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Lohmeyer v. Frontier Ins. Co.

November 6, 1996

JEFFREY LOHMEYER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF BARRETTI KOOCK STABLE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
FRONTIER INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



Before Judges Petrella and Landau. The opinion of the court was delivered by Petrella, P.j.a.d.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Petrella

The opinion of the court was delivered by PETRELLA, P.J.A.D.

The issue on this appeal is the extent of workers' compensation coverage provided in a policy of insurance issued by Frontier Insurance Company (Frontier) to Barretti Koock Stable. Jeffrey Lohmeyer brought a declaratory judgment action against Frontier seeking a declaration of coverage for a work-related injury. After a hearing, the trial Judge found that the policy did not provide coverage for the site where the accident occurred, and dismissed Lohmeyer's complaint.

On appeal, Lohmeyer argues that the Judge ignored the clear dictates of N.J.S.A. 34:15-87 in reaching his decision, disregarded ambiguities in Frontier's policy, and ruled inconsistently with the overall intent of the regulatory scheme of the New Jersey Racing Commission (Racing Commission). Lohmeyer relies on the requirement in N.J.S.A. 34:15-87 mandating workers' compensation coverage for all business related activities, even if the policy does not cover the particular location at which the injuries occurred.

According to Lohmeyer's claim petition, on September 16, 1994, he was "thrown from horse" and injured while employed as a trainer by the Barretti Koock Stable at a facility known as Meadows Run Training and Breeding Center in Colts Neck, New Jersey. The applicable policy insured Barretti Koock Stable, identified in the policy as located at an address in North Caldwell, New Jersey. Paragraph 1. on the "Information Page" of the "Workers Compensation and Employers Liability Insurance Policy" specified the following:

Other workplaces not shown above: Meadowlands, Freehold Raceway, Garden State Show Place/Flemington, NJ, Gaitway Farm/Englishtown, NJ Scenic View/Clarksburg, NJ, Laura Lan Farm/Blairstown, NJ, Willowbrook/Titan Falls, NJ, Egyptian Acres/New Egypt, NJ, Cowtown/Woodstown, NJ, East Lynne Farm/Flemington, NJ.

The policy also went on to state in paragraph 3.A. of that page: "Workers Compensation Insurance: Part One of the policy applies to the Workers' Compensation Law of the states listed here: New Jersey." Various endorsements were attached and the premium for the renewal policy period of January 29, 1994 to January 1, 1995, was apparently $189.

Workers' Compensation was covered in Part One of the policy. Employers' liability insurance was covered in Part Two of the policy. One of several endorsements to the policy stated:

This endorsement applies only to the insurance provided by Part Two (Employers Liability Insurance) because New Jersey is shown in item 3.A of the Information Page.

We may not limit our liability to pay damages for which we become legally liable to pay because of bodily injury to your employees if the bodily injury arises out of and in the course of employment that is subject to, and is compensable under, the workers compensation law of New Jersey.

Another endorsement recited:

In consideration of RSNJ34:15-87 the liability imposed on the insured is limited to jockeys (both journeymen and apprentices) drivers, exercise riders, grooms, hotwalkers, stablehands, and other persons employed by the insured at the following race tracks:

Meadowlands

Monmouth Park

Garden State ...


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