New Jersey Law

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Appelate Division Rules in Favor of Insurer on Claim for Additional Insured Coverage

In a recent unpublished opinion Comcast of Garden State, LP v Hanover Insurance Co, the New Jersey Appellate Division decided that Hanover Insurance Company was not obligated to provide a defense to Comcast for the injuries suffered by an employee of JNET, one of Comcast’s contractors, under the additional insured provisions of the Hanover policy. An employee of JNET was injured when he tripped over a cable. There was a dispute as to whether the cable was placed by JNET or was moved or placed by Comcast. Hanover had issued an insurance policy to JNET under which Comcast was named as an additional insured. The jury in the underlying matter apportioned 60% of the liability to Comcast and 40% to JNET. The additional insured provision in the policy specifically stated that a party (Comcast) would be considered an additional insured but only with respect to “your work” (JNET’s work). “Your Work” was specifically defined to mean work performed by JNET or on behalf of JNET. Since JNET was working for Comcast, and Comcast was apportioned liability distinct from JNET, Hanover took the position that Comcast was not entitled to additional insured coverage. The Appellate Division agreed and reversed summary judgment that had been granted to Comcast by the trial court. In doing so the Court distinguished cases in which the additional insured coverage provision refers to claims “arising out of” the site or the work, as the Hanover policy did not include that language. Comcast had also asserted a claim for breach of contract against JNET for having failed to provide the required insurance. The trial court had not ruled on that motion since it had found there to be coverage. Since the Appellate Division reversed, finding no coverage, the matter was remanded for the trial Court to address the issue.

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