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    1 De Haro: A Case Study on Successful Cross-Laminated Timber Design and Construction in San Francisco

    November 06, 2023 —
    At the intersection of San Francisco’s SOMA, Potrero Hill and Showplace Square districts, a first-of-its-kind building offers an example of the potential widespread success of mass timber construction in the United States. 1 De Haro, a 134,000-square-foot, 4-story office and light industrial project built by Bay Area developer SKS Partners is not only the first cross-laminated timber (CLT) building in the San Francisco, it is also the first multistory mass timber building of its type to be fully executed in California and the first CLT project in the United States to be delivered via railways. We recently sat down with Yvonne Fisher and Lee Ishida of SKS to discuss the unique design process, marketing success and overall industry buzz surrounding one of their latest projects. Reprinted courtesy of Cait Horner, Pillsbury, Adam J. Weaver, Pillsbury and Allan C. Van Vliet, Pillsbury Ms. Horner may be contacted at Mr. Weaver may be contacted at Mr. Van Vliet may be contacted at Read the full story...

    California Makes Big Changes to the Discovery Act

    March 04, 2024 —
    Beginning January of 2024, California amended the Civil Discovery Act to mirror the Federal Rules and require that any party appearing in a civil action to provide initial disclosures to any other party demanding the same. In January of 2024, California amended the Civil Discovery Act, specifically C.C.P. section 2016.090, to affirmatively require that any party appearing in a civil action to provide initial disclosures to any other party demanding the same. In an effort to reflect the Federal Rule 26 disclosure requirements, as many other States have adopted, California will now also mandate (upon demand) that a party produce evidence without an arduous and possibly duplicative effort. In other words, this initial disclosure will require a party making initial disclosures of persons or records to additionally disclose persons or records that are relevant to the subject matter of the action and to disclose information and records regarding insurance policies or contracts that would make a person or insurance company liable to satisfy a judgment. Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Dolores Montoya, Bremer Whyte Brown & O'Meara LLP

    Are Construction Contract Limitation of Liability Clauses on the Way Out in Virginia?

    March 11, 2024 —
    Remember BAE Systems and Fluor? This post is the third here at Construction Law Musings relating to this case which is a seemingly never-ending source for content. In the prior post discussing this case, the Court found that Va. Code 1-4.1:1 which bars waiver of a right to payment before work is performed did not apply because Fluor had provided work before execution of the contract or any change orders. In the most recent opinion in this long-running litigation, and after a motion to reconsider by Fluor that was granted, the Court re-examined this finding along with the contractual language found in the Limitation of Damages (LOD) clause and came to the opposite conclusion regarding certain change orders that remained unpaid by BAE. The Court first looked to the language of the contract itself and specifically the language in the LOD provision that states “Except as otherwise provided in this Subcontract.” The Court then looked at the change order provision and its typical equitable adjustment language and the mandatory nature of the equitable adjustment language. The Court found that the LOD provisions did not apply to change orders both because price increases due to change orders are not “damages” and because of the exception language in the LOD provision itself. Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at

    Illinois Supreme Court Holds that Constructions Defects May Constitute “Property Damage” Caused By An “Occurrence” Under Standard CGL Policy, Overruling Prior Appellate Court Precedent

    January 08, 2024 —
    On November 30, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion that overturned precedent in Illinois regarding whether faulty workmanship that only caused damage to the insured’s own work constituted “property damage” caused by an “occurrence” under Illinois law. In Acuity v. M/I Homes of Chicago, LLC, 2023 IL 129087, the Illinois Supreme Court considered whether Acuity, a mutual insurance company, had a duty to defend its additional insured, M/I Homes of Chicago, LLC (M/I Homes), under a subcontractor’s commercial general liability (CGL) policy in connection with an underlying lawsuit brought by a townhome owners’ association for breach of contract and breach of an implied warranty of habitability. The Cook County Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of Acuity finding no duty to defend because the underlying complaint did not allege “property damage” caused by an “occurrence” under the initial grant of coverage of the insurance policy. The appellate court reversed and remanded, finding that Acuity owed M/I Homes a duty to defend. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, in part, holding construction defects to the general contractor’s own work may constitute “property damage” caused by an “occurrence” under the standard CGL Policy. This is significant as it overrules prior Illinois precedent finding that repair or replacement of the insured’s defective work does not satisfy the initial grant of coverage of a CGL Policy. By way of background, the underlying litigation stems from alleged construction defects in a residential townhome development in the village of Hanover Park, Illinois. The townhome owners’ association, through its board of directors (the Association) subsequently filed an action on behalf of the townhome owners for breach of contract and breach of the implied warranty of habitability against M/I Homes as the general contractor and successor developer/seller of the townhomes. The Association alleged that M/I Homes’ subcontractors caused construction defects by using defective materials, conducting faulty workmanship, and failing to comply with applicable building codes. As a result, “[t]he [d]efects caused physical injury to the [t]ownhomes (i.e. altered the exterior’s appearance, shape, color or other material dimension) after construction of the [t]ownhome[ ] was completed from repeated exposure to substantially the same general conditions.” The defects included “leakage and/or uncontrolled water and/or moisture in locations in the buildings where it was not intended or expected.” The Association alleged that the “[d]efects have caused substantial damage to the [t]ownhomes and damage to other property.” Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Jason Taylor, Traub Lieberman
    Mr. Taylor may be contacted at

