Who Says Life's Not Fair: Good Faith and Fair Dealing Prevails in Metcalf Case

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Yesterday, Pillsbury attorneys Joël Van Over and Alex Ginsberg published their advisory titled Who Says Life's Not Fair: Good Faith and Fair Dealing Prevails in Metcalf Case. The Advisory discusses the Federal Circuit's highly anticipated decision in Metcalf Construction Company, Inc. v. United States, No. 2013-5041 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 11, 2014). The Federal Circuit ruled that a contractor suing the government for breaching the implied duty of "good faith and fair dealing" need not show that the government's conduct was "specifically targeted" to reappropriate the contractor's benefits under the subject contract except in limited circumstances present in the court's 2010 decision in Precision Pine & Timber, Inc. v. United States, 596 F.3d 817 (Fed. Cir. 2010). Rather, in Metcalf, the court reaffirmed the vitality of traditional standards used to prove a breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, such as where the government hindered or failed to cooperate with the contractor's performance so as to "destroy the [contractor's] reasonable expectations. . . regarding the fruits of the contract."

What happens when construction workers are hungry?

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Instead of sexist catcalls, construction works yell: "I'd like to show you the respect you deserve!" "A woman's place is where she chooses!" "You know what I'd like to see? A society in which the objectification of women makes way for gender-neutral interaction free from assumptions and expectations" in a real-world extension of Snickers' "You're not you when you're hungry" campaign. Check out the YouTube video titled Aussie Builders surprise public with loud empowering statements.

Additional Resource: AdWeek, Construction Workers Yell Messages of Empowerment to Women in Snickers Stunt ... So when you're hungry, you're not a creep?

Flurry of Activity in NYC Crane Collapse Litigation

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A Manhattan trial judge issued a series of decisions in the last few weeks in connection with a civil case stemming from the 91st Street crane collapse that occurred in May, 2008. The collapse received widespread media attention due to the deaths of two workers (including the crane operator), and subsequent criminal charges against a mechanic and the owner of New York Crane, James Lomma. The 91st Street collapse was just one in a series of tower crane accidents at the time, prompting the City to strengthen its crane safety laws.

The mechanic, Tibor Varganyi, pled guilty to negligent homicide in exchange for his testimony that Mr. Lomma had an important weld repair performed by an inexperienced company in China because he wanted to save money. However, Mr. Lomma was acquitted of serious charges including second-degree manslaughter after a lengthy bench trial.

In the civil case, the court granted summary judgment to an engineering firm (McLaren Engineering) that was hired by the New York City Buildings Department, because it was only contracted to inspect the tower mast upon which the crane rested. Although there were several theories as to the cause of the accident, including the failed weld and operator error, there was no claim that the tower mast had anything to do with the accident. Accordingly, the court dismissed the deceased workers' claims against McLaren.

Earlier, on March 3, Justice Manual Mendez refused to dismiss welding contractor Brady Marine Repair Co., even though it did not work on the weld that caused the accident. Since Brady's invoice stated that it would "test all welds" on the crane, Justice Mendez determined that a jury should decide the scope of work that it committed to perform.

The Construction Manager, DeMatteis Construction, also moved for summary judgment, claiming that its subcontractor, Sorbara Construction, was solely responsible for the selection, operation and maintenance of the crane, and that DeMatteis did not supervise or control Sorbara's work. Justice Mendez similarly denied this motion, finding issues of fact as to whether DeMatteis was negligent. Various claims against Lomma and New York Crane, as well as Sorbara, will move forward.

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Government Contractors Face Expanded Affirmative Action Requirements -- Regulations relate to veterans and individuals with disabilities

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Yesterday, Pillsbury attorney Julia E. Judish and Maryelena Zaccardelli, Principal, MEZ Consulting, LLC, published their advisory titled Government Contractors Face Expanded Affirmative Action Requirements Regulations relate to veterans and individuals with disabilities discussing the Obama Administration's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' expansive new regulations. The Advisory discusses, among other things, what the new regulations require, including that government contractors will be required to undertake greater efforts to employ veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Update: Amendments to New York City's Paid Sick Leave Law -- Changes Effective April 1st Expand Obligations for Employers

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Today, Pillsbury attorneys Ken Taber and Teresa Lewi published their advisory titled Update: Amendments to New York City's Paid Sick Leave Law Changes Effective April 1st Expand Obligations for Employers. The Advisory reports that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law amendments to the Earned Sick Time Act that impose additional requirements on almost all private employers in the City, with enforcement set to begin on April 1st. It also discusses the new requirements.

