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Mid-Atlantic Civil Litigation Defense Firm

Emerging technologies to transform construction industry

Though concrete is the foundation of today's construction industry, it's a flawed material that cracks, stains and crumbles over time and exposure to the elements and pollution. A software designer and researcher says emerging technologies "will soon radically change how the construction industry builds and what it builds with."

The four forces that will transform construction, he says, are robotics, new materials, additive manufacturing and synthetic brains. The transformation will reduce construction defects and related litigation and enable "smarter and more sustainably built cities," writes Massimiliano Moruzzi of Autodesk Research's Computational Science group in Construction Executive magazine. 

Challenging personal jurisdiction in Maryland asbestos litigation following recent U.S. Supreme Court opinions

Recent U.S. Supreme Court opinions limiting personal jurisdiction have been met with enthusiasm by defendants in asbestos litigation where forum shopping by plaintiffs' counsel is common and defendants are sued in massive amounts of cases in multiple jurisdictions. Baltimore City, for example, ranked second in 2017 in total annual asbestos claim filings in the United States, only behind Madison County, Illinois. Asbestos Litigation: 2017 Year in Review, KCIC Industry Report (2018). Indeed, the issue of a so-called backlog of an estimated 30,000 asbestos cases and how to address them has been an issue plaguing Maryland courts and legislators. See, O'Brien, John, "Baltimore Backlog: Angelos Firm Not Pursuing Trials for Asbestos Clients, Lawmakers Told," Forbes (October 17, 2017).

Sidestep Construction Defects With These Simple Tips

Facing a lawsuit over construction defects can cost you and your company valuable time and money. Whether you are a general contractor or inspector, you want to take extra precautions to ensure that buildings and fixtures are safe for use to avoid litigation.

Here are four types of construction defects and simple steps you can take to prevent them from occurring.

Protecting Your Business Against Toxic Mold Claims

Toxic mold has become a hot topic and businesses should take notice. Injury claims have shrunk to a nuclear level; compensation for these injuries has exploded.

Indoor air quality has become a big business for personal injury firms and businesses are wise to take notice. The cost of these claims can be crippling. It is critical that businesses take steps to protect themselves against these types of claims.

This may easier said than done for several reasons.

Maryland Court of Special Appeals expands duty of service contractors to inspect and to warn of potential hazards

In Landaverde v. Navarro, Nos. 1719, 2089, 2018 Md. App. LEXIS 721, at *31 (App. July 26, 2018), the Maryland Court of Special Appeals unanimously found in favor of plaintiffs in their appeal of orders of summary judgment granted to service technicians, finding that the contractors owed a duty to inspect and to warn of dangers associated with damage to HVAC flue pipes.

A fun bit of construction defect history

Regular readers of our Mid-Atlantic Civil Litigation Defense blog know that we often take a look at issues related to construction defects. Because our firm represents general contractors and subcontractors, as well as developers, property owners and others in legal disputes involving allegations of defects or economic losses caused by defects, we try to stay current on construction industry news and events.

It's also important to have an understanding of history that can help put contemporary issues into perspective. One of the most notable construction defects ever involved a project that began in 1173. The eight-story building took more than 200 years to complete, and remains standing to this day - though at something of a tilt. We're referring, of course, to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 

MARYLAND COURT OF APPEALS SETS PARAMETERS FOR APPLICATION OF THE MARYLAND CONSTRUCTION TRUST STATUTE

HOLDS TRUST STATUTE IS ONLY APPLICABLE TO MARYLAND LITTLE MILLER ACT CASES OR MARYLAND MECHANICS' LIEN CASES

On July 30, 2018 in the C&B Construction, Inc. v. Dashiell case, the Court of Appeals of Maryland discussed the applicability of the Maryland Construction Trust Statute (§§ 9-201, 9-202, and 9-204 of the Real Property Article), which creates a right of action against certain individuals when a subcontractor does not get paid by a general contractor after the general contractor is paid for work done by the subcontractor. The statute imposes personal liability on the directors, officers, and managing agents of a contractor corporation when they improperly use the funds held in trust, for purposes beyond the payment of subcontractors.

Toxic tort defense: Avoid these three hurdles

Toxic tort cases are complex legal beasts. Business owners that find their business accused of a toxic tort crime must prepare for a difficult case. Part of the difficulties that are inherent to these cases is the many hurdles that defendants can find themselves facing before they reach the courtroom.

Three examples include:

  • Venue selection. Venue is a legal term that refers to the location of the trial. Proper venue selection will require a review of many factors, including where the defendant and plaintiff live, where the defendant conducts business, where the accident or exposure occurred and other events that contributed to the injury that led to the lawsuit. The plaintiff generally files the lawsuit in their preferred location, but the defendant can request a transfer to another court. The defendant must generally establish that there is good reason to support the transfer before a court would grant such a request.

Court of Appeals of Maryland Holds that the Statute of Repose is Not Available as a Defense to Those in Possession or Control of Real Property

- SVF Riva Annapolis, LLC, v. Gilroy, No. 66, September Term, 2017, Decided June 25, 2018

In the SVF Riva Annapolis, LLC, v. Gilroy case, the Court of Appeals of Maryland considered the application of the statute of repose defense under § 5-108 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Code of Maryland to the owner of a property where an accident took place. The Court of Appeals held that CJP § 5-108(d)(2)(i) provides an exception to the statute of repose for anyone in possession or control of real property, regardless of whether the claimed injury resulted from exposure to asbestos.

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MacDonald Law Group, LLC

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

Phone: 301-960-5864
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