Uniwest: Virginia Supreme Court Strikes Down Overly Broad Indemnity

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Code § 11-4.1 of the Virginia Code renders some contract indemnity provisions invalid. This statute invalidates all contractual provisions under which a party is indemnified from liability “caused by or resulting solely from the negligence of the other party.” In other words, Virginia prohibits Party A from indemnifying Party B for damages caused by Party B’s own negligence. Recently, the Supreme Court of Virginia applied this Code restriction to invalidate a broad indemnity obligation of a subcontract because it was so broad as to include the prohibited indemnity. Notably, the Court invalidated the entire provision, not just the overly broad portions, and even though the particular circumstances at issue indicated that the accident was not the sole fault of one party. The validity of an indemnity provision is to be determined by its language, not the circumstances from which the claim arose.

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