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U.S. Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Home Depot on Duty to Defend

August 30, 2022 – Press Release

August 30, 2022 (Dallas, TX) – Hawkins Parnell & Young partner Robert Gilbreath successfully represented The Home Depot in an appeal decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit issued its opinion on August 29, 2022, in the case styled Stanley Access v. Home Depot. The district court held that a construction subcontractor owed a contractual duty to defend The Home Depot for a personal injury claim based on an accident involving automatic doors installed at a Home Depot store by the subcontractor. The subcontractor appealed, arguing the duty to defend depended on the ultimate outcome of the case being in favor of Home Depot. Applying Georgia law, the Fifth Circuit held that the allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint controlled whether there was a duty to defend; it was not necessary for Home Depot to secure a jury finding that its alleged negligence was not the sole cause of the accident. The duty to defend is separate from the duty to indemnify and is controlled by the allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint.