In this case, plaintiffs Keller Foundations LLC, a limited liability construction company ("Keller"), Hayward Baker Inc., a construction services corporation ("HBI"), and their parent Keller Group PLC ("Keller Group") brought a suit in New York federal court against Zurich American Insurance Company ("Zurich") for breach of contract and breach of the contractual and statutory implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing. Zurich had issued a policy to Keller and HBI. Keller Group is also the parent company of Capital Insurance Company, a captive reinsurer that covered a portion of Zurich's risk under a captive reinsurance agreement that provided that Capital would reimburse $450,000 per loss on the policy in excess of a $50,000 deductible.
The dispute concerns a settlement Zurich entered into with Diaz Fritz Isabel ("Diaz"). In 2009, HBI was hired by Diaz to serve as a subcontractor at an expansion project at a hospital in Florida. Groundwater seeped into the existing portions of the hospital, causing damage to the project. Diaz then sued HBI in Florida state court for breach of contract relating to the flood damage, to which HBI counterclaimed for money that it was owed for its work as subcontractor (the "Diaz/HBI Lawsuit"). Diaz also sought additional insured coverage under the Zurich policy, which was denied by Zurich. Diaz then sued Zurich in Florida federal court, alleging that it was entitled to additional insured coverage with respect to the damages allegedly caused by HBI's breach (the "Diaz/Zurich Lawsuit"). Zurich counterclaimed, seeking a declaration that it had no duty under the policy to defend or indemnify Diaz. The parties mediated their dispute, which resulted in a settlement under which Zurich agreed to pay Diaz $450,000. Zurich paid Diaz, and then sought reinsurance reimbursement from Capital under the reinsurance agreement, which was paid by Capital. In the New York litigation, plaintiffs claimed that Zurich did not have the authority to enter into the settlement agreement with Diaz and that Zurich unlawfully damaged them by doing so. Zurich initially moved to dismiss the complaint, which the court granted, but without prejudice to the plaintiffs' ability to bring an amended complaint or a new lawsuit against Zurich. Plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint, which Zurich again sought to dismiss.
The New York federal court again dismissed the amended complaint in its entirety for failure to state a claim. First, the court held that there are no adequate allegations that Zurich breached its duties in the Diaz/HBI Lawsuit as Zurich has paid, and continues to pay, for HBI's defense in that action. As for the Diaz/Zurich Lawsuit, the court held that since none of the plaintiffs in the New York action were a party to that case, Zurich could not have violated a duty to defend them. The court also noted that plaintiffs did not allege that Zurich failed to repay ''sums'' for ''damages'' covered by the Zurich policy to which HBI and Keller are parties. Rather, the court noted that the New York litigation involved Capital's reimbursement under the captive reinsurance agreement, to which none of the plaintiffs was a party. Thus, the court held "[t]o the extent Keller and HBI are aggrieved by this chain of events, their grievances do not arise under the Policy, but under the Captive Reinsurance Agreement, to which plaintiffs are not parties. And plaintiffs' grievances are ultimately not with Zurich, but with Capital." Thus, the court granted the motion to dismiss Keller and HBI's breach of contract claims, and as for Keller Group, the court ruled that it lacks standing to sue Zurich under the policy. The court also dismissed plaintiffs' claims for breach of good faith and fair dealing.
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