Supreme Court summarily overturns Court of Appeals; vacates insureds' judgment; sends case back to trial court to allow insurer to raise exclusions
Hastings Mutual Insurance Company sued its insured, the Mosher, Dolan, Cataldo & Kelly engineering firm, seeking a ruling that it did not owe coverage for the firm in a case brought against the firm. Hastings argued that MDCK was being sued for its own poor quality workmanship, and therefore Hastings wasn't obligated to defend or indemnify the engineers.
About five years ago, the litigation resulted in a judgment in favor of the engineers, in part because one of the claims in the underlying lawsuit was for damage to the personal property of the people suing the engineers: the courts held that Hastings owed a duty to defend this claim for property damage, even if it wasn't required to defend the workmanship claims.After multiple procedures including an arbitration, a court judgment and two appeals, in Ferbruay of 2013, the Court of Appeals upheld a judgment against Hastings, concluding that it owed more than half a million dollars in fees, costs, and expert and investigation expenses. This week the Supreme Court reversed on a one paragraph holding. The high court sent the case back to the trial judge for new hearings with regard to whether or not Hastings had been adequately allowed to raise the fine print exclusions in its insurance policy.