence Arises from Subcontractor's Faulty Workmanship

House damage landscape

Tred R. Eyerly analyzes the case Ohio N. Univ. v. Charles Constr. Servs.

January 9, 2019
Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The Ohio Supreme Court bucked the modern trend by finding that there was no coverage under CGL policy's the subcontractor's exception for faulty workmanship claimed against the insured. Ohio N. Univ. v. Charles Constr. Servs. 2018 Ohio LEXIS 2375 (Ohio Oct. 9, 2018).

The University contracted with Charles Construction Services, Inc. to build a new luxury hotel and conference center on campus. After work was completed, the University discovered extensive water damage from hidden leaks that it believed were caused by the defective work of Charles Construction and its subcontractors. Repairs were made at the cost of $6 million.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com

Supplement to New California Construction Laws for 2019

Legislative building

The new law allows the CSLB to work with licensees, resolve complaints informally, and avoid a full Administrative Procedure Act hearing brought by the California AG's office.

January 8, 2019
Daniel F. McLennon - Smith Currie

A representative of the Contractors State License Board would like to emphasize a benefit of SB 1042 not mentioned in the report below that Smith Currie published recently. Importantly, the new law allows the CSLB to work with licensees, resolve complaints informally, and avoid a full Administrative Procedure Act hearing brought by the California Attorney General’s office. If the CSLB and licensee are unable to resolve a citation informally, the licensee is still entitled to the APA hearing. Contractors receiving CSLB citations are wise to avail themselves of this process.

Mr. McLennon may be contacted at dfmclennon@smithcurrie.com

Ex-Construction Firm That Bought a $75m Michelangelo to Delist

David statue on blue sky background

The firm was formerly a "vertically integrated manufacturer of eco-friendly building products."

January 8, 2019
Drew Singer - Bloomberg

A Chinese construction firm-turned-art-collector will be delisted from the Nasdaq effective Friday, following a 260 percent run-up in its stock price this fall.

Shares in Yulong Eco-Materials Ltd. soared after the company agreed to buy the “Millennium Sapphire” for $50 million in October and a “Crucifixion” painting for $75 million in November. The firm was formerly a “vertically integrated manufacturer of eco-friendly building products located in the city of Pingdingshan in Henan Province, China," according to a company filing.

Anchorage Building Codes Credited for Limited Damage After Quakes

Construction worker on site

Why the latest Alaska earthquake didn't wreak more destruction.

January 8, 2019
Christine Kilpatrick - Engineering News-Record

The magnitudes 7.0 and 5.7 earthquakes that struck Anchorage, Alaska, on Nov. 30 shook buildings and shattered highways, but caused limited structural damage and no reported loss of life, mostly due to the depth and location of the quake’s epicenter, as well as the city and state’s stringent building requirements.

Ms. Kilpatrick may be contacted at kilpatrickc@enr.com

Impasse Over Corruption Charges Costs SNC $3.7 Billion, CEO Says

Money bills sticking out of wallet

Clients shunning Quebec engineering group as case drags on.

January 8, 2019
Frederic Tomesco - Bloomberg

Canada’s failure to reach a negotiated settlement with SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. over past corruption charges has probably cost the company more than C$5 billion ($3.7 billion) in lost revenue and continues to damage its reputation internationally, Chief Executive Officer Neil Bruce said.

'Perfect Storm' Caused Fractures at San Francisco Transit Hub

Businessman facing storm

Investigators scrutinize hanger connection detail as well as design, material and fabrication.

January 8, 2019
Nadine M. Post - Engineering News-Record

The underlying causes of the trouble at San Francisco’s 4.5-block-long Salesforce Transit Center are coming into focus. A combination of low fracture toughness deep inside thick steel plates, cracks present as a consequence of normal steel fabrication and stress levels from loads, which are a function of design, apparently caused brittle fractures in the bottom flanges of the center's twin built-up plate girders that span 80 ft across Fremont Street.

Ms. Post may be contacted at postn@enr.com

Patriarch Partners Decision Confirms Government Subpoenas May Constitute a “Claim” Under D&O Policy; Warns Policyholders to Think Broadly When Representing Facts and Circumstances to Insurers

Facts keyboard button

Hunton insurance lawyers Mike Levine, Sergio Oehninger and Josh Paster discuss the impact of the Second Circuit’s recent opinion in Patriarch Partners, LLC v. Axis Insurance Co.

January 8, 2019
Michael S. Levine, Sergio F. Oehninger, & Joshua S. Paster - Hunton Andrews Kurth

The Second Circuit recently confirmed in Patriarch Partners, LLC v. Axis Insurance Co. that a warranty letter accompanying the policyholder’s insurance application barred coverage for a lengthy SEC investigation, which ripened into a “Claim” prior to the policy’s inception date. The opinion left intact the lower court’s finding that the SEC subpoena constituted a “demand for non-monetary relief” and thus qualified as a “Claim” under the directors and officers (D&O) insurance policy.

Reprinted courtesy of Hunton Andrews Kurth attorneys Michael S. Levine, Sergio F. Oehninger and Joshua S. Paster
Mr. Levine may be contacted at mlevine@HuntonAK.com
Mr. Oehninger may be contacted at soehninger@HuntonAK.com
Mr. Paster may be contacted at jpaster@HuntonAK.com

Nonparty Discovery in California Arbitration: How to Get What You Want

Businessman with arms crossed

This article explores the challenges presented by third party discovery in arbitration.

January 8, 2019
Leilani L. Jones - Payne & Fears

Opting for arbitration requires attorneys to balance efficiency and procedural protections. The implications of arbitration are something clients certainly have to carefully consider both when drafting arbitration provisions, and after initiating a demand. While arbitration can in many respects streamline the civil discovery process, one of the largest roadblocks for cases in California arbitrations is “streamlining” discovery from nonparties. This article explores the challenges presented by third party discovery in arbitration, and proposes strategies for obtaining such discovery efficiently and expeditiously.

Ms. Jones may be contacted at llj@paynefears.com

Are You Taking Full Advantage of Available Reimbursements for Assisting Injured Workers?

Copy of one dollar bill

The Washington Stay At Work Program, is open to employers who pay workers compensation premiums to the Department of Labor and Industries.

January 8, 2019
Jonathan Schirmer - Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC

Workplace injuries are an increasingly expensive cost of doing business. While every business does their best to avoid these injuries, even the most prepared employers must deal with them on occasion. The costs associated with these injuries—increased worker’s compensation premiums, decreased productivity, hiring temporary employees, and the loss of experienced workers—can be mitigated by shrewd employers taking full advantage of available assistance programs.

Mr. Schirmer may be contacted at jonathan.schirmer@acslawyers.com

Unqualified Threat to Picket a Neutral is Unfair Labor Practice

Picket line, red illustration

The case involved area standards picketing by the IBEW of a project owned by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).

January 8, 2019
Wally Zimolong - Supplemental Conditions

On December 27, 2018, the National Labor Relations Board enforced a decades old policy that a union’s unqualified threat to picket a neutral employer at a “common situs” a/k/a a construction site is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.


The case involved area standards picketing by the IBEW of a project owned by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). The IBEW sent a letter to various affiliated unions who were working on the project advising them of its intent to engage in area standards picketing at the project directed to the merit shop electrical subcontractor performing work there. The IBEW also sent a copy of the letter to the LVCVA.

Mr. Zimolong may be contacted at wally@zimolonglaw.com


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