The Ohio Supreme Court’s October 9, 2018 decision in Ohio Northern University v. Charles Construction Services, Inc., 2018-Ohio-4057 issued a blow to general contractors attempting to obtain insurance coverage under their commercial general liability (CGL) policies for property damage caused by their subcontractor’s faulty work. The Ohio Supreme Court held that faulty work is not “accidental” or “fortuitous,” as contemplated within the policy’s definition of an “occurrence,” and found that the general contractor had no coverage under its CGL policy.

Ohio Northern University (University) sued the general contractor, Charles Construction Services, Inc. (CCS) arising out of a contract to build a luxury hotel and conference center (Project) on the University’s campus. After completion of the Project, the University discovered extensive water damage from hidden leaks and other serious structural defects that it believed were caused by the defective work of CCS and its subcontractors. In response to the University filing suit, CCS sought coverage under its CGL policy, relying on the products/completed operations (PCO) coverage available for claims involving property damage caused by the faulty work of a subcontractor.

Continue Reading Contractors Beware – Ohio Joins Minority of States in Insurance Coverage Row

On October 10, 2018, the amendments to the Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act, 73 P.S. § 501, et seq. (CASPA) will take effect and significantly impact the rights and duties of owners, contractors, and subcontractors on all Pennsylvania commercial construction projects and some residential projects.

First passed in 1994, CASPA was enacted as a tool for contractors and subcontractors to receive timely payment. As most in the industry know, the statute sets forth payment procedures and timetables, and it defines what constitutes a wrongful withholding of payment. Violations may result in significant penalties, such as statutory interest, penalty interest, and assessment of attorneys’ fees and costs.

Continue Reading PA CASPA Amendments Become Effective October 10

I’m a management-side employment lawyer. It’s my job to go to court and defend employers and executives accused of all different types of misconduct, including sexual harassment. Over the last 20 years, I have seen it all. Some of my cases involve relatively tame allegations, like telling dirty jokes around the watercooler. And I have also been involved with cases involving extremely serious accusations, including indecent exposure, unwanted touching, and sexual assault. I spent a fair amount of time watching the Kavanaugh hearings. Like everyone else I know, I have a strong opinion on whether or not the nomination should be approved, but I did not write this article to share my personal opinions. There are enough political commentators on cable news shows doing that already. From an employment litigation and human resources perspective, there are several important lessons to be learned.

Continue Reading Lessons from the Kavanaugh Hearing

Effective October 1, 2018, general contractors with projects in Maryland will have a new headache to deal with. That’s when Maryland’s new law, the General Contractor Liability for Unpaid Wages Act, will go into effect. Under the Act, GCs will be jointly and severally liable for the failure of any subcontractors on the GC’s project to comply with Maryland’s existing wage and hour law. GCs will have to ensure that all of their subcontractors (including any sub-subcontractors or other firms they hire) pay their employees in accordance with Maryland law. Continue Reading New Maryland Law Exposes General Contractors and Subcontractors to Greater Wage and Hour Liability

Join us for our 10th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar where our attorneys will lead interactive discussions on the latest issues impacting your business.

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Event Details

8:00 AM-12:00 PM
Thursday, April 26, 2018
The Omni William Penn Hotel
530 William Penn Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Hershey Country Club
1000 East Derry Road
Hershey, PA 17033
Thursday, May 10, 2018
The Franklin Institute
222 North 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Cost: No Charge

CLE & CPE credits available

Continue Reading 10th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar

Recent OSHA activity indicates possible changes in the scope and enforcement of the newly-created Improve Tracking of Workplace Injury and Illnesses Rule (Electronic Reporting Rule). OSHA intends to collect less data than the rule requires in order to address concerns about publicizing personally identifiable information (PII). This move suggests other changes to the rule may follow.  Continue Reading Recent OSHA Regulatory Shifts May Address Concerns About Electronically Submitting Workplace Injury and Illness Data

A recent federal appeals court decision rejected a challenge to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s new rule for respirable crystalline silica (silica) exposure in the construction industry (the Silica Rule), keeping the rule largely intact. This new rule lowers the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica to fifty micrograms per cubic meter (50μ/m3) from the previous construction industry standard of 250 μ/m3. At the time OSHA began enforcing the Silica Rule on September 23, 2017, there still remained pending in federal court a challenge to the rule brought by multiple industry groups (Industry), mostly consisting of commercial construction trade associations representing general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers.  Continue Reading ICYMI: Federal Appeals Court Upholds New OSHA Silica Rule

Breastfeeding is now a protected act and category under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”). Employers are prohibited from discriminating against an employee in compensation, hiring, or firing because they breastfeed. This is a pivotal amendment to New Jersey’s civil rights law as it applies, unlike the similar federal law, to employers regardless of size (the federal counterpart is applicable only to employers with 50 or more employees).  Continue Reading Breastfeeding Discrimination Banned by Pivotal Amendment to NJLAD

Traditionally, public agencies have awarded construction contracts via the “lowest responsible bidder” procurement method, where bidders submit sealed bids and contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. However, a number of governmental entities have started to award contracts through “best value” procurement, which looks at factors other than price. Quality, experience, and expertise of the bidders also are relevant considerations when selecting contractors or vendors under a “best value” procurement format.

Following the trend, on May 16, 2017, Philadelphians approved a ballot measure that amended the City’s Home Rule Charter to allow the City to award certain contracts based on the “best value” standard, in addition to the “lowest responsible bidder” approach. Shortly thereafter, on July 27, 2017, the City issued regulations governing the award of contracts based on the “best value” method. Continue Reading “Best Value” Procurement Takes Hold in Philadelphia: What it Means for the Construction Industry

Last month a bill was introduced to the New Jersey State Assembly (A-5287) by Assemblymen John McKeon (Essex and Morris) and Jon Bramnick (Morris, Somerset, and Union) that would bar provisions in employment contracts that waive any substantive or procedural rights or remedies. The bill also seeks to prohibit agreements that conceal any details relating to discrimination claims.  Continue Reading A Response to the #MeToo Movement: NJ Bill Tightens Position on Employment Agreements