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On appeal, Maxum argued that it owed no duty to defend Massaro because the policy's employer's liability and workers' compensation exclusions barred coverage. (Photo: Shutterstock) On appeal, Maxum argued that it owed no duty to defend Massaro because the policy’s employer’s liability and workers’ compensation exclusions barred coverage. (Photo: Shutterstock)

An insurer may have to indemnify the owner of a plumbing company in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the estate of a worker after a three-judge panel of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s decision that the company’s liability and workers’ compensation policy exclusions barred coverage of those claims.

Pedro Jose Sanchez worked for 3rd Generation, a plumbing contractor. While at work, Sanchez was injured when performing mechanical work on a tractor. He died from these injuries. Sanchez’s estate received workers’ compensation benefits. The personal representative of Sanchez’s estate sued James Massaro, the president, secretary, and sole director of 3rd Generation, for wrongful death based on a failure to follow the appropriate procedures. 3rd Generation was insured by Maxum Indemnity Company, which filed a federal declaratory action seeking a determination of whether, under the terms of 3rd Generation’s CGL policy, Maxim owed a duty to defend and indemnify Massaro in the wrongful death action. At summary judgment, the court ruled that no duty was owed.

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