Issue of Fact Precludes Summary Judgment in Indemnification Action

Ins. Co. of New York v. Central Mut. Ins. Co., 850 N.Y.S.2d 56 (N.Y. App. Div. 2008)

In this case, the First Department examined cross-motions for summary judgment in relation to contractual indemnification.  Plaintiffs – the property owner and general contractor in a related personal injury action – brought this action against a subcontractor, S&S Construction Group.  Plaintiffs sought a declaration that S&S’s liability insurer, Central Mutual Insurance, was required to defend and indemnify plaintiffs in connection with the underlying action.  According to plaintiffs, the contract between the general contractor/plaintiff and S&S required S&S to obtain insurance covering plaintiffs.

The parties submitted cross-motions for summary judgment.  The Supreme Court granted defendant’s summary judgment motion, but found that there was an issue of fact with respect to plaintiff’s motion, i.e. whether the subcontract obligated S&S to name plaintiffs as additional insureds.  Because of this issue of fact, the First Department reversed the award of summary judgment in defendant’s favor.  The court explained that the issues were intertwined and thus an issue of fact in relation to one precluded summary judgment with respect to the other.

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