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Vol. 7 - Issue 8
November 7, 2018

Court Concludes That BitCoin Is Not “Money” Under A Homeowner’s Policy
Here’s a decision you don’t see everyday. . . On September 25th, a Franklin County, Ohio trial court addressed whether Bitcoin is “money.” At issue was a claim under a Homeowner’s policy, for theft of Bitcoin ($16,000), where the policy had a “money sublimit” of $200. The insurer argued that Bitcoin is money, thereby limiting the claim to $200. The opinion is very brief, and it involved the defendant-insurer’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. The court denied the insurer’s motion, stating: “[T]he only authority the Court can rely on in determining the status of BitCoin is the Internal Revenue Service Notice 2014-21. Under Notice 2014-21, the IRS states, ‘For federal tax purposes, virtual currency is treated as property.’ Accordingly, the Court finds BitCoin, although termed ‘virtual currency,’ is recognized as property by the IRS and shall be recognized as such by this Court.” Kimmelman v. Wayne Insurance Group, No. 18CV1041 (Franklin Cty. Ct. Comm. Pl., Ohio Sept. 25, 2018).

Employer’s Liability Exclusion Apples To a “Statutory Employee”
This issue has been getting play in Florida courts for the past few years. I have not seen it addressed in other states – although I have not specifically looked. If it has been I’ve love to hear about it. In Endurance American Specialty Ins. Co. v. United Constriction Engineers, No. 17-61589 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 26, 2018), the court held that no coverage was owed to a general contractor, for injury sustained by a sub sub-contactor. The injured party was not an employee of the insured-general contractor. However, the court still held that coverage for the general contractor was precluded by the Employer’s Liability exclusion. How? Like this: “Here, the Employer’s Liability Exclusion precludes coverage of ‘bodily injury’ to [a]n ‘employee’ of the insured arising out of and in the course of: (a) [e]mployment by the insured; or (b) [p]erforming duties related to the conduct of the insured’s business . . . . As discussed supra, the record evidence establishes that Lopez [injured party] was UCE’s [general contractor] ‘statutory employee’ and that Lopez was injured in the course and scope of his employment.”

[By way of context, the court explained that a statutory employment relationship arises as follows: “A contractor who sublets work to a subcontractor becomes liable for the payment of compensation to the subcontractor’s employees if the subcontractor fails to secure worker’s compensation insurance. In that scenario, the contractor becomes the statutory employer of the subcontractor’s employees.”]



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