The insurer’s right of subrogation is equitable in nature, even if not based in contract. However, since the insurer steps into the shoes of its insured and is limited to the rights of its insured, an integral part of the investigation process is determining what rights the insured has. Whether or not the insured can settle with the tortfeasor and that whether the settlement would also apply to the subrogated carrier is a question the Supreme Court of New York, a trial court, recently addressed.
In Utica First Ins. Co. v. Homeport I LLC, et al., No. 150448/2022, 2023 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3087 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.), the plaintiff insurance carrier’s insured, SI Waterfront Management Inc. (SI Waterfront), owned and operated a restaurant called Wynwood at 24 Navy Pier Court in Staten Island, New York. The owner of the property was Homeport I LLC (Homeport). Significant construction work pertaining to plumbing and draining lines at the property was done by Ironstate Holdings, LLC (Ironstate), the plumbing portion of which was conducted by subcontractor Claire Construction Corp. (Claire). As a result of the construction work, on June 8, 2021, SI Waterfront allegedly sustained property damage from flooding.