On November 20th, the New York Court of Appeals reinstated a case seeking more than six million dollars in damages against the insurers for DHL Worldwide Express Inc. (“DHL”), originating from a fatal head-on car crash between Claudia Carlson and a truck owned by MVP Delivery and Logistics Inc. (“MVP”), a DHL contractor. The truck, which bore DHL’s logo, was owned by MVP and driven by an MVP employee. The MVP employee was running an errand unrelated to his job at the time of the accident. Mrs. Carlson’s husband sued the employee, DHL, and MVP. The jury award of $20 million was reduced to $7.3 million by the Appellate Division. MVP’s insurer paid Mr. Carlson just over $1 million, and the employee assigned his rights to any other insurance coverage to Mr. Carlson
Mr. Carlson sued DHL and its insurers, seeking the balance of the outstanding judgment pursuant to New York Insurance Law § 3420. The defendants successfully moved to dismiss Mr. Carlson’s claims, which dismissal was affirmed by the Appellate Division on the basis that § 3420 did not apply since the policies in question were not “issued or delivered” in New York; they had been issued in New Jersey and delivered in Washington and Florida. The Court of Appeals was subsequently presented with two questions: (1) whether the DHL policies fell within the purview of Insurance Law § 3420 as policies “issued or delivered” in New York; and (2) whether MVP was an “insured” pursuant to the “hired auto” provisions of DHL’s policies.