Willamette Law Online

Oregon Supreme Court


Bresee Homes, Inc. v. Farmers Ins. Exchange

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-31-2012
Case #: S057573
Durham, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; De Muniz, J.; Kistler, J.; Walters, J.; and Linder, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/S057573.pdf

Insurance Law: An insurer may owe a duty to defend its insured and summary judgment is inappropriate when the date of breach is insufficient to determine whether the completed operations hazard exception applies.

On review from the Court of Appeals which affirmed the trial court's decision granting Farmers Ins. Exchange (Farmers) summary judgment and denied Bresee Homes, Inc.'s (Bresee) cross motion for partial summary judgment. The Joneses, homeowners, filed a breach of contract and negligence action against Bresee. Bresee sought indemnification and defense from Farmers who denied Bresee's claim, citing the "completed operations hazard" exclusion. Bresee filed for breach of contract, claiming Farmers had a duty to defend Bresee from liability to the Joneses. The trial court and the Court of Appeals determined that Farmers' completed operations hazard exception precluded coverage. The Oregon Supreme Court held that the date of the alleged damage and breach of contract was not clear. The damage could have occurred prior to the completed operations hazard exception. Therefore, Farmers could owe Bresee a duty to defend and summary judgment was not appropriate. Reversed and remanded.