In Ace American Insurance Company, et. al. v. Toledo Engineering Co., Inc., et. al., No. 18-11503, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15222 (Ace American), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan determined whether insurers could pursue their subrogation claims against the defendants despite a waiver of subrogation in each of the contracts the insured had with the respective defendants. Based on the language of the contracts and the circumstances leading up to the loss, the court held that the insurers could not pursue their subrogation claims – other than their claims for gross negligence – due to waivers of subrogation in the applicable contracts.
In Ace American, the insured, Guardian Industries, LLC (Guardian), retained Toledo Engineer Co., Inc. (TECO) and Dreicor, Inc. (Dreicor) to renovate a glass furnace in the insured’s glass manufacturing plant. Guardian and TECO entered into a contract on December 6, 2016. Guardian and Dreicor entered into a contract on September 29, 2013, that the parties later updated on June 3, 2016. Both defendants began work on the project in the spring of 2017 and were finished with the portion of the work known as the “Cold Tank Repair” prior to the loss.
On June 3, 2017, there was an explosion and fire at the plant that caused significant property damage. The plaintiff insurers (Plaintiffs) made payments in the amount of $80 million and became subrogated to its insured’s rights. Plaintiffs then initiated this action.