In Society Insurance v. Bessemer Plywood Co. (2018AP224), the Court of Appeals District III held that an insurer had no duty to defend because an injury occurred during the course of employment; therefore, the policy’s employment exclusion applied.
Bessemer Plywood Co. hired Maki Trucking & Logging to pick up a load of plywood from a Bessemer facility. At the facility, Maki employee Scott Friedle fell off the trailer of a Maki truck while securing the plywood.
Society insured Maki for worker’s compensation claims and made payments to Friedle accordingly. Great West Casualty Co. insured Maki for other liability. The Great Lakes policy specifically excluded coverage for injuries to employees arising out of the course of their employment with Maki.
Society brought the instant case against Bessemer to recover the worker’s compensation payments, arguing Bessemer was negligent. Bessemer tendered its defense to Great West, arguing it was an insured because it was a permissive user of the Maki truck covered under the Great West policy.
The appeals court held that Great West had no duty to defend because Friedle’s injury arose from the course of his employment, and such employment injuries were specifically excluded from the Great West policy. The court said that, because the employment exclusion applied, it did not matter whether or not Bessemer was a permissive user of the covered truck.