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United States: Insurer Required to Defend in Spite of Workers’ Compensation Exclusion Clause

February 09, 2020 (1 min read)

Construing Maine law, in spite of a provision in a general liability insurance policy excluding workers’ compensation matters from coverage, a federal district court held that a company’s general liability insurance carrier was required to defend it in a negligence action filed against the company and several of the plaintiff’s co-employees by a plaintiff-employee who alleged he had sustained injuries due to the actions and inaction of the employer and co-employees during the workday and on the employer’s premises. In particular, the plaintiff alleged that he became unconscious while he was at work, but the co-employees ignored him for most of a work shift. He argued the co-employee’s actions and inaction could be imputed to the defendant-employer. The court reasoned that it could certainly be argued that the plaintiff, after passing out, was not engaged in employment activity and that the others, in ignoring him, had abandoned their employment as it related to co-employee safety. Under these circumstances, the court said there was a sufficient basis to require the general liability carrier to defend the case.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See True North Me. v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13941 (Jan. 28, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 100.04.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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