Author - Richard H. Glucksman

1
Contractors: CALGreen Energy Provisions Have Been Changed
2
California Supreme Court Denies Petition for Review and Request for Depublication of Recent Appellate Decision that Limited Application of SB 800
3
Riverside County Superior Court To Designate One Courtroom To Handle Complex Litigation
4
An Architect Owes A Duty Of Care To Future Homeowners Where The Architect Is The Principal Design Professional On The Project
5
An Additional Insured’s Reasonable Expectations may be Different from the Named Insured’s and Must be Considered to Determine whether the Additional Insured is Entitled to Defense from the Insurer of a Commercial Excess & Umbrella Liability Policy
6
Salespersons Acting Under the Broker Have the Same Fiduciary Duty to the Buyer and the Seller as the Broker When a Broker is a Dual Agent of Both the Buyer and the Seller in a Real Property Transaction

Contractors: CALGreen Energy Provisions Have Been Changed

California Contractor Operations Affected by CALGreen Energy Provisions

By: Richard H. Glucksman and Jon A. Turigliatto
February 5, 2015

Energy provisions effective July 1, 2014, instead of January 1, 2014

There have been changes to California contractors whose operations are affected by residential and non-residential energy regulations or CALGreen energy provisions. Contractors are being alerted to the change in the effective date to the 2013 California Energy Code, 2013 California Administrative Code – Chapter 10, and certain energy provisions in the 2013 California Green Building Code (CALGreen).

The original effective date of January 1, 2014, for specific sections of the 2013 triennial edition of the California Building Standards Code, Title 24, has been changed to July 1, 2014.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) experienced unanticipated delays necessitating the CEC energy related provisions. The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) approved the CEC action and issued Information Bulletin 13-07 on December 18, 2013, announcing the delayed effective date.

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California Supreme Court Denies Petition for Review and Request for Depublication of Recent Appellate Decision that Limited Application of SB 800

Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC 2013 WL 4538693 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.)

By: Richard H. Glucksman, Jon A. Turigliatto, and David A. Napper

On December 11, 2013, the California Supreme Court denied Respondent, Brookfield Crystal Cove, LLC’s Petition for Review and Request for Depublication of the recent decision by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Liberty Mutual Ins. Co.  v. Brookfield Crystal Cove LLC, 2013 WL 4538693 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.) in which the Court of Appeal held that California’s Right to Repair Act (SB 800) is not a homeowner’s exclusive remedy for residential construction defects.

Liberty Mutual is now citable decisional authority in California and holds that homeowners may assert common law causes of action for construction defects that have resulted in actual property damage.  For construction defect that have caused actual property damage, homeowners are no longer required to comply with SB 800’s statutory pre-litigation procedures which provide builders with the opportunity to make repairs prior to the homeowner’s initiation of litigation.  Additionally, the decision permits homeowners to circumvent the shortened limitations periods for certain types of construction defects under the Right to Repair Act.

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Riverside County Superior Court To Designate One Courtroom To Handle Complex Litigation

By: Richard H. Glucksman and David A. Napper
November 12, 2014

Riverside County Superior Court expects to consolidate complex civil litigation into one courtroom by early 2015. Many other counties, including Los Angeles, Orange, San Francisco, Sacramento, Alameda, and Santa Clara already have designated complex civil litigation courtrooms. Riverside Court Superior Court currently distributes the complex cases among 10 civil judges, most of which are handled by seven judges at the Main St. Riverside courthouse location.

Riverside Judge Sharon Waters stated that “[i]t’s been something that I personally have felt has been long overdue” and that “[t]he idea is that put it with one judge and let him or her develop the expertise.” Judge Waters believes “[t]he potential value of establishing a complex litigation courtroom [is that] it allows the judge to focus on the cases full time.”1

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An Architect Owes A Duty Of Care To Future Homeowners Where The Architect Is The Principal Design Professional On The Project

Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Ownigs, & Merrill LLP 2014 No. S208173 (Cal. Sup. Ct)

By: Richard H. Glucksman, Jon A. Turigliatto and David A. Napper
July 10, 2014

In a seminal ruling the California Supreme Court issued its decision on July 3, 2014 that an architect owes a duty of care to future homeowners where the architect is the principal architect on the project. The Court further held that the duty of care exists even when the architect does not actually build the project or exercise ultimate control over construction.

