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Workers’ Compensation Law Appellate Court Opinions

by Oumano, Emily


AC44694 - Napolitano v. Ace American Ins. Co. (“The defendant Ace American Insurance Company appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion for summary judgment filed by the plaintiff, Thomas Napolitano, doing business as Napolitano Roofing, as to counts one and two of the plaintiff’s fifth amended complaint, in which he sought a declaratory judgment and asserted a breach of contract claim, respectively. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in (1) granting the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment because the court improperly determined that (a) the defendant’s notice of cancellation to the plaintiff, cancelling his workers’ compensation insurance policy, was ineffective and (b) the defendant breached its duty under the policy to defend or indemnify the plaintiff with respect to a workers’ compensation claim submitted by his employee, (2) awarding attorney’s fees to the plaintiff, as damages, in connection with his defense of the workers’ compensation claim and a lawsuit brought by the employee, and (3) awarding prejudgment statutory interest to the plaintiff relating to workers’ compensation payments that he made to his employee. In addition, the plaintiff cross appeals from the court’s granting of the defendant’s motion to strike count three of his fifth amended complaint, in which he asserted a claim of bad faith. The plaintiff argues on appeal that he pleaded legally sufficient allegations that the defendant breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing when it refused to defend or indemnify him under his insurance policy. With respect to the defendant’s appeal, we reverse the summary judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, and, as a result, we also vacate the attorney’s fees and prejudgment statutory interest awarded to the plaintiff—relief that was predicated on the court’s conclusion that the plaintiff was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on count two. As to the plaintiff’s cross appeal, we reverse the decision of the trial court striking the third count of the plaintiff’s fifth amended complaint.”)