Trial Victory Upheld on Appeal in Construction Defect Claim

The owner of a large apartment development near LSU’s campus sued the general contractor and a number of sub-contractors claiming construction defects caused water intrusion throughout the complex.  Frilot LLC represented Great American Insurance Company, the excess insurer for the company that designed and installed the HVAC system.  Prior to trial the owner arbitrated the dispute with the contractors. 

The arbitrators found that there was failure to flash and caulk the HVAC vents, but that the defects could be repaired for a nominal sum.  The owner had claimed it was necessary to skin the entire exterior and re-stucco the complex, but this argument was rejected by the arbitrators.  The claim against our client at trial was for its policy limits of $25 million, and the owner again attempted to argue that it was necessary to replace the entire exterior of the building. 

The key issue at trial became whether the previous findings of the arbitration panel could be submitted to the jury.  We were successful in arguing this evidence could be presented.  Following a two-week trial the jury rendered a verdict in favor of owner for $59,000 against our insured.  The judge then then found our client owed $0 because it was entitled to a credit for the $1 million underlying insurance policy.  The owner appealed and the case was briefed and argued to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.  The trial court’s Judgment in favor our client for $0 has now been affirmed.  M&R Drywall v. MAPP Construction, LLC, et al., ___ So.2d ___, 2019 WL 1924524 (April 29, 2019).

Great American Insurance Company was represented by Frilot, LLC attorneys Norman C. Sullivan, Jr. and W. Jacob Gardner, Jr


Kathryn Sintz