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April 6, 2017
Altman Contractors, Inc., v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co.
The owner of a condominium building notified Altman Contractors, the general contractor, of alleged defects in the building. State law requires property owners to complete a notice and repair process before suing over construction defects. When Altman asked its insurer, Crum & Forster, to defend Altman, the insurer said the notice was not a “suit” under the terms of Crum & Forster’s insurance policies. Altman sued Crum & Forster in federal court for declaratory judgment and breach of contract. The federal court granted Crum & Forster summary judgment. Altman appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has asked this Court if the notice required under Florida law triggers the insurer’s duty to defend.