Co-op and condo sponsors could face more litigation after a Court of Appeals Ruling this week in Assured Guaranty (UK) Ltd., v. J. P. Morgan Investment Management Inc. While the case had nothing to do with housing, it reversed a commonly held belief that the Martin Act, empowering the State Attorney General to regulate securities disclosures, pre-empted a private right of action. The court decided that plaintiff’s common-law claims for breach of fiduciary duty and gross negligence are not preempted by the Act. This could open the door to more shareholder and resident suits.
In a double whammy for property owners, the court also opened the door for Scaffold Law liability on dumpsters. In Ortiz v. Varsity Holdings, LLC, it denied summary judgment in a case where a worker trying to make room in a dumpster fell off the edge onto the street. The case was sent back to the lower courts to determine if safety equipment should have been provided. Now the courts will have to consider if every dumpster needs a scaffold or safety harness of some sort.
Speaking of injuries, the Building Congress analyzed 2010 Census data to determine that the number of uninsured workers in the construction industry rose 4 percent to 49 percent last year. The total number of jobs continued to fall.