MI Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Landmark Construction Insurance Case

MI Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Landmark Construction Insurance Case

On April 15, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments on the scope of coverage available to contractors for property damage claims under a standard commercial general liability insurance policy. Kotz Sangster is proud to represent the contractor before the Court and are honored the Court accepted our application to hear the case.

In 1986, coverage under standard general liability insurance policies was expanded to include property damage from certain construction defects. However, multiple courts in Michigan have failed to recognize the new policy language and have been denying claims that should have been covered. As a result, contractors in Michigan are paying premiums for coverage they are not getting, and construction project owners have been facing higher rates of default.

Kotz Sangster challenges this misinterpretation in Skanska USA Building Inc. v M.A.P. Mechanical and Amerisure Insurance Company et. al. Attorneys Ed Boucher, Lauren Virzi, and Tyler Phillips represent the contractor. Based out of Sweden and working in the U.S. since 1971, Skanska is one of the largest and most respected construction and development companies in the world.

The case pending before the Michigan Supreme Court has garnered tremendous attention across the State of Michigan and the country. No fewer than six friend of the court briefs were submitted in support of the application and during the primary briefing stages of the case, including briefs from every major construction association in the state. The ruling from the Court will settle roughly 30 years of conflicting interpretations of insurance coverage for damage caused by construction defects and will establish precedent for years to come.

“Too many Michigan courts have failed to honor a fundamental rule of contract law by failing to enforce the plain language of the insurance policy as it was written,” said Ed Boucher, construction attorney at Kotz Sangster. “We aim to change that. We’re thankful Michigan’s Supreme Court agreed to hear our case, and we’re hopeful the Court will rule in favor of clear enforcement going forward.”

The parties expect the Court to issue its decision by October of this year.