Justia Construction Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Ohio Supreme Court
Westfield Ins. Co. v. Custom Agri Sys., Inc.
Younglove Construction entered into a contract with PSD Development for the construction of a feed-manufacturing plant. When PSD withheld payment, Younglove brought this diversity suit against PSD and three other defendants. In its answer, PSD alleged it had sustained damages as a result of defects in a steel grain bin constructed by Custom Agri Systems, Inc. as a subcontractor. Younglove filed a third-party complaint against Custom Agri Systems, Inc. for contribution and indemnity. Custom turned to its insurer, Westfield Insurance Company, to defend and indemnify it in the litigation. Westfield intervened to pursue a judgment declaring it had no such duty under the terms of its commercial general liability (CGL) policy with Custom. At issue was whether the claims against Custom sought compensation for "property damage" caused by an "occurrence" under the policy. The district court granted summary judgment for Westfield. On appeal, the federal court of appeals certified questions of state law to the Supreme Court. The Court answered by holding that claims of defective construction or workmanship brought by a property owner are not claims for "property damage" caused by an "occurrence" under a CGL. View "Westfield Ins. Co. v. Custom Agri Sys., Inc." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Ruscilli Constr. Co. v. Indus. Comm’n
David Barno, a temporary worker on a construction project, alleged that he was injured as a result of Ruscilli Construction Company's violation of a specific safety requirement (VSSR) pertaining to floor openings on construction sites. After a workers' compensation claim was allowed, Barno filed an application for additional compensation with Industrial Commission of Ohio, alleging a violation of Ohio Admin. Code 4123:1-3-04(D). A Commission staff hearing officer (SHO) found that Ruscilli had violated section 4123:1-3-04(D)(1). The court of appeals vacated the SHO's order and remanded the cause to the Commission, finding that the order misinterpreted the applicable safety requirement and that it was based on significant mistakes of fact. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the SHO's order contained at least four major errors involving both law and fact, and therefore, the order was premised in findings that lacked evidentiary support. View "State ex rel. Ruscilli Constr. Co. v. Indus. Comm'n " on Justia Law
Jones v. Centex Homes
Appellants, homeowners, filed suit against Centex Homes, alleging various causes of action, including breach of contract, breach of express and implied warranty, and failure to perform in a workmanlike manner. Centex Homes moved for summary judgment, arguing that Appellants had waived all warranties except the specific limited warranty that Centex Homes provided in the sales agreements. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals and remanded for a trial on Appellants' tort claims that Centex Homes breached its duty to construct their homes in a workmanlike manner using ordinary care, as (1) in Ohio a duty to construct houses in a workmanlike manner using ordinary care is imposed by law on all home builders; and (2) a home buyer cannot waive his right to enforce the home builder's duty to construct the house in a workmanlike manner. Remanded. View "Jones v. Centex Homes" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Am. Subcontractors Ass’n v. Ohio State Univ.
Ohio State University entered into an agreement for construction-management services with Turner Construction Company for a construction project. Later, Ohio State selected Turner to serve as construction manager at risk through a qualifications-based selection process rather than going through a traditional competitive bidding process. Ohio State did not require Turner to furnish a surety bond to secure the performance of Turner and its subcontractors. Three trade associations, two that advance the interests of subcontractors (ASA and ASA-Ohio) and one that advances the interests of sureties (SFAA), filed an action for a writ of mandamus to compel Ohio State to require that Turner furnish a bond as construction manager at risk. The Supreme Court dismissed the claims of ASA and ASA-Ohio and denied SFAA's mandamus claim, holding that (1) because ASA and ASA-Ohio did not establish that any of their members had been injured by Ohio State's decision, they lacked standing to raise their mandamus claim; and (2) because the applicable legislation does not require a bonding requirement, SFAA was not entitled to the requested relief in mandamus.