Underwriters of Interest v. ProBuilders Specialty Ins. Co.Annotate this Case
Pacific Trades Construction & Development, Inc. was a defendant in a lawsuit that alleged, in part, that Pacific Trades was liable for damages for construction defects caused by Pacific Trades's negligent acts or omissions. Underwriters of Interest Subscribing to Policy Number A15274001 (Underwriters) undertook Pacific Trades's defense in that action under its Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy insuring Pacific Trades. ProBuilders Specialty Insurance Company, which also insured Pacific Trades, declined to participate in funding Pacific Trades's defense, claiming (among other things) that a clause in its policy relieved ProBuilders of any duty to defend Pacific Trades when another insurer was doing so. Underwriters sought equitable contribution from ProBuilders for a portion of the defense costs. The parties filed cross-motions seeking summary adjudication of ProBuilders's liability for a portion of the defense costs. The trial court agreed with ProBuilders that a clause in its policy relieved it of any duty to defend Pacific Trades when (as here) another insurer was defending Pacific Trades, and entered summary judgment in favor of ProBuilders. Underwriters appealed that determination. The Court of Appeal concluded that the trial court erred in enforcing the clause in ProBuilders's policy and, because the other arguments raised by ProBuilders in support of its summary judgment motion on Underwriters's claim for equitable contribution did not support the judgment, the Court reversed the judgment.