AMERICAN ZURICH INSURANCE COMPANY v. MVT SERVICES, INC., D/B/A MESILLA VALLEY TRANSPORTATION - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jul 30, 2012

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Donald Capparella and Candi Henry, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellant MVT Services, Inc., d/b/a Mesilla Valley Transportation

Attorneys 2:

Ben M. Rose and J. Matthew Blackburn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellee American Zurich Insurance Company

Judge(s): KIRBY

This appeal involves retrospective insurance premiums on a workers’ compensation insurance policy. The defendant trucking company operates in several states, including Texas and Tennessee. Tennessee requires employers to maintain worker’s compensation insurance for certain employees, but Texas does not. The defendant trucking company purchased workers’ compensation insurance for its Tennessee employees from the plaintiff insurance company. The trucking company employed over-the-road truck drivers who were Tennessee residents. The trucking company decided to classify its Tennessee-resident over- the-road drivers as Texas employees whose on-the-job injuries would not be covered by the Tennessee workers’ compensation insurance policy. Consequently, the trucking company did not pay insurance premiums to cover those employees. The plaintiff insurance company conducted a retrospective premium audit; in the audit, it determined that the Tennessee- resident over-the-road drivers presented a risk of loss to the insurance company. Consequently, the insurance company notified the trucking company that it owed retrospective premiums based on those drivers. The trucking company refused to pay, so the insurance company canceled the insurance policy and filed this lawsuit for the retrospective premiums. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the insurance company, and the trucking company now appeals. We affirm, finding under the undisputed facts that the Tennessee-resident over-the-road employees presented a risk of loss to the insurer under the workers’ compensation insurance policy during the relevant policy periods.