Additional Sources: New York Employers Face Far-Reaching Employment Law Changes in 2014

Health Care Reform Update: Employers Must Begin Reporting Details of Health Coverage to IRS

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Today, Pillsbury attorneys Mark Jones and Matt Ryan posted their advisory titled Health Care Reform Update: Employers Must Begin Reporting Details of Health Coverage to IRS. The Advisory discusses the significant new reporting requirements applicable to employers providing self-insured group health coverage to their employees and to other, large and mid-size employers subject to the shared responsibility (or "Pay or Play") rules under the Affordable Care Act. It further discusses recently finalized regulations that explain the requirements and provide certain employers with opportunities to reduce their reporting burden. The reporting regime will become effective on January 1, 2015, relying in part on data collected in 2014.

Additional Resources: IRS Releases Final Regulations on "Pay or Play" (Feb. 25, 2014); Health Care Reform Update: Large Employers Must Offer Health Coverage or Pay Assessment (Jan. 22, 2013)

U.S. Department of Energy Announces Plans to Collaborate With Columbia On First Solar Decathlon in Latin America

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Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman, Colombia's Minister of Energy and Mines Amylkar Acosta, Mayor of Santiago de Calí Rodrigo Guerrero, and Director of Planning of Colombia Tatyana Orozco have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) "to collaborate in the development of a Solar Decathlon Latin America and Caribbean competition." Under the MOU, both countries will, among other things, "exchange information regarding rules, scoring, judging, safety, and site and team selection for a Solar Decathlon Latin America and Caribbean event." It was further announced that the first Solar Decathlon Latin America and Caribbean is expected to take place in Santiago de Cali in late 2015. This marks the first step towards a Solar Decathlon competition in Latin America.

Since 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy has helped launch four international Solar Decathlon competitions, including two in Madrid, Spain in 2010 and 2012; one in Datong, China in 2013; and one planned for Versailles, France in July 2014.

Additional Sources: U.S. Solar Decathlon 2015: Teams Announced; 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe - Solar Home Stretch For Participants; Vienna University of Technology Shines at US Solar Decathlon 2013; Countdown to U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO; Congratulations Solar Decathlon China 2013 Award Winners ; U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Go-Biz Announces California Competes Tax Credit Application Period - And It Ends in Less Than One Month

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Yesterday, Pillsbury attorney Michael J. Cataldo published a follow up advisory titled Go-Biz Announces California Competes Tax Credit Application Period - And It Ends in Less Than One Month reporting on Go-Biz's recent announcement that it will only accept California Competes Credit applications for the current fiscal year between March 19, 2014 and April 14, 2014.

Additional Sources: GO-Biz Finalizes Proposed California Competes Tax Credit Regulations; GO-Biz California Competes Tax Credit Workshops and Webinars Scheduled

An American Policyholder in London: English Choice of Law Clauses in United States Insurance Policies

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Today, Pillsbury attorneys Ray Sweigart and Jeff Kiburtz published their advisory titled An American Policyholder in London: English Choice of Law Clauses in United States Insurance Policies. The Advisory identifies a few of the issues on which English law is notably different from prevailing law in the United States and which ought to be taken into account when considering an English law and forum clause.

Loud Buzzing Coming From Downtown Austin

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Downtown Austin is buzzing with hotel construction and other development activities, as recently recognized by the New York Times in its article Austin, Tex., Stands Out in Hotel Recovery That Has Hugged Coasts (Oct. 1, 2013) and, more recently, the Austin Business Journal in its article Fairmont Austin Developer names general contractor; project appears on track (Mar. 18, 2014). austin.jpg

There are reportedly numerous hotel and other projects currently under construction and in the planning phase in downtown Austin.

