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Villa Riviera Condominium Association v. Spectra Company et al. (2019)

March 28, 2019

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Horvitz & Levy obtained the affirmance of a contested judgment despite the trial court’s failure to explicitly decide all contested issues in the statement of decision.

Spectra is a general contractor that restored the Villa Riviera condominiums in Long Beach. Spectra subcontracted with PDG to remove lead paint. The Villa Riviera homeowners association sued Spectra for construction defects, and Spectra cross-complained against its subcontractors, including PDG, alleging its subcontractors had a duty to defend and indemnify it. The trial court ruled that the subcontract allowed Spectra to seek indemnification from PDG for all damages except those caused by Spectra’s sole negligence and that Spectra could pursue the equitable subrogation claims of its insurers, who paid for Spectra’s attorney fees and settlement costs. After a trial, the court found that PDG was not negligent and that Spectra had failed to prove the required elements of its indemnity claims.

Spectra appealed and argued both that the trial court’s statement of decision failed to address its breach of the duty to defend claim, and that the court improperly applied the doctrine of superior equities to the subrogation claim.

Horvitz and Levy represented PDG on appeal. PDG argued that Spectra offered no evidence that it tendered its defense to PDG and thus failed to prove a breach of the duty to defend, the trial court properly balanced the equities as required for the subrogation claim, and the statement of decision was adequate. The court agreed with PDG’s arguments and affirmed the judgment in a unanimous unpublished opinion.