The case arose out of the Pier 57 renovation project in Manhattan. The plaintiff, an employee of a subcontractor, was allegedly working for his employer when he suffered a “grave injury.” He sued the project owner and construction manager (CM), asserting negligence and Labor Law claims. The owner and CM, in turn, brought a third-party action against the employer, asserting common-law indemnification and contribution claims against the employer. (Credit: Jonathan Stutz/Adobe Stock) The case arose out of the Pier 57 renovation project in Manhattan. The plaintiff, an employee of a subcontractor, was allegedly working for his employer when he suffered a “grave injury.” He sued the project owner and construction manager (CM), asserting negligence and Labor Law claims. The owner and CM, in turn, brought a third-party action against the employer, asserting common-law indemnification and contribution claims against the employer. (Credit: Jonathan Stutz/Adobe Stock)

The priority of coverage nettles the best of us in multi-party, bodily injury cases under New York’s Labor Law. A plaintiff’s claims spawn third-party claims for common-law and contractual indemnification; and the insurance policies of the owner, general contractor and subcontractors afford primary and excess coverage for named and additional insureds.

In cases involving a “grave injury” under New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the subcontractor employing the plaintiff also has a workers’ compensation policy providing unlimited employers-liability (EL) coverage. In a “grave injury” case involving an owner, or contractor-controlled insurance program, the employer’s EL carrier and the program’s excess carriers sometimes clash over coverage for the employer’s liability.

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