Waive It Goodbye: Despite Evidence to the Contrary, Delaware Upholds an AIA Waiver of Subrogation Clause

Senior woman in subway hallway waving goodbye

A waiver of subrogation can doom what otherwise may have been a strong case.

April 19, 2022
Lian Skaf - The Subrogation Strategist

Subrogation professionals have always been looking for ways to defeat onerous waiver of subrogation provisions in contracts signed by insureds. However, even when contracts are unsigned, if there is intent when the contract is made – usually long before a loss occurs – a waiver of subrogation can doom what otherwise may have been a strong case. The Superior Court of Delaware considered such a scenario to determine whether a waiver of subrogation provision applied to a multimillion-dollar subrogation case.

In State of Delaware Insurance Coverage Office and Factory Mutual Insurance Co., both as subrogee of the University of Delaware v. DiSabatino Construction Co., Schlosser & Associates Mechanical Contractors, Inc. and V.E. Guerrazzi, Inc., C.A. No. N19C-08-080, 2022 Del. Super. LEXIS 108 (March 17, 2022), the court granted the defendants’ motions for summary judgment, holding that the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by a waiver of subrogation provision in the underlying contract. Thus, the court held that the plaintiffs could not pursue the defendants in their suit to recover damages as a result of a fire. The court specifically denied the plaintiffs’ argument that since the contract was not signed and another “short form” version was later used the waiver of subrogation provision should not apply.

Mr. Skaf may be contacted at skafl@whiteandwilliams.com



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