By | June 2, 2015

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently issued a long-awaited decision in Mutual Benefit Insurance Company v. Politsopoulos, No. J-85-2014, delivering the insured in that case, and policyholders across Pennsylvania, a big victory.

As explained more fully in Reed Smith’s recent Client Alert – “’The” insured versus “any” insured: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court limits the application of the employer’s liability exclusion – the court, in Politsopoulos, rejected the insurer’s argument that an employer’s liability exclusion in a commercial general liability (“CGL”) policy potentially applies not just when an insured is sued by its own employee(s), but also when it is sued by an employee(s) of any entities that are co-insured by the same policy. The court thereby shut down an avenue that insurance companies had been using to try to deny Pennsylvania policyholders coverage under CGL insurance policies.

Instead, following the reasoning set forth in an amicus brief prepared by Reed Smith on behalf of a number of the firm’s clients, the court held that the exclusion only may apply when claims are asserted “by employees of ‘the insured’ against whom the claim is directed ….”

Not only did the court rely heavily on the amicus brief authored by Reed Smith attorneys, but, in their brief to the Supreme Court, the appellees cited to an article (George Stewart and Mike Sampson, “Interpretation of Employer’s Liability Exclusions,” The Legal Intelligencer (Aug. 26, 2014)) written by the same Reed Smith attorneys concerning the appropriate interpretation of the employer’s liability exclusion.

More recently, Reed Smith attorneys have been cited in Law360 (Jeff Sistrunk. “Pa. Justices Narrow Employer Liability Exclusions” Law360 (May 27, 2015)) and The Legal Intelligencer (Max Mitchell, “Justices Decline to Broadly Interpret Policy Terms” The Legal Intelligencer (June 2, 2015)), discussing the effects of this decision, which is nothing less than a resounding victory for policyholders across Pennsylvania.

 

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