One of the defects du jour we have been seeing in our practice the last few years relates to exterior finishes on buildings, primarily claims of excess cracking and/or debonding of stucco resulting in water intrusion issues. Initially, plaintiffs were content with remedying the alleged defects in the stucco by location; however, more and more experts are now calling for the complete replacement of exterior wall systems. Recently, we had a case where an expert was claiming the stucco had to be completely removed and replaced on all four faces of a hi-rise residential condominium because it was debonding (despite the fact it took a jackhammer to even loosen the stucco). We have also seen proposals to replace stucco with an Exterior Insulation and Finish System (“EIFS”), a synthetic product that looks like stucco. However, EIFS is not a perfect solution and has problems of its own.
With more than 70 percent of omen with children currently in the workforce, pregnancy discrimination is the fastest growing area of discrimination cases in the United States. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) asserts that over the last 10 years pregnancy discrimination charges filed with the EEOC have increased over 35 percent. While many pregnant workers are able to continue working throughout their pregnancy, fully understanding the legal rights afforded to pregnant workers under the applicable laws, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), is necessary for the full protection of our pregnant workers, especially those workers who experience pregnancy-related complications.
The December 16, 2013, decision issued by the United States Supreme Court inHeimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 134 S. Ct. 604 (2013), spread holiday cheer throughout the insurance industry. In Heimeshoff, the Court unanimously held that contractual limitations periods contained within employee benefit plans covered by ERISA are generally enforceable even when the contractual limitation period begins to run before a participant’s cause of action under 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a)(1)(b) has accrued. See Heimeshoff, 134 S. Ct. at 608.