GRP Mechanical sues two insurers over work comp denials

By Andrea Dearden | May 2, 2013

Two Madison County insurance companies are accused of denying workers' compensation coverage to an employee of a Bethalto mechanical company.

GRP Mechanical Company Inc. filed a lawsuit April 22 in Madison County Circuit Court against Consolidated Construction Safety Fund of Illinois and Seabright Insurance Company.

According to the complaint, Michael Rizzi worked for GRP Mechanical and filed workers' compensation claims in 2010 against the company for alleged accidents in 2007 and 2009. GRP says it had workers' compensation coverage with CCSFI in 2007 and Seabright in 2009 and 2010.

GRP says it submitted both of Rizzi's claims to Seabright but the insurance company argued to an arbitrator that Rizzi's 2007 injuries occurred while he worked for a previous employer, thereby releasing Seabright from liability. The arbitrator allegedly agreed with that argument but the decision was later overturned by the Workers' Compensation Commission in February 2012.

Subsequently, Seabright denied coverage in June 2012 so GRP submitted the claim to CCFSI. However, CCFSI allegedly listed late notice as the reason for denial in August 2012 even though no judgment held that coverage was lacking.

While its insurance claims were being denied GRP says it appealed those decisions to Madison County Circuit Court, which affirmed the judgment in January. In February, GRP settled Rizzi's claim for more than $151,000.

GRP accuses CCFSI of breach of contract and accuses Seabright of denying coverage of GRP's employees. The company asks for more than $200,000 in damages and court costs.

The plaintiff is represented by attorneys Christopher W. Byron and Christopher J. Petri of Edwardsville. They ask for a jury trial.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 13-L-622

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