Design professionals Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and HKS Inc. (collectively “Design Professionals”) provided architectural and engineering services for construction of The Beacon residential condominiums in San Francisco, California (“Project”). The Beacon Residential Community Association (“Association”) eventually brought a construction defect action against various entities including the Design Professionals. The Design Professionals were the only architects on the Project and played an active role throughout the construction process, coordinating the design and construction teams, conducting weekly site visits and inspections, recommending design revisions as needed, and monitoring compliance with design plans. The Design Professionals demurred, contending they owed no duty of care to the Association. They further contended that even if the architect initiated the substitutions, changes, and other elements of design, so long as the final decision rested with the owner there is no duty owed by the design professionals to the future condominium owners.

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An Additional Insured’s Reasonable Expectations may be Different from the Named Insured’s and Must be Considered to Determine whether the Additional Insured is Entitled to Defense from the Insurer of a Commercial Excess & Umbrella Liability Policy

Transport Insurance Company v. Superior Court (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 1216.

By: Richard H. Glucksman, Jon A. Turigliatto, and Kacey R. Riccomini
June 4, 2014

The Second District Court of Appeal’s recent decision, Transport Insurance Company v. Superior Court (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 1216, immediately affects builders and contractors (collectively “builders”) who are often named as additional insureds (AIs) to contractors’ general liability policies. The decision is an important tool for builders’ counsel because the builder’s reasonable expectations can alter the interpretation of ambiguous terms in policies issued to subcontractors. Essentially, the builder’s intent is relevant to the interpretation of policy terms because the subcontractor’s intent in requesting additional coverage depends on the agreement it made with the builder. The salient aspects of the facts, the Appellate Court’s reasoning, and practical considerations are discussed below.

Transport Insurance Company (Transport) issued a commercial excess and umbrella liability policy (Policy) to Vulcan Materials Company (Vulcan), naming R.R. Street & Co., Inc. (Street) as an AI for its distribution of a solvent. The Policy provided that Transport would indemnify and defend the insured for loss caused by property damage if (1) it was not covered by “underlying insurance” but was within the terms of coverage of the Policy, or (2) if the limits of liability of the “underlying insurance” were exhausted during the Policy period due to property damage. The Policy included a Schedule of Underlying Insurance (Schedule) that listed policies issued to Vulcan. Thereafter, Vulcan and Street were named as defendants in several environmental contamination actions (Underlying Actions).

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Salespersons Acting Under the Broker Have the Same Fiduciary Duty to the Buyer and the Seller as the Broker When a Broker is a Dual Agent of Both the Buyer and the Seller in a Real Property Transaction

Horiike. v. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Co. 2014 WL 1384226 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.)

By: Richard H. Glucksman, Jon A. Turigliatto, and David A. Napper
June 4, 2014

The Second District Court of Appeal held that when a broker is the dual agent of both the buyer and the seller in a real property transaction, the salespersons acting under the broker have the same fiduciary duty to the buyer and the seller as the broker.

In 2006, a salesperson at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Company (“Coldwell Banker”) listed a Malibu property on a multiple listing service. The salesperson stated the home offered approximately 15,000 square feet of living areas and created a flier stating the same. In March of 2007, a couple made an offer to purchase the property. The salesperson provided a letter from the architect stating the size of the house was approximately 15,000 square feet and suggested the couple hire a qualified specialist to verify the square footage. The deal eventually fell through when the seller would not extend the time for an inspection of the property. The salesperson subsequently changed the approximate square footage of the living areas to be “0/O.T.” meaning zero square feet and other comments.

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