Ed Garson is a trial lawyer with experience in large, complex, high-exposure civil matters involving a wide range of issues, from professional liability and financial fraud to construction accidents and property damage.
A primary focus of Ed’s practice involves the defense of construction liability and defect matters, with particular experience representing steel erectors and crane companies in personal injury, property damage and impact claims. Ed also has a significant practice defending insurance brokers and agents, architects and engineers, financial advisors, lawyers, and real estate brokers and agents in professional malpractice litigation.
Ed’s litigation approach emphasizes early, cost-effective claims resolution, with the ability to go to trial if that strategy best serves the interests of the client. He has taken many cases to verdict, including trials lasting more than six months. He has appeared before California federal and state courts and argued appeals in the California Court of Appeals, California Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He also has been admitted pro hac vice in the Territory of Guam and the State of Washington in order to try major cases on behalf of clients.
Prior to joining Wilson Elser in 1987, Ed was a deputy attorney general for the Office of the Attorney General for the State of California, Torts and Condemnation Division.
Areas of Focus
Ed has handled all types of construction-related legal matters, from dispute resolution to contract negotiation. He has defended contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers and material suppliers in construction liability and defect cases. He has developed extensive experience defending construction matters involving injuries to ironworkers, as well as equipment suppliers such as cranes, scissor and aerial lifts. He also has handled environmental exposure cases involving silica, asbestos, ground and water pollution, and construction-related toxic releases. His knowledge extends to issues of construction contract terms and conditions, additional insured coverage, and contractual indemnity.
In the professional liability area, Ed has defended insurance brokers and agents, architects and engineers, financial advisors, lawyers, and real estate brokers and agents in both trials and appeals. He is the co-coordinator of the firm’s insurance professionals group within the Specialty Professional Risks practice. The group is focused on the representation of insurance brokers and agents, as well as other types of insurance professionals such as MGAs, TPAs, actuaries, investigators, program administrators and loss control/risk management consultants, in the defense of errors and omissions claims.
California Supreme Court
Fourth District Reverses Lower Court Ruling in Construction Defect Litigation
Fourth District Reverses Lower Court Ruling in Construction Defect Litigation
February 18, 2015
In an opinion issued on January 22, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeals left the door open for an insured in a multi-carrier insurance coverage case to attempt the allocation of settlement monies away from defense costs and essentially “pocket” settlements - attributing them to Brandt fees - while continuing its efforts against non-settling carriers.
California Supreme Court Holds Design Professionals Owe a Duty of Care to Future Homeowners
Design Professionals’ Duty of Care to Future Homeowners
July 11, 2014
On July 3, 2014, the California Supreme Court held that, based on common law principles, an architect owes a “duty of care” to future homeowners in the design of a residential building. To what extent the design professional must assume a role of principal architect or become involved in the construction phase before a duty will run to the ultimate purchaser of the condominium remains an open question.
Court Confirms the Limited Duty of an Insurance Broker to Procure Only Coverage Requested by the Insured
CA Court Confirms Insurance Broker’s Limited Duty under Policy
November 8, 2013
A recent California Court of Appeal case confirms the limited duty of an insurance broker only to use reasonable care, diligence and judgment in procuring the insurance requested by an insured. The court rejected arguments that the duty of an insurance broker to its client should be expanded for policy reasons.
California Appellate Court Expands Rights to Homeowners in Construction Defect Cases beyond Remedies Provided in the California Right to Repair Act
CA Expands Rights to Homeowners in Construction Defect Cases
September 19, 2013
The California Court of Appeals (Fourth District) has held that the Right to Repair Act does not provide the exclusive remedy to homeowners in cases where actual damage has occurred because of construction defects, thereby upholding a homeowner’s common law rights and remedies to seek actual damages despite noncompliance with the terms and conditions required for relief under the Act.
California Appellate Court Confirms Cap on Past Medical Expenses Applies to Medicare Payments and Should Be Imposed before Further Reductions for Contributory Negligence
Cap on Past Medical Expenses Applies to Medicare Payments
April 25, 2013
This decision limits recovery of past medical expenses to the amount paid for services, refuting the argument that a cap should not apply where payments have been made by Medicare or Medi-Cal. In short, a plaintiff may recover only what he has lost - and no more.
