Gray•Duffy Obtains Dismissal and Reimbursement of Attorney’s Fees for General Contractor Client

August 2012

Overview

John Duffy and Kevin Cruz of Gray•Duffy’s Encino office achieved a settlement by obtaining a dismissal from the plaintiff, waiver of costs from indemnitee, and reimbursement of costs and attorney’s fees from the subcontractor.

Discussion

Alvaro Oliva v. Synergy General Contractors, Inc.

The plaintiff, Alvaro Oliva was employed by Air-Al, Inc. when he allegedly fell and injured himself at work. At the time, Air-Al, Inc. was an HVAC subcontractor who had contracted with general contractor, Synergy General Contractors, Inc., (Synergy) to install a new HVAC system at a residence owned by a prominent athlete under the name Cherry Tree Trust. The plaintiff alleged he arrived at the home, opened the front door and fell into a void where the flooring had been removed.

The plaintiff filed a complaint for personal injuries naming Synergy and Cherry Tree Trust as the defendants. Cherry Tree Trust filed a cross-complaint against Synergy based on a contractual indemnity agreement contained in the building contract. Synergy filed its cross-complaint against Air-Al, Inc. principally based on a contractual indemnity agreement between these two parties. Complicating matters further, Synergy’s insurer refused to provide a defense based on an exclusion of claims from the subcontractors’ employees.

On behalf of Synergy, Gray•Duffy attorney Kevin Cruz negotiated a settlement with Cherry Tree Trust, whereby Synergy would agree to defend Cherry Tree Trust in litigation and Cherry Tree Trust would waive any and all claims for costs and attorney’s fees against Synergy, estimated at $30,000. Mr. Cruz then negotiated a settlement with the plaintiff to dismiss and release Synergy and Cherry Tree Trust in exchange for waivers of all claims for costs against the plaintiff. Shortly thereafter, Gray•Duffy attorney John Duffy negotiated a reimbursement of attorney’s fees and costs incurred by Synergy from Air-Al, Inc. in the amount of $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.