282 So.2d 478 (La. 1973), 52667, Livingston Parish School Bd. v. Fireman's Fund Am. Ins. Co.

Docket Nº:52667.
Citation:282 So.2d 478
Party Name:LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOL BOARD v. FIREMAN'S FUND AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY et al. J. C. KERSTENS d/b/a J. C. Kerstens & Associates, Third-Party Plaintiff-Appellant-Relator, v. CONTINENTAL CASUALTY COMPANY, Third-Party Defendant-Appellee-Respondent.
Case Date:June 11, 1973
Court:Supreme Court of Louisiana

Page 478

282 So.2d 478 (La. 1973)

LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOL BOARD

v.

FIREMAN'S FUND AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY et al.

J. C. KERSTENS d/b/a J. C. Kerstens & Associates,

Third-Party Plaintiff-Appellant-Relator,

v.

CONTINENTAL CASUALTY COMPANY, Third-Party

Defendant-Appellee-Respondent.

No. 52667.

Supreme Court of Louisiana.

June 11, 1973

Rehearing Denied Sept. 24, 1973.

Page 479

Durrett, Hardin, Hunter, Dameron & Fritchie, Calvin E. Hardin, Jr., L. Michael Cooper, Baton Rouge, for plaintiff-applicant.

Kantrow, Spaht, Weaver & Walter, Carlos G. Spaht, Carey J. Guglielmo, Baton Rouge, for defendant-respondent.

TATE, Justice.

The plaintiff school board sues to recover damages for the collapse of a roof on a building. Among the defendants was Kerstens, a civil engineer, employed in the construction of the building that collapsed. Kerstens filed a third-party demand against Continental Casualty Company, his engineers' professional liability insurer.

The court of appeal affirmed the dismissal of Kerstens' third-party demand against Continental. 263 so.2d 356 (La.App.1st Cir. 1972). It did so on the ground that (a) the roof-collapse of July 14, 1969, was not covered by Continental's policy, which terminated on July 11, 1969, and (b) that such policy had not been renewed so as to provide coverage for the loss three days later. The dismissal of this third-party demand is the sole ruling before us for review.

Page 480

We granted certiorari, 262 La. 1085, 266 So.2d 219 (1972), primarily to consider whether a policy clause was void, as against public policy, which denied protection against a loss from conduct covered during the policy year Unless, also, formal claim was made during the policy year.

The Policy Coverage

The plaintiff school board sues Kerstens and others for damages caused by the collapse of the roof of a newly constructed building. It collapsed on July 14, 1969 (which was three days after Kerstens' policy coverage with Continental had expired).

The defendant Kerstens was responsible for architectural and engineering design, planning, and supervision of the construction of the building. All of these services had been performed between August 9, 1968 and prior to July 11, 1969.

During that period, Kerstens was insured by an Architects' and/or Engineers' Professional Liability Policy. It was issued by Continental on July 11, 1968 and covered a policy period terminating on July 11, 1969. Continental had insured Kerstens by similar policies continuously renewed commencing July 11, 1966.

The present policy, however, was not renewed on July 11, 1969. This was three days Before the building collapsed, due (allegedly) to the negligent performance by Kerstens of his service as architect and engineer for the new construction.

The coverage of Continental's policy extended to payment of all damages based on legal liability arising out of the performance of professional services.1 However, the insurance afforded by the policy only extended to negligent acts occurring during the policy period 'if claim therefor is first made against the insured during this policy period',2 i.e., between July 11, 1968 and July 11, 1969. (The policy also afforded insurance against negligent acts occurring prior to the policy period of this policy, (a) If occurring during the policy period of a prior policy issued by Continental and

Page 481

(b) if the insured had been continuously insured by successive professional liability policies with Continental since then.3)

Is Clause against Public Policy which Limits Coverage to

Claims 'made' during Policy Year?

The insured Kerstens points out that the effect of the policy clauses limiting coverage to claims 'made' during the policy period is to deny coverage for negligent acts insured against and committed during the policy year unless (a) the damage manifests itself during the year, (b) claim is made during the year, or (c) the insured renews (and is...

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