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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In October 2001, Frymire Engineering Inc. performed work as a subcontractor on a general remodeling of a Dallas-area Renaissance Hotel. Under the subcontractor agreement with Price Woods, the general contractor, Frymire was obligated to indemnify Price Woods and the hotel’s owner for any damages caused by Frymire employees and suppliers. The contract also required Frymire to maintain liability insurance to assure its indemnity obligation, which it did through Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. Frymire installed a water line valve made by Jomar International Ltd. at the hotel. The line ruptured soon after installation, causing water damage to the hotel. On Frymire’s behalf, Liberty paid the hotel more than $458,000 in exchange for the hotel’s execution of a full and final release of all claims. Frymire and Liberty then sued Jomar, saying the valve had been negligently designed. Jomar filed traditional and no-evidence summary judgment motions, saying the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue, that the suit was disguised as a suit for contribution, and that there was no evidence that either plaintiff suffered harm or causation. Without specifying its reasons or on which motion it was ruling, the trial court granted summary judgment to Jomar. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court notes that Frymire and Liberty concede that they did not suffer a direct injury when the water line broke. They argue, though, that they were legally obligated to pay damages to the hotel; payment was not voluntary. They argue they are entitled to the benefit of the “equitable subrogation” doctrine. Noting that equitable subrogation is used to prevent unjust enrichment, the court then observes that Frymire voluntarily agreed with Price Woods that it would pay for any damage caused by Frymire’s employees or suppliers. When Frymire and Liberty paid the hotel, it paid to satisfy its own contractual obligation rather than to satisfy any of Jomar’s hypothetical tort liability. Frymire and Liberty cannot show that Jomar was primarily liable upon the debt they paid. “[Jomar was] not unjustly enriched by Frymire’s performance of a contract to which appellees were not parties. We conclude that Frymire/Liberty does not have standing to sue appellees under the doctrine of equitable subordination.” OPINION:Francis, J.; Wright, O’Neill and Francis, J.J.

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