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Clear Policy Language Precludes Comcast from Additional Insured status (NJ)

July 25, 2019

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<p style="text-align: justify;">The Appellate Division in New Jersey recently ruled that after a review of the facts, Comcast cannot be considered an additional insured under the policy it was seeking coverage, in <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Comcast-v.-Hanover-Insurance-1.pdf">Comcast v. Hanover-Insurance</a></em> No. A-3245-17T4 (N.J. App. Ct. July 10, 2019).</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">A lawsuit was filed by an individual claiming injuries resulting from tripping over a temporary above-ground cable that JNET Communications, LLC had installed while performing work as Comcast’s contractor. Plaintiff claimed negligence against both Comcast and JNET.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Comcast tendered the defense and indemnification to Hanover Insurance Company under an insurance policy Hanover had issued to JNET. Deposition testimony suggested that a Comcast technician had placed or replaced the temporary cable after the JNET employee had first placed the cable on the property where plaintiff tripped and fell. Therefore, Hanover denied tender stating the policy provided that Comcast was an additional insured “only with respect to JNET’s work.” Comcast sued Hanover, seeking declaratory judgment that Hanover was obligated to defend and indemnify Comcast because Comcast was an additional insured under the policy.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The appellate Court found that the Hanover policy was not ambiguous and that its plain language allowed additional insured coverage only with respect to JNET’s work and Comcast was not entitled to coverage as an additional insured for its own negligent act under the policy.  Thanks to Jon Avolio for his contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="mailto:BGibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.</p>
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