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Featured Insights

Payne & Fears provides high quality legal and business insights, and we are committed to delivering practical and timely updates for a diverse range of issues, businesses and industries.

Labor and Employment Law
Jun 14 | Labor and Employment Law
The key California Employment Law Case Summaries from May 2022 include using unpaid meal- and rest-break premiums as basis for waiting-time penalties and inaccurate wage statement claims, FAA requirements for resisting arbitration, and a trial court's discretion to apply the doctrine of exclusive concurrent jurisdiction to stay a later-filed PAGA action involving claims that overlap with an earlier-filed PAGA action.
Insurance Coverage
May 24 | Insurance Coverage
In a decision that further muddies the already murky waters of “occurrence” jurisprudence, the California Court of Appeal has ruled that a general liability policy does not cover a homeowner who mistakenly grades the wrong piece of land because the act of grading land is not “accidental.”
Business Litigation
Apr 29 | Business Litigation
The California Court of Appeal recently provided much needed clarification regarding the application of Proposition 65, which prohibits businesses from knowingly and intentionally exposing individuals to certain chemicals without first providing a written warning. In Lee v. Amazon.com, Inc., 76 Cal. App. 5th 200 (March 2022), the court addressed two key questions: (1) whether constructive knowledge of hazardous chemicals and potential exposure is sufficient under the statute, or if actual knowledge is required; and (2) what level of specificity is required in a Proposition 65 Notice of Violation. Lee’s ruling is important for every company that sells consumer products because Proposition 65 obligations apply “to any retailer, manufacturer, producer, packager, importer, supplier, or distributor of the product.” Lee, 76 Cal. App 5th at 231. A company found to have violated Proposition 65 can be fined up to $2,500 per violation per day, which can quickly add up, especially if the violator sells multiple offending products on a regular/daily basis.
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Case Summary, Labor and Employment Law
Apr 11 | Case Summary, Labor and Employment Law
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March 2022 Case Summaries include issues with forum-selection clauses in California employment agreements subject to Labor Code Section 925, employment arbitration agreements, and the ability of trial courts to strike down PAGA claims.
Case Summary, Labor and Employment Law
Mar 16 | Case Summary, Labor and Employment Law
A man sitting at a desk writing with a pen and paper.
Case summaries for January and February 2022 include determining standards for evaluating whistleblower retaliation, rest-period requirements for motor carrier drivers, at-will employees suing employers for willful misrepresentation, and jury trials for PAGA actions.
Legal Alert, Insurance Coverage
Mar 11 | Legal Alert, Insurance Coverage
A businessman standing in the window of a high-rise building reading urgent business documents.
In another policyholder-friendly decision, a Texas federal court denied an insurer’s attempt to rely on an anti-indemnity statute to avoid a duty to defend an additional insured. Knife River Corporation - South, v. Zurich American Insurance Company, et al., No. 3:21-CV-1344-B, 2022 WL 686625 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 8, 2022) is a helpful ruling for builders and general contractors seeking coverage as an additional insured for claims that can be read as seeking to impose liability on the additional insured potentially based on the conduct of the named insured. While a number of states have passed anti-indemnity statutes like Texas’s, the case law on these statutes has favored policyholders, as courts have been reluctant to enforce anti-indemnity statutes against insureds. The Knife River decision is another example of a court refusing to use an anti-indemnity statute to limit the valuable right to additional-insured coverage that builders and general contractors negotiate with subcontractors.
Legal Alert, Insurance Coverage
Mar 11 | Legal Alert, Insurance Coverage
A businessman standing in the window of a high-rise building reading urgent business documents.
Insurers regularly argue that commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies are not performance bonds and therefore there is no coverage for claims seeking damages for defective or faulty workmanship. Insurers also argue there is no coverage for so-called “tear-out” or “rip-and-tear” damages, where fixing property damage requires replacing defective work that has not itself been damaged. Fortunately, in a newly decided case, a Texas federal district court rejected both arguments by an insurer.
Legal Alert, Labor and Employment Law
Mar 03 | Legal Alert, Labor and Employment Law
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On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021. The act passed both houses of the legislature with broad bipartisan support. The act, which is an amendment to Title IX of the U.S. Code (the Federal Arbitration Act), takes effect immediately, and renders invalid and unenforceable any predispute agreement to arbitrate with respect to claims relating to a sexual harassment dispute or sexual assault dispute, whether brought in a single plaintiff or class action lawsuit.
Legal Alert, Insurance Coverage
Feb 22 | Legal Alert, Insurance Coverage
A businessman standing in the window of a high-rise building reading urgent business documents.
The construction industry operates under the constant spectre of claims seeking damages for defective or faulty workmanship. Fortunately, the law in most states treats these claims as covered under commercial general liability (“CGL”) policies. A small minority of states take a much stingier view. In a newly decided case, a Pennsylvania federal court confirmed that Pennsylvania belongs to this small group of states that regard construction claims as not worthy of liability insurance coverage. Main St. Am. Assurance Co. v. Howard Lynch Plastering, Inc., No. CV 21-3977, 2022 WL 445768, (E.D. Pa. Feb. 14, 2022).
Legal Alert, Insurance Coverage
Feb 18 | Legal Alert, Insurance Coverage
A businessman standing in the window of a high-rise building reading urgent business documents.
For decades, an insurer’s duty to defend under Texas law was determined exclusively by reviewing the insurance contract and the allegations of the complaint under the “eight-corners rule.” All of this changed last week when, in a long-awaited decision, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that courts may consider extrinsic evidence to determine the existence of coverage in certain limited situations.
Legal Alert, Labor and Employment Law
Feb 09 | Legal Alert, Labor and Employment Law
A businessman standing in the window of a high-rise building reading urgent business documents.
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed new legislation, COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (Senate Bill 114), into law that will require all employers with more than 25 employees to provide their employees with up to 40 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave. The legislation is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2022 and is currently set to expire on Sept. 30, 2022.
Article, Insurance Coverage
Feb 07 | Article, Insurance Coverage
A table with a green plant, coffee cup, and a stack of print publications.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently confirmed that liability insurers have a duty to defend their insureds in construction defect cases when the underlying complaint alleges damage to property beyond the product and work of the insured – even if the complaint merely implies that the insured seeks such damage, without explicitly alleging so. Siplast, Incorporated v. Employers Mutual Casualty Company, No. 20-11076, 2022 WL 99303 (5th Cir. Jan. 11, 2022).

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