Hartford must defend masonry company

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A unit of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. must defend a masonry company in a construction defect litigation, a federal district court said, granting the company partial summary judgments in the case.

San Jose-based Pacific Bay Masonry Inc., a construction company that does masonry work, entered into a sub-contract with general contractor Deacon Corp., based in Portland, Ore., In 2014 to perform masonry work for a new mall in Oakland, Calif., according to the decision released Thursday by the U.S. District Court in San Francisco in Pacific Bay Masonry Inc. v. Navigators Specialty Insurance Co.

In 2017, a successor to the mall owner filed a lawsuit against Deacon and others in state court, alleging various construction defects, according to the ruling. Deacon then filed a counterclaim against the real estate developer and others, including PBM, according to the ruling.

PBM has filed a lawsuit against its insurer, Hartford Unites Navigators, after refusing to defend or indemnify it in the case. PBM brought an action against the insurer, seeking a partial summary judgment that the insurer was obligated to defend it.

The court ruled in favor of PBM. The complaint against PBM alleged that his work “resulted in damage to property other than his own,” which is covered by his policy, according to the ruling.

Conflicting statements in the owner’s complaint and an appeal with his attorney “may demonstrate the existence of a dispute as to whether property damage to third parties is due to PBM’s work. This does not extinguish the duty to defend as the contested factors are taken into account in the duty to defend analysis, ”the ruling said.

“In summary, this order concludes that Navigator had a duty to defend PBM in thunderous action,” he said.

PBM attorney Brian D. Cronin, partner of Prenovost, Normandin, Dawe & Rocha APC in Santa Ana, Calif., Said in a statement: “The court order is an important justification for the rights of companies as than insured throughout the State of California.

“The ruling sets out a simple and sensible interpretation of the standard CGL insurance policy, the terms of which have been wrong with their policyholders by insurance companies for far too long.”

Lawyers for the mariners did not respond to a request for comment.


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