House Bill Clarifies Start Point for Florida’s Statute of Repose


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The Florida legislature recently enacted a law clarifying when the ten-year statute of repose begins to run for cases involving “improvements to real property,” as that phrase is used in Florida Statute Section 95.11. House Bill 377 was signed into law on June 14, 2017 and took effect in all cases accruing on or after July 1, 2017. This amendment is significant to subrogation professionals evaluating when cases involving contractors and design professionals are time barred.

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Academy Sports + Outdoors Recalls Crawfish Kits with Strainer


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On August 23, 2017, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

Academy Sports + Outdoors Recalls Crawfish Kits with Strainer Due to Fire Hazard

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Avoiding Split Decisions: The Pitfalls of Proceeding Separately from the Insured


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In subrogation actions, the insurer, as subrogee, steps into the shoes of its insured. However, problems can arise when an insured has uninsured losses. In this situation, both the insurer and the insured have a right to file suit against the tortfeasor. The possibility of two different lawsuits raises a number of issues, such as whether: 1) proceeding separately impermissibly splits the cause of action; 2) the insured’s attorney is entitled to attorney’s fees under the common fund doctrine; and 3) the insurer can proceed before the insured is made whole. In light of these issues, subrogating insurers should proceed with caution before filing suit separately from the insured.

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California Limits Indemnification Obligations of Design Professionals


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The California legislature recently enacted legislation – SB 496 – limiting a design professional’s indemnification obligations in private contracts related to design services. The term “design professional” refers to licensed architects, landscape architects and professional land surveyors, and registered professional engineers. As revised, Cal. Civ. Code § 2782.8 states that, for all contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2018 for design professional services, all provisions that purport to have the design professional indemnify the indemnitee for claims against the indemnitee – or require the design professional to provide a defense to the indemnitee – are unenforceable except to the extent that the claims against the indemnitee arise out of, or relate to, the negligence, recklessness or willful misconduct of the design professional. In addition, as revised, § 2782.8 limits a design professional’s liability for the cost of defense to the design professional’s percentage of fault.

The revised statute provides two exceptions. Pursuant to these exceptions, the limitations related to the duty and cost to defend do not apply to: 1) design service contracts where a project-specific general liability policy insures all project participants, including the design professional, and 2) a design professional who is a party to a written design-build, joint venture agreement.

Although this change in the law does not go into effect until January 1, 2018, the change serves as a reminder to subrogation professionals that, when faced with indemnification provisions in design or construction-related contracts, they should check local laws to determine the extent to which subrogating insurers can enforce such provisions.

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FedEx Supply Chain Recalls Cellphone Batteries


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On August 16, 2017, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

FedEx Supply Chain Recalls Cellphone Batteries That Could Lead to Fire and Burn Hazards

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Kawasaki Recalls All-Terrain Vehicles


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On August 10, 2017, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

Kawasaki Recalls All-Terrain Vehicles Due to Fire Hazard

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Firewood Recalls Vaporizers


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On August 7, 2017, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

Firewood Recalls Vaporizers Due to Fire Hazard

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Fred’s Recalls Charcoal Grills


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On August 2, 2017, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

Fred’s Recalls Charcoal Grills Due to Fire Hazard

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Nestlé Waters North America Recalls AccuPure Water Dispensers


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In subrogation cases where the insured’s damages were caused by a defective product, the fact that the product at issue is or was subject to a recall announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. On July 28, 2017, the CPSC announced the following recall related to a product that presents a fire hazard:

Nestlé Waters North America Recalls AccuPure Water Dispensers Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

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West Virginia Enacts “Innocent Seller” Legislation


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By: Edward A. Jaeger, Jr. and William L. Doerler

In products liability actions, in order to ensure that all potentially liable parties are included in a lawsuit, subrogation professionals often include strict liability claims against products sellers within the chain of distribution for a product. In West Virginia, the Legislature recently enacted legislation, W. Va. Code § 55-7-31, designed to protect “innocent” sellers from product liability lawsuits. The legislation states that, for actions involving a product sold on or after July 6, 2017, no product liability action – i.e. a strict liability action – can be maintained against a seller unless the seller meets one of the noted exceptions.

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