General Indemnity Agreement Can Come Back to Bite You

Two businessmen on table with contract and coffee cups

GIA’s are the agreements that allow a bonding provider to recoup any money paid out pursuant to either a payment or performance bond.

October 21, 2019
Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings

I talk about payment bonds often here at Construction Law Musings. I talk a bit less about performance bonds and even less about the General Indemnity Agreements (GIA) that are signed by companies and their principals as part of the agreement between a construction company and its bonding company for the provision of these bonds. However, this does not mean that these GIA’s are not important. In fact, these are the agreements that allow a bonding provider to recoup any money paid out pursuant to either a payment or performance bond.

A 2018 case illustrates their importance. In Allegheny Cas. Co. v. River City Roofing, LLC, the Court considered a claim by Allegheny seeking both specific performance of the collateral agreement and reimbursement of certain expenses and investigative costs expended by Allegheny pursuant to its performance bond. Allegheny sought to be reimbursed for certain payments for siding work, investigative costs, and costs spent enforcing the GIA. Allegheny further sought to force the defendants to post sufficient collateral. To do so, Allegheny sued in the Eastern District of Virginia and then moved for summary judgment stating that the GAI uneuivocally required such a result due to the good faith payment for the siding work and the plain language of the GIA.

In response, the Defendants, River City Roofing and its principals that had personally guaranteed the indemnity, argued that the GIA did not apply to the siding work because only the roofing contract was subject to the performance bond and that any bond claims for which collateral was demanded were inchoate and therefore not proper for specific performance.

Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrisghill@constructionlawva.com



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