Mid-Atlantic Civil Litigation Defense Firm

Maximizing efforts to minimize allegations

Virtually every company faces liability litigation at some point because no one can anticipate an unpredictable problem. But what if there were a technology available that would allow businesses to predict the unpredictable?

Everyone in the construction and building management industries knows that small issues can escalate quickly into widespread problems. However, in some instances, there are steps you can take before such problems transpire. There is a new technology in development that will allow companies to control their possible liabilities before they become a problem.

Part II: Construction defects case hinges on purchase agreement

In a previous blog post, we wrote about an interesting case involving a developer, contractor and a general release in a purchase agreement.

A quick recap: a company referred to as Verdugo agreed to make improvements to an 85-unit apartment complex, but its work included construction defects in flashing and counterflashing that resulted in water leaks - and it allegedly knew of the defects.

Part I: Construction defects case hinges on purchase agreement

We read recently of a construction law dispute that involves a developer, contractor and a general release. The case began back in 2005 when Variel Warner Ventures, LLC agreed to a construction contract with Verdugo Management & Investment, Inc. for improvements in an apartment complex.

As part of the contract, Verdugo agreed to make good, workmanlike improvements to the 85-unit complex. However, according to a recent article on the case, the company's work included construction defects. The article states that the contractor knew "the work was defectively flashed, counterflashed, and waterproofed." Read on, because the contractor and developer prevailed in this case.

Anticipating Construction Industry Legal Issues for 2019

A new year is upon us, which means it is the perfect time to look back at what went right and wrong in 2018 and to look forward to what can be reasonably expected and planned for in 2019. A recent "Builder" magazine article helps readers anticipate legal issues likely to surface for those in the construction industry over the next 12 months.

"The start of a new year is a good time to reflect on challenges and weaknesses in order to prevent litigation," the writer states, noting that "proactive planning and management" can help firms and individuals to avoid construction defect litigation in many (but not all) situations.

Placing blame is easy, finding fault is not

The legal basis for any civil lawsuit is the answer to the question of "who is at fault." While that may certainly seem to be a simple question, it is in finding the answer where civil law has rightfully earned its reputation for complexity.

A recent lawsuit filed against a casino in Oxon Hill, Maryland is a perfect example of the intricacy of fault. The facts of the case are relatively straightforward: a young girl swinging on a handrail at the casino received an electrical shock and debilitating injuries. Her family just last month filed a lawsuit claiming that the casino was at fault. But was it?

MacDonald Law Group Attorneys Recognized by Maryland Super Lawyers!

MacDonald Law Group Attorneys, Neil J. MacDonald and Maria E. Flaks are recognized in the January 2019 edition of Maryland's Super Lawyers magazine. Mr. MacDonald is designated a "Super Lawyer" in the primary practice field of product liability defense. Ms. Flaks is honored as a "Rising Star", also in the area of product liability defense. Thomson Reuters publishes this annual directory of outstanding lawyers who meet certain requirements for professional achievement and who have attained recognition by their peers. Only 5% of attorneys in Maryland receive this distinction. Congratulations to MacDonald Law Group's honorees! 

Documentation can help minimize construction defect claims

Good, detailed documentation of your health history and past medical procedures helps your doctor to make accurate diagnoses. Accurate documentation also enables professors, students, historians, accountants, legislators and others do their jobs and keep others apprised of developments, changes and points of view.

Detailed documentation can also help developers and general contractors minimize or even eliminate construction defect claims. It's especially useful to document the elements of construction in the ground or in walls - parts of structures that will be hidden from view when the project has been completed - so that what is inside or beneath a finished building without expensive, time-intensive searches for alleged defects.

Part I: Potential defenses to construction defect claims

Those of us who have spent a few years in the Mid-Atlantic region know that our part of the country is as litigious as any other - sometimes even more so. People in one aspect or another of the construction industry - real estate developers, general contractors, subcontractors, designers and others - understand that litigation is today a virtually unavoidable part of the business.

That reality makes effective construction defect defense more important than ever. In many situations, there is a relatively straightforward defense available, while in others defense is more complex (though just as effective). Let's take a quick look at some of the defenses that can be available in different sets of circumstances.

Part II: Potential defenses to construction defect claims

Regular readers of our Mid-Atlantic Civil Litigation Defense Firm blog know that in a recent post we described one of the most effective defenses available in construction defect litigation. Quite simply, it is to make clear to the court that the other party does not have the legal right to sue.

In this second part of that post, we're going to take a quick look at other construction defect defenses that can be just as effective.

Estate of Concetta Schatz v. John Crane, Inc. - Maryland Intermediate Appellate Court Holds Maryland Imposes No Duty on a Manufacturer to Warn a Household Member of a Worker Who Used the Manufacturer's Product

The case involved a mesothelioma claim brought by the estate of Concetta Schatz against John Crane, Inc. (hereinafter "JCI") (other defendants had been sued but had been dismissed or had resolved before trial). The estate claimed that Mrs. Schatz developed mesothelioma as a result of washing her husband's clothing.  Her husband, William Schatz, was employed as a mechanic, working on turbines and boilers at a power plant and, during the course of working on boilers, Mr. Schatz routinely replaced the rope packing around the various doors and openings in the boilers.  Mr. Schatz and the other repairmen replaced the damaged packing with JCI rope, creating dust in the process.  Further evidence showed that, from 1930 until 1985, JCI's rope contained sixty percent chrysotile asbestos.  Mr. Schatz took his dirty work clothes home for his wife to wash and, approximately every other day, Mrs. Schatz would shake out the work clothes and wash them, breathing in dust as she did so.  Trial proceeded before a jury but, at the conclusion of all the evidence, the court granted JCI's motion for judgment, holding that JCI did not owe a duty to Mrs. Schatz.  


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MacDonald Law Group, LLC

MacDonald Law Group, LLC
11720 Beltsville Drive, Suite 1050
Beltsville, Maryland 20705

Phone: 301-960-5864
Fax: 877-654-2658
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