ACW Corporation v. MaxwellAnnotate this Case
Appellants ACW Corporation (a.k.a. Arby’s, (Arby’s)) and Eastern Alliance Ins. Co., as Subrogee of Shanara Devon Waters (“Waters”), appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Appellees, Christopher Maxwell (“Maxwell”) and Donegal Mutual Ins. Co. (a.k.a. Donegal Ins. Group). Eastern Alliance was Arby’s’ workers’ compensation carrier. It paid Waters, an Arby’s employee, a $12,500 commuted, lump-sum workers’ compensation benefit to settle her workers’ compensation claims for injuries she received in a work-related motor vehicle accident caused by Maxwell. Arby’s and Eastern Alliance then brought this suit against Maxwell and his auto insurer, Donegal, under 19 Del. C. 2363, claiming that they were entitled to recover the $12,500 lump-sum payment from them. Maxwell and Donegal denied liability, though they acknowledged that under the Workers’ Compensation Act Arby’s and Eastern Alliance could assert a claim against Maxwell for damages that Waters would be entitled to recover against Maxwell in an action in tort. They argued, however, that Maxwell was not liable for the lump-sum payment because it was a settlement of potential or future workers’ compensation claims and did not include any damages that Waters would have been entitled to recover against Maxwell in an action in tort. Arby’s and Eastern Alliance argued that 19 Del. C. 2363(e) allowed them to recover from Maxwell “any amounts paid or payable [to Waters] under the Workers’ Compensation Act” in connection with the Maxwell accident, and that the lump-sum benefit was an amount paid to Waters under the Act. The Superior Court agreed with Maxwell, and after finding that Arby’s and Eastern Alliance failed to offer evidence that any of the $12,500 lump-sum benefit was for damages which Waters would be able to recover in a tort action against Maxwell, granted summary judgment in Maxwell’s and Donegal’s favor. Finding no reversible error in that judgment, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed.