Fifth Circuit: Primary Insurer Relieved of Duty to Defend Without Release of Liability of Insured

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Bethany L. Barrese and Ashley McWilliams discuss Aggreko, LLC v. Chartis Specialty Ins. Co.

March 2, 2020
Bethany L. Barrese & Ashley McWilliams - Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.

In Aggreko, LLC v. Chartis Specialty Ins. Co.,1 the Fifth Circuit affirmed a decision by the Texas District Court and held that a Covenant Not to Execute constituted a “settlement” sufficient to exhaust policy limits and terminate a primary insurer’s duty to defend.

This case arose out of a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of James Brenek II (“Brenek”). In 2014, Brenek was fatally electrocuted by an electrically energized generator housing cabinet while performing work on a rig in Texas for Guichard Operating Company, LLC (“Guichard”), a Louisiana-based drilling subcontractor. Guichard had leased the generator from Aggreko, LLC (“Aggreko”). A rental agreement between Guichard and Aggreko required Guichard to maintain commercial general liability insurance during the lease period and list Aggreko and the rig owner, Rutherford Oil Corporation (“Rutherford”), as additional insureds under
the policy.

Guichard’s primary insurance carrier, The Gray Insurance Company (“Gray”), agreed to defend and indemnify Aggreko and Rutherford in the wrongful death suit. The Gray policy had a limit of $1,000,000, subject to a $50,000 self-insured retention.

Reprinted courtesy of Bethany L. Barrese, Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C. and Ashley McWilliams, Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C.
Ms. Barrese may be contacted at
Ms. McWilliams may be contacted at


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