In the tragic aftermath following the fatal fall of two Florida tower climbers, the courts have been left to sort through the facts to determine who may be financially responsible for the accident. BusinessInsurance.com reports on the ongoing legal wrangling between the climber’s widow, Monarch Towers Inc., and Markel insurance, operating under Evanston Insurance Company. The incident that resulted in the death of Zachary Roberts, and fellow climber Namon Smith, occurred in 2013.
According to the information presented in court, both climbers were more than 200 feet up the cell tower when Smith, who was unsecured at the time, fell and struck Roberts. Surviving spouse Kayla Roberts sued Monarch, company officer Jack Boone, and others, alleging vicarious liability and negligence. Smith is not a party to the lawsuit.
Evanston has argued that insurable conditions under the commercial general liability were not met and that coverage did not apply in this situation. The insurance company contends that since Roberts was not an employee of Monarch, the insurance would not extend to him.
Both the lower court, and later the federal court, have determined that Evanston is bound to indemnity Monarch Towers and Boone. However, a federal court decision in September overturned an earlier Florida court decision, according to BusinessInsurance.com. The initial decision involved a jury verdict with a $49.5 million settlement. The federal ruling is more favorable to Evanston.
October 25, 2019
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