In construction defect and related insurance actions on behalf of the First Southern Baptist Church of Walnut, Conkle, Kremer & Engel attorneys recently obtained multi-million dollar settlements. The Church hired KO-AM Company to build a youth center. At the conclusion of the construction, the new youth center exhibited numerous defects, including the growth of dangerous stachybotrys mold.

Conkle, Kremer & Engel helped the Church bring claims against the general contractor and its subcontractors. At the same time, claims were made under four insurance policies. Royal, one of the insurers, agreed to defend the general contractor but would not offer enough settlement money to cure all the construction defects. The other insurers, Steadfast Insurance Company and Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania , refused to acknowledge any coverage for the Church’s claims against the general contractor.

Conkle, Kremer & Engel attorneys worked out a settlement arrangement whereby the defending insurer and subcontractors paid the Church $800,000, while allowing the Church to go to trial to prove its damages. Under Conkle, Kremer & Engel’s direction, communications were sent to the non-settling insurers giving them a final opportunity to settle the case before trial. The insurers refused to settle. After trial, the Church was awarded judgment for $8.4 million, including damages for construction defects and more than $5 million in lost revenue from declining Church membership caused by the construction problems.

The Church then pursued an insurance bad faith action against Steadfast and ICSOP. Steadfast and ICSOP denied any obligation to pay for the judgment. A mediation was held, and a settlement of $4 million was finally obtained from the two reluctant insurers.

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