Oregon Supreme Court Confirms Broad Duty to Defend

November 21, 2017
Theresa A. Guertin - Saxe Doernberger & Vita, P.C. Blog

Originally published by CDJ on January 13, 2017

The Supreme Court of Oregon issued a decision at the end of last year which perfectly illustrates the lengths to which a court may go to grant a contractor’s claim for defense from its insurer in a construction defect suit. In West Hills Development Co. v. Chartis Claims, Inc.,1 the Court held that a subcontractor’s insurer had a duty to defend a general contractor as an additional insured because the allegations of a homeowner’s association’s complaint could be interpreted to fall within the ambit of coverage provided under the policy—despite the fact that the policy only provided ongoing operations coverage, and despite the fact that the subcontractor was never mentioned in the complaint. The decision is favorable to policyholders but also provides an important lesson: that contractors may avoid additional insured disputes if those contractors have solid contractual insurance requirements for both ongoing and completed operations risks.

Ms. Guertin may be contacted at tag@sdvlaw.com


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