Liability Insurer Precluded from Intervening in Insured’s Lawsuit

Lawyer talking to Judge Illustration

The employer’s liability exclusion excludes coverage for bodily injury to an employee.

September 17, 2018
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

There are cases where I honestly do no fully understand the insurer’s position because it cannot have its cake and eat it too. The recent opinion in Houston Specialty Insurance Company v. Vaughn, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D1828a (Fla. 2d DCA 2018) is one of those cases because on one hand it tried hard to disclaim coverage and on the other hand tried to intervene in the underlying suit where it was not a named party.

This case dealt with a personal injury dispute where a laborer for a pressure washing company fell off of a roof and became a paraplegic. The injured person sued the pressure washing company and its representatives. The company and representatives tendered the case to its general liability insurer and the insurer–although it provided a defense under a reservation of rights—filed a separate action for declaratory relief based on an exclusion in the general liability policy that excluded coverage for the pressure washing company’s employees (because the general liability policy is not a workers compensation policy). This is known as the employer’s liability exclusion that excludes coverage for bodily injury to an employee. The insurer’s declaratory relief action sought a declaration that there was no coverage because the injured laborer was an employee of the pressure washing company. The pressure washing company claimed he was an independent contractor, in which the policy did provide limited coverage pursuant to an endorsement.

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com



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