NORMAN INTERNATIONAL, INC. VS. ADMIRAL INSURANCE COMPANY (L-0177-19, MORRIS COUNTY AND STATEWIDE)

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court ." Although it is posted on the internet, this opinion is binding only on the parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R. 1:36-3. SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION DOCKET NO. A-0353-20 NORMAN INTERNATIONAL, INC., and RICHFIELD WINDOW COVERINGS, LLC, d/b/a NIEN MADE (USA), INC., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. ADMIRAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Respondent. ___________________________ Submitted June 3, 2021 – Decided July 13, 2021 Before Judges Alvarez and Mitterhoff. On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, Docket No. L-0177-19. The Killian Firm, PC, attorneys for appellants (Ryan Milun, on the briefs). Kinney Lisovicz Reilly & Wolff, PC, attorneys for respondent (Justin N. Kinney and Michael S. Chuven, of counsel and on the brief). PER CURIAM In this insurance coverage case, plaintiffs Norman International, Inc. (Norman) and Richfield Window Coverings, LLC (Richfield) appeal from two orders entered on September 14, 2020 granting summary judgment to defendant Admiral Insurance Co. and denying Richfield's motion for summary judgment. Having carefully reviewed the record, and in light of the applicable legal principles, we reverse and remand. We discern the following material facts from the record before us, viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, the non-moving parties. Polzo v. Cnty. of Essex, 209 N.J. 51, 56 n.1 (2012) (citing Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 142 N.J. 520, 523 (1995)). Richfield is owned by Norman which, in turn, is owned by Nien Made Enterprise (Nien Made). Norman manufactures window coverings, including blinds, shades, and shutters, that are sold by Richfield to national retailers like Home Depot. Norman is also involved with certain "corporate functions," which include procuring insurance. Richfield sells the products to Home Depot through a "Supplier Buying Agreement" for a flat fee. Richfield provides Home Depot with blind cutting machines, designed and manufactured by Nien Made, which are operated only by Home Depot employees to modify its products for Home Depot customers. A-0353-20 2 Defendant issued Norman a commercial general liability policy, effective from 2017 to 2018, under which Richfield and Nien Made are "Named Insureds." Under the policy, defendant had the duty to defend and to "pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of 'bodily injury' or 'property damage' to which this insurance applies." However, defendant had "no duty to defend the insured against any 'suit' seeking damages for 'bodily injury' or 'property damage' to which this insurance does not apply." In that regard, the insurance agreement between the parties had several relevant exclusions. The "Injury to Independent Contractors Exclusion" reads , in part: It is agreed this insurance does not apply to "bodily injury", "property damage" or "personal and advertising injury" to: 1. Any independent contractor hired directly or indirectly by you or on your behalf; 2. Any employee of any independent contractor hired directly or indirectly by …

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