Contractor Prevailing Against Subcontractor On Common Law Indemnity Claim

Construction worker working with wooden beam

Brother’s Painting & Pressure Cleaning Corp. exemplifies the rare application of a common law indemnity scenario.

June 29, 2020
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

Common law indemnity is not an easy claim to prove as the one seeking common law indemnity MUST be without fault:

Indemnity is a right which inures to one who discharges a duty owed by him, but which, as between himself and another, should have been discharged by the other and is allowable only where the whole fault is in the one against whom indemnity is sought. It shifts the entire loss from one who, although without active negligence or fault, has been obligated to pay, because of some vicarious, constructive, derivative, or technical liability, to another who should bear the costs because it was the latter’s wrongdoing for which the former is held liable.

Brother’s Painting & Pressure Cleaning Corp. v. Curry-Dixon Construction, LLC, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D259b (Fla. 3d DCA 2020) quoting Houdaille Industries, Inc. v. Edwards, 374 So.2d 490, 492-93 (Fla. 1979).

Not only must the one seeking common law indemnity be without fault, but there also needs to be a special relationship between the parties (indemnitee and common law indemnitor) for common law indemnification to exist. Brother’s Painting & Pressure Cleaning Corp., supra (citation omitted). A special relationship has been found to exist between a general contractor and its subcontractors. Id. at n.2.

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



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