A federal appellate court confirmed Monday that Westfield Insurance Co. is not required to defend or insure a Florida contractor in a complex dispute with one of its subcontractors.
The Diaz Fritz Group Inc., based in Temple Terrace. , Florida, hired Howard Baker Inc. in May 2009 as a subcontractor to perform groundwork at Carrollwood University Community Hospital in Tampa, following the judgment of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in The Diaz Fritz Group Inc. Diaz Fritz Isabel vs. Westfield Insurance Co.
Diaz Fritz agreed to pay Tampa-based HBI $ 290,000 to complete the project. However, problems arose and, according to Diaz Fritz, HBI through negligence caused part of the hospital's other property to be flooded, leading to significant damage.
After the hospital demanded that Diaz Fritz fix the situation within three days, the company contacted Westfield, but The insurer said HBI was responsible for the flood. Westfield sent the claim to HBI's insurance company, Zurich American Insurance Co., but the insurers could not agree on whether Zurich's policy required it to provide coverage to Diaz Fritz as an additional insured.
Meanwhile, without seeking Westfield's approval, Diaz Fritz paid for the necessary repairs ̵
The district court ruled in Westfield's favor "after concluding that the clear and unambiguous policy language" covered "processes" & # 39; on damages for property damage, said the judgment of the Court of Appeal. We agree and find Diaz Fritz's opposite arguments unconvincing, "said the panel, in that Westfield was not obliged to provide either a defense or indemnity.
Westfield attorney Aram P. Megerian, a partner with Cole, Scott & Kissane PA, in Tampa, said in a statement that he believed the court had reached the correct conclusion. Diaz Fritz's lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.