Legal Corner

Indemnification case studies

Editor's note: Following is the second part of a two-part series of articles addressing indemnification agreements. Part one, "Scrutinizing indemnification clauses," February issue, page 16, discussed the three types of indemnification provisions and two types of anti-indemnity statutes that have been enacted in numerous states.

Although there are many court cases that could be studied with regard to indemnification agreements, the following court cases from New York, California, Indiana and Minnesota illustrate how an indemnification provision may or may not be enforced depending on an indemnification clause's scope, a state's anti-indemnity statute and specific case facts.

New York

In Itri Brick & Concrete Corp. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. and Stottlar v. Ginsburg Development Corp., which were decided jointly by the New York Court of Appeals in 1997, subcontractors' employees who had been injured in job-site accidents filed suit against the respective general contractors. The general contractors, in turn, filed claims against the subcontractors. The subcontracts contained indemnification clauses that required subcontractors to indemnify the general contractors against any claims by the subcontractors' employees or claims resulting from the subcontractors' work or operations. Unlike most states that make workers' compensation an exclusive remedy, New York allows employees to file suit against third parties.

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