Court Rules NFL Stadium Design and Construction as Intentional Conduct, Not Accidental Occurrence

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently found that insurers did not have to defend a construction company from the San Francisco 49ers’ claim that the company negligently failed to construct the NFL team’s stadium to be accessible to all people with physical disabilities.

In Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. Turner/Devcon, the federal appellate court ruled that because the construction of the stadium was an intentional act, it did not constitute bodily injury or property damage caused by an accidental occurrence.

Abdul Nevarez filed a putative class action lawsuit against the 49ers, and other related corporate entities, alleging that the 49ers violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by designing and constructing their stadium in a manner that did not comply with federal disability access design standards.

In turn, the 49ers sued Turner/Devcon, the joint venture of a New York-based and California-based construction company that had constructed the stadium.

The 49ers contended that any liability was caused by Turner/Devcon’s negligence and that the joint venture had contractually agreed to indemnify the 49ers for this type of litigation.

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