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Insurance law — Commercial general liability policy — “Mobile equipment”

On July 14, 2010, employees of RN’G Construction, Inc. (“RN’G”) were using a truck with a permanently mounted power crane (“the subject vehicle”) to install a road sign on Interstate 70 in Washington County, Maryland. As the power crane lifted several steel beams, the beams swung into the travel lanes of the interstate and collided with a tractor trailer, causing serious injuries to the occupants of the tractor trailer. RN’G had two insurance policies in effect at the time of the accident: a commercial general liability insurance policy issued by appellant, Canopius US Insurance, Inc. (“Canopius,” formerly known as Omega US Insurance, Inc.), and a commercial auto insurance policy issued by appellee, Pennsylvania National Mutual Insurance Company (“Penn National”).

RN’G filed a complaint for declaratory judgment in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, seeking a declaration that both insurers were obligated to defend and indemnify RN’G against the claims resulting from the accident. Canopius and Penn National agreed at trial that one, but not both, of the policies covered the subject vehicle. The trial court found that the subject vehicle was “mobile equipment” as defined in Canopius’s policy, and thus Canopius owed coverage to RN’G. On appeal, Canopius raises four questions for our review, which we have rephrased and condensed into one:

Did the trial court err in holding that Canopius was required to provide insurance coverage to RN’G under its commercial general liability policy based on the finding that the subject vehicle was “mobile equipment” within the meaning of that policy?

Penn National filed a cross-appeal, raising one question for our review, which we also have rephrased:

Did the trial court err in denying counsel fees and costs to Penn National for the defense of the underlying tort claims and the litigation of the coverage action against Canopius?

Read the opinion here: