In Pulte Home Corp. v. American Safety Indemnity Co. (No. D070478; filed 8/30/17), a California appeals court found that manuscript additional insured endorsements on construction subcontractors’ policies were ambiguous regarding additional insured coverage for the developer, and that substantial evidence supported a finding that the insurer’s refusal to defend the developer was in bad faith. The court also approved awarding punitive damages on a one-to-one basis with the general damages. But the appeals court remanded the case for a further determination on the amount of Brandt fees, based on the developer’s change from a contingency to an hourly agreement.
The Pulte case arose from the development of two residential housing projects beginning in 2003 and sold in 2005-2006. Subcontractors were required to name Pulte as additional insured on their policies, some of them issued by American Safety. In 2013, homeowners sued Pulte based in part on the work of subcontractors insured by American Safety, which then denied coverage to Pulte because the construction had taken place years earlier.
Reprinted courtesy of Christopher Kendrick, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP and Valerie A. Moore, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP
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