CGL Insurer’s Duty To Defend Broader Than Duty To Indemnify And Based On Allegations In Underlying Complaint

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Attorney David Adelstein analyzes the case Southern Owners Ins. Co. v. Gallo Building Services, Inc.

April 10, 2019
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

The duty to defend an insured with respect to a third-party claim is broader than the duty to indemnify the insured for that claim. The duty to defend is triggered by allegations in the underlying complaint. However, an insurer is only required to indemnify its insured for damages covered under the policy. A recent case example demonstrating the duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify can be found in Southern Owners Ins. Co. v. Gallo Building Services, Inc., 2018 WL 6619987 (M.D.Fla. 2019).

In this case, a homebuilder built a 270-unit condominium project where the units were included in 51-buildings. Upon turnover of the condominium association to the unit owners, the condominium association served a Florida Statutes Chapter 558 Notice of Construction Defects letter. There was numerous nonconforming work spread out among various subcontractor trades including nonconforming stucco work. The homebuilder incurred significant costs to repair defective work and resulting property damage, and relocated unit owners during repairs. The homebuilder then filed a lawsuit against implicated subcontractors. One of the implicated subcontractors was the stucco subcontractor.

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com



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