Following a verdict in favor a Jones Act seaman, Larry Naquin, for injuries he sustained in a land-based crane accident, an insurance coverage dispute arose between Naquin’s employer, Elevating Boats, LLC (“EBI”), and its insurance companies, State National Insurance Company (“SNIC”) and Certain London Insurers (“London Insurers”). EBI alleged that SNIC and London Insurers breached their insurance contracts by denying EBI’s claims related to Naquin’s accident and failing to provide defense and indemnity. EBI also sought damages for bad faith on the part of SNIC and London Insurers. SNIC moved for summary judgment, arguing there was no coverage for Naquin’s land-based accident under its Protection & Indemnity Policy (the “Policy”) and that EBI failed to provide sufficient notice as required by the Policy. The District Court granted summary judgment and entered final judgment in favor of SNIC.
On appeal, the Fifth Circuit reviewed the “Indemnity” provision of the policy that called for indemnification of EBI “as owner of the Vessel” for liability arising out of “any casualty or occurrence[.]” SNIC argued that the “as owner of the Vessel” clause did not provide coverage for EBI’s negligence in Naquin’s land-based accident. EBI’s assertion to the District Court was that the “any casualty or occurrence” clause provided coverage for the accident. The Fifth Circuit, interpreting Louisiana law, found that the only way to give meaning to the “Indemnity” provision of the Policy was to construe it as limiting coverage to “any casualty or occurrence” which arises out of EBI’s conduct “as owner of the Vessel.” Since Naquin’s injuries resulted from a land-based crane accident, the Court held that there was no causal operational relation between the vessel and injury so as to extend coverage of the Policy in this instance. The District Court’s summary judgment was affirmed.
Naquin v. Elevating Boats, L.L.C., et al.