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Andrews Myers
Business Insight from the Ground Up
Inside the Octagon Ring: Insurance Carrier vs. GC
by Mike Schiff   The policy, and not the carrier, determine the carrier’s duty to defend.  Well, to be more accurate, the policy and (assuming you find yourself in a lawsuit), the pleadings. Texas follows an “eight corners rule,” meaning that when a dispute arises between a carrier and its insured as to whether the carrier must provide a defense, the only two documents to which a court may look are the policy and the lawsuit.  (Each document having “four corners”, and 4+4 being 8).  It sounds simple enough, but anyone who’s tried to read their commercial general liability (CGL) policy can attest to just how confining those eight corners can be. 

A recent order in a San Antonio Federal District Court case, Mt. Hawley Insurance Company v. Slay Engineering, Texas Multi-Chem, and Huser Construction Company, Inc., demonstrates the complications that can arise and drives home an important lesson: don’t take your carrier’s word on a position that they don’t owe you coverage.  Read more...
The AM Austin Office
Welcomes Andrew Scott
Andrew Scott joined the Austin office as an associate in the litigation practice group.

Prior to joining the firm, Andrew was an Assistant Attorney General in Ken Paxton's office, where he managed a civil docket in both state and federal courts. 

Click here to learn more about Andrew.
Paid Sick Leave Ordinances
by Andy Clark   In the last week, we’ve seen two big changes in paid sick leave for Texas employees: 

Austin’s Paid Sick Leave Put on Hold

In a move that will relieve many employers throughout the state, the Texas Court of Appeals in Austin has temporarily enjoined the City of Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, which was previously scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2018. The ordinance, which would allow employees working in Austin to accrue up to 64 hours of paid sick leave annually, has not been permanently halted—but it will not go into effect while the Court’s decision is pending. Briefs in the case are due next month; we will keep you updated on any upcoming decision. 

Meanwhile, in San Antonio…
Employment Quick Takes
by Tony Stergio   Silica Citations:  OSHA continues to enforce its new silica regulations: The agency has issued 323 silica-related citations nationwide, carrying total penalties of $701,993 (an average of $2,173 per citation). 
New Mandatory Poster:  Texas employers with workers’ compensation insurance must post a new Ombudsman Program Notice that meets updated size requirements.  The text required by the Texas Administrative Code has not changed, but the posting must now be printed with a title that is at least 15-point bold type and have text that is at least 14-point normal type.  The posting must be in English, Spanish, and any other language that is common to the employer’s employees.
OSHA 300A Online Filing for 2017:  If you are in the construction industry and have 20 or more employees, the deadline to file your OSHA 300A online for 2007 was July 1, 2018.

If you missed this deadline, go ahead and still file your Form 300A. OSHA is not currently accepting (and is not currently enforcing the deadline for) Forms 300 or 301—but it's far better to file your forms late than not at all. OSHA only has six months to cite you for a late filing, but if you never file, it will likely be a continuing violation for which OSHA can continue to cite you in the future.

You may have heard that OSHA is planning to rescind the requirement that OSHA Forms 300 and 301 be submitted electronically. Employers with more than 250 employees will want to see whether the rule becomes final later this year. 

Note that even if the proposal becomes final, all construction employers with at least 20 employees will still be required to maintain Forms 300 and 301 (and have them ready for OSHA’s review), and will still need to file their Form 300A electronically.  March 2, 2019, is the deadline to file your 2018 Form 300A. 
The Fate of Proposition A gets Determined Tomorrow
by Jack Turano   Depending on how old you are, it was either the voice of Tom Hanks or James Lovell that came to mind after Hurricane Harvey, when we all thought, “Houston, we have a problem.”  For Harris County’s elected officials, failing to shore up Houston’s flood problems is not an option. 

Tomorrow, on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, Houstonians will decide the fate of the Harris County Flood Control District’s plan to mitigate the damage of future floods in Houston. The plan is Proposition A, which will authorize the county to issue $2.5 billion in bonds to fund flood risk reduction projects throughout Harris County and authorize the county to levy a tax to pay the interest on the bonds. Given that the Harris County Flood Control District’s budget currently totals $120 million, the funds provided through Proposition A would have a major impact on the City of Houston.  Read more.
AM Lawyers Make the Very Best Lawyers

Nine attorneys from Andrews Myers were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 25th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice areas of Corporate Law, Real Estate Law, Construction Law, and Litigation – Construction. Additionally, William K. “Bill” Andrews was further recognized as being one of the 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” award recipients.  Read more...

Join Us at Any of the Upcoming Special Events in August & September

August 27 - AM sponsors the ABC Houston Fall Sporting Clay Shoot
September 6 - AM sponsors AGC of Texas Scholarship Gala
September 7 - AM at ABC Central Texas Fall Clay Shoot
September 13-14 - Tony Stergio presents at OSHA Construction Safety Conference
September 20 - AM at ACEA Annual Fish Fry
September 21 - Elaine Howard presents to American Academy of Attorney-CPAs
September 22 - Cynthia Birdwell co-chairs AGC Houston APEX Awards
September 26 - AM sponsors AGC Austin 3rd Annual Sporting Clay Shoot
September 26 - Bill Andrews speaks at 8th International Society of Construction Law Conference
Litigation & Arbitration
Hurricane Harvey and the Case of a Crowded Courthouse
by Brittany Cooperrider   One year after Hurricane Harvey, the City of Houston and its many business owners are still feeling its impacts in innumerable and far-reaching ways. Many of our clients have cases pending in Harris County District Court, which has resulted in drawn out court dates, jockeying for court time and overcrowded courtrooms.

Why is this happening?  Well, the Harris County Criminal Justice Center was one of many buildings significantly damaged by water infiltration during Hurricane Harvey. As a result, many of the criminal courts were moved into the Harris County Civil District Courthouse, located at 201 Caroline Street. This move meant that many civil district courts were time-sharing court rooms with criminal courts, resulting in less availability for civil hearings and civil trial settings over the past year.  Read more... 
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