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Westfield Insurance Company, Inc. v. Miranda & Hardt Contracting and Building Services, L.L.C.

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

March 30, 2015

WESTFIELD INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MIRANDA & HARDT CONTRACTING AND BUILDING SERVICES, L.L.C., Defendant.

Submitted: March 3, 2015

Upon Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings - GRANTED

Upon Defendant's Counter-Claim for Declaratory Judgment - DENIED

Marc S. Casarino, Esquire, White and Williams LLP, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorneys for Plaintiff.

John A. Sergovic, Jr., Esquire, Sergovic, Carmean & Weidman, P.A., Georgetown, Delaware, Attorneys for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM ONION

HONORABLE ANDREA L. ROCANELLI

This matter involves a dispute over insurance coverage between Plaintiff, Westfield Insurance Company, and Defendant, Miranda and Hardt Contracting and Building Services, L.L.C.. Plaintiff has issued a commercial general liability insurance policy annually to Defendant since November 5, 2003.

On June 23, 2014, Plaintiff filed a complaint requesting a declaratory judgment regarding its duty, if any, to defend or indemnify Defendant in an underlying lawsuit pursuant to the terms of Defendant's insurance policy issued by Plaintiff. On September 10, 2014, Defendant filed an amended answer as well as a counter-claim for a declaratory judgment against Plaintiff. On December 4, 2014, Plaintiff filed the pending motion for judgment on the pleadings. Defendant opposes Plaintiff's motion. The Court heard oral argument on March 3, 2015. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Parties

Plaintiff is an Ohio corporation with a principal place of business in Westfield Center, Ohio. Defendant is a Delaware limited liability company with a registered agent, Frank A. Miranda, located in Oceanview, Delaware.

B. Underlying Lawsuit

Sometime during 2004 through 2005, Defendant constructed a home pursuant to a contract with Fenwick Ventures, LLC ("Fenwick"). On or about April 6, 2006, Barry L. Pfautz and Patricia R. Pfautz ("Complaining Homeowner") purchased the home from Fenwick. Approximately six years after the purchase, in April 2012, Complaining Homeowner contacted Fenwick to report concerns about defects in the home's construction. On February 28, 2014, Complaining Homeowner filed a complaint against Fenwick and Defendant in the Superior Court for Sussex County ("Underlying Lawsuit").[1]

In the Underlying Lawsuit, Complaining Homeowner alleges that, during the construction of the home, Defendant (i) deviated from the approved building plans, (ii) used inadequate building materials, (iii) improperly installed building materials, (iv) violated applicable building codes, and (v) fraudulently represented that the home was properly constructed. In its complaint, Complaining ...


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