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31 Jul 2018 Insurance Coverage for Construction Defects – 2018 50-State Survey

Barnes & Thornburg’s Construction Law Practice Group has issued its 2018 50-State Survey of the Threshold  “Occurrence” Issue. This updated survey reviews each state’s current case law with respect to the “occurrence” insurance coverage issue for construction defect claims.  Find out more about how your state analyzes this critical insurance issue, and whether there are any state supreme court decisions or state statues that apply.   View survey   Clifford ShapiroClifford J. Shapiro is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and chair of the Construction Law Practice Group. He concentrates his practice in construction law and litigation, insurance coverage litigation on behalf of policyholders and other complex commercial litigation.More Posts – Website

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15 Jun 2018 Kentucky Supreme Court Doubles Down on Wrong Analysis of “Occurrence”

The Kentucky Supreme Court doubled down on its wrong analysis of the “occurrence” issue in Martin/Elias Properties LLC v. Acuity, 544 S.W.3d 639 (2018).  The new decision refuses to find the existence of an “occurrence” where defective basement work performed by a subcontractor caused property damage “throughout the entire property, making it structurally unsound.”  The decision applies an extreme “fortuity” analysis that is not based on the actual CGL policy terms to reach this conclusion.  The decision holds that “the legal analysis used to determine whether something constitutes an accident for issues of CGL coverage is the doctrine of fortuity, which encompasses both intent and control.”  The decision then holds that to determine whether an event constitutes an accident Kentucky courts must analyze (1) whether…

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23 Jun 2016 Iowa Supreme Court Joins Other Courts to Hold That Defective Work of a Subcontractor can be an “Occurrence” Under the Modern Standard-Form CGL Policy

On June 10, 2016, the Iowa Supreme Court, in a split decision, clarified and changed Iowa law regarding insurance coverage for construction defects. Among other things, the majority decision holds that the modern standard-form CGL policy provides “coverage for property damage arising out of defective work performed by an insured’s subcontractor unless the resulting property damage is specifically precluded from coverage by an exclusion or endorsement.” The decision discusses in detail the history and evolution of the standard CGL policy form, including the 1986 addition of the subcontractor exception to the “your work” exclusion, and observes that it would be “illogical for an insurance policy to contain an exclusion negating coverage its insuring agreement did not actually provide or an exception to exclusion restoring it.”   Iowa…

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12 May 2014 Clifford Shapiro presents “The Next Wave of ‘Occurrence’ Disputes”

On May 7, Clifford Shapiro spoke before more than one hundred attendees at the second annual meeting of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel (ACCEC) held in Chicago.  Tom Mielenhausen is also a member of the ACCEC, and he also attended the conference. Clifford’s topic was insurance coverage for construction defect claims.  Among other things, he presented an update on the 50 state survey of the “occurrence” issue, and a summary of recent state statues that have been enacted to attempt to resolve this thorny issue.  The ACCEC’s brochure summarized the presentation: This presentation will discuss the history and analysis of the “occurrence” issue in the construction defect claim context. This issue has divided the courts across the country. The presentation will also include…

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29 Apr 2014 NEWS ALERT: Alabama Supreme Court Withdraws and Re-Issues Decision to Find “Occurrence” for Construction Defect Claim

Last September, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a decision that denied insurance coverage to a homebuilder on the ground that there can be no “occurrence” where construction defect claims do not allege property damage to something other than the home the policyholder built. Owners Insurance Co. v. Jim Carr Homebuilder LLC, 2013 Ala. LEXIS 122, 2013 WL 5298575 (Ala. Sept. 20, 2013). In that decision, the court did not analyze the policy language to distinguish between damage to the insured’s project (which it held did not constitute an “occurrence”) and damage to other property or other parts of the structure (which it held could constitute an “occurrence”).   On March 28, 2014, the Alabama Supreme Court withdrew its earlier decision and issued a new decision…

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