Mutual Ben. Ins. Co. v. Politsopoulos (majority)Annotate this Case
Leola Restaurant maintained an umbrella commercial liability insurance policy with Appellant, Mutual Benefit Insurance Company, which contained an employer’s liability exclusion. Leola Restaurant conducted its business on a property leased from Appellees Christos Politsopoulos and Dionysios Mihalopoulos. During the policy period, Appellee Marina Denovitz, an employee of Leola Restaurant, fell from an outside set of stairs and suffered injuries. She brought a negligence action against the Property Owners in the common pleas court, asserting that they were negligent in maintaining the stairs in an unsafe and dangerous condition. The Property Owners sought defense and indemnification from Appellant, per the umbrella policy. The insurance company sought a declaratory judgment that an exclusion in the restaurant's umbrella policy applied to Appellee's case, and that it was not obligated to indemnify the restaurant. After review, the Supreme Court concluded the employer’s liability exclusion in the umbrella policy was ambiguous. "Application of governing principles of insurance policy construction yields the understanding that the ambiguous exclusionary language pertains only to claims asserted by employees of 'the insured' against whom the claim is directed, which understanding gains further support by reference to the policy’s separation-of-insureds provision. Since the Property Owners are not Ms. Denovitz’s employers, the employer’s liability exclusion is inapplicable."