Holland v. Hucks Pool Co. (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-206-16, 10 pp.) (R. Bryan Harwell, J.) 4:15-cv-00141; D.S.C.
Holding: The defendant-contractor does not allege any damages of its own apart from the expense of defending this slip and fall lawsuit, so the contractor’s breach of contract/warranty crossclaim against the defendant-subcontractor is merely a disguised claim for equitable indemnity. As such, it is duplicative of the contractor’s indemnity crossclaim.
The court grants the subcontractor’s motion to dismiss the contractor’s breach of contract-warranty crossclaim but denies the subcontractor’s motion to dismiss the contractor’s equitable indemnity crossclaim.
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the contractor, genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the subcontractor was at fault in causing plaintiff’s damages and whether the contractor was not at fault for those damages. The evidence is unclear as to exactly where on the pool steps plaintiff fell, and as to whether the curvature of the nosing tile, the slope of the tread plaster, or a combination of both components caused plaintiff to slip and fall.
Moreover, the evidence is unclear as to which entity – the contractor and/or the subcontractor, both of which laid down plaster on the steps – caused the tread to exceed the half-inch slope permitted by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Since the court cannot determine as a matter of law that the subcontractor was not at fault or that the contractor was at fault, the court must deny the subcontractor’s motion for summary judgment as to the contractor’s equitable indemnity crossclaim.
Motion granted in part and denied in part.