California Supreme Court Grants Review of Appellate Ruling in Beacon v. Skidmore
UPDATE: CA Supreme Court to Review Design Professionals Case
March 11, 2013
The California Court of Appeal held that design professionals owe a duty of care to condo homeowners for professional negligence. The California Supreme Court recently granted a petition to review, which renders the Court of Appeal opinion void and under California rules it may not be cited as authority.
No Recovery for Emotional Distress If Claimant Had No Contemporaneous Awareness That Defective Product Was Cause of Injury
CA Limits Recovery for Emotional Distress in Bystander Cases
January 25, 2013
The California Court of Appeal affirmed a lower court decision that bystander liability is allowed only in cases where the plaintiff was able to observe the event and perceive that the defective product was the cause of pain or injury to their relative. While noting that the lines restricting bystander recovery are “arbitrary,” the Court of Appeal stated that, nevertheless, those lines are binding.
CA Court of Appeal Holds Design Professionals Owe a Duty of Care to Condo Homeowners for Professional Negligence
Design Professionals’ Duty of Care
December 20, 2012
California’s First District Court of Appeal finds common law and statutory duties extend from design professionals to ultimate purchasers of residential construction. Despite the extensive analysis by the court, there remain open questions regarding the extent of the duty of care of design professionals to ultimate purchasers.
Insurance Agency Risk Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Avoiding E&O Claims
Additional Insureds and Related Topics
December 17, 2012
California Appellate Court Extends Completed and Accepted” Doctrine to Architects’ Field Operations
CA: “Completed & Accepted” Doctrine Covers Architects’ Field Ops
November 8, 2012
While a California Appellate Court extended the “completed and accepted” doctrine to architects’ field operations, it limits application of the doctrine to patent defects and activities in the field - the doctrine does not apply to claims of error in the development of plans and specifications.
California Legislature Limits Depositions in Civil Cases to Seven Hours
Depositions in Civil Cases
September 20, 2012
California’s governor has signed Assembly Bill 1875, which limits the length of depositions in civil cases. The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2013.
California Supreme Court Affirms Strong Policy in Favor of Arbitration, Affirming Mandatory Arbitration Clause in CC&Rs for Construction Defect Litigation
Mandatory Arbitration Clause
August 20, 2012
In Pinnacle Museum Tower Association v. Pinnacle Market Development, the California Supreme Court’s opinion demonstrates a strong public policy in favor of the mandatory arbitration of disputes. This case has clear implications regarding the enforceability of mandatory arbitration provisions in many other areas as well.
California Supreme Court Reaffirms Qualified Work Product Protection of Witness Statements
July 11, 2012
A recent California Supreme Court decision reaffirmed the need for clients to communicate with counsel early concerning the investigation conducted after an accident. The attorney can then direct the necessary investigation and analyze the manner in which witness information should be obtained to provide the necessary work product protection should the matter result in litigation.
California Court Holds Broker Has No Duty to Advise Additional OCIP Insured of Carrier’s Insolvency
March 5, 2012
In Pacific Rim Mechanical Contractors, Inc. v. Aon Risk Insurance Services West, Inc., a case of first impression, the court held that an insurance broker, after procuring a policy of insurance for a developer on a construction project, does not owe a duty to apprise a subcontractor that was later added as an insured under that policy of the insurance company’s subsequent insolvency, absent the assumption of a contractual duty to do so.
Chartis’s Legal Insights Publishes Two Articles by Wilson Elser Attorneys in the Winter 2012 Issue
January 10, 2012
Legal Insights has published two articles by California-based Wilson Elser attorneys in its winter 2012 issue.
Urgency of Filing Actions for Contributions
January 10, 2012
Recent California Court of Appeal decision alerts insurers who want to seek contribution from other insurers to the risk that any claims should be asserted during the two-year limitations period or risk having the claim lost.
Subcontractors’ Revolt Takes Hold in California: New Law Bans Indemnity for Active Negligence in Construction Contracts
SB 474, recently signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. bans so-called “Type I” indemnity agreements that require subcontractors to assume liability for general contractors’ negligence.
California Supreme Court Limits Recovery by Injured Workers: The Duty to Provide a Safe Workplace Under Cal-OSHA is Presumed to be Delegated to the Subcontractor
On August 22, 2011 the California Supreme Court made claims by injured workers against general contractors more difficult when it held in Seabright Insurance v. U.S. Airways that the hirer of a subcontractor presumably delegates to the subcontractor any duties that arise regarding a safe workplace for the subcontractor’s employees.