    Traub Lieberman Partner Michael K. Kiernan and Associate Brandon Christian Obtain Dismissal with Prejudice in Favor of Defendant

    November 27, 2023 —
    In a 14-count breach of contract action brought in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County, Florida, Partner Michael K. Kiernan and Associate Brandon Christian obtained dismissal with prejudice in favor of Defendant St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church of Boynton Beach, Florida (“Church”). Plaintiffs, St. Joseph’s Episcopal School (“School”) and its benefactor, William Swaney, filed suit to enforce an alleged 99-year oral lease agreement which Swaney asserted had been made to him by a prior rector of the Church in exchange for his contributions to the School. Plaintiffs also sought emergency injunctive relief to allow the School to continue to operate on Church property. The Church maintained in part that the only lease in effect was a written lease, approved by the Church Vestry and the Diocese of Southeast Florida, and which the Church Vestry unanimously voted not to renew in 2022. Reprinted courtesy of Michael K. Kiernan, Traub Lieberman and Brandon Christian, Traub Lieberman Mr. Kiernan may be contacted at Mr. Christian may be contacted at Read the full story...

    What Should Business Owners Do If a Customer Won’t Pay

    January 02, 2024 —
    It should be simple: you provide a service, and your customer pays you for that service. Unfortunately, it is not always so simple. Not getting paid for your work can be one of the most frustrating issues, especially for small businesses. It also does not take much for money matters to lead to larger disputes. So, what should small business owners do in these cases? 1. Start with a reminder notice Most sources, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, agree that business owners should not begin by escalating the situation. Take time to review and fully understand the circumstances of this individual case. Then, begin with resending the invoice or sending reminders to pay. Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of Scott L. Baker, Baker & Associates
    Mr. Baker may be contacted at

    Construction Contract Basics: Venue and Choice of Law

    February 19, 2024 —
    Previously in this on-again-off-again series of posts on construction contract basics, I discussed attorney fees provisions and indemnification. In this installment, the topic at hand is venue and choice of law. As construction professionals (outside of us construction attorneys), you are likely to be focused on things like the scope of work in a construction contract, the price terms, payment, delays, change orders, and the like. However, the venue (where any lawsuit or arbitration will have to happen) and the choice of law (what state’s law applies) can be equally important. You need to know where you will have to enforce your rights under the contract and also what law will apply. Will you need to go to another state to enforce your rights? Even if not, will your local attorney have to learn the law of another jurisdiction? These are important questions when reading and negotiating your prime contract (if with the owner) or subcontract (if with the general contractor). Read the full story...
    Reprinted courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher G. Hill
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at

    Corporate Transparency Act’s Impact on Real Estate: Reporting Companies, Exemptions and Beneficial Ownership Reporting (webinar)

    December 04, 2023 —
    On October 23, 2023, colleague Andrew Weiner and Kevin Gaunt, counsel at Hunton Andrews Kurth, examined the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), effective Jan. 1, 2024, and its impact on real estate entities and transactions, including who is considered a reporting company subject to new beneficial ownership information (BOI) reporting requirements and whether an exemption applies. The panel also discussed certain state laws that impose similar reporting requirements as the CTA and described best practices for real estate counsel to assist their clients with preparing for the CTA’s implementation and ongoing compliance. The panel also reviewed other important considerations, including:
    1. Which real estate entities will likely be most affected by the CTA’s implementation and why?
    2. What exemptions may apply?
    3. How will the CTA’s reporting requirements affect real estate transactions for lenders and investors/buyers?
      1. Read the full story...
        Reprinted courtesy of Pillsbury's Construction & Real Estate Law Team