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.

Roman Mosaic and Tile Company v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and Great Northern Company

April 5, 2012

ROMAN MOSAIC AND TILE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY AND GREAT NORTHERN COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baylson, J.

MEMORANDUM RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. Introduction

This case is about the interpretation of a single term-"occurrence"-in a commercial general liability ("CGL") insurance policy governed by Pennsylvania law. The action was brought by Plaintiff Roman Mosaic and Tile Company ("Roman Mosaic"), which was subcontracted to build and install shower pans and drains in the bathrooms of a Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania condominium complex in 2005. One of the Defendants, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company ("Liberty"), is an insurance company that issued a CGL policy to Roman Mosaic, with effective dates of coverage from October 1, 2009 to October 1, 2010. The other Defendant, Great Northern Company ("Great Northern"), is a separate insurance company that filed a complaint against Roman Mosaic in June 2011 in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County. The Great Northern complaint subrogated a claim by Frank Kessler, its insured, regarding water damage to Kessler's property; among other things, the complaint alleged that the water damage to Kessler's condominium was caused by improper installation and other work performed by Roman Mosaic during construction of the bathrooms.

Liberty has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 (ECF No. 6). The principal question presented in the Motion is whether the damages alleged in the underlying lawsuit by Great Northern were caused by an "occurrence," as defined by the CGL policy issued to Roman Mosaic. If so, Liberty has a duty to provide a defense and indemnity to Roman Mosaic, pursuant to the terms of the policy.

For the reasons explained below, the Court holds that the underlying litigation does not involve an "occurrence"; accordingly, Liberty's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.*fn1

II. Factual Background

The following facts are undisputed*fn2 or reflect Plaintiff's version of the facts in the record, pursuant to this Court's duty to view all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).

As noted above, Liberty issued a CGL policy to Roman Mosaic with effective dates of coverage from October 1, 2009 to October 1, 2010. Def. SUF ¶ 1. Section I of the policy, entitled "Coverages of the Liberty Policy," provides, in relevant part:

We will pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of "bodily injury" or "property damage" to which this insurance applies. We will have the right and duty to defend the insured against any "suit" seeking those damages. However, we will have no duty to defend the insured against any "suit" seeking damages for "bodily injury" or "property damage" to which this insurance does not apply. We may, at our discretion, investigate any "occurrence" and settle any claim or "suit" that may result.

Def. Exh. A; Def. SUF ¶ 2. Section I further provides, among other things, that "[t]his insurance applies to 'bodily injury' and 'property damage' only if: (1)[t]he 'bodily injury' or 'property damage' is caused by an 'occurrence' that takes place in the 'coverage territory[.]" Def. Exh. A; Def. SUF ¶¶ 2. Section V of the policy, entitled "Definitions," defines an "occurrence" under the policy as "an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions." Def. Exh. A; Def. SUF ¶ 3.

In June 2011, Great Northern filed a complaint in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas against Roman Mosaic and two other defendants in a case captioned Great Northern Ins. Co. v. Intech Construc. Inc., Docket No. 2011-16644 (Crt. of Common Pleas). Def. Exh. B; Def. SUF ¶ 9. The complaint subrogated a claim submitted to Great Northern by its insured, Frank Kessler, for water damage to his condominium in the amount of $98,788.58. Def. Exh. B; Pl. Br. at 2. Kessler purchased his condominium in 2009*fn3 and experienced leaks and extensive water damage in December of that year. Id. ¶¶ 13-14. Great Northern claimed that Kessler's damages were due to Roman Mosaic's faulty construction work, because Roman Mosaic was the subcontractor that constructed and installed certain features of the bathrooms when the condominium complex was built in 2005. Id. ¶ 9.

More specifically, the Great Northern complaint avers, inter alia, that Roman Mosaic was negligent insofar as it "fail[ed] to install . . . the main and guest bathroom showers, drains and waterproof membrane at the subject premises according to manufacturer specifications," "fail[ed] to comply with applicable statutes, codes, regulations, and generally recognized safety practices and standards," and "fail[ed] to exercise reasonable care and skill in the completion of the construction and/or installation of the main and guest bath showers." Def. Exh. B. at 10; Def. SUF ¶¶ 13-17.

Roman Mosaic notified Liberty of Kessler's claims on or about February 24, 2010, prior to Great Northern's filing of its subrogation suit. Def. Br. at 3; Def. SUF ¶ 19. After an investigation, Liberty notified Roman Mosaic by letter dated August 18, 2010 that Kessler's claims against Roman Mosaic would not be covered under the CGL policy because the claims arose from "faulty work and/or products provided by Roman Mosaic." Def. Exh. C; Def. SUF ¶ 19.

After Great Northern filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas in June 2011, Liberty confirmed that it was denying coverage to Roman Mosaic in a second letter dated August 3, 2011. Def. Exh. D; Def. SUF ΒΆ 21. The letter explained that Liberty had no obligation to defend or indemnify Roman Mosaic because "allegations of fault workmanship are not sufficiently fortuitous to be considered an ...


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.