California Supreme Court Saves Defendants Millions in Limiting Negotiated Rates as the Measure of Medical Expenses in Personal Injury Cases
Today, the Supreme Court of California held that unpaid medical expenses are not economic damages and therefore not recoverable. Plaintiffs may be awarded no more than the amount the medical providers accepted as full payment for their services.
“California Court Holds Broker Has No Duty to Advise Additional OCIP Insured of Carrier’s Insolvency,” Wilson Elser Client Alert, March 2, 2012.
“Urgency of Filing Actions for Contributions,” Wilson Elser Client Alert, January 2012.
“Subcontractors’ Revolt Takes Hold in California: New Law Bans Indemnity for Active Negligence in Construction Contracts,” Wilson Elser Client Alert, October 2011.
“California Supreme Court Limits Recovery by Injured Workers: The Duty to Provide a Safe Workplace Under Cal-OSHA is Presumed to be Delegated to the Subcontractor,” Wilson Elser Client Alert, August 2011.
“California Supreme Court Saves Defendants Millions in Limiting Negotiated Rates as the Measure of Medical Expenses in Personal Injury Cases,” Wilson Elser Client Alert, August 2011.
“If It’s Not In Writing, It Doesn’t Exist: Williams v. HRH,” Insurance Education Association Blog at http://blogs.ieatraining.com/2009/10/20/if-its-not-in-writing-it-doesnt-exist.aspx, November 2009.
“California update: Rowdy Elsner v. Carl Uveges ,” Wilson Elser Client Alert, February 2005.
“California Update, Hartford Casualty Insur. Co. v. Mt. Hawley Insur. Co .: Subcontractor’s Insurer May Not Obtain Contribution From General’s Insurer Where Contract Provides For Indemnity,” Wilson Elser Client Alert, November 2004.
The Lessons of Brinker: The Status Meal Breaks In California
June 15, 2012
San Mateo County Restaurant Seminar
Edward Garson Moderates Panel at Construction SuperConference
January 10, 2012
“Recent Developments in Risk Allocation,” California Crane Owners Association Annual Conference, Silverado, CA, May 19, 2012.
“Emerging Risks to the Design Professional: Successor Liability on Abandoned Projects and Special Risks Associated with Green Projects” (with Louis Castoria and Ian Stewart), Markel, Deerfield, IL, May 15, 2012.
Moderator, “AI and Contractual Indemnity Update Post-Crawford,” Construction SuperConference, San Francisco, CA, December 18-19, 2011.
“Adventures in Blunderland: Way to Avoid E&O Exposure,” Surplus Lines Association, Los Angeles, CA, and San Francisco, CA, November 9-10, 2010.
“Contacts and Contracts: Have Your Ducks in Order Before Catastrophe Hits,” Northern California Crane Owners Association annual meeting, Lake Tahoe, NV, May 2010.
“Financial Fraud: What Was Old Is New Again,” Lancer Claims, CalSurance, April 2009.
“Construction Accident Liability: Privette, Elsner and Beyond,” Gallagher Bassett, Old Republic Insurance Company, Arch Insurance Company, April 2009.
“Investigating Catastrophic Construction Claims” (with Glen Fuerth), Northern California Crane Owners Association, September, 2008.
“What You Should Know About Risk Spreading,” Northern California Crane Owners Association, December 2007.
“Construction Defect Claims: Whose Liability Is It? (How Responsibility For Claims Can Be Redistributed),” Nova Pro Risk Solutions, Zurich Insurance Company, 2007.
“Driving Toward Resolution,” “Answer, Demurrer or Otherwise Respond,” “Last 120 Days Before Trial,” “The First 30 Days,” “Anatomy of a Trial,” “The Care and Feeding of Documents,” “Time Keeping and Time Management,” “Writing and Responding to Discovery,” and “Anatomy of an Insurance Broker Case,” Wilson Elser in-house training, various dates and locations.
Legal Insights Publishes Two Articles by Wilson Elser Partners
April 25, 2013
Specialty Profession Services Contributes to Agents of America e-Book, Insurance Agency Risk Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Avoiding E&O Claims
January 16, 2012