Significant injuries sustained in a boating accident resulted in claims against several defendants including our client (the manufacturer of the boat), the dealer and the driver. The dealer moved for summary adjudication on the issue of the duty to defend, arguing that the manufacturer had a duty to defend the dealer in the lawsuit, based on an indemnity agreement (so-called Crawford tender) between the parties.
Archer Norris lawyers Ioana Mondescu and Tom Nielsen, who opposed the motion on the grounds that neither the agreement nor the law prescribed such a duty.
The court denied the dealer’s motion, ruling in our favor that as a matter of law, the indemnity agreement between the two parties does not prescribe for a duty to defend. It is a great victory for our client.
The issue of duty to defend under an indemnity agreement has been in the news recently in connection with the massive Toyota vehicle recalls of 2009-2010. The findings of our recent decision may be applied to these cases as they move through the courts.