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Nat'l Steel & Shipbuilding Co. v. Century Indemnity Co.

United States District Court, S.D. California

August 2, 2013

NATIONAL STEEL AND SHIPBUILDING COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
CENTURY INDEMNITY COMPANY, Defendant

Page 1265

For National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, a Nevada Corporation, Plaintiff: Gary Wayne Osborne, LEAD ATTORNEY, Osborne and Nesbitt, San Diego, CA.

For Century Indemnity Company, a Pennsylvania corporation, successor to Cigna Specialty Insurance Company, fka California Union Insurance Company, Defendant: Charles E. Wheeler, LEAD ATTORNEY, Cozen OConnor, San Diego, CA; John Peter Cooley, LEAD ATTORNEY, Duane Morris, San Diego, CA; Kenneth G. Engerrand, Michael Aaron Varner, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Brown Sims, P.C., Houston, TX; Lewis R. Olshin, PRO HAC VICE, Duane Morris LLP, Philadelphia, PA; Ray L Wong, Duane Morris LLP, San Francisco, CA.

OPINION

Page 1266

ORDER:

Hon. Michael M. Anello, United States District Judge.

DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT [Doc. No. 22]

GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [Doc. No. 21]

Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiff National Steel and Shipbuilding

Page 1267

Company's (" NASSCO" ) motion for partial summary judgment [Doc. No. 22], and Defendant Century Indemnity Company's (" Century" ) motion for summary judgment [Doc. No. 21]. The parties each filed oppositions and replies to the respective motions. [ See Doc. Nos. 24, 27, 31, 33.] For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment, and GRANTS Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

Background

NASSCO's claim against Century arises from assessments levied against NASSCO pursuant to the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (" Longshore Act" or " Act" ), 33 U.S.C. § § 901 et seq. A brief review of the Longshore Act is in order.

A. The Longshore Act

The Longshore Act established a federal worker's compensation system for employees disabled in the course of maritime employment. Employers subject to the Longshore Act are required to secure the payment of compensation either bye self-insuring their liability or by purchasing authorized workers' compensation insurance for that exposure. 33 U.S.C. § 932. Generally, the Act requires employers or their insurers to pay all disability compensation owed to an injured employee.

However, employers and their insurers are relieved of direct payment obligations by the Longshore Act's " Special Fund," which provides payments to injured workers for covered injuries. See 33 U.S.C. § § 8(f), 944(a). For example, where a pre-existing condition contributes to an employee's post-injury permanent disability (referred to as a " second injury" ), section 8(f) of the Longshore Act limits an employer's liability for post-injury permanent disability payments to 104 weeks. Pac. Ship Repair and Fabrication, Inc. v. Dir., Office of Worker Comp. Prog. , 687 F.3d 1182, 1185 (9th Cir. 2012) (citing 33 U.S.C. § 908(f)). [1] Thereafter, an industry-financed " Special Fund" pays the remaining permanent disability benefits due. 33 U.S.C. ยง 944(a). " Section 8(f) was intended to encourage employers to hire disabled workers and permits such ...


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