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    Leveraging from more than 5500 construction defect and claims related expert witness designations, the Fairfield, Connecticut Building Expert Group provides a wide range of trial support and consulting services to Fairfield's most acknowledged construction practice groups, CGL carriers, builders, owners, and public agencies. Drawing from a diverse pool of construction and design professionals, BHA is able to simultaneously analyze complex claims from the perspective of design, engineering, cost, or standard of care.

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    Recording “Un-Neighborly” Documents

    April 03, 2019 —
    In September 2018, in Baumgartner v. Timmins, 245 Ariz. 334, 429 P.3d 567, the Arizona Court of Appeals provided further clarification on what constitutes an “encumbrance” on a property for purposes of Arizona’s statutory scheme prohibiting the recording of “false documents.” The statute, A.R.S. § 33-420, prohibits the recording of documents that a person knows to be forged, are groundless, or that contain material misstatements (or false claims). A person who claims an “interest in, or a lien or encumbrance against” real property who records such documents can be held liable for $5,000 or treble the actual damages caused by the recording (whichever is greater), A.R.S. § 33-420(A), and perhaps even be found guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor, A.R.S. § 33-420(E). At issue in Baumgartner were neighbors fighting about CC&Rs—a typical neighborhood fight. In 2015, some of the neighbors filed suit against the Timminses for violating the CC&Rs. The Timminses did not contest the lawsuit, resulting in a default judgment. In what the Court of Appeals characterized as a lawsuit filed by the Timminses “in apparent response to the [first] lawsuit and resulting default judgment,” the Timminses created, signed, and recorded affidavits contending that the Plaintiffs in the original lawsuit were themselves “in violation of several provisions of the CC&Rs.” The Plaintiffs then filed suit again against the Timminses, this time contending that the Timminses had violated A.R.S. § 33-420 by recording the affidavits because the affidavits, the Plaintiffs contended, created encumbrances on their properties. The Apache County Superior Court agreed, and issued a final judgment nullifying the recorded documents and awarding the Timminses damages, along with their attorneys’ fees and costs. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Bob Henry, Snell & Wilmer
    Mr. Henry may be contacted at

    Back to Basics – Differing Site Conditions

    December 19, 2018 —
    Encountering an unexpected site condition is one of the more common risks on a construction project. A “differing site condition”, or it is sometimes called a “changed condition”, is generally understood to be a physical condition that is discovered while performing work and that was not visible or otherwise expected at the time of bidding. Often, the condition could not have been discovered by a reasonable site investigation. Examples of common differing site conditions include: soil with inadequate bearing capacity to support the building being constructed, soil that cannot be reused as structural fill, unanticipated groundwater, quicksand, mud, rock formations, or other artificial subsurface obstructions. Differing site conditions may also occur within the walls or ceilings of a renovation project such as the renovation of a hospital or historic building. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Tracey W. Pruiett, Smith Currie
    Ms. Pruiett may be contacted at

    Tax Increase Pumps $52 Billion Into California Construction

    April 20, 2017 —
    The first wave of new road projects could go out at the beginning of 2018 now that the California legislature has approved $52.4 billion over 10 years from a new 12-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax. SB-1 was approved late in the evening on April 6; by April 7, the California Dept. of Transportation was already working on a list of projects that could start construction by summer of 2018. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of JT Long, ENR
    ENR may be contacted at

    Don’t Forget to Mediate the Small Stuff

    August 02, 2017 —
    It’s been a while since I talked mediation here at Construction Law Musings. Those that read regularly (thanks) have likely missed my musings on the topic. Those who read this construction blog regularly also know that I am both a Virginia Supreme Court certified general district court mediator and a huge advocate of mediation as a method to resolve construction disputes. While many of us think of mediation as a method to resolve the major disputes or litigation that occasionally rear their heads in the course of running a construction law practice or construction business, my experience as both a construction attorney and a mediator has taught me something: mediation works for all sizes of cases. As an advocate for my construction clients, I know that proper trial preparation requires the same diligence and attention to detail for a smaller case as it does for a larger case. While a smaller case in the Virginia general district court may not have the depositions, written discovery and motions practice that a Virginia circuit court case may have, it still requires witness preparation, document processing and review and many of the other aspects of a larger case. While construction litigation is never a money maker in the best of circumstances, in the smaller cases the attorney fees often total a larger percentage of the total potential recovery. For this reason, the small cases are almost better suited for a quick mediated resolution than the larger ones. The larger cases may cost more to prosecute or defend, but the fees are less likely to eat up such a large percentage of any recovery. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Christopher G. Hill, The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at

