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M&A wins summary judgment in an insurance coverage declaration action brought between two insurance companies

A New York County Judge granted M&A’s motion for summary judgment against an insurance company which sought additional insured coverage (including past and future defense costs, as well as indemnity) for its insured, a building owner, in a construction accident case.

The court affirmed long-standing New York law that a contract purporting to add an entity as an additional insured on a policy must be explicit, clear, and unambiguous. The so-called “intent of the parties” cannot be divined from evidence outside of the four corners of the contract, citing to an earlier case handled by M&A, National Abatement Corp. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, 33 A.D. 3d 570 (1 Dep’t 2006). In this case, the insurance procurement clause of the governing subcontract lacked language requiring the subcontractor to procure additional insured coverage for the owner of the premises.

The court also rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the AIA “General Conditions” language trumped anything contained in the governing subcontract.