The California State Compensation Insurance Fund claims that it has no obligation to cover an adult movie studio that is defending lawsuits from John Doe, Cameron Adams, and Joshua Rodgers, three performers who claim that they contracted HIV during video shoots.
“This case involves three injured workers who are attempting to get two bites at the same,” attorney Jennifer Wellman wrote.
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The trio sued Cybernet Entertainment’s Kink.Com in the summer of 2015 after stating that they contracted the disease while performing in pornographic videos, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Cybernet had workers’ compensation insurance via the State Fund during the period in which the alleged injuries occurred. State Fund has accepted the claim, yet it argued that it has already paid “appropriate medical expenses.”
Cybernet asked the court for a declaration that State Fund is tasked to defend it in the workers’ lawsuits under the employers’ liability provision of the insurance policy. State Fund, meanwhile, states that there is no question that the insurance did not cover the five negligence-based causes of action in the performers’ lawsuits – and therefore it limits its arguments to the claims connected to fraud, emotional distress and battery.
“[T]he plaintiffs allege that Cybernet’s intentional acts ‘were despicable and committed knowingly, wilfully and maliciously, with the intent to harm, injure, vex, annoy and oppress Plaintiff and with a conscious disregard of Plaintiff’s rights, health and safety. The policy specifically excludes “damages or bodily injury intentionally caused or aggravated by” Cybernet, therefore State Fund argues the remaining claims aren’t eligible for coverage either,” said Wellman.
State Fund also maintains that the court must terminate Cybernet’s motion for partial summary judgment since it has not proven that the workers were actually employees and not independent contractors.
“[A]ll allegations in the lawsuits are covered by California’s workers’ compensation statutory framework and are expressly barred from employer’s liability coverage,” it states. “As a result, the plaintiffs’ sole remedy with regard to their claims covered by the workers’ compensation system is to pursue their ending actions in the WCAB whether or not they are actually awarded benefits.”
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