    Another TV Fried as Georgia Leads U.S. in Lightning Costs

    June 26, 2014 —
    Georgia tops a shocking list: most likely place to have property damaged by lightning. Georgia residents were reimbursed for $56 million of lightning-related damage in homes last year tied to more than 11,000 claims, according to a top-10 list from the Insurance Information Institute. Texas ranked second at $54.2 million. Once lightning is “in the wiring, it’s electrifying anything connected to that,” John Jensenius, a lightning-safety specialist at the National Weather Service, said today in a phone interview. “Televisions, and even things like microwaves, they all have little chips in them so they all can get fried pretty easily.” Lightning cost insurers $5,869 per claim in the U.S. last year, more than double the average in 2004, as homeowners added electronics such as computers and high-definition televisions. Still, the total expense for the industry declined 8.4 percent nationwide in that span, to $673.5 million in 2013, because better lightning-protection systems and fewer storms decreased the frequency of claims, the industry group said. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Kelly Gilblom, Bloomberg
    Ms. Gilblom may be contacted at

    The “Program Accessibility” Exception for Public Entities Under the ADA

    September 10, 2014 —
    Public owners, as well as private owners and tenants of commercial and retail properties, are at risk of lawsuits brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) and related state law alleging that their facilities are not accessible by those with disabilities. A common misperception among private owners and tenants is that facilities constructed before the ADA went into effect in 1992 are exempt or “grandfathered” from the ADA’s requirements. Not so. At least generally. If, however, you are a public entity, there is such an exception. Lucky you. Under the ADA, public facilities constructed prior to January 26, 1992 need not be “accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities” so long as a public entity’s “service[s], program[s] and activit[ies], when viewed in [their] entirety, [are] readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.” Known as “program accessibility,” the exception has left many public entities scratching their heads as to what they can and must do. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Garret Murai, Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard
    Mr. Murai may be contacted at

    Arizona Court of Appeals Upholds Judgment on behalf of Homeowners against Del Webb Communities for Homes Riddled with Construction Defects

    February 26, 2015 —
    ARIZONA COURT OF APPEALS UPHOLDS LOWER COURT DECISION APPROVING $13,703,039 JUDGMENT ON BEHALF OF 460 SUN CITY GRAND HOMEOWNERS AGAINST DEL WEBB COMMUNITIES, INC., A SUBSIDIARY OF PULTEGROUP, INC., FOR HOMES RIDDLED WITH CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS --In a separate case, an Arizona Superior Court awards $10,619,640 to another 279 Sun City Grand homeowners who sued Del Webb over construction defects, which Del Webb has appealed-- PHOENIX, Arizona – The Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, [on Tuesday] issued a unanimous ruling upholding a lower court decision awarding $13,703,039 to 460 Sun City Grand homeowners who sued developer Del Webb Communities, Inc., a subsidiary of PulteGroup, Inc., for numerous construction defects that severely damaged the plaintiffs’ homes. Sun City Grand is an age-restricted community located in Surprise. In a separate case, an Arizona Superior Court awarded $10,619,640 to another group of 279 Sun City Grand homeowners for multiple construction defects in their homes. Stephen Weber, the managing partner in the Phoenix office of Kasdan Weber Turner LLP, which represents the homeowners, said that the case is based on construction defects that damaged the plaintiffs’ homes and took several years to resolve. The defects include defective windows, poorly installed stucco, expansive soil conditions that resulted in cracking of drywall, and deteriorating concrete foundation systems, among other problems. “Del Webb placed an arbitration clause in the sales contracts and the homeowners honored it. The binding arbitration that includes the owners of 460 homes in Sun City Grand was completed in late 2011 when the arbitration panel unanimously awarded the homeowners $13,703,039. Del Webb then challenged the award in Superior Court and the Superior Court confirmed the award in full,” Weber explained. “Del Webb did not like the Superior Court ruling either and challenged it in the Court of Appeals. And now three justices of the Arizona Court of Appeals have unanimously affirmed the Superior Court order and the arbitration award stands. Now they will have the funds to repair their homes, restore their value, and live in comfort,” Weber said. The $13,703,309 award includes amounts for home repairs, attorney fees, expert fees, court costs and pre-judgment interest. An additional $1,401,236 in post-judgment interest also accrued while the case was on appeal. The other construction defect case that awarded $10,619,640 to homeowners was not covered by binding arbitration. Del Webb has also appealed that case which will now go through the appeals process. That could take two to three years and again the homeowners will have to wait for the final judgment, Weber noted. Ken Kasdan, senior and managing partner of the Kasdan Weber Turner firm and one of the nation’s leading experts on construction defect litigation, said the defects are egregious. “The multiple defects rob them of pride of ownership,” he said. “A home is something that a homeowner wants to be proud of. Unfortunately, defective workmanship and poor construction have caused damage to the homes. Now these homes can be repaired and the homeowners will no longer have to deal with defective windows and cracked slabs. Developers need to understand that arbitration awards are final and binding,” Kasdan noted. The Kasdan Weber Turner law firm has offices in Phoenix, Arizona and in Irvine, California and Walnut Creek, California. The firm represents property owners in major construction defect litigation. For more information on the firm, visit Stephen Weber may be contacted at (602) 224-7800. Read the court decision
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    7 Areas where Technology is Shifting the Construction Business

