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Deodato v. Hartford Insurance Co.

Decided: June 28, 1976.

JOHN DEODATO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HARTFORD INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT



Rosenberg, J.s.c., Retired and Temporarily Assigned on Recall.

Rosenberg

[143 NJSuper Page 398] These are cross-motions for summary judgment brought by plaintiff John Deodato (Deodato) and defendant Hartford Insurance Company (Hartford). The parties have stipulated to the following facts. Deodato, a contractor, in 1969 constructed a roof on the premises of Pope Chemical Corp. From September 15, 1969 to September 15, 1970 plaintiff was insured under Hartford Policy #18 C 815913. This policy was renewed annually. Policy #18 C 833566 constituted the last policy renewed. That policy

was to run from September 15, 1972 to September 15, 1973; however, the policy was cancelled on January 22, 1973 for nonpayment of the premium. On June 13, 1973 Thermwell Products, a tenant on the premises owned by Pope Chemical, sustained damage when the roof was "ripped off" the building.

An action was commenced against Deodato by Thermwell. Hartford was notified of the suit and a demand made to indemnify and defend Deodato in accordance with the policy. Hartford refused to defend the action. The Thermwell suit was settled during trial for $18,500. Plaintiff contributed $1,500 toward settlement of the suit and incurred legal costs of $2,622.75. Deodato now seeks a declaratory judgment finding that Hartford was obligated to defend and otherwise hold plaintiff harmless. Further, plaintiff seeks attorney's fees and costs.

The parties have also stipulated that "completed operations" coverage was part of the contract of insurance when the policies were in force. The "completed operations hazards" provision includes:

(1) when all operations to be performed by or on behalf of the named insured under the contract have been completed.

(2) when all operations to be performed by or on behalf of the named insured at the site of the operations have been completed, or

(3) when the portion of the work out of which the injury or damage arises has been put to its intended use by any person or organization other than another contractor or subcontractor engaged in performing operations for a principal as a part of the same project.

Operations which may require further service or maintenance work, or correction, repair or replacement because of any defect or deficiency,

but which are otherwise complete, shall be deemed completed.

The completed operations hazard does not include bodily injury or property damage arising out of

(a) operations in connection with the transportation of property, unless the bodily injury or property damage arises out of a condition in or on a vehicle ...


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