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Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. Columbia Insurance Group, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

August 20, 2019

SCOTTSDALE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
COLUMBIA INSURANCE GROUP, INC., TDH MECHANICAL, INC., ROCKWELL PROPERTIES, LLC, PRAIRIE MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT, INC., ROCKFORD MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, EDUARDO GUZMAN, and KARLA AVINA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          John Z. Lee, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Scottsdale Insurance Company (“Scottsdale”) filed this lawsuit, seeking a declaration that Columbia Insurance Group, Inc. (“Columbia”) has a duty to defend and indemnify Rockwell Properties, LLC (“Rockwell”) and Prairie Management & Development, Inc. (“Prairie”) in a personal-injury lawsuit pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County (“the underlying lawsuit”).[1] Scottsdale has moved for judgment on the pleadings with respect to its claims against Columbia, while Columbia and TDH Mechanical, Inc. (“TDH”) have filed a cross-motion for judgment on the pleadings. For the reasons stated herein, Scottsdale's motion [47] is granted as to its claims concerning Columbia's duty to defend Rockwell and Prairie; however, its duty-to-indemnify claims against Columbia are dismissed without prejudice. Columbia's and TDH's motion [56] is denied.

         Background

         I. The Underlying Lawsuit

         This case arises out of a personal-injury action filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Eduardo Guzman et al. v. Prairie Management & Development, Inc. at al., No. 17 L 3510. Am. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 28. The underlying complaint alleges that on March 13, 2017, Guzman was performing HVAC work at a construction site located at 3057 N. Rockwell Street in Chicago, Illinois (“the construction site”). Id., Ex. E (“Underlying Compl.”) at 2, ECF No. 28-5. Guzman's employer, TDH, had been contracted to install an HVAC system at the construction site. Am. Compl. ¶ 27. Prairie was the construction manager of the site, and Rockwell was the legal owner. Underlying Compl. at 2, 10.

         While working at the construction site, Guzman fell approximately 22 feet “through an unguarded opening” in the second floor, sustaining serious injuries. Id. at 2, 4. Guzman alleges construction negligence claims against Prairie and Rockwell, as well as several other individuals and entities involved at the site. See generally Underlying Compl.

         Several defendants in the underlying lawsuit, not including any of the Defendants in this case, filed third-party complaints for contribution against TDH, alleging that TDH negligently failed to train its employees, maintain a safe workplace, or provide proper safety equipment. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 35-40.

         Scottsdale, which issued a commercial general liability policy to Rockwell, has been defending Rockwell and Prairie in the underlying lawsuit since April 13, 2017. Id. ¶¶ 24, 43.

         II. The Columbia Insurance Policy

         TDH carried a contractors businessowners insurance policy from Columbia, which covered the period from April 12, 2016 to April 12, 2017 (“the Columbia policy”). Am. Compl. ¶ 16. The Columbia policy contains the following “insuring agreement”:

We will pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of “bodily injury” . . . to which this insurance applies. We will have the right and duty to defend the insured against any “suit” seeking those damages . . . .

Id., Ex. A (“Columbia Policy”) at 67[2], ECF No. 28-1. It also contains an endorsement stating:

Who Is An Insured is amended to include as an insured any person or organization for whom you are performing operations when you and such person or organization have agreed in writing in a contract or agreement that such person or organization be added as an additional insured on your policy. Such person or organization is an additional insured only with respect to liability arising out of your ongoing operations performed for that insured. Liability for “bodily injury” . . . caused, in whole, or in part, by “your work” arising out of your ongoing operations performed for that additional insured and included in the “products-completed operations hazard.”
The insurance provided to the person or organization is primary insurance and we will not seek contribution from any other ...

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