Wash. SC denies coverage to injured welder, says he's not a third party

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Dec 2, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) -- The Washington Supreme Court ruled last week that a welder who worked as an independent contractor for a company cannot be covered for injuries he suffered on the job.

On Wednesday, the state's high court ruled against Albert Boogaard.

Boogaard argues the comprehensive marine liability insurance policy he bought from International Marine Underwriters, or IMU, for his general partnership, ABCD Marine, covers the bodily injuries he suffered while working as an independent contractor for Northland Services Inc., or NSI.

Specifically, he claims that even as a general partner he qualifies and is covered as a third party under the "insured contract" provision of the policy.

IMU contends that as a general partner and an insured, Boogaard is not a third party under the insured contract provision, so there is no coverage.

The Supreme Court affirmed the summary judgment in favor of IMU. Justice James M. Johnson authored the lead opinion.

"As a general partner, Boogaard does not qualify as a third party under the 'insured contract' provision in accordance with Washington partnership law," Johnson wrote in the 32-page ruling.

"The IMU policy was never intended to cover Boogaard's personal injuries. Moreover, Washington's partnership law, the (Revised Uniform Partnership Act), clearly treats a general partnership as an aggregation of its partners for purposes of determining liability.

"Consequently, when Boogaard signed the Access Agreement he was binding both himself and the partnership and cannot be considered a 'third party' to that agreement."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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