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Insurer not liable for policyholder’s defense in trucker’s allergy death

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An insurer is not obligated to provide a defense nor indemnification in connection with litigation over the death of a truck driver who died after suffering a severe allergic reaction during a delivery.

Anthony Lincoln, allegedly an employee of Ballico, California-based GT Transport Inc., drove a truck owned by the company to a facility operated by Ottawa, Illinois-based Grainco FS Inc. to pick up a load of soybeans, according to Tuesday’s ruling by the U.S. District Court in Chicago in Century National Insurance Co. v. GT Transport Inc. and Grainco FS Inc.

Mr. Lincoln was allergic to soybeans, and while he was at the Grainco facility he went into anaphylactic shock and later died, according to the ruling.

North Hollywood, California-based Century National sought a declaratory judgment that it does not have a duty to defend or indemnify its insured, GT Transport, in connection with litigation filed by Mr. Lincoln’s estate. GT has defaulted in the case, leaving Grainco, which is also a defendant in the underlying litigation, to oppose Century’s motion, the ruling said.

The court granted Century’s motion for summary judgment based on its policy language.

“The policy generally covers damages caused using GT’s covered vehicles,” said the ruling. It “excludes from coverage, however, injury to GT’s employees.”

“Since the policy does not cover injuries to employees or people using covered vehicles with permission, and the underlying case alleges that Lincoln was GT’s employee using the truck with permission, the policy does not cover the injury as alleged in the underlying complaint.”

Even if, as GT alleges, Mr. Lincoln was not its employee at the time of his death and he was using the truck without permission, the policy “expressly excludes coverage,” said the ruling, in granting the insurer summary judgment in the case.