In the 2019 edition of SDV’s Top Ten Insurance Cases, we probe wiretapping claims under an armed security services policy, delicately sniff out E&O coverage for a company using cow manure to create electricity, scour the earth for coverage for crumbling foundation claims, and inspect D&O policies for government investigation coverage. In addition, we preview some important and exciting decisions due in 2020. Without further ado, SDV raises the curtain on the most informative and influential insurance
coverage decisions of 2019.1
1. ACE American Ins. Co. v. American Medical Plumbing, Inc.,
206 A.3d 437 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2019)
April 4, 2019
Is waiver of subrogation language in a standard AIA201 contract sufficient to bar an insurer’s subrogation rights?
The New Jersey Supreme Court held that it was. Equinox Development obtained a comprehensive blanket all-risk policy with limits of $32 million per occurrence from ACE American Ins. Co. (“ACE”). The policy covered Equinox’s new project in Summit, New Jersey. Equinox hired Grace Construction as GC, who in turn subcontracted the plumbing scope of work to American Medical Plumbing, Inc. (“American”). After completion of the work under the subcontract, a water main failed and flooded the entire project. ACE paid the limits of the policy and subrogated against American to recover its losses. American argued that there was a waiver of subrogation in the AIA201 contract that barred the suit. ACE challenged the validity of the AIA provision, arguing that it applied only to claims before completion of construction and that it only applied to damage to the work itself and not to adjacent property. The court rejected both arguments, finding that the AIA provision effectively barred ACE’s subrogation claim. This decision provides guidance on a frequently used contract form for contractors across the country.
Reprinted courtesy of Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C. attorneys Jeffrey J. Vita, Grace V. Hebbel and Andrew G. Heckler
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