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Ruling in favor of construction companies affirmed


A federal appeals court Friday affirmed a ruling in favor of construction companies in litigation with Endurance American Specialty Insurance Co. over coverage for an injured worker.

The worker was seriously injured and incurred significant expenses for medical treatment and life care when he fell in December 2016 while working on the roof trusses for a new home in Kissimmee, Florida, according to the ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in Endurance American Specialty Insurance Co. v. L. Pellinen Construction Inc., et. al.

After paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for those continuing expenses, the workers comp insurer for the injured worker’s employer filed a personal injury lawsuit in his name against several entities involved in the home’s construction, including Oviedo, Florida-based L. Pellinen Construction Inc., the residential construction company that had subcontracted with the worker’s employer to help with framing the house; Orlando-based Mattamy Florida LLC, the owner of the lot where the house was being built; and Mattamy Orlando LLC, a Mattamy Florida affiliate that had hired Pellinen to do the house’s framing and sheathing work.

Pellinen was insured under a commercial general liability policy issued by Endurance, a Sompo International Holdings Ltd. unit, which also extended coverage for additional insureds. 

Mattamy Florida and Mattamy Orlando tendered their defense in the employee’s lawsuit to Endurance, claiming they were additional insureds under Pellinen’s policy by virtue of a written agreement with the company.

Endurance refused to defend the Mattamy entities, stating worker compensation, employers liability and multi-unit construction project exclusions applied.

The insurer filed suit in U.S. District court in Orlando, which held that the companies were additional insureds under the coverage and that the exclusions did not apply.

The ruling was upheld by a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel.

The panel’s ruling said Endurance argued that the district court exceeded its authority by declaring the companies were entitled to coverage as additional insureds, contending this was beyond the scope of its declaratory judgment action.

“We disagree. The question of the Mattamy defendants’ insured status was squarely before the district court,” the ruling said.

Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.