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An ambiguity in an insurance policy–after reading and interpreting the policy as a whole–will be construed against an insurer. This means an ambiguity will be construed in favor of insurance coverage (for the benefit of the insured) as opposed to against insurance coverage. This does not mean that every insurance policy contains an ambiguity.
In prior articles, I reinforced the importance of general contractors including “primary and noncontributory” language in subcontracts and requiring the subcontractor to provide an analogous “primary and noncontributory” endorsement. As a general contractor this is important, particularly since you are going to require the subcontractor to (i) indemnify you for claims relatin ...
Hurricane Irma barreled down on us with all of her forceful winds and torrential rains. She was scary and relentless. There was mass evacuation. Commercial flights were booked. Trains were booked. There was gridlock with the concern as to whether gas would even be available. There were many people that did not evacuate, uncertain as to the eventual path Irma would take.
We now know and can appreciate the threat of hurricanes. Not that we did not appreciate the reality of hurricanes–of course we did–but Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma created the type of actual devastation we fear because they hit close to home. The fear came to life, creating panic, anxiety, and uncertainty.
As an insured, know YOUR rights under Florida’s Claims Administration Act (Florida Statute s. 627.426). I wrote an article on this exact topic. If a third-party claim is asserted, or in the process of being asserted, against you, do yourself a favor and consult a lawyer that can assist you with preserving your insurance coverage rights.
Since I wrote my ebook on the application of federal Miller Act payment bonds, I have not discussed a case applying the Miller Act. Until now! Below is a case that reinforces two important points applicable to Miller Act payment bond claims. First, the case reinforces what a claimant needs to prove to establish a Miller Act payment bond claim. Very important.
If your construction company is bonded, then you have signed a General Agreement of Indemnity with your surety / bonding company. Stated another way, if a surety issued an obligee on behalf of your construction company, as the bond-principal, a payment or performance bond, then you have signed a General Agreement of Indemnity with your surety.
In insurance coverage declaratory relief actions, there are times an insured will argue that the insurance policy coverage is illusory. Typically, an insured will raise this illusory argument if its insurer is denying coverage based on an exclusion or limitation in the policy. If a court agrees and deems the coverage illusory, the court will construe the policy to afford cove ...
Destructive testing is a routine investigatory procedure in construction defect disputes. The destructive testing is necessary to determine liability (causation), the extent of damage, and the repair protocol. Destructive testing is designed to answer numerous questions: Why did the building component fail? Was the building component constructed incorrectly? What is the magni ...
When an owner receives a construction lien, an owner should serve the lienor with a Request for Sworn Statement of Account. The Request for Sworn Statement is authorized by Florida Statute s. 713.16(2) and should be in the following form: REQUEST FOR SWORN STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT WARNING: YOUR FAILURE TO FURNISH THE REQUESTED STATEMENT, SIGNED UNDER OATH, WITHIN 30 DAYS OR TH ...
The good ole duty to defend. Certainly, a duty that should not be overlooked. A commercial general liability insurer has two duties to its insured when it comes to third-party claims: 1) the duty to defend its insured and 2) the duty to indemnify its insured. The insurer’s duty to defend its insured will always be broader than its duty to indemnify because this duty is tr ...
Construction contracts oftentimes and should contain conditions precedent to payment. Conditions precedent apply to both progress payments and final payment. The conditions precedent operate such that payment is NOT due until the conditions are satisfied. The satisfaction of the conditions precedent triggers the payor’s obligation to pay.
Many construction contracts contain arbitration provisions. Instead of litigating a dispute arising out of the contract, the parties will arbitrate the dispute per the arbitration provision. There are advantages to arbitration and certain disputes bode well for arbitration. The key is you want to make sure you select the RIGHT arbitrator or arbitrators.
The notice of commencement is important for purposes of construction lien priority. Stock Bldg. Supply of Florida, Inc. v. Soares Da Costa Const. Services, LLC, 76 So.3d 313, 317 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011) (“[A] notice of commencement serves to determine the priority of liens under the Construction Lien Law.”).
Recently, I wrote an article on the importance of cyber liability insurance for design professionals. The reality, however, is that this is important insurance for all professionals in today’s day and age. A modern, online insurance broker called Embroker was kind enough to submit a guest post on cyber liability insurance.
The significant issues test to determine the prevailing party in construction lien actions (which, by the way, also applies to breach of contract actions) applies to appellate attorney’s fees too! Under this test, the trial court has discretion to determine which party prevailed on the significant issues of the case for purposes of attorney’s fees.
I harp on notifying a liability insurer in writing once a claim is asserted against you. As soon as possible. I harp on this because as an insured you want to remove any doubt or argument that the insurer was prejudiced due to a lack of timely notice. In a recent opinion, Zurich American Insurance Co. v. European Tile and Floors, Inc., 2017 WL 2427172 (M.D.Fla.
Public payment bonds (excluding FDOT payment bonds) are governed under Florida statute s. 255.05. As it pertains to venue—the location to sue a public payment bond–the statute provides in relevant portion: (5) In addition to the provisions of chapter 47, any action authorized under this section may be brought in the county in which the public building or public work is bei ...
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