A Survey of Trends and Perspectives in Construction Defect Decisions

November 27, 2013

Thomas F. Segella, Ellen H. Greiper, and Matthew S. Lerner, partners at the firm Goldberg Segalia, together with Suzin L. Raso, an associate of the firm, have prepared a wide-ranging survey of cases, in their commentary, “Emerging Trends and Changing Perspectives on Construction Defect Claims.

The authors examine 11 coverage cases, representing decisions from eight states, and 15 cases of litigation, here covering 11 states. In each case, they give a one-sentence summary, a further discussion of the case, and they end with a practice note.

They start with Alabama, noting that the court found that “faulty workmanship is not an occurrence,” looking at the recent case of Owners Insurance Co. v. Jim Carr Homebuilders, LLC. Here they note that under Alabama law, “there was no damage to personal property or property of others; therefore, there was no ‘occurrence.’” They also note that “the policy involved did not contain a ‘subcontractor exception.’”

In Georgia, they noted, the courts concluded that “damage to insured’s completed work is an ‘occurrence.’” Here they cite a recent decision of the Georgia Supreme Court, noting that the court looked at cases from Connecticut, South Carolina, Illinois, Texas, as well as the Fourth and Tenth Circuits.

Under litigation, they look at such aspects of construction defect litigation such as the application of the economic loss doctrine in Kansas and Florida, and how the courts view arbitration agreements in states including New Jersey, Louisiana, and Colorado.


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