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Judy Mendoza

Judy Mendoza has written 62 posts for Schinnerer Risk Management Blog

Update on the saga of the “Leaning Tower of San Francisco”

Last year, I reported on the claims swirling around the 58-story Millennium Tower in San Francisco that has sunk about 17 inches and tilted 14 inches to the west and 6 inches to the north since it opened in 2009. Not much has changed in a year; litigation is still on-going and the parties are … Continue reading

Thinking about hiring a drone operator?

Design professionals frequently use drones (unmanned aerial systems) to help provide professional services. A recent article by Mark A. Dombroff, “Lessons in Liability: Drones 101,” reminds us to consider the regulatory and risk management issues that can arise from your relationship with a third-party drone provider. First, consider that accidents, while rare, do occur. Drones … Continue reading

Architects and ADA compliance

In September, the law firm of Collins Collins Muir + Stewart reported on three cases (two in Illinois and one in California) that may be signaling good news for architects when it comes to claims involving allegations of ADA non-compliance. In the case of Equal Rights Center v. Niles Bolton Associates, a disability advocacy group … Continue reading

Extended reporting periods—do I need one?

Because professional liability insurance policies are written on a “claims-made and reported basis,” there is no coverage for claims once the policy has terminated or been cancelled—unless you have an extended reporting period (ERP). An ERP extends the policy to allow for the reporting of claims that are made against you during the term of … Continue reading

DRBs help bring projects in on time and on budget

Dispute resolution boards (DRBs)—sometimes also referred to as dispute review boards—have been shown to significantly reduce claims and disputes on construction projects, resulting in greater cost savings for all of the stakeholders. A DRB is a panel of impartial, specifically-trained professionals formed at the beginning of a project that encourages resolution of disputes at the … Continue reading

Lessons learned from top employers

If You Build It, They Will Come Within 15 miles of one another in Northern California, Apple, Google, and Facebook are setting the standard for workplace glamour—all with an eye towards attracting the best and brightest talent. Facebook’s 430,000-square-foot building was designed by Gehry Partners and opened in 2015. It also reflects openness with what … Continue reading

Lessons learned from “leaning tower of San Francisco”

The Role of a Peer Reviewer By now, many of you are probably familiar with the litigation swirling around the Millennium Tower, San Francisco’s $350 million, 58-story condominium building. When it opened in 2008, it was touted as the most luxurious tower in San Francisco, attracting wealthy purchasers from tech millionaires, venture capitalists, and local … Continue reading

$227 million settlement reached in building collapse

A 2013 building collapse, which was discussed in our blog post, “2013 Philadelphia building collapse,” just settled for $227 million. After almost 4 years, including a 5-month trial, the 19 people who were killed or injured and their families will finally receive compensation. The trial was the longest in Philadelphia court history, and the settlement … Continue reading

Should you be concerned about consequential damage claims?

Recently, I’ve received a number of telephone calls from design firms concerned about consequential damage claims and contract language that refers to these damages. I thought it might be a good time to take a look at how this affects design professionals. Here are some of the questions I’ve received: 1. “What are consequential damages?” … Continue reading

Case study: good news for architect defending public nuisance lawsuit

The following case study shows the importance of a well-drafted professional services agreement that clearly delineates a firm’s scope of services and explicitly places responsibility for site safety with the contractor. If the agreement provides for any construction phase services by the design professional, the agreement should include express language that the contractor is solely … Continue reading