Simendinger v. National Union Fire Insurance Co.Annotate this Case
Two employees of Connections CSP, Inc. were killed in an automobile collision during the course and scope of their employment. Connections owned the vehicle and had purchased underinsured motorist insurance (UIM) for the vehicle and also worker's compensation insurance which covered the employees. The UIM insurer paid its policy limit of $1,000,000. The worker's compensation insurer also paid benefits to the representatives of the decedents. The worker's compensation insurer then sought to enforce a lien upon the UIM payment equal to the worker's compensation benefits it paid. But the UIM policy specifically excluded the direct or indirect benefit of any insurer or self-insurer under a worker's compensation claim. Notwithstanding this exclusion, the Superior Court enforced the lien based upon its interpretation of 19 Del. C. 2363(e), which allows reimbursement of a worker's compensation carrier "from the third party liability insurer." The UIM insurer appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that General Assembly eliminated the ability of a worker's compensation insurer to assert a lien against the UIM payments made pursuant to the employer's UIM policy. Because the Superior Court erred as a matter of law in enforcing a lien, the Supreme Court reversed its decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.