Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Ins. Co.Annotate this Case
Daer filed a personal injury suit, alleging material and design defects in a tire manufactured by Yokohama and sold by Costco. Costco settled for $5.5 million and Yokohama for $1.1 million. National, as excess insurer of Costco, sued Yokohama and its insurers (Tokio) to recover the costs of defending plus money paid on behalf of Costco to settle that lawsuit. National, as subrogee of Costco, sought recovery based on an express indemnity provision in the supplier agreement between Costco and Yokohama, and alleged breach of Yokohama’s contractual insurance obligations. It sued Tokio for indemnity and contribution. The court ruled in limine that National’s proof of a tire defect would be limited to the opinions of Daer’s expert in the underlying case. After National made its opening statement in a proceeding to determine whether a tire defect was a cause of Daer’s accident, the court dismissed the express indemnity claim. Having determined that the tire was not defective, the court granted summary adjudication as to claims based on refusal to defend and Yokohama’s breach of insurance obligations. The court awarded Yokohama $863,706.75 in fees as the prevailing party on the indemnity claim. The court of appeal reversed in part, holding that the court erred in excluding relevant, material expert evidence on a matter properly subject to expert opinion.