Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. v. Stresscon Co.Annotate this Case
Stresscon Corporation, a subcontracting concrete company, filed suit against Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, alleging, among other things, that Travelers acted in bad faith, unreasonably delaying or denying its claim for covered insurance benefits; and Stresscon sought awards of two times the covered benefits along with fees and costs, as prescribed by statute. Stresscon’s claims for relief arose from a 2007 serious construction accident which was caused by a crane operator employed by a company that was itself a subcontractor of Stresscon. Stresscon’s general contractor, Mortenson, sought damages from Stresscon, asserting Stresson’s contractual liability for the resulting construction delays, and Stresscon in turn sought indemnification from Travelers. Travelers petitioned for review of the court of appeals’ judgment affirming the district court’s denial of its motion for directed verdict in a lawsuit brought by its insured, Stresscon. Much as the district court had done, the appellate court rejected Travelers’ contention that the no-voluntary-payments clause of their insurance contract relieved it of any obligation to indemnify Stresscon for payments Stresscon had made without its consent. Instead, the court of appeals found that the Colorado Supreme Court's opinion in "Friedland v. Travelers Indemnity Co.," (105 P.3d 639 (2005)) had effectively overruled the Court's prior “no voluntary payments” jurisprudence to the contrary and given Stresscon a similar opportunity. The Supreme Court reversed, finding that its adoption of a notice-prejudice rule in "Friedland" did not overrule any existing “no voluntary payments” jurisprudence. The Court declined to extend a notice-prejudice reasoning to Stresscon’s voluntary payments, made in the face of the no-voluntary-payments clause of its insurance contract with Travelers.