Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mutual Benefit Insurance Co. v. Shawmut Woodworking & Supply

June 3, 2009

MUTUAL BENEFIT INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF
v.
SHAWMUT WOODWORKING & SUPPLY, INC. D/B/A SHAWMUT DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION, THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY RESTAURANTS, INC., AND PYRAMID WALDEN COMPANY, LP, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Vanaskie

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Mutual Benefit Insurance Co. ("Mutual Benefit") seeks a determination pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201, of its duties, obligations, rights, and responsibilities under certain insurance policies. (Compl., Dkt. Entry 1, ¶ 8.) Defendants Shawmut Woodworking & Supply, Inc. d/b/a Shawmut Design & Construction ("Shawmut") and The Cheesecake Factory Restaurants, Inc. ("Cheesecake Factory") have moved to dismiss the action, arguing that this Court should decline to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction in this declaratory judgment suit. (Defs.' Br. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s Compl., Dkt. Entry 22, at 7.) For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Defendants' motion.

I. BACKGROUND

On October 25, 2006, Michael Riggle ("Riggle"), an employee of Pittsburgh Interior Systems, Inc. ("Pittsburgh"), was injured while working at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant construction project in Buffalo, New York (the "Project"). (Compl., Dkt. Entry 1, ¶ 13.) Pittsburgh is not a party to the present action. (See id.)

Defendant Pyramid Walden Company, LP ("Pyramid") owns property near Buffalo, New York, upon which there is a shopping center called the Walden Galleria. (Br. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss, Dkt. Entry 22, at 9.) Defendant Cheesecake Factory entered into a lease with Pyramid to construct a restaurant at the Walden Galleria. (Id.) Cheesecake Factory also entered into a contract with Defendant Shawmut, the general contractor for the Project. (Id. at 10.) Pittsburgh had been hired by Shawmut to perform drywall and framing for the Project. (Compl., Dkt. Entry 1, ¶ 14.)

Mutual Benefit, an insurance company incorporated under the laws of Pennsylvania, issued an insurance policy under number CP 00917386 ("CP Policy") to Pittsburgh, effective June 8, 2006 to June 6, 2007. (Id. ¶ 15.) Mutual Benefit also issued Pittsburgh a commercial umbrella policy ("CU Policy"), CU 00917386, effective June 8, 2006, to June 9, 2007. (Id. ¶ 16.)

On September 14, 2007, Riggle filed an action in New York state court against Shawmut, Pyramid, and Cheesecake Factory, alleging negligence. (Aff., Dkt. Entry 40, Ex. A, at 15.) Mutual Benefit is not a party to the suit. (See id.) Shawmut filed a third-party complaint against Pittsburgh, in which Shawmut alleges that Pittsburgh is required to defend and indemnify Shawmut, Cheesecake Factory, and Pyramid. (Id. at 6.)

The written agreement between Shawmut (referred to in the agreement as the "Contractor") and Pittsburgh (referred to therein as the "Subcontractor") contained an indemnity provision that read, "Subcontractor agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Owner, the Architect/Engineer, Contractor, and anyone else required...." (Id. at 4.) In addition, the contract required Pittsburgh to "obtain and maintain insurance from a responsible insurer satisfactory to [Shawmut]." (Id. at 5.)

Pittsburgh also had a contract with Cheesecake Factory, which provided:

4. The following entities shall be included as Additional Insured... for General Liability (including Completed Operations), Auto, and Umbrella:

Contractor)

< the="" cheesecake="" factory="" buffalo-cheekotwaga="">< walden="" theatery,="" l.p.="" c/o="" the="" pyramid="" companies="">< 4="" clinton="" square,="" syracuse,="" ny="">
< shawmut="" design="" and="" construction="">

5. Indemnification: Your general liability policy should include contractual liability coverage to support your contractual indemnification agreement. Your Contractual Liability cannot contain any additional limitation provisions. (Compl., Dkt. Entry 1, Ex. B, at 4.)

Shawmut asserts that because Mutual Benefit has refused to provide coverage to Shawmut, Pittsburgh is in breach of its contractual obligation to name Shawmut as an additional insured on its liability insurance policy. (Id. at 6.) In its answer to Shawmut's third-party complaint, Pittsburgh admits that it had contractually agreed to defend and indemnify Shawmut. (Aff., Dkt. Entry 40, Ex. B, at 2.) Pittsburgh denies, however, that it breached its contractual obligation to name Shawmut as an additional insured on its liability insurance policy. (Id.) Thus, the extent of coverage provided by the Mutual Benefit policy is at issue in the New York state court action.

Mutual Benefit's insurance policy contains a bodily injury exclusion, which states that the insurance does not ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.