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Dryer and Testa Obtain Summary Judgment in Personal Injury Case

October 13, 2021

Philadelphia partner Wendy Testa obtained summary judgment in a construction personal injury case before the Commerce Court, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, for the firm’s construction company client. The plaintiff was severely injured as the result of a fall that occurred during the construction of a Philadelphia charter school and filed a civil action in an underlying suit resulting in the construction company’s carriers contributing a $2 million settlement of Plaintiff’s claims.

The firm’s client and its insurers filed an action for declaratory judgment and breach of contractual crossclaims (preserved from the underlying action) to recover $439,000 in defense fees and costs as well as the $2 million indemnity payment they contributed to the settlement of plaintiff’s claims. In June 2020, the court granted the motion for summary judgment filed by the firm’s client and its carriers against the plaintiff’s employer, holding that the construction company was a contractual indemnitee and should be defended and indemnified by the plaintiff’s employer and its carriers. The court initially determined that the issue of whether the firm’s client was an additional insured under the policies was an issue of fact. Wendy filed a motion to enforce the court’s order which, arguably, was not a final order. After a second oral argument in October 2021, the court held that our client was both a contractual indemnitee and an additional insured and that the plaintiff’s employer and its carriers had an obligation to defend and indemnify our client related to the underlying construction personal injury action. A determination of the reasonableness of the fee claim was deferred to a hearing on a later date.   

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