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Big Policyholder Win in Michigan

Jeremiah Welch and Michael Barrese recently had a big win in front of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The case (Skanska-Schweitzer v. Farm Bureau General Insurance Company of Michigan) involved Skanska’s claim for defense and indemnity from Farm Bureau Ins. Co. of Michigan for an injury to an elementary school student arising out of the removal of playground equipment by a landscaping company, Horrocks. Farm Bureau denied coverage because it claimed that the work was not part of Horrocks’ contract with the project owner and therefore Skanska, the construction manager, did not qualify as an additional insured on the policy.

SDV argued that the AI endorsement did not specify that Horrocks’ work be performed as part of its contract with the owner; it only required that the work be performed “for Skanska.”

The trial court granted summary judgment to Farm Bureau because there was no evidence that the removal of the playground equipment was part of the contract with the owner.

However, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision. It found that the AI endorsement did not require Horrocks’ work to be performed under a specific contract; it only had to be performed “for Skanska.” Because the removal of the playground equipment occurred on the project site where Skanska was the construction manager, Skanksa was actively involved in the procuring of Horrocks’ services, and Horrocks submitted a change order indicating that the work was performed for Skanska, summary judgment should have been denied.

The Chief Justice also noted that SDV’s briefing was “excellent” and made the complicated case much easier for the Court to understand. While this high quality of work is what SDV strives for every day, it is always nice to hear it was appreciated.

 

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Dec 23, 2016
Jeremiah M. Welch

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