New Hampshire’s Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously upheld a lower court decision in favor of a unit in Cincinnati Insurance Co. in litigation filed by an injured worker, based on a policy exclusion.
Cincinnati Insurance Unit Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Insurance Co. insured Francistown, New Hampshire-based Best Way Homes Inc., according to the decision of the state Supreme Court in Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Insurance Co. v. Best Way Homes, Inc.
In 2012, Best Way entered into a contract with a homeowner to carry out renovations to his home, including the construction of a deck with an attached staircase. Best Way outsourced its construction to another company, which completed the project in 2012.
In 2017, the homeowner hired Russell Blodgett to perform plumbing services on the property. Mr Blodgett was injured when the stairs parted from the deck as he went down it, causing him to fall about 10 feet and be injured, according to the verdict.
Mr Blodgett sued the homeowner and Best Way for negligence and negligent letting and supervision. At the time of the damage, but not at the time of construction, Best Way was the insured under CSU’s coverage, which was an event policy.
Coverage included an exemption for work performed by independent contractors or subcontractors.
The Supreme Court agreed with the lower court that the exemption applied. The claims against Best Way “come from the subcontractor’s alleged negligence and establish a causal link between the subcontractor’s work and Blodgett’s claim against Best Way”, it stated.
“Therefore, we conclude that all claims against Best Way arose from the work of the subcontractor and the exclusive provision excludes coverage in the underlying dispute.”
Lawyers in the case did not respond to requests for comment.