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Centex Homes v. St. Paul Fire and Marine Ins. Co.

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division

May 22, 2015

CENTEX HOMES, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
ST. PAUL FIRE AND MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY et al., Defendants and Respondents.

APPEAL from the Superior Court of Riverside County No. RIC1306704, Richard J. Oberholzer, Judge. (Retired Judge of the Kern Super. Ct. assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to art. VI, § 6 of the Cal. Const.)

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Newmeyer & Dillon, Thomas F. Newmeyer, Joseph A. Ferrentino, Clayton T. Tanaka and Christina K. Kazarian for Plaintiff and Appellant.

The Aguilar Law Group, A. Eric Aguilera and Raymond E. Brown for Defendants and Respondents.

OPINION

CODRINGTON, J.

I

INTRODUCTION

This insurance coverage dispute arises from underlying construction defect litigation in which Corona homeowners have sued the developer, plaintiff and

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appellant Centex Homes (Centex), for work performed by Centex’s subcontractors. One of the subcontractors, Oak Leaf Landscape, Inc. (Oak Leaf), is insured by defendants and respondents, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company and St. Paul Mercury Insurance Company (Travelers). Centex is named as an additional insured on the Travelers’s policy.

Centex appeals from an order and judgment sustaining without leave to amend defendants’ demurrer to the seventh and eighth causes of action of the original complaint filed by Centex. The seventh and eight causes of action for declaratory relief are about insurance coverage and Centex’s right to independent counsel pursuant to Civil Code section 2860. We agree with the trial court’s ruling that the claims are neither “ripe” nor “actual” and affirm the judgment.[1]

II

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The facts alleged in the complaint are taken as true for purposes of a demurrer. (Blank v. Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311, 318 [216 Cal.Rptr. 718, 703 P.2d 58].) We do not “assume the truth of contentions, deductions or conclusions of law.” (Aubry v. Tri-City Hospital Dist. (1992) 2 Cal.4th 962, 967 [9 Cal.Rptr.2d 92, 831 P.2d 317])

Centex alleges that it was a developer of single-family residences in Corona. In May 2012, Centex was sued by Corona homeowners in Riverside County Superior Court for construction defects. Centex tendered the defense to Travelers, which accepted the defense subject to a reservation of rights, including the right to choose defense counsel. The Riverside litigation was stayed pending the Corona plaintiffs’ compliance with the prelitigation procedures of the Right to ...


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