An insurance company filed a complaint in Georgia federal court arguing that it shouldn’t have to cover a construction company allegedly responsible for a 2020 crane accident in Decatur, Ga.
Amerisure Mutual Insurance Co. asked a Georgia federal judge in early October to determine that it is not responsible to cover G.S. Construction Inc. (GSC) in “underlying litigation” from All Crane Rental of Georgia following a 200-ton crane accident in June 2020.
Amerisure argues that All Crane’s complaint against GSC claims damages that are excluded under its commercial general liability policy, in part because the construction company had reason to expect the accident and because it falls under a contractual liability exclusion.
“The true facts of the claims against GSC by All Crane show that exclusion under expected or intended injury in the commercial general liability policy and umbrella policy would eliminate coverage, including damages expected or intended from the standpoint of GSC,” Amerisure’s complaint says.
The City of Decatur hired GSC in February 2020 to perform remediation work at “Boring B-13 that extended generally north toward the Decatur Management Services building.” At the site, Decatur engineers noticed pavement cracks and sagging in several locations of the parking lot, which prompted the city to hire GSC.
Amerisure said in its complaint that “upon information and belief” no official agreement was signed between the city and the construction company for work on the project.
A pre-construction meeting took place days following the city hiring GSC. During the meeting, Amerisure claims that GSC was notified of concerns “about [the] void underneath the parking lot and staging” and that GSC should “ensure machinery does not ride on or over [the] void [as] it may cause collapse.” The meeting’s notes also state that GSC “discussed the potential to store equipment on local church property.”
A month later, GSC secured a 200-ton crane from All Crane, Amerisure said. When the crane was used, it caused the ground under it to collapse, forming a hole in the parking lot and damaging the crane.
In July 2020, All Crane sued GSC for breach of contract. The suit alleges GSC should cover the cost of the damaged crane. GSC countered that the burden should be on the crane company. Amerisure said it has been defending GSC in the underlying suit, but it shouldn’t have to because of various policy exclusions.
Amerisure argues that one of the main policy exclusions applies because the accident should have been expected by GSC, given it was warned of the parking lot pavement’s weakness. Furthermore, the insurer said All Crane’s claims seeking damages related to breach of contract and express indemnity fall within the insurance policy’s contractual liability exclusion.
The complaint also refers to property damage and professional liability exclusions. Amerisure states that GSC failed to render professional services related to the parking lot’s pavement, which caused the subsequent property damage.
Amerisure seeks a finding that its commercial general liability policy does not provide coverage to GSC for claims asserted by All Crane and that it has no duty to compensate the company.