In this case, the plaintiff previously won an arbitration award for his UIM claim in the amount of $3 million against Rock’s client, an insurance company. Following the award, Rock’s client paid its $1 million policy limit less certain set offs for the amount the plaintiff received from the other driver involved in the accident and for the amount of workers’ compensation benefits that Rock’s client paid as the workers’ compensation carrier for the employer. Plaintiff claimed that the set offs were improper due to a “settlement agreement” that Rock’s client entered into allowing the plaintiff to accept money from the other driver. Furthermore, the plaintiff argued that Rock’s client waived its right to assert set offs for the workers’ compensation payments due to the language of the settlement contract and correspondence in the workers’ compensation case.
At this point, Rock filed a declaratory judgment complaint against the plaintiff contending that the set offs were proper. In a lengthy written opinion order, Judge Neil Cohen agreed that Rock’s client was entitled to setoffs for workers’ compensation amounts paid and for the settlement of the third-party action, and found that there was no “settlement agreement.” Further, he held that Rock’s client did not waive its right to assert any setoffs in its correspondence, as plaintiff claimed. Finally, he found that the setoffs were not against public policy.
The ruling saves Rock’s client in excess of $300,000.