January 2012 Archives

Does More Construction Workers = More Construction Work?

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An analysis performed by The Association of General Contractors reveals that Construction company employment rose in 28 states and the District of Columbia in 2011. While the increase in numbers is certainly encouraging, the AGC cautions that it is "too early to conclude that the industry is on a steady upswing."  Especially with looming budget cuts and the potential resulting decrease in public construction.

The AGC's press release can be accessed here.

New York's DiGuglielmo Rule is No Longer

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

On January 17, 2012, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, declined to follow and expressly overruled the insurance rule adopted in DiGuglielmo v. Travelers Prop. Cas., 6 A.D.3d 344 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep't 2004). The DiGuglielmo rule stated that "[a]n insurer is not required to disclaim on timelines grounds before conducting a prompt, reasonable investigation into other possible grounds for disclaimer." Id. at 346.

In George Campbell Painting v. National Union Fire. Ins. Co., 2012 NY Slip Op 00254 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep't 2004), relying on the language of Insurance Law ยง 3420(d) (requiring a liability insurer to give the insured or the injured person written notice of disclaimer of a personal injury claim "as soon as is reasonably possible"), the court decided that the DiGuglielmo rule was contrary to the plain language of the statute, inconsistent with the Court of Appeals precedent interpreting the statute, and adverse to the statute's intended purpose.

Overall, the court saw no reason in allowing insurance companies with knowledge of grounds to reject a claim to delay notifying the insured that the claim will be denied: "[J]ust as we would not permit the insured to delay giving the insurer notice of claim while investigating other possible sources of coverage, we should not permit the insurer to delay issuing a disclaimer on a known ground while investigating other possible grounds for avoiding liability."

The new rule in New York, therefore, is that an insurer with knowledge of a valid ground for a disclaimer cannot delay issuing the disclaimer by further investigating other possible grounds for disclaiming.


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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Some of the best pictures taken from the new World Trade Center construction site. Enjoy.

New Year "ins" and "outs": Stanford is "out"; Cornell is "in"

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"In" and "out" of New York City that is. Roosevelt Island, in particular. Stanford withdrew its proposal to build a campus on New York City's Roosevelt Island and a week later, the City agreed to provide 10 acres to Cornell plus $100 million in infrastructure improvements; Cornell will build a $2 Billion campus on that property. You can read Mayor Bloomberg's quotes about it on Mayor Bloomberg's company's website here. (Surely there's an antitrust violation somewhere in there.)

New Yorkers hope that the project will keep high tech software from fleeing to the suburbs. Bloomberg (the site -- not the mayor) quotes the president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation as saying, "Software and applications need the kind of dense expertise that cities are full of." If Pinsky is right, maybe Roosevelt Island will be the next Silicon Valley.

Cornell hired Skidmore, Owings & Merrell to design the project and it's estimated that it will generate 20,000 construction jobs. It's a bit early to say who the lucky 20,000 workers will be -- or who their employer will be. Stay tuned.