A federal appellate court upheld a lower court ruling on Wednesday, ruling that RLI Insurance Co. must pay a $ 2.4 million settlement to a worker who lost both legs after an accident and had no workers’ compensation.
in June 2014, Ryan Marshall was seriously injured while working as a truck driver at a factory in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, when the accident occurred, according to the judgment of the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati in PI & I. Motor Express, Inc. v. RLI Insurance Co.
“Mr Marshall had stepped out of his truck when others loaded large metal pipes on it,” according to the verdict. “A worker accidentally drove a forklift into the pipes, causing one of them to come loose and roll off the truck. The pipe crashed into Marshall when it fell.”;
Doctors had to amputate Mr. Marshall’s two legs, which made him totally handicapped, according to the verdict.
A state agency found that Masury, Ohio-based PI & I. Motor Express was the driver’s “statutory” employer in terms of work compensation, but since the company had not received worker protection for him, Marshall could sue it for damages law, according to the ruling.
RLI, Motor Express Commercial Liability Insurance, agreed to defend the company subject to rights, and the parties settled the lawsuit for $ 2.4 million.
Following RLI’s refusal to reimburse it for the settlement, Motor Express sued the insurer at the U.S. District Court in Youngstown, Ohio, claiming compensation for the settlement up to the CGL insurance limit of $ 2 million.
The district court ruled in favor of Motor Express. On appeal, RLI claimed in part that an exemption from work injury compensation applied, but a panel of three judges in the Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s decision.
The case “turns on the question of whether the” obligation “of this settlement was” under “Pennsylvania law on” workers’ compensation. “It was not,” the ruling said.
The $ 2.4 million deal arose from a lawsuit that Marshall brought against Motor Express under Pennsylvania’s customary tort law. tort law – not that statutory right to work injury – is what gave Marshall the opportunity to apply for the money (and what gave Motor Express the obligation to pay them) “, it was stated in the judgment.
Motor Express attorney Amanda Leffler, a partner with Brouse McDowell LPA in Akron, Ohio, said in a statement that the decision represented “a significant benefit to policyholders.”
“Before this case, other courts had nationally interpreted the exemption for work injury compensation to a large extent for a variety of reasons that were not applicable to our case,” she said.
“Here, however, the sixth circle correctly rejected the insurer’s attempt to extend the exclusion beyond its simple and generally understood meaning.”
The insurance company’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.