The Supreme Court of Alabama has ruled that a Zurich insurance group unit was not responsible for the death of a trainee in a steel mill.
Zurich units Zurich American Insurance Co. had provided a general liability policy to the staffing agency Onin Staffing LLC, a division of Birmingham, Alabama-based Onin Group Inc., which provided a limit of $ 1 million per occurrence with a total limit of $ 2 million, according to the decision of the Alabama Supreme Court Nucor Steel Tuscaloosa, Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Co. and Onin Staffing, LLC, a division of Onion Group, Inc.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Nucor, which operates a steel mill in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, had an internship program that offered part-time work to technical school students.
In August 201
In 2014, Onin placed Korey Ryan, a community college student, in an internship program at Nucor, where he was assigned a cutting board used to cut large steel plates with a plasma torch.
Mr. Ryan's work boot got stuck in a gearbox and he was pulled by a crane and crushed to death against a building beam. There was a dispute about what Ryan did at the time of the accident and whether he had incorrectly left a safety area.
Mr. Ryan's mother filed a wrongful death sentence against Nucor, which was eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.
After Zurich denied coverage in the case, Nucor brought an action against it and Odin in the case. A lower court ruled in Zurich's and Onin's favor, and was upheld by the state's highest court in a 4-3 ruling.
"The undisputed facts show that Onin's role in Ryan's employment was strictly administrative and its facility, including the area where the accident occurred.
"Consequently, since Onin's role in Ryan's employment was strictly administrative in nature while Nucor exercised full control over all aspects of Ryan's work, including his education and the area in which he performed his work, we find that the Damages temporary services) is not applicable in this case and can not be enforced against Onin, "the court said, confirming a lower court decision.
The verdict also confirmed the dismissal of other charges against Zurich, including a bad claim to faith.
Four judges voted in favor of the majority and three agreed in part and abstained in part.