Never Rely on a Certificate of Insurance A Certificate Conferred No Rights Upon the Holder.
|[ON MY RADAR] BARRY ZALMA
The plaintiffs relied on a certificate of insurance advising that Chipotle was an additional insured of a policy issued to a vendor. The insurer, RLI, proved that Chipotle was not named as an additional insured nor was it an additional insured by reason of a contract with the vendor. The trial court granted RLI's motion for summary judgment and the plaintiffs appealed.
In Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., et al. v. RLI Insurance Company; Fireman's Fund Insurance Company, Nos. 201811057, 2018-11361, 2018-14847, 201900473. Index No. 700712/16, Supreme Court of New York, Second Department (November 24, 2021) the issue of additional insured status devolved to a statement made in a certificate of insurance provided by the vendor to Chipotle.
The plaintiffs hired the defendant Piece Management, Inc. (hereinafter PMI), to perform rodent prevention services at its restaurant located in the Roosevelt Field Mall. Afmat Wazadally was employed by PMI and was injured in the course of his work when he fell from a ladder. Wazadally commenced a personal injury action against the plaintiffs and others (hereianfter the underlying action). The plaintiffs sought to obtain insurance coverage from PMI's insurer, RLI Insurance Company (hereinafter RLI), contending that they were additional insureds under the policy. RLI denied coverage.
Soon thereafter, the plaintiffs sued RLI and others for a judgment declaring that RLI is required to defend and indemnify them as additional insureds in the underlying action. The underlying action was settled for $2,675,000. The plaintiffs moved for summary judgment declaring that RLI is required to defend and indemnify them as additional insureds in the underlying action.
The trial court granted RLI's cross motion and denied the plaintiffs' motion, concluding that the plaintiffs were not additional insureds under the RLI policy since they were not named as additional insureds on the policy and they were not entitled to coverage under the additional insured endorsement since there was no written contract between the plaintiffs and PMI.
ANALYSIS & CONCLUSIONS
The trial court correctly determined that the plaintiffs were not additional insureds on the RLI policy. The policy contained an additional insured endorsement, which added to the insured persons covered under the subject policy "any person or organization for whom you are performing operations when you and such person or organization have agreed in writing in a contract or...
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