Gray·Duffy Reduces Claim by $280,000 in a Property Damage Lawsuit

September 2011


Kevin Cruz of Gray•Duffy’s Encino office negotiated a substantial property damage claim of $300,000, resulting in a settlement of $20,000 on behalf of the firm’s client.


Cutting Edge Concrete Services v. Mr. Crane, Inc

Plaintiff, Cutting Edge Concrete Services, was the prime contractor for the Ventura Harbor Breakwater repair project. The insured, Mr. Crane, Inc. (Mr. Crane) was the subcontractor for Cutting Edge on the project under a Master Service Agreement and addenda, which contained an indemnification provision flowing from Mr. Crane to Cutting Edge. Mr. Crane leased a crane to Cutting Edge which was mounted to the Barge 185-1 at issue as well as provided a crane operator, an oiler and a signalman for the project.

The project involved loading large rocks onto the deck of Barge 185-1, by way of the insured’s crane mounted to the bow of the barge and outfitted with a rock grapple. The barge was then moved into position near the breakwater with the assistance of tug boats under control of Pacific Tugboat Service. The rocks were then placed onto the breakwater under the direction of Cutting Edge personnel.

Cutting Edge attributed damage to the deck and supporting structures at various locations of Barge 185-1 due to the dropping of boulders onto the deck of the barge. Cutting Edge claimed $300,000 for damages and ongoing charter expenses incurred while repairs to Barge 185-1 were effectuated. In addition to the claim based on contractual indemnity provisions in the operative service agreement, Cutting Edge also alleged negligence against Mr. Crane.

On May 31, 2011, pursuant to the client’s insurance carrier’s authority, Gray•Duffy served a CCP §998 Offer to Compromise in the amount of $15,000. At a Mandatory Settlement Conference conducted thereafter, Gray•Duffy was able to negotiate a settlement for $20,000.

Please Note: This article is necessarily general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice with respect to any particular case. Readers should consult with an attorney before taking any action affecting their interests.