Settlement for Plumber and Family-Owned Contractor in Breach of Contract and Bad Faith Case

Pillsbury & Coleman partner Terry Coleman and his team obtained a confidential settlement for Plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against Federated Mutual Insurance Company in San Francisco County Superior Court.  In Matthew Howard, et. al v. Federated Mutual Insurance Company, et. al, Plaintiffs filed a breach of contract and bad faith action against Federated to recover an underlying $16.9 million judgment entered against Federated’s additional insured A.W. Miller, after Federated refused to provide A.W. Miller a defense against two lawsuits resulting from a catastrophic jobsite injury to Matthew Howard.

One of the key issues in the case was whether A.W. Miller was an additional insured under Federated’s policy.  Federated refused to provide coverage to A.W. Miller based on its position that there was no evidence of a written contract or agreement between A.W. Miller and Federated’s policyholder, Gold Star Plumbing, to add A.W. Miller as an additional insured under Federated’s policy.  On January 3, 2024, Judge Richard Ulmer granted Plaintiffs’ motion for summary adjudication, holding that the documentation provided to Federated in connection with A.W. Miller’s claim evinced an agreement, confirmed in writing, to have A.W. Miller added as an additional insured.  Based on the agreement, Judge Ulmer ruled that Federated breached its insurance contract by refusing to provide A.W. Miller a defense.  Following Judge Ulmer’s January 4 ruling, the parties settled the case in advance of the February 26, 2024 trial date.

2024 01 03 Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Adjudication (1)