The Supreme Court for West Virginia determined the policy's contractual assumption exclusion barred coverage for the general contractor based upon claims of faulty workmanship. J.A. St & Assocs. v. Bitco Gen. Ins. Corp., 2019 W. Va. LEXIS 205 (May 1, 2019).
J.A. Street & Associates, Inc. entered a contract with the developer, Thundering Herd Development, L.L.C., to build a commercial shopping center on seventy-eight acres of land. Street agreed to oversee the site preparation for the development and the construction of many of the buildings. Thundering Herd retained an engineering firm, S&ME, Inc. to do geotechnical exploration and to provide advice regarding land preparation for the shopping center. Thundering Heard also entered an agreement with the Target Corporation to construct a store on a pad to be prepared at the shopping center.
Street hired subcontractors to prepare the site by grading the land and installing fill material. A slope was constructed at the rear of the proposed Target site, but it failed, causing a landslide, damage to the pad, and damage to adjacent property owned by a third party. Thundering Heard incurred $721,875 in additional costs to repair this slope, reconstruct the Target site, and compensate the neighbor for the damage to the adjacent property.