Eleventh Circuit Vacates District Court Decision Finding No Duty to Defend Faulty Workmanship Claims

Judge sitting behind bench (illustration)

Attorney Tred R. Eyerly analyzes Southern-Owners Ins. Co. v. Mac Contractors of Florida, LLC.

November 2, 2020
Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to the insurer finding there was no duty to defend. Southern-Owners Ins. Co. v. Mac Contractors of Florida, LLC, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 23918 (11th Cir. July 29, 2020).

Mac Contractors entered into a contract with homeowners to serve as general contractor for the construction of a custom residence. Problems arose during construction and Mac eventually led the job site before completing the project. The home owners sued, alleging that Mac and its subcontractors had left the residence "replete with construction defects." Damages were sought for having to repair and remediate all defective work performed by Mac.

Mac tendered under its CGL policy to its insurer, Southern-Owners. A defense was granted, but later withdrawn when Southern-Owners filed suit seeking a declaration that it owed no duty to defend or indemnify Mac. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court found in favor of Southern-Owners based on the exclusion for "Damage to Your Work." The Eleventh Circuit vacated on appeal, concluding that the underlying complaint could fairly be construed to allege damages that fell outside of the exclusion.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com



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