By Writing La Roche-sur-Yon
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the administrative court of Nantes disavowed the city of The rock on yon (Vendee), who wanted to condemn his “insurance consulting” firm to bear the burden of the heavy pecuniary condemnation of which it was the subject before the High Court (TGI) of La Roche-sur-Yon.
The municipality and its insurer had indeed been ordered in June 2019 by the High Court (TGI) of La Roche-sur-Yon to pay nearly €508,000 to companies housed in former industrial buildings that it had “rehabilitated” before selling them to the mixed economy company (Sem) Oryon, rue René-Coty, in the Acti’Sud industrial zone.
A “partial collapse” of the roof had indeed occurred during the night of November 7 to 8, 2013, causing damage to the equipment of the screen printing company Grip’Ink as well as the premises of the Sem and those of LetMeRepair, a after-sales service company that works for manufacturers of electronic products and household appliances.
No insurance against this risk
However, it appeared on this occasion that the damage was covered by the ten-year guarantee of the builders, when the city was still the building owner… but that this was not insured for this scenario. This had therefore had the consequence of leaving €203,000 to be borne by the city, given the sharing of responsibilities operated by the TGI.
It had therefore subsequently turned against Protectas, the insurance consulting firm that has accompanied her since 2005, for “breach of duty to advise”: she has “never been alerted to the need to insure” against this type of risk. However, the firm knows the issues of the public sphere: it works with “22 regions”, “81 departments”, “more than 700 municipalities” and “forty” Departmental Fire and Rescue Services (SDIS), according to its website. .
The uninformed provider
But the administrative court of Nantes considers for its part that the reproaches made to Protectas in respect of the “lack of advice”, the “breach of the duty to advise” or the fact of “not having been informed of the need to ensure for risks of a ten-year nature linked to a work operation” were not justified.
Protectas did have a “general obligation to advise with a view to adapting insurance contracts taken out by the community”, agree the judges in a decision dated March 23, 2022 which has just been made public. The contract concluded with the town hall provided for the service provider to make “twice a year” “proposals” and “recommendations” to “reduce the risks”, “remove the causes of repetitive claims” and “adapt the contracts of assurance “.
“However, the municipality does not establish, or even allege, that the company (…) would have been informed of the major property renovation project undertaken in 2006 and that it should therefore have alerted the community of the usefulness to take out the insurance”, considers the administrative court of Nantes.
The latter notes, moreover, that the insurer had made it clear that the subscription to “damage to works insurance” should be considered when the city “transfers within ten years” a work that it has built, on the sidelines of a “consultation” of the city “on the question of the responsibility of a territorial engineer exercising the profession of architect”.
The Nantes administrative court therefore disavowed the municipality and ordered it to pay €1,500 to its provider for its legal costs in this case.
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