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Yarrington v. Camarota

Decided: June 28, 1971.

DOROTHY YARRINGTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NICHOLAS CAMAROTA ET AL., DEFENDANTS, AND BALDWIN MANOR, INC., NICHOLAS CAMAROTA AND BERTRAM ROBERTS, INDIVIDUALLY AND T/A BALDWIN MANOR, DEFENDANTS-THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFFS AND APPELLANTS, V. MARYLAND CASUALTY COMPANY, ET AL., THIRD-PARTY-DEFENDANTS, AND MARYLAND CASUALTY COMPANY AND ASSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANTS AND RESPONDENTS



Kilkenny, Halpern and Lane. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lane, J.A.D.

Lane

Third-party plaintiffs Baldwin Manor, Inc., Nicholas Camarota and Bertram Roberts, individually and trading as Baldwin Manor, appeal from an order dated August 25, 1970 granting summary judgment to third-party defendants Maryland Casualty Company and Assurance Company of America and denying third-party plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment.

From at least August 1963 to May 2, 1966 Baldwin Manor, Inc. was the owner of premises upon which it constructed a seven-building garden apartment complex. On May 2, 1966 Baldwin Manor, Inc. conveyed the premises to its principals, Nicholas Camarota and Bertram Roberts, who on June 1, 1966 sold the premises to Michael Klebanoff and Jacob S. Rudd, t/a Elizabeth Gardens, Inc. On April 23, 1967 a fire occurred in one of the buildings as a result of which numerous lawsuits to recover for property damage were instituted in which Baldwin Manor, Inc., Nicholas Camarota and Bertram Roberts,

individually and t/a Baldwin Manor, were joined as defendants, as were the present owners. Generally speaking, the claims asserted against the third-party plaintiffs were that they were negligent in the construction of the building and as a result of their negligence the fire either started or was caused to spread, thereby causing damage to the various plaintiffs.

Assurance Company of America issued a special multi-peril policy to Baldwin Manor, Inc. for the policy period August 29, 1963 to August 29, 1966. By endorsement, dated May 2, 1966, the name of the insured was amended to Baldwin Manor, Nicholas Camarota and Bertram Roberts, partners, t/a Baldwin Manor.

By their third-party complaints the third-party plaintiffs in effect sought a declaratory judgment that Assurance Company of America was obligated under its policy to defend third-party plaintiffs against the claims made and to pay any judgments that might be obtained against them. Maryland Casualty Company was joined as a third-party defendant because in some way Assurance Company of America is affiliated with Maryland Casualty Company. In view of our disposition of the appeal we need not concern ourselves with the relationship between Assurance Company of America and Maryland Casualty Company.

The question is whether the policy affords coverage where damage occurs for the first time after the policy period as a result of acts committed by the insureds during the policy period. The trial judge held that there was no coverage.

Section II, Coverage C, provides that the insurance company will pay "all sums which the Insured shall become legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury or property damage to which this Section applies." The company is also obligated under that coverage to defend any suit brought against the named insured alleging "such bodily injury or property damage and seeking damages which are payable under the terms of this Section." The face sheet

of the policy sets forth the limit of liability under Coverage C as $300,000 for each occurrence.

"Occurrence" is defined:

"occurrence" means an event, or a continuous or repeated exposure to conditions, which causes bodily injury or property damage during the policy period that is neither expected nor intended by the Insured. All such exposure to substantially the same general conditions ...


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