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Nationwide unit wins in case of occupational injury



A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling in favor of a Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. unit in a dispute with another insurer, in a case involving a worker who fell through an unprotected opening in the second floor of a building and maintained serious injuries.

The plaintiff in the case, Eduardo Guzman, sued the property owner, Chicago-based Rockwell Properties, its manager, Chicago-based Prairie Management & Development and others in the state court, according to a decision of the 7th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in Scottsdale Insurance Co. v. Columbia Insurance Group Inc.

The question in the case is whether Guzman's employer, Chicago-based TDH Mechanical, which was insured by Columbia, Missouri-based Columbia Insurance Group, is liable to defend Rockwell, which was insured by the nationwide unit Scottsdale Insurance and Prairie. Rockwell and Prairie were named additional insurances on Columbia's commercial general liability policy, the decision said.

Scottsdale has defended Rockwell and Prairie in the underlying suit, but Columbia refuses to defend then. Scottsdale wants Columbia to take over its defense and reimburse Scottsdale for the defense costs already incurred, according to the decision. $ 50,000 in defense costs through August 201

9, "leaving the tort issue another day," the decision said.

The decision of the lower court was confirmed by a unanimous three-judge appeals panel. "Columbia claims that the underlying complaint does not claim any factors that cause the case to even be covered by Columbia. We do not agree, "the decision said.

" The underlying complaint specifically alleges that Prairie and Rockwell "negligently failed to monitor, inspect, supervise and coordinate" the subcontractor's work on the construction site to protect the plaintiff from injury. sa.

"TDH is potentially one of these subcontractors, suggests the underlying attire, and does not rule out the possibility that any fault lies with TDH," as well as that any liability from Prairie or Rockwell "arises from TDH's then ongoing operations performed for Prairie and Rockwell, "to confirm the decision of the lower court.

Lawyers in the case had no comment or could not be reached.

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