Rite Aid says facility management business and insurance companies failed to defend them from injury suit

By Nicholas Malfitano | Nov 6, 2017

Rite Aid  

PHILADELPHIA – Rite Aid and its subsidiaries have initiated legal action against a facility management business and a pair of insurance companies, for allegedly not indemnifying and defending them from an underlying personal injury lawsuit.

Rite Aid Hdqtrs Corp. (doing business as “Rite Aid Corporation”), Maxi Drug South, L.P. and PJC of Rhode Island, Inc., all of Camp Hill, filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Oct. 27 versus Springwise Facility Management, Inc. of South Bend, Ind., Liberty Surplus Insurance Corporation of Boston, Mass. and Employers Mutual Casualty Company of Des Moines, Iowa.

On Sept. 3, 2015, Jessica Antonio-Brady filed a personal injury complaint against a number of defendants, including the plaintiffs in the instant case, Springwise and Classic Seal Coating, Inc. In the underlying complaint, Antonio-Brady alleged she was injured by ice and snow on the property of a Rite Aid Pharmacy store located in Central Falls, R.I. on Jan. 30, 2014.

During that time, the plaintiffs and Springwise were allegedly parties to a valid and enforceable contract requiring:

-Springwise to provide all snow and ice removal services at the property; 

-Springwise to indemnify and defend the plaintiffs from any liability and other costs resulting from its obligations under the contract; and

-Requiring Springwise to carry comprehensive general liability insurance for $5 million, for both personal injury perils and contractual liability.

Springwise then obtained an insurance policy with Liberty, which designated the plaintiffs as “additional insureds” on the policy, the suit says.

Springwise then entered into a similar sub-contract with Classic Seal Coating, Inc. to perform all snow and ice removal services at the property, the suit says.

The plaintiffs tendered their defense to Springwise on June 16, 2015, to which Springwise acknowledged its receipt and replied that it had, in turn, tendered the matter to the service provider (Classic Seal) and notified the service provider’s insurance carrier (Employers Mutual), as well as its own insurance carrier (Liberty), the suit says.

“After the Antonio-Brady complaint was filed, Liberty and Springwise retained counsel to defend Rite Aid Hdqtrs. Corp. However, despite continued requests to do so, Liberty and Springwise refused to defend Maxi and PJC, the wholly-owned subsidiaries of Rite Aid that were also named in the complaint. Likewise, Employers Mutual refused to defend Rite Aid, Maxi and PJC. Due to the defendants’ failure to comply with their contractual obligations under the contracts and the insurance policies, Rite Aid was forced to incur costs defending the Antonio-Brady complaint,” the suit says.

For multiple counts of breach of contract and bad faith, the plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees not in excess of $50,000, in addition to interest equal to the prime rate plus three percent, costs and all other damages deemed appropriate at trial.

The plaintiffs are represented by Gregory J. Mann of Donnelly & Associates, in Conshohocken.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 171003581

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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