My last post discussed Central Mut. Ins. Co. v. True Plastics, Inc., 84 Mass. App. Ct. 17 (2013), in which the Massachusetts Appeals Court addressed whether Sanchez, an employee of a staffing agency, was a temporary employee or a leased worker of the company to which she was assigned, True Plastics, Inc. If she was a leased worker then, as discussed in my last post, the liability policy issued to True Plastics by Central Mutual would not provide coverage. If she was a temporary worker, however, the policy would provide coverage.
The policy defined "temporary worker" as a person furnished to meet "short-term workload conditions." The policy did not define short-term workload conditions.
In a decision that invites insurance fraud, the court held that the only consideration in determining whether a person was furnished to meet short-term workload conditions is what the employer intended at the time the worker was hired. "Even if a worker's assignment ends up being lengthy, he or she will still be a 'temporary worker' within the meaning of the policy, provided the insured held an objectively reasonable expectation at the time that the worker was furnished [that the worker was hired] to meet a short-term workload condition.
Central Mutual argued that "short-term" workload conditions cannot be indefinite. The court disagreed, and held that a short-term workload condition need not be of finite duration.
The court held that True Plastics had met its burden of proving that Sanchez was furnished to meet a short-term increase in its workload.