Failure To Take Assignment From Insured Could Bar Broker’s Claim

A recent Ontario case illustrates the complex nature of insurance law. It also demonstrates what can happen when a party to a coverage claim fails to have the proper advice on coverage issues. In this case, an automobile insurer denied a coverage claim because the broker listed the wrong vehicle on the application for insurance. The broker indemnified the insured, and then sought indemnity from the insurer. A judge then granted summary judgment in favour of the insurer, finding the broker had no claim in its own name, and notably it had not taken an assignment of the insured's right to indemnity from the insurer. In January, the Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA) ordered the claim to proceed to trial. As explained below, the broker would be in a much stronger position if it had taken an assignment from the insured. Read More

Court Of Appeal Dramatically Restricts Application Of “Delay” Exclusion In E&O Policy

In Hollowcore v. Visocchi, the Ontario Court of Appeal (ONCA) recently limited the application of a "delay" exclusion where damages awarded against the insured arose from two concurrent causes, notwithstanding that one of these causes was excluded from coverage. The damages in Hollowcore were caused by negligence and delay by the insured. The policy covered damages arising out of negligence claims, but excluded claims arising out of the insureds' failure to complete engineering drawings on time. Read More

Supreme Court Limits “Cost Of Making Good” Exclusion, But Leaves Residual Uncertainty

The Supreme Court of Canada has released its much-anticipated decision in Ledcor Construction Ltd. v. Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co. The case is notable in three ways. First, it continues a trend of the Court bringing real commercial sense to the interpretation of insurance policies. Second, it restricts the scope of the faulty workmanship exclusion to the actual cost of redoing the work. Third, it unfortunately provides unnecessary commentary that may result in some ongoing uncertainty, particularly in the area of faulty design. Read More

Carneiro v. Durham: The Independent Rights Of An Additional Insured

In Carneiro v. Durham (Regional Municipality) 1, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently had the opportunity to consider the bundle of rights afforded to a municipality, named as an additional under a contractor's liability policy. The Court held that the municipality had independent rights under the policy, including a right to a defence, regardless of the defence provided to the named insured. Read More

Is That “Faulty Workmanship” Exclusion Watertight? ONCA Finds That Insurer Cannot Exclude Resulting Damage By Implication

Many all-risks insurance policies exclude damage caused by a contractor's faulty workmanship. The breadth of these "faulty workmanship" exclusions vary considerably. On one hand, a clause may narrowly exclude only the "cost of making good" the contractor's defective work. On the other hand, a clause may exclude not only the cost of correcting the fault, but any damage caused as a result of the work performed. Such damage is commonly known as "resulting damage". The Ontario Court of Appeal recently held that an insurer cannot exclude resulting damage by implication. Where a "faulty workmanship" clause is silent on resulting damage, such damage will remain covered. Read More
Product Liability

Missing the Mark: Contractor’s Use of Products in Violation of Code was Evidence of Negligence

Even for those who purchase and install products, compliance with statutory regulation is a must. In Taylor v. Great Gulf (Whitby) Ltd.,[1] a contractor who purchased and installed materials which were improperly labelled learned an important lesson in negligence law: although a breach of statutory authority does not alone give rise to civil liability, such breaches can be evidence of negligence. In deciding that there was a serious issue to be tried, the court took a broad view of causation and decided that it would be open to trier of fact to find that the defendant’s breach of code was substantially connected to the plaintiff’s injury. Read More
Commercial LitigationInsurance

Ontario Court Of Appeal: Reasonable Apprehension Of Conflict Forces Insurer To Relinquish Control Of Defence

The Ontario Court of Appeal has again confirmed that an insurer's contractual right to control a defence must yield to the interests of its insured where its coverage position creates a reasonable apprehension that defence counsel would be in a conflict of interest. In Hoang v. Vicentini, the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered an insurer to relinquish control over the defence of its insured and pay for the insured's independent counsel. The Court confirmed that if a fact affecting your coverage is disputed in the underlying litigation, a conflict of interest arises. Read More
Commercial LitigationInsurance

Judge Confirms Limited Use Of Extrinsic Evidence For Duty To Defend

An insurer's duty to defend an action against its insured is triggered by the mere possibility that a claim could be made under the insured's policy. Traditionally, a court's analysis of whether this duty is triggered is based solely on the pleadings. However, in some limited circumstances the courts have permitted a consideration of "non-controversial" evidence. A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court provides a good illustration of when such extrinsic evidence is and is not appropriate. While higher authorities have opened the door to extrinsic evidence, the court stops short of permitting insurers to engage in adversarial fact-finding inquiries. Read More
Commercial LitigationInsurance

B.C. Court Of Appeal Finds Costs To Remedy Damage Caused By Defective Workmanship Is Not Excluded By Workmanship/Design Exclusion

The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently confirmed in Acciona Infrastructure Canada Inc. v. Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Co. that a Workmanship/Design Exclusion does not exclude the costs to remedy damage caused by defective workmanship. The lower court decision was previously reported on in Covered. Acciona is the first case in Canada to consider the LEG 2/96, "Defects Exclusion" clause used in Course of Construction ("COC") policies in Canada. While the outcome of this appeal decision is definitely pro-insured, the lasting impact of this decision will depend on whether the court's reasoning is restricted to the unique facts of this case or applied more broadly to resulting damage claims generally. Read More