April 10, 2019
Below: Superior Court of the State of Delaware, C.A. No.
N18C-03-092, C.A. No. S16C-11-006
appeal from the Superior Court. REVERSED AND REMANDED.
B. ONeill, Esquire, and Jennifer D. Donnelly, Esquire,
Kimmel, Carter, Roman, Peltz & ONeill, P.A., Christiana,
Delaware, for Appellants, John Henry and Darlene Henry.
J. Jones, Jr., Esquire (Argued), and Wilson A. Gualpa,
Esquire, Morris James LLP, Georgetown, Delaware, for
Appellant, Charles Fritz.
E. Shevlin, Esquire, and William A. Crawford, Esquire
(Argued), Franklin & Prokopik, Newark, Delaware, for
Appellee, Cincinnati Insurance Company.
VALIHURA, VAUGHN, and TRAYNOR, Justices.
opinion is being issued in two cases that were consolidated
for purposes of oral argument, Henry v. Cincinnati
Insurance Co., No. 437, 2018, and Fritz v.
Cincinnati Insurance Co., No. 565. In Henry,
John and Darlene Henry appeal from a Superior Court order
granting Cincinnati Insurance Co.s motion to
dismiss. In Fritz, Charles Fritz
appeals from a Superior Court order granting summary judgment
in favor of Cincinnati Insurance Co.
(Cincinnati). Both cases involve employees, John
Henry and Charles Fritz, who sustained injuries in automobile
accidents while operating an employer-owned vehicle during
the course of their employment. In both cases, the accidents
were each allegedly caused by a third-party tortfeasor. Both
employees received workers compensation from their
respective employers workers compensation insurance
companies pursuant to Delawares Workers Compensation Act
(the Act). In each case, the vehicle operated by
the employee was covered by an automobile liability insurance
policy issued to the employer by Cincinnati. In addition to
their workers compensation benefits, both Henry and Fritz
sought to recover underinsured-motorist benefits under the
terms of the Cincinnati automobile liability policies. The
Superior Court issued its order in Henry first; it
found that the exclusive-remedy (or "exclusivity")
provision in the Act, 19 Del. C. § 2304, in effect at the
time of the accident, precluded Henry from receiving
underinsured-motorist benefits under the Cincinnati
policy. Following that decision, the Superior
Court in Fritz granted Cincinnatis motion for
summary judgment on the same ground, explaining that
"[t]he Superior Court follows its prior decisions except
for urgent reasons and upon clear manifestation of
and Fritz contend that the Superior Court erred in finding
that the Acts exclusivity provision precludes them from
receiving underinsured-motorist benefits through the
automobile liability policy their respective employers each
purchased from Cincinnati. For the reasons that follow, we
agree that the Superior Court erred in both cases. The Acts
exclusivity provision does not prevent an employee from
receiving underinsured-motorist benefits provided by an
automobile liability policy that his or her employer has
purchased from a third-party insurance company.
II. FACTS AND ...