Water Loss

Rhode Island District Court Dismisses Plaintiff’s Case for Spoliation Due to Potential Unfair Prejudice to Defendant


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In Amica Mutual Ins. Co. v. BrassCraft Mfg., Co., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88986 (D.R.I. May 29, 2018), the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island addressed the question of whether the defendant was so unfairly prejudiced by the subrogating insurer’s spoliation of evidence that dismissal of the plaintiff’s case was the appropriate Rule 37(b)(2)(a)(i)-(vi) sanction. The court, focusing on the potential for undue prejudice to the defendant, granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Rhode Island, Spoliation and tagged , .

Utah’s Highest Court Holds That Plaintiffs Must Properly Commence an Action to Rely on the Relation-Back Doctrine to Overcome the Statute of Repose


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Earlier this summer, in Gables & Villas at River Oaks Homeowners Ass’n v. Castlewood Builders LLC, 2018 UT 28, the Supreme Court of Utah addressed the question of whether the plaintiff’s construction defects claims against the general contractor for a construction project were timely-filed, or barred by the statute of repose. In Utah, the statute of repose requires that an action be “commenced within six years of the date of completion.” The plaintiff alleged that its 2014 amended complaint naming the general contractor as a defendant was timely-commenced because, before the date on which Utah’s statute of repose ran, a defendant filed a motion to amend its third-party complaint to name the general contractor as a defendant, and the defendant subsequently assigned its claims to the plaintiff. The plaintiff argued that the filing of its 2014 amended complaint related back[1] to the date of its original complaint. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that an action is “commenced” by filing a complaint and that a motion for leave to amend does not count as “commencing” an action. Continue reading

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Consumer Product Safety Commission Recalls


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On August 2, 2018, the CPSC announced the following recalls related to products that present fire and/or explosion hazards:

Zebra Technologies Expands Recall of Power Supply Units for Thermal Printers Due to Fire Hazard

Miller Fireworks Recalls Fireworks Due to Violation of Federal Standard; Explosion and Burn Hazards

This entry was posted in CPSC Recalls, Products Liability and tagged .

New York Federal Court Holds That the Montreal Convention Does Not Allow a Party to Recover Inspection Costs Where Cargo Suffers No Physical Damage


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In Indemnity Ins. Co. of N. Am. v. Agility Logistics Corp., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104179 (S.D.N.Y.), the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York considered the “novel question” of whether the Montreal Convention allows recovery of inspection costs when there is no physical damage to the cargo at issue. Although acknowledging that its holding was, arguably, absurd, the court held that, based on the plain language of Article 18 of the Montreal Convention, the subrogating insurer could not recover the inspection costs its insured incurred. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Cargo - Transportation, Subrogation and tagged , , , .

Supreme Court of Kentucky Holds Plaintiff Can Recover for Stigma Damages in Addition to Repair Costs Resulting From Property Damage


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In Muncie v. Wiesemann, 2018 K.Y. LEXIS 257, the Supreme Court of Kentucky considered whether stigma damages[1] in a property casualty case are recoverable in addition to the costs incurred to remediate the actual damage. The court held that stigma damages are recoverable in addition to repair costs, but the total of the stigma damages and repair costs cannot exceed the diminution in the fair market value of the property. The court’s decision establishes that if the repair costs are insufficient to make the plaintiff whole, a recovery for stigma damages up to the amount of the diminution in the market value of the home is appropriate. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Damages, Damages - Real Property, Kentucky, Made Whole and tagged , , .

Supreme Court of Idaho Rules That Substantial Compliance With the Notice and Opportunity to Repair Act Suffices to Bring Suit


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In Davison v. Debest Plumbing, Inc., 416 P.3d 943 (Ida. 2018), the Supreme Court of Idaho addressed the issue of whether plaintiffs who provided actual notice of a defective condition, but not written notice as stated in the Notice and Opportunity to Repair Act (NORA), Idaho Code §§ 6-2501 to 6-2504, et. seq., substantially complied with the act and if the plaintiffs’ notice was sufficient to bring suit. Section 6-2503 of the NORA states that, “[p]rior to commencing an action against a construction professional for a construction defect, the claimant shall serve written notice of claim on the construction professional. The notice of claim shall state that the claimant asserts a construction defect claim against the construction professional and shall describe the claim in reasonable detail sufficient to determine the general nature of the defect.” Any action not complying with this requirement should be dismissed without prejudice. The court held that the defendant’s actual notice of the defect was sufficient to satisfy the objectives of the NORA and, thus, the plaintiffs’ action complied with the NORA. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Construction Defects, Idaho, Right to Repair Act and tagged , .

Tennessee Court of Appeals Holds Defendant Has the Burden of Offering Alternative Measure of Damages to Prove that Plaintiff’s Measure of Damages is Unreasonable


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In Durkin v. MTown Construction, LLC, 2018 Tenn. App. LEXIS 128, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee considered whether the lower court properly took judicial notice of an alternative measure of damages to the measure of damages advanced by the plaintiff. The Court of Appeals held that the defendant has the burden of offering evidence of alternative measures of damages if it seeks to argue that the plaintiff’s measure of the damages is unreasonable. The Court of Appeals found that the lower court erred in taking judicial notice of alternative measures of damage when the defendant failed to meet its burden of proof. The court’s holding establishes that, if the defendant does not offer evidence of alternative measures of damage, then the measure of damages introduced by the plaintiff will apply.   Continue reading

This entry was posted in Damages, Damages - Real Property, Tennessee and tagged , .

Northern District of Mississippi Finds That Non-Work Property Damages Are Not Subject to AIA’s Waiver of Subrogation Clause


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In recent months, the Northern District of Mississippi has grappled with how to interpret waivers of subrogation in American Institute of Architects (AIA) construction industry contracts and, specifically, how they apply to work versus non-work property. The distinction between work and non-work property has been commonly litigated and remains a hotly debated topic when handling subrogation claims involving construction defects. Continue reading

This entry was posted in AIA Contracts, Construction Defects, Mississippi, Subrogation, Waiver of Subrogation and tagged , , .

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares Future Credit on Medical Benefits Dead


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On June 19, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided Whitmoyer v. WCAB (Mountain Country Meats), No. 52 MAP 2017, 2018 Pa. Lexis 2995. The decision reversed longstanding Pennsylvania law and the Commonwealth Court’s decision. The net result of this decision: an insurer can no longer assert a future credit on projected medical benefit payments when settling a third-party case. However, insurers may continue to assert a future credit on indemnity payments. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Pennsylvania, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , .

Minnesota Clarifies the “Machinery/Equipment” Exception to the Statute of Repose for Improvements to Real Property and Adopts Test for Establishing a Post-Sale Duty to Warn


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In a recent decision, Great Northern Ins. Co. v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc., 2018 Minn. LEXIS 236, the Supreme Court of Minnesota addressed two important legal questions: (1) did the “machinery and equipment” exception to Minnesota’s statute of repose for improvements to real property allow the plaintiff to bring claims against the manufacturer of a component part used in a home’s heat-recovery ventilator; and (2) did the defendant have a post-sale duty to warn the plaintiff? In answering the first question, the court clarified the meaning of the term “machinery” as used in Minnesota’s statute of repose. In answering the second question, the court adopted a test to apply to determine the circumstances under which a defendant in a product’s chain of distribution has a post-sale duty to warn. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Minnesota, Products Liability, Statute of Repose, Uncategorized and tagged , , .