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Jonathan A. Cass is a Partner in the Firms' Commercial Litigation Group and the Chair of the Insurance Coverage and Risk Management Group. As Chair of Cohen Seglias’ Insurance Coverage & Risk Management Group, Jonathan helps his clients evaluate and manage their insured and uninsured business risks. He drafts, reviews, and advises on various risk-transfer related contractual clauses, including indemnification clauses and insurance requirements. When coverage disputes arise, either due to outright coverage denials or a reservation of rights, Jonathan takes a nuanced approach to the dispute to achieve the best possible outcome for his clients. If negotiations cannot resolve the problem, he initiates coverage litigation to protect his client.

Construction professionals in New York face new hurdles in ensuring they are covered as additional insureds under other parties’ commercial general liability insurance policies.

In 2002, a New York City agency contracted with a general contractor and a construction manager to construct a forensic laboratory. The owner’s contract with the GC required that the GC obtain general liability insurance for the project containing an endorsement naming the owner and the construction manager as additional insureds.

Four years later, the owner sued the GC and the project architect, claiming they negligently damaged the excavation support system. In 2010, the architect commenced a third-party action against the construction manager, which promptly notified its insurance carrier seeking defense and indemnity under the GC’s policy. The carrier refused, and in 2012, the construction manager filed a lawsuit, arguing that it indeed qualified for coverage.


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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.


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[Note from the Editor: Due to an inadvertent editing error, omitted from our post entitled NJ Supreme Court Gets It Right! Consequential Damages Caused By A Subcontractor’s Defective Construction Work Is Insured was the fact that the property damage at issue occurred after the project was completed.  The insurance coverage at issue in the case was completed operations coverage included in the commercial general liability form.  The corrected article appears below.] 

Consultant presenting insurance concept and risk managementThe New Jersey Supreme Court’s August 4, 2016 decision in Cypress Point Condominium Association, Inc. v. Adria Towers, LLC opened the door for general contractors to obtain insurance coverage under their commercial general liability (CGL) policies for property damage caused by their subcontractor’s defective work after the project was completed.
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The City of Philadelphia has issued new code requirements for construction worker safety training. The new rules went into effect on October 1, 2015, and the Department of Licenses and Inspections has announced that strict enforcement will begin on April 1, 2016.

Under the new regulations, all contractors and employees (including subcontractors) performing construction or demolition work in the City of Philadelphia for which permits have been issued are now required to complete OSHA 10 safety training, or an approved equivalent. This requirement applies to all trades, as well as state-registered home improvement contractors. Workers are required to carry written proof establishing that they have completed an OSHA 10 training course while on the job site, and their employers must also maintain on-site proof of completion for each worker. This information must be furnished to the Department of Licenses and Inspections upon request. The OSHA 10 training is only required to be completed once and does not expire.

Additionally, all contractors licensed under Section 9-1004 of the Philadelphia Code must employ at least one supervisory employee who has completed OSHA 30 safety training, or an approved equivalent, within the past 5 years. Construction or demolition of major buildings requires continuous oversight by a site safety manager who has completed an OSHA 30 course. The designated site safety manager must carry an identification card or certificate of completion issued by the provider of the OSHA 30 training course.


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A few weeks ago, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a decision that could have a profound effect on members of New Jersey’s construction community.  In Town of Kearny v. Louis F. Brandt, the Court issued two major holdings: (i) under New Jersey’s Statute of Repose, an architect with construction administration responsibilities cannot be

For most people, there is only one thing more excruciating than a discussion about insurance coverage: a blog post about it.  So brace yourselves dear readers.

With all kidding aside, the importance for contractors and owners to understand the ins and outs of their insurance policies, and the risk transfer mechanisms that they are using,

Flood insurance.jpgIn January, Governor Chris Christie signed an Executive Order and proposed emergency regulations to guide the rebuilding process after Superstorm Sandy in flood prone areas of New Jersey.   Before the storm, the building code and flood-proofing regulations in the state were based on flood maps adopted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“the

As commercial property owners and their tenants assess the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, they need to understand their rights and obligations under leases, mortgage loan documents, and insurance policies.

LEASE PROVISIONS

As a result of storm damage, many buildings were temporarily uninhabitable or sustained such significant damage as to be uninhabitable or untenantable for

As a result of two recent Pennsylvania decisions, insurance carriers are now aggressively taking the position that there is no insurance coverage under commercial general liability policies (“CGL)” for property damage claims caused by faulty workmanship.

In the recent cases, Kvaerner v. Commercial Union Insurance Co., and Millers Capital Insurance Company v. Gambone Brothers