BAPTIST MEMORIAL HOSPITAL and BAPTIST MEMORIAL HEALTH CARE CORPORATION v. ARGO CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, HANSON PIPE & PRODUCTS SOUTH, INC., and ETI CORPORATION and ARGO CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION v. HANSON PIPE & PRODUCTS SOUTH, INC. (Tenn. Ct. App. July 29, 2009)
This appeal involves a cross-claim for indemnity. The cross-plaintiff construction company served as the general contractor on a drainage improvement project for a hospital. The cross-defendant subcontractor manufactured and provided concrete pipe for the project, which was installed by the general contractor. After completion of the project, a sinkhole developed in the hospital's parking lot. An investigation revealed that the internal steel reinforcement for the concrete pipe was improperly positioned.
The hospital sued, among others, the general contractor and the pipe subcontractor. The general contractor then filed a cross-claim against the pipe subcontractor for indemnity in the event the hospital received a judgment against the general contractor. The subcontractor filed a motion for summary judgment as to the general contractor's indemnity claim, arguing that the claim was barred by (1) the one-year limitations period contained in the parties' contract, as permitted under Tennessee Code Annotated section 47-2-725, and (2) the exclusive remedy provision in the parties' contract, which provided that the only remedies available to the general contractor were repair, replacement, or refund of the purchase price of the pipe. The general contractor argued that the one-year contractual limitations period was not applicable to its indemnity claim, and that the exclusive remedy provision did not preclude its indemnity claim. In the alternative, the general contractor argued that, because the defect in the pipe was latent and not discoverable upon reasonable inspection, the exclusive remedy in the contract failed of its essential purpose and the general contractor was not bound by it.
The trial court granted the subcontractor's motion for summary judgment, concluding that the indemnity claim was barred by the one-year contractual limitations period and the exclusive remedy provision, and also that the latency of the alleged defect in the pipe did not cause the exclusive remedy to fail of its essential purpose. The general contractor appeals. We affirm, finding that the exclusive remedy provision applies to bar the indemnity claim and that the exclusive remedy in the contract does not fail of its essential purpose.
Opinion may be found at the TBA website: