Subcontractor Responsibility for Claims - Indemnity Agreement

The trial court in Continental Heller Corp. v. Amtech Mechanical Services, Inc. (1997) found the subcontractor had not been at fault in performing the work which had given rise to third party claims against the general contractor. Nonetheless the court in Continental Heller found the broad language of indemnity did not require that the general contractor prove that the subcontractor bore any responsibility for those claims. (Continental Heller, supra, 53 Cal. App. 4th at p. 505.) "There is no merit to the subcontractor's contention that every cause of action for indemnity requires a showing of fault on the part of the indemnitor. on the contrary, courts will enforce indemnity agreements even for losses caused by acts over which the indemnitor had no control. . . . the language of the agreement leaves no doubt the parties intended the subcontractor should indemnify the general contractor irrespective of whether the general contractor's loss arose by reason of the subcontractor's negligence or for any other reason except for the sole negligence or willful misconduct of the general contractor." (Ibid.) Thus the court found that the contract, like the one here, excluded indemnity only if the claim was caused by the sole negligence or willful misconduct of the general contractor. (53 Cal. App. 4th at p. 505.)