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Tag Archives: Design Professionals

The United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, Finds Wrap-Up Exclusion Does Not Bar Coverage of Additional Insureds

The United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, recently took a close look at the application of a “controlled insurance program exclusion” (wrap-up exclusion) to additional insureds on a commercial general liability policy. In Cont’l Cas. Co. v. Amerisure Ins. Co., 886 F.3d 366 (4th Cir. 2018), the Fourth Circuit examined the interplay of an enrolled party’s additional insured status on an unenrolled party’s commercial general liability (“CGL”) policy with a wrap-up exclusion. The court applied North Carolina law and found that pursuant to the policy’s own language, the exclusion only applied to the original named insured, not the additional insureds.

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Homeowners’ Negligence Claims against Builder Bears Significant Relationship to Construction Contracts and Are Therefore Arbitrable

Recently, in Vanacore Construction, Inc. v. Osborn, 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 18068, 2018 WL 6579205, the 5th District Court of Appeal determined that a homeowners’ claims against a builder for construction defects bore a significant relationship to the parties’ construction contracts. Therefore, the claims were arbitrable pursuant to the broadly worded arbitration provision of the contracts.

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Construction Defect Claim Not Timely Filed

If construction defect claims are not timely filed, Florida Statutes provide design and construction companies with a formidable defense. As a case in point, a Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge issued an Order granting summary judgment based on Fla. Stat. § 95.11(3)(c), Florida’s Statute of Limitations governing actions founded on alleged construction defects.

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Useful Life: A Valuable Theory for Reducing Damages

The situation is one all too familiar to construction defect litigants. A homeowner contracts with a roofing contractor to install a new roof with a life expectancy of ten years.[1] After only five years, the homeowner brings a claim for construction defects in the roof alleging that the roof requires complete replacement due to water intrusion. The homeowner seeks damages for the full replacement cost of the roof. However, under a “useful life” theory, the homeowner would not be entitled to damages for the full amount of the replacement cost. Instead, the homeowner would be entitled to one-half of the cost of the replacement roof, taking into account the fact that he or she had been deprived of only five, rather than ten, years of use.

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The Burden of Betterment

The concept of betterment has long been used by defendants in cases involving defective design or construction to limit the damages awarded to a plaintiff.[1] The theory behind betterment is that: “if in [the] course of making repairs [an] owner adopts a more expensive design, recovery should be limited to what would have been the reasonable cost of repair according to original design.”[2] Betterment is often raised as an affirmative defense, requiring a defendant to prove that the plaintiff has received a good or service that is superior to that for which the plaintiff originally contracted. A recent South Florida case seems, at first blush, to suggest the burden of establishing the value of betterments may fall to the plaintiff, although a closer reading indicates the decision is likely to have limited applicability.

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Florida Professional Engineers – Recent Administrative Code Changes Regarding Engineering Documents

Engineers in Florida are subject to a comprehensive regulatory scheme enacted by the Florida Legislature with further regulations implemented by the Florida Board of Professional Engineers. Professional engineers have a legal (and professional) obligation to remain apprised of any changes in the laws and rules in order to ensure compliance with the latest regulations. Recently, the Florida Board of Professional Engineers enacted changes to the Rule governing the Minimum Requirements for Engineering Documents that will impact its engineer-licensees in their Florida practices.

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CSK Successfully Defends Design and Consulting Services Firm against Civil Rights Claim

Keith Lambdin and Dean Meyers successfully obtained an order granting a motion to dismiss, with prejudice, in federal court on behalf of a design professional and consulting services client. Our client was hired by a municipality located in Broward County, Florida to perform inspection and code enforcement activities throughout the municipality. In the course of Read More…

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Update on CSK Appellate Construction Win dated January 15, 2015

We are pleased to report yet another appellate victory in a case George Truitt and Greg Willis of the firm’s Construction Group tried and Scott Cole and George Truitt of the firm’s Appellate Group defended on appeal.

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11th Circuit Finds No Coverage for Shipbuilder under Marine Engineering Firm’s A&E Policy

On December 24, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit published an opinion finding no coverage for a shipbuilder under a marine engineering firm’s Architect’s and Engineer’s professional liability insurance policy.  Atlantic Marine Florida, LLC, et al. v. Evanston Ins. Co., et al., No. 13-11342 (to view the opinion please click Read More…

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Insulating Design Professional from Individual Liability

Since the mid 1980s, the design professional community relied upon Florida Power & Light Company v. Mid-Valley, Inc., 763 F. 2d 1316 (11th cir. 1985) as an accurate statement of Florida law allowing individual design professionals to limit their liability for professional negligence by contract. The design professional world was turned on its head with Read More…

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