The New York Times article highlighted hotel projects under construction and other projects in the pipeline:

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Shamrock Shake: St. Patrick's Day Earthquake in Los Angeles Is a Reminder to Check Your Property Insurance Policy

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By Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Pillsbury attorneys Robert L. Wallan, Kimberly L. Buffington and Alyson R. Parker published today their advisory titled Shamrock Shake: St. Patrick's Day Earthquake in Los Angeles Is a Reminder to Check Your Property Insurance Policy on the heels of a 4.4-magnitude earthquake that shook L.A. County out of bed at 6:25 a.m. on St. Patrick's Day. The Advisory reminds everyone to be informed about their current and future residential or commercial earthquake insurance coverage.

Additional Resources: Insurance and the Polar Vortex: Recovering Losses from the Big Chill of 2014

Court Confirms Duty to Defend Under Policy With Products-Completed Operations Coverage and Professional Services Exclusion

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On Thursday, March 13, a California Court of Appeal found substantial evidence that State Farm General Insurance Co. (State Farm) had a duty to defend North Counties Engineering Inc. (North Counties) under a policy that included products-completed operations coverage notwithstanding that the policy also included a professional services exclusion. The Court, in North Counties Engineering Inc. v. State Farm General Insurance Co., Case No. A133713, ordered State Farm to cover North Counties' defense costs in two lawsuits filed in 2004 in connection with construction of a dam that had been completed in 1999 for Lolonis Winery (Lolonis). It reversed the trial court's order granting State Farm's motion for a directed verdict and, among other things, reconfirmed that the insurer "owes a broad duty to defend its insured against claims that create a potential for indemnity" and "any doubt 'as to whether the facts give rise to a duty to defend is [to be] resolved in the insured's favor.'" On remand, judgment will be entered confirming that State Farm had a duty to defend North Counties.

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GO-Biz California Competes Tax Credit Workshops and Webinars Scheduled

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CalChamber recently announced that workshops will be conducted throughout the state by the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)taxes.jpg to help businesses to learn how to apply the new California Competes Tax Credit. This credit is an income tax credit available to businesses--both large and small--that want to relocate to or stay and grow in California. GO-Biz expects to begin accepting applications during the first quarter of 2014. For more information on the California Competes Tax Credit read GO-Biz Finalizes Proposed California Competes Tax Credit Regulations.

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Friday Favorites--Pet-Friendly Design: Whose House is it Anyway?

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Today's post is for anyone who has ever looked around their house and imagined how much more fun it could be made for their pet with just a little time, money, and effort. Yes, today's post is for me, I admit it.

Beginning with perhaps the least extravagant and easiest do-it-yourself project, from Ilana DeBare at Berkeleyside, we have the "catio", an outdoor enclosure designed to let cats enjoy being outside while keeping the cats (and the neighborhood birds) safe. Lest you think this is just another Berkeley phenomenon, check out "Catios offer cats a secure way to enjoy the outdoors" from Michelle Spitzer at the Associated Press.

Laura Moss over at mother nature network has some great photos of tiny homes for feral cats designed by New York architects (including a time machine!).

Giving dogs their due, Janet Eastman's article at the Oregonian on "unleashing pet designs," includes some creative ideas for dog owners. Dogwash tunnel anyone? No? Then Beth J. Harpaz of the Associated Press has some more down-to-earth tips on pet-friendly furniture here at "Pet-owner challenge: buying new furniture."

And finally, check out the amazing house in Margot Peppers' Daily Mail article about a "purr-fect paradise." My favorite part is the shark-mouth hideaway in the bathroom.

From everybody here at G2G, have a great weekend!

Calling All Sacramento Soccer Fans

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UPDATE: The Sacramento Bee, Five questions to ponder as Republic FC begins its inaugural season (Mar. 28, 2014); Sacramento Business Journal, Work begins on soccer stadium (Mar. 18, 2014); 2014 Season Tickets Deposits

It was recently confirmed that the Cal Expo Board of Directors voted unanimously for the agreement between Ovations Fanfare LLC (Ovations), a food service company that is a subsidiary of national sports and entertainment giant Comcast Spectacor, soccer ball.jpgand Cal Expo to construct an 8,000-seat multi-use sports facility. Sacramento Republic FC, the recently formed professional soccer team, will be one of the groups hosting its home matches at the facility.

The facility will be located on the California State Fair grounds, approximately 2 miles from downtown Sacramento. It "will feature a soccer-specific full pitch or field with dimensions for international soccer (120 x 80 yards), and serve as the home pitch for the Sacramento Republic FC soccer club. Plans include using it for other events such as concerts as well.

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