All Class A commercial contractors in Virginia are required to have a minimum level of Commercial General Liability (CGL) coverage. As a general rule, this insurance is there for damage to property or persons arising from an “occurrence” that is covered by the policy. Many cases that are litigated relating to coverage for certain events under a CGL policy turn on the definition of “occurrence” and whether the event leading to a request for coverage constitutes an “occurrence.”
A recent case in Fairfax County, Virginia, Erie Insurance Exchange v. Spalding Enterprises, et al., is just such a case. In the Spalding Enterprises case, the Court considered the following scenario. A homeowner, Mr. Yen contracted with Spalding Enterprises to fix some fire damage at his home. Spalding promised the repairs would be complete in October of 2019. However, after Mr. Yen paid a $300,000.00 deposit, Spalding Enterprises stated that the work would not be completed until November of 2019. Yen then fired Spalding Enterprises and sued for breach of contract, constructive fraud, and violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Spalding Enterprises sought coverage from Erie Insurance for the claim and Erie denied coverage and sought a declaratory judgment that the events alleged in the Complaint by Mr. Yen did not fall under the definition of “occurrence” in the CGL policy held by Spalding Enterprises.