Morales v. Zenith Ins. Co., No. 12-11755 (11th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed a breach of contract claim against Zenith after Santana Morales, Jr. was crushed to death by a palm tree while working as a landscaper for Lawns. The Florida Supreme Court answered the following certified questions in the affirmative: (1) Does the estate have standing to bring its breach of contract claim against Zenith under the employer liability policy? (2) If so, does the provision in the employer liability policy which excludes from coverage "any obligation imposed by workers' compensation... law" operate to exclude coverage of the estate's claim against Zenith for the tort judgment? and (3) If the estate's claim is not barred by the workers' compensation exclusion, does the release in the workers' compensation settlement agreement otherwise prohibit the estate's collection of the tort judgment? The court concluded that, given the Florida Supreme Court's resolution of the certified issues, the district court correctly determined that the workers' compensation exclusion in Part II of the policy barred Zenith's coverage of the tort judgment against Lawns. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Zenith.