    November 21, 2018 —
    The digital transformation of the last two decades has taken hold of the business environment in a powerful way. Companies in nearly all sectors are experiencing a significant shift in the way business is done, with a heavy focus on improved productivity, increase profitability, and enhanced product and service offerings. The construction industry has been historically slow to update its processes and business models in-line with other industries, but technology is currently making its long-awaited appearance in the sector. Construction professionals can embrace these new solutions to run more efficient businesses and keep a closer eye on profitability by reducing common costs over time. These are the seven major areas where technology is changing construction. 1 - Business Management One of the most apparent shifts taking place in the construction industry thanks to technology is the advancement of business processes and systems behind the scenes. Construction managers and job site owners have countless digital tools at their fingertips to help with managing all aspects of the business. This includes more efficient ways to manage material use and equipment inventory, logging subcontractor hours and pay, and maintaining reporting requirements from regulatory perspectives. Many software solutions integrate with older, legacy systems, making this change an easy one for construction businesses across the board. 2 – Jobsite Productivity Another area of transformation in construction is productivity on each job site. Technology has offered job owners and general contractors more efficient methods to keep track of project timelines as well as subcontractor progress from start to finish. The technology advancements in this arena come in the form of wearable devices that track work performed, as well as mobile devices that help keep the often mundane tasks necessary for a project’s success up to date and completed on time. 3 – Worker Safety Although wearables are being utilized in several different ways in the construction business, these devices are making a significant difference in the safety of workers. From smart helmets to digitally enhanced eyewear, workers are alerted to potential hazards on the job that they otherwise could not identify. Similarly, augmented and virtual reality solutions are being used to train workers before they arrive at a job, preparing them for safety concerns well in advance. Even though most licensed and bonded construction workers have appropriate training throughout their careers, the addition of these resources has the ability to further reduce the risks often associated with construction work. 4 – Surveying and Monitoring Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, are being used throughout construction. These digital tools are equipped with cameras to offer a bird’s eye view of a construction site to help with surveying and identifying potential hazards for workers. Drones also help with inspections throughout a project’s progression, offering some reduction in cost and improving efficiencies. 5 – Improved Materials Technology is also playing a role in the materials used on job sites. The addition of 3D printing has proven beneficial for construction companies, as concrete composites, plastics, and other materials are being printed and used to create structures on-site. This offers a more cost-effective and accurate way to complete a project. 6 – Self-operating Equipment Some technology firms are making waves in the construction industry because they are currently developing and implementing autonomous equipment solutions. Heavy machinery, like excavators, bricklayers, and bulldozers, are already being used on construction sites to help ease the burden of the labor shortage in the industry. While these machines are not yet mainstream, the benefits they offer mean they are likely to become a staple in construction in the years to come. 7 – Big Data Finally, technology is shifting the construction business by way of big data analytics. With the detailed information from new software solutions, wearable tech, and drones, construction site managers have more data than they have ever had. This influx of information offers a way to analyze job site progress, budgets, timelines, and efficiency for companies large and small. Author: Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog. Read the court decision
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