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Metropolitan Dade County v. CBM Industries of Minnesota

776 So. 2d 937 (2000)

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Metropolitan Dade County v. CBM Industries of Minnesota

Florida District Court of Appeal

776 So. 2d 937 (2000)

Facts

Metropolitan Dade County (county) (plaintiff) owned and operated the Miami International Airport (airport). The county hired CBM Industries of Minnesota, Inc. (CBM) (defendant) to provide janitorial and cleaning-maintenance services at the airport. The parties’ contract contained an indemnity clause stating that CBM would indemnify the county for any claims arising out of CBM’s services under the contract and would defend the county in any lawsuits for the same claims. A person slipped and fell at the airport. The person claimed that the fall was caused by the airport premises being negligently maintained and sued both the county and CBM for the negligent maintenance. The claims against CBM were for its own negligent actions. The claims against the county were based on (1) the county’s own negligent actions and (2) vicarious liability for CBM’s negligence. The county believed that CBM was required to defend and indemnify the county in the lawsuit, but CBM disagreed, arguing that it was not required to defend the county against claims that the county itself had committed wrongs. CBM then settled and paid the slip-and-fall claims. The county filed a crossclaim against CBM for the attorneys’ fees that the county had spent defending itself before the settlement. The county and CBM each filed motions asking the court to resolve the duty-to-defend issue. The trial court found that CBM did not owe the county a duty to defend and dismissed the county’s claim. The county appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Levy, J.)

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