Does Your Insurer Have to Pay to Defend You?
Liability company sues ASC that's been sued by patients.
Published: May 16, 2013
Does your general liability insurer have a duty to defend or indemnify your facility when it's been sued? That's the question Maryland Casualty Company has asked a Pennsylvania judge to answer, in a suit against South Hills Endoscopy Center in Pittsburgh.
South Hills Endoscopy is the subject of a class action suit that accuses the center of failing to "properly clean, sterilize and disinfect endoscopes" between Feb. 8, 2012, and March 9, 2012, exposing patients who underwent procedures during that period to "a significantly increased risk of contracting viral/and or bacterial infections and or illnesses, including but not limited to [h]hepatitis B, [h]epatitis C and HIV," says the filing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
South Hills has a commercial general liability coverage policy with Maryland Casualty. However, the insurer argues that the policy does not extend to instances of bodily injury arising from the "rendering or failure to render … [a]ny health or therapeutic service, treatment, advice or instruction," say court documents. Essentially, that bodily injury coverage is limited to employees of the center or non-treatment-related accidents involving others who may enter the facility — and that general umbrella coverage is not meant as a substitute or adjunct to medical malpractice insurance.
Calls for comment to South Hills Endoscopy; Zurich NA, Maryland Mutual's parent company; and the lawyers for Maryland Mutual were not returned.
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