BELL v. GENERAL MOTORS
Entertainment/employment case. Plaintiff claimed permanent brain damage from a bobsled accident that happened while shooting a commercial. Our client was a “key grip” who used a “loan-out” corporation to allow for tax benefits for himself, making for confusing workers compensation exclusion issues that the judge never understood. We tendered defense under certificates of insurance granted to the client’s corporation and because the client was employed, albeit through a payroll service as is common in the entertainment industry, by an insured party. We pressed the tender for months without response when finally, when the jury was out after a lengthy trial, the employer’s excess carrier stepped in and hired separate counsel to settle the case, which they did by paying about 8% of the plaintiff’s demand, because of their confidence in getting the money back from the employer’s underlying carrier. Most unsatisfying for trial counsel, but at least we proved correct in pressing the tender. The carrier retaining us avoided any indemnity payout and eventually was reimbursed for the defense costs expended, and our client was released. But, our opposing counsel never thanked us for finding him the money.