Gavel

Idaho Formally Adopts an Independent Tort for Third Party Spoliation


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Idaho is the latest of several states that now recognize an independent tort against third parties that willfully compromise evidence in an attempt to interfere with a potential civil lawsuit. Courts have long provided remedies for evidence spoliation when the wrongdoer is a direct party to the litigation, such as providing an adverse inference instruction against the spoliating party. However, courts have not always granted relief to plaintiffs alleging third party spoliation. In Raymond v. Idaho State Police, 451 P.3d 17 (Idaho 2019), the Supreme Court of Idaho formally adopted the tort of Intentional Interference With A Prospective Civil Action By Spoliation Of Evidence By A Third Party (Third Party Spoliation). Adopting this tort provides an avenue of spoliation relief against parties who are not part of the underlying civil lawsuit. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Idaho, Spoliation and tagged , .
Recall Alert

Yamaha Recalls Portable Generators


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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 November 26, 2019, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

Yamaha Recalls Portable Generators Due to Fire and Burn Hazards.

According to the CPSC, “[t]he portable generator’s fuel tank can leak gasoline, posing fire and burn hazards.”

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

Pennsylvania Superior Court Fires up a Case-By-Case Analysis for Landlord-Tenant, Implied Co-Insured Questions


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In Joella v. Cole, 2019 PA Super. 313, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently considered whether a tenant, alleged by the landlord’s property insurance carrier to have carelessly caused a fire, was an implied co-insured on the landlord’s policy. The court found that the tenant was an implied co-insured because the lease stated that the landlord would procure insurance for the building, which created a reasonable expectation that the tenant would be a co-insured under the policy. Since the tenant was an implied co-insured on the policy, the insurance carrier could not maintain a subrogation action against the tenant. This case confirms that Pennsylvania follows a case-by-case approach when determining whether a tenant was an implied co-insured on a landlord’s insurance policy. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Anti-Subrogation Rule, Landlord-Tenant, Pennsylvania, Subrogation, Sutton Doctrine and tagged , , .
Time

Tennessee Looks to Define Improvements to Real Property


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For subrogation practitioners dealing with an installation-based statute of repose, knowing what is an improvement to real property is the first battle in what can, but does not have to be, a long fight. Like many other states, Tennessee’s statute of repose bars claims based on improvements to real property. Tennessee’s statute of repose runs four years after substantial completion of the improvement. See Tennessee Code Ann. § 28-3-202. In the case of Maddox v. Olshan Found. Repair & Waterproofing Co. of Nashville, L.P., E A, 2019 Tenn.App. LEXIS 464, 2019 WL 4464816, the Court of Appeals of Tennessee examined whether or not the work done by the defendant, Olshan Foundation Repair & Waterproofing Co. of Nashville, L.P., E.A. (Olshan) — which addressed bowing walls, cracks in the foundation and walls and water intrusion — qualified as improvements to real property for the purposes of the statute of repose. The court held that the work by Olshan essentially amounted to repairs, and did not qualify as improvements to real property. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Construction Defects, Statute of Limitations-Repose, Tennessee and tagged , , .
Pointing out a Problem

Amazon Feels the Heat From Hoverboard Fire Claims


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In State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Amazon.com, Inc., No. 3:18CV166-M-P, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189053 (Oct. 31, 2019), the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi considered a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by defendant Amazon.com, Inc. (Amazon). Amazon argued that, because it was a “service provider” who cannot be held liable under Mississippi’s Product Liability Act (MPLA), Miss. Code § 11.1.63, the negligence and negligent failure to warn claims filed against it by plaintiff State Farm Fire & Casualty Company (State Farm) failed as a matter of law. The court, looking beyond the MPLA, held that State Farm’s complaint stated a claim against Amazon. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Mississippi, Products Liability, Subrogation and tagged , .
Signing Agreement

“Wait! Do You Have All Your Ducks in a Row?” Filing of a Certificate of Merit in Conjunction With a Complaint


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In Barrett v. Berry Contr. L.P., No. 13-18-00498-CV, 2019 Tex. LEXIS 8811, the Thirteenth District Court of Appeals of Texas considered, among other things, the procedural timing requirements of filing a certificate of merit in conjunction with a complaint. The court concluded that the proper reading of the statute requires a plaintiff to file a certificate of merit with the first complaint naming the defendant as a party. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Construction Defects, Statute of Limitations-Repose, Texas and tagged , , , .
Product Recall

Carrier and Bryant-Branded Heat Pumps and Kawasaki Motors USA Lawn Mower Engine 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 October 8, 2019, and October 10, 2019, the CPSC announced the following recalls related to products that present fire hazards:

Carrier Recalls Carrier- and Bryant-Branded Heat Pumps Due to Fire Hazard; and

Kawasaki Motors USA Recalls Lawn Mower Engines Due to Burn and Fire Hazards.

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

California Clarifies Its Inverse Condemnation Standard


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In City of Oroville v. Superior Court, 446 P.3d 304 (Cal. 2019), the Supreme Court of California considered whether the City of Oroville (City) was liable to a dental practice for inverse condemnation damages associated with a sewer backup. The court held that in order to establish inverse condemnation against a public entity, a property owner must show that an inherent risk in the public improvement was a substantial cause of the damage. Since the dental practice did not have a code-required backwater valve — which would have prevented or minimized this loss — the court found that the city was not liable because the sewage system was not a substantial cause of the loss. This case establishes that a claim for inverse condemnation requires a showing of a substantial causal connection between the public improvement and the property damage. It also suggests that comparative negligence can be a defense to inverse condemnation claims. Continue reading

This entry was posted in California, Government – Claims Against, Property and tagged , .
Fire

Careless Smoking Causation Defense Goes Up in Smoke in Connecticut


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In Conn. Interlocal Risk Mgmt. Agency v. Jackson, 2019 Conn. LEXIS 230 (Sept. 1, 2019) (Conn. Interlocal), the Supreme Court of Connecticut considered a careless smoking case and whether, as a matter of first impression, Connecticut should adopt the alternative liability doctrine first set forth in Summers v. Tice, 199 P.2d 1 (Cal. 1948). Recognizing that the doctrine is a sound one, the court adopted it for cases proceeding in Connecticut. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Connecticut, Negligence, Subrogation and tagged , , , .
Gavel

“Slow and Steady Doesn’t Always Win the Race” – Applicability of a Statute of Repose on Indemnity/Contribution Claims in New Hampshire


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In Rankin v. South Street Downtown Holdings, Inc., 2019 N.H. LEXIS 165, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire considered, pursuant to a question transferred by the trial court, whether RSA 508:4-b, the statute of repose for improvements to real property, applies to indemnity and contribution claims. The court concluded that based upon the plain reading of the statute, it applies to indemnity and contribution claims. As noted by the court, a holding to the contrary would violate the intent of a statute of repose, which is to establish a time limit for when a party is exposed to liability. Continue reading

This entry was posted in Construction Defects, Contribution, Indemnification, New Hampshire, Statute of Limitations-Repose and tagged , , , , , .