United States District Court, D. Maryland
THE HARTFORD FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY Plaintiff and Counter-Defendant
THE HARBORVIEW MARINA & YACHT CLUB COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC. Defendant and Counter-Claimant
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
parties are engaged in a dispute over the 2014 collapse of a
pier in Baltimore.
case began when the Hartford Fire Insurance Company (the
“Hartford”)-which insured the pier-sued
Harborview Marina & Yacht Club Community Association,
Inc. (“Harborview”)-which owns the pier-seeking a
declaratory judgment to the effect that there is no coverage
for the collapse of the pier under Harborview's policy
with the Hartford. Harborview counterclaimed, asserting that
the Hartford breached the insurance contract and failed to
act in good faith when it denied coverage under the
then, the Hartford and Harborview have brought two other
parties into the fold. The Hartford filed a third-party claim
against C.A. Lindman, Inc. (“C.A. Lindman”)-a
contractor which was using the pier to complete construction
and maintenance on the façade of a nearby building at
the time the pier collapsed. Harborview then filed a
third-party cross claim against C.A. Lindman, and thereafter,
Harborview filed a third-party complaint against Coleman
Consulting (“Coleman”)-the engineer and
consultant on the façade construction and maintenance
project. Coleman has filed a Motion to Dismiss
Harborview's Third-Party Complaint (ECF No. 53).
following reasons, the Motion will be DENIED.
2014, the Hartford, through its broker Insurance, Inc.,
approached Harborview about purchasing insurance coverage for
Harborview's docks and piers at Harborview Drive,
Baltimore, Maryland. Compl. ¶ 8, ECF No. 1. Harborview
was looking to insure a number of its piers, including one
that began beyond the eastern side of the building at
Pierside Drive and extended into the Baltimore harbor.
Id. ¶ 9. Accordingly, Harborview obtained from
the Hartford a “Marina Operators Legal Liability and
Boat Dealer Policy, ” Policy No. 30 ML HS9073 (the
“Policy”), effective June 26, 2014 to June 26,
2015 providing aggregate combined coverage of $5.1 million.
Compl., Ex. 1, ECF No. 1-1.
submits that when Harborview applied for insurance the pier
was actually in a state of advanced deterioration, and was
inherently defective in design and/or construction. Compl.
¶ 10. Despite these deficiencies, says the Hartford,
Harborview represented to it that the pier was of
substantially newer construction, reconstruction, or
refurbishment and in substantially new, or as good as new
condition. Id. ¶ 11. The Hartford says
Harborview never disclosed the true condition of the pier.
Id. ¶ 12.
November 22, 2014, the pier failed, id. ¶ 17,
in consequence of which Harborview made a claim under the
Policy for $5.1 million (the “Claim”).
Id. ¶ 18. Pursuant to its rights under the
Policy, the Hartford investigated the Claim, id.
¶ 19, but at the conclusion of its investigation,
decided that the Claim was not covered because the pier
failure was due to age, wear and tear, gradual deterioration,
wasted condition, inherent vice or defective repair,
not due to a fortuity or any covered risk.
Id. ¶¶ 20-21. The Hartford thus denied
coverage. Id. ¶ 20.
these facts, the Hartford seeks a declaratory judgment that
(1) there is no coverage for the claim under the Policy, (2)
the claim is not covered for want of fortuity, (3) Harborview
breached the Conditions of Coverage under the Policy, and (4)
coverage for the pier under the Policy is void and
unenforceable. Id. ¶¶ 25, 29, 35,
has counterclaimed against the Hartford, alleging breach of
contract under the Policy and failure of the insurance
company to act in good faith, and asks for damages in the
amount of $5.1 million. Def's. Counterclaims ¶¶
41, 43, 46, 49, 51, 60, ECF No. 10. Harborview submits that
prior to issuing the Policy, the Hartford failed to survey or
investigate the pier and the rest of the insured property,
and therefore failed to draft a policy that properly
accounted for Harborview's freestanding piers.
Id. ¶ 12. According to Harborview, the Hartford
also failed to properly or fully investigate the cause of the
collapse, ignoring the role played by a third-party
contractor. Id. ¶ 21. Harborview further
submits that the Hartford reinterpreted the Policy in a way
that created exclusions to coverage that did not exist at the
time of the suffered loss. Id. ¶ 20.
came the Hartford's third-party Complaint against C.A.
Lindman, seeking contribution and indemnification against
Harborview's counter-claims. ECF No. 38. The Hartford
argues that if it is held liable to Harborview, C.A. Lindman
should be deemed responsible for any required payments
because the damages allegedly sustained by Harborview were
the proximate result of the actions of C.A. Lindman, its
agents or subcontractors. Harborview then filed its own
cross-claim against C.A. Lindman (ECF No. 42), asserting that
if the Hartford's claims for declaratory relief are
granted fully or in part, C.A. Lindman should be held liable
for the damages arising from and related to the pier
collapse. C.A. Lindman has answered both complaints. ECF Nos.
46, 73. Harborview has also filed yet another third-party
claim (i.e., impleader), this time against Coleman
Consulting, alleging that Coleman, as the consultant on the
façade construction and maintenance project, was
negligent in its use of the pier and was therefore jointly
and severally liable with C.A. Lindman for the damages and
liabilities arising from the collapse. ECF No. 50.
According to Harborview, Coleman breached its duty of care to
ensure that the pier was used in a safe and non-negligent
manner by failing to inspect the pier or ascertain its
March 29, 2017, Coleman filed a Motion to Dismiss
Harborview's Third-Party Complaint (ECF No. 53) on the
grounds that the Third-Party Complaint fails to state a claim
and, in the alternative, because the Court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction over the claim. Coleman argues that Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 14 does not permit the claim
Harborview asserts against it and that the Court lacks
supplemental jurisdiction over it.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
Lack of Subject ...