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Colorado Casualty Insurance Co. v. Starline Windows, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

May 27, 2014

COLORADO CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
STARLINE WINDOWS, INC., et al. Defendants.

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

JOHN C. COUGHENOUR, District Judge.

This matter was tried to the Court, sitting without a jury, from April 28 to April 30, 2014. Plaintiff Colorado Casualty Insurance Company ("Colorado") appeared through its attorneys Russell Love and Mark Thorsrud of Thorsrud Cane & Paulich. Defendants The Bristol at Southport, LLC ("Bristol") and Starline Windows, Inc. ("Starline") appeared through Daniel Heffernan and Brent Hardy of Heffernan Law Group PLLC. Defendant Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada ("RSA") appeared through its attorney Michael Ricketts of Gordon Thomas Honeywell, LLP. After bench trial and pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a), the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Colorado is a New Hampshire corporation with its principal place of business in Boston, Massachusetts. Colorado is authorized to do business in the state of Washington.

2. Starline is a Washington corporation with its principal place of business in Washington. Starline sold and serviced vinyl and aluminum windows in the western United States.

3. Bristol is a Washington limited liability company and the owner of The Bristol Apartments located in Renton, Washington ("the Project").

4. RSA is a Canadian insurance company which issued a number of liability policies to Starline Windows Ltd. ("Starline LTD") and to Starline Windows (2001) Ltd. as named insureds from 2000 to 2012.

5. Colorado issued a primary and an excess liability policy to Starline with coverage effective May 20, 2001 to May 20, 2002 under a primary policy, and coverage effective September 14, 2001 to May 20, 2002 under an excess policy (collectively, the "Colorado policies").

6. RSA issued two policies to Starline LTD that included Broad Form Vendors Endorsements. The first RSA policy covered the period December 15, 2000 to December 15, 2001 (the "00-LTD Policy"). The second policy covered the period December 15, 2001 to December 15, 2002 (the "01-LTD Policy"). The 00-LTD Policy contained a pro-rata Other Insurance clause. The 01-LTD Policy contained a super-escape Other Insurance clause. The Court credited the testimony of Katie Ewles concerning the content of the 01-LTD Policy and found Colorado's arguments to the contrary particularly unconvincing.

7. The Project was built from approximately 2000 to 2002. Certificates of Occupancy were issued for the Project in early January 2003.

8. The Project's general contractor was Mego Construction, Inc. ("Mego"). Starline contracted with Mego to furnish windows for the Project pursuant to purchase orders dated January 9, May 1, May 23, and August 24, 2001. The windows for the Project were manufactured by Starline LTD in a factory in Langley, B.C.

9. Pursuant to the purchase orders, Starline was responsible for delivering the windows to a framing plant, where the windows were unpacked and installed into prefabricated, panelized walls for the Project. Starline was then responsible for delivering the windows to the Project jobsite.

10. The windows, installed as part of the panelized wall assemblies, were shipped flat on trucks to the Project jobsite. This method of shipping damaged the structural and waterproofing integrity of the windows. Starline used additional bracing on later shipments, which mitigated but did not prevent the damage.

11. Beginning in late 2001 and continuing into 2002-during the period of the Colorado policies-the Starline windows installed at the Project were leaking and causing water damage. At least some of the damage was caused by the structural defects resulting from the method of shipping.

12. Beginning around February 2002, Starline performed repairs to many windows at the Project. The parties incorrectly believed that these repairs were successful and had stopped the leaking. Instead, some of the work-such as cutting the glazing tape on the windows- exacerbated the problems.

13. Normally Starline issued project-specific forms of warranties, which were dated, named the project involved, and specified the type of windows covered. In this case, Starline issued a Starline Limited Ten-Year Warranty (the "Warranty"), which was a generic warranty. Starline delivered the warranty to Mego for the benefit of Bristol. Starline's business included service work on windows ...


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