Walgreen loses dispute with multiple insurers over liability coverage
Walgreen was sued after a subcontractor's employee suffered a head injury when he fell from a service platform in the roof of the store in Livingston County. Walgreen had designed the service access, and it was alleged that it was negligent in failing to provide any form of handrail. Walgreen in turn sued its own insurer and the insurer of several contractors, claiming entitlement to indemnity. The Court of Appeals upheld the denial of insurance with respect to Cincinnati Insurance Company, Harleysville and several others, on the basis of various exclusions in the subject policies. The Court noted that under the common law a litigant cannot seek indemnification for damages caused by the litigant's own fault. With respect to St. Paul Insurance Company, the Court interpreted the policy language providing coverage to all injuries "resulting from" the activities of the insured as a limitation on causation but not on "fault." Therefore, St. Paul could owe indemnity for an injury arising out of its insured's activities, even if the insured did not "cause" the injury through its own negligence. Nevertheless, there was no coverage in this case because the policy included an exclusion for injuries resulting from "professional services." Even though Walgreen was not a professional architect, the theory underlying its liability exposure was grounded on negligent design of the subject building. Since Walgreen performed that work, it fell under the professional services exclusion, regardless of Walgreen's status as a professional.