Stutman Law beats “implied” Waiver of Subrogation argument and recovers $1,350,000 for carrier


A fire destroyed a large portion of a historic church in Ashland, Ohio. A contractor hired by the church was replacing copper gutters at the time of the fire. The contractor claimed that one end of the section of copper gutter came into contact with the insulated power line serving the church, and that the local utility failed to properly maintain the insulated power line. Due to a prompt scene investigation, Stutman Law was able to prove that employees of the contractor actually dropped the copper gutter onto the uninsulated main electrical transmission line, thus providing a clear path for electricity to travel from the power line to the metal flashing on the roof of the church and ignite the fire. Thereafter, in litigation, the contractor argued that its contract with the church required the church to carry property insurance “upon the work,” and that this term constituted an implied waiver of subrogation. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment regarding the interpretation of the contract, and Stutman Law prevailed that the term in question did not bar the church and its subrogating carrier from pursuing negligence claims against the contractor. The case settled shortly thereafter for $1,350,000.

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