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Insurers not required to defend stadium builders in ADA suits



Units of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Chubb Ltd. and Markel Corp. are not responsible for defending the joint venture that built the 49ers football team's stadium in disability discrimination disputes, a federal appeals court said on Monday, confirming the lower court.

Abdul Nevarez filed a class action lawsuit against the 49ers, the city of Santa Clara, where the football team Levi & # 39; s Stadium is located and related business units in 2016, claiming that the arena did not have enough public housing such as available seats, toilets and signs. federal Americans with Disabilities Act and state law, according to court documents filed in connection with the decision of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. Turner / Devcon v. Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co .; Alterra America Insurance Co.

The 49ers in turn sued Turner / Devcon, a joint venture of Turner Constructor Co. in New York and Milpitas, Devcon Construction Inc. in California, which had built the arena. [1

9659002] The football team claimed that all liability was caused by Turner / Devcon's negligence, and that the joint venture had agreed to compensate them for any disputes relating to "penalties or fines imposed or assessed for breach of any legal requirement."

Hartford Fire Insurance Co. brought an action before the U.S. District Court in San Jose and requested a statement that it does not owe Turner / Devcon any obligation to defend or harm it in connection with the lawsuit. Turner / Devcon countered Hartford and also sued the Chubb unit Westchester Surplus Lines and the Markel unit Alterra who tried to defend.

Both decisions were unanimously approved by a panel of the Board of Appeal of three judges in Monday's decision.

"In California, the design and construction of a structure that allegedly violates accessibility laws generally does not fall within the simple meaning of accident & # 39; when used in insurance contracts & # 39 ;, the decision said.

& # 39; & # 39; Otherwise, an event is not a & # 39; & # 39; accident & # 39; & # 39; where the insured referred to the acts that caused the victim's injury … and an insured's intentional act does not become an accident simply because it had the unintended effect of violating federal and state accessibility laws, "it said.

" With these principles in mind, we agree with the district court in Nevarez's complaint does not claim an "event" within the meaning of the policy. handicap access design standards.

"Since the construction and construction of the stadium was not an 'accident', it was not an 'event' and is not covered by current policy," it said, confirming the lower court's decision. [19659002] Lawyers in the case had no comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

Last month, a federal appeals court ruled that a wheelchair user who admitted that he did not enjoy Chinese food did not have the legal status to sue a Chinese restaurant under the ADA.

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