Tampa Court Refuses to Dismiss Insurer From Lawsuit Alleging Employer Committed an Intentional Tort Against Leased Worker

In Companion Property & Casualty Ins. Co. v. All Roof Systems, LLC, a Florida man was apparently severely injured when he fell through a hole that was concealed while working on a roof. At the time, the man was a contract employee who was leased to the roofing company by a staffing agency. As a result of his injury, the hurt man and his wife filed a lawsuit against the roofing company in state court. In the couple’s state court complaint, they argued the roofer was not entitled to enjoy workers’ compensation immunity under Section 440.11(1)(b)(2) of the Florida Statutes.

Next, the roofing company’s insurer filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings with the Middle District of Florida in Tampa. According to the insurance company, it had no duty to defend or indemnify the roofer because the plaintiff’s injury resulting from the concealed hole constituted an intentional tort. Under Florida’s no-fault workers’ compensation law, employers are not provided with immunity for intentional torts. In addition, the insurer claimed such a claim was not covered under the roofer’s insurance policy.

According to the federal court, a judgment on the pleadings may not be issued unless there are no material facts in dispute and one party to a lawsuit is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. When reviewing such a request, a court must view all “facts in the light that is most favorable to the non-moving party.” If a court determines material facts are disputed based on the pleadings, the motion must be denied.

Next, the court turned to the couple’s assertion that the roofer was not entitled to workers’ compensation immunity due to the nature of the accident. The federal court stated Section 440.11(1)(b)(2) specifically states leased employees are covered by the state workers’ compensation law. After examining the pleadings, however, the court found that the insurance paperwork listed the insured employer as both the roofer and a company related to the staffing agency. As a result, the court found that the relationship between the employers was unclear and presented mixed questions of both law and fact. Since material facts regarding the insurer’s duty to defend and indemnify the roofer and the staffing agency were in dispute and required further factual development, the Middle District of Florida in Tampa ruled that a judgment based on the pleadings was not appropriate.

If you were injured in an avoidable accident at work or elsewhere in South Florida, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can explain your rights. To schedule a free confidential consultation with a skillful Miami personal injury attorney today, do not hesitate to contact Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. through our website or give us a call at (305) 448-8585.

Additional Resources:

Companion Property & Casualty Ins. Co. v. All Roof Systems, LLC, Dist. Ct. M.D. Fla. 2015

More Blog Posts:

Appeals Court Finds Expert Evidence Improperly Excluded in South Florida Cruise Ship Negligence Case, August 13, 2015, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Florida Appeals Court States Evidence Code Applies to Workers’ Compensation Cases, August 10, 2015, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

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