A Defective Precedent for 'Defective Work' in Insurance Coverage

New York Law Journal

PUBLISHED ON: May 22, 2023

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Litigation following a construction project is as common as a coffee shop in Manhattan. The availability of insurance coverage can be pivotal to the defense and resolution of such lawsuits. However, insurance coverage for construction defects litigation in New York has long been clouded by misunderstandings surrounding the First Department’s 1994 decision in George A. Fuller v. U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty, 200 A.D.2d 255 (1st Dep’t 1994) leave to appeal denied sub nom. Fuller v. U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty, 84 N.Y.2d 806 (1994). Insurance companies often cite this case as a basis to deny coverage when there are underlying allegations concerning defective work—a common occurrence following a construction project. That decision has been misconstrued because of old policy language no longer used in the industry. The decision should be re-examined and not so readily cited as a basis to deny coverage.


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