Philadelphia Court Refuses to Dismiss Bar’s COVID-19 Lawsuit Against Underwriters

Without providing a substantive rationale, a state court judge in Philadelphia has refused to preliminarily dismiss a bar’s COVID-19 business interruption lawsuit brought against certain London Market underwriters. In a two-page order, the court in Taps & Bourbon on Terrace LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, No. 200700375 (Phila. C.C.P. Oct. 26, 2020) determined that it would be “premature” to address the insurer’s factual contentions. “Taking the factual allegations made [in] the plaintiff’s complaint as true, as this court must at this time, plaintiff has successfully pled to survive this stage of the proceedings. Moreover, the law and facts
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New Jersey Appellate Division Upholds Insurer’s Denial of Coverage in Fatal Bar Shooting

New Jersey’s Appellate Division recently held that an insurance policy’s assault-or-battery exclusion precluded a bar’s claim for coverage for a lawsuit alleging that the bar negligently permitted a customer to enter and shoot another patron. The claim at issue in Pickett v. Moore’s Lounge, A-2330-17T2 (App. Div. 2020) involved a fatal shooting at a tavern following an argument. The decedent’s estate sued the tavern owner for damages alleging that the tavern negligently permitted the shooter to enter the tavern armed, remain at the tavern, and then intentionally shoot the victim. The shooter was convicted of recklessly causing the death of
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Surface Water Exclusions” in homeowners’ policy bars coverage for Sandy flood damage, N.J. appellate court says

The New Jersey Appellate Division has affirmed summary judgment for defendant-insurers Chubb Insurance and its member company Federal Insurance, upholding the flood damage exclusion in the policies of two plaintiff-insureds. Doerfler v. Federal Insurance Company arose in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which caused the insureds’ Mantoloking, NJ homes to collapse in 2013. Both policies excluded coverage for flood damage and contained a notification page delineating the “surface water exclusion.” The exclusion specifically encompassed water damage “driven by wind.” The insureds procured additional flood insurance policies from Fidelity National Indemnity Insurance Company. Adjusters on behalf of Chubb and Federal Insurance
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New Jersey Appellate Court Excludes Expert Testimony as Net Opinion

An Appellate Division panel in New Jersey has affirmed a lower court order barring a plaintiff’s expert from testifying at trial because his conclusions were net opinion, offering no basis for the opinion that a sidewalk was a dangerous condition at the time of a slip and fall. In Fisher v. Yum Yum Bagel Café, plaintiff, a 75-year-old woman, was vacationing in New York City and staying in Cliffside Park. After returning from a trip to the city, she was walking to her residence when her “right foot was caught” on a raised edge surround a handicap ramp. As she
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Contractor seeking indemnity in a construction defect litigation survives summary judgment, court dismisses bad faith and promissory estoppel claims against insurer

A Federal District Court judge in South Carolina has determined that material questions remain for trial in a complex insurance matter tied to an underlying construction defect class action against Dan Ryan Builders, LLC. Dan Ryan Builders West Virginia, LLC et al. v. Main Street America Assurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00589-SCN (D.S.C.), arose from a dispute between Dan Ryan Builders and a class of homeowners living in allegedly damaged houses in a South Carolina subdivision known as Foxbank. The construction company hired several subcontractors to construct Foxbank, and the subcontractors’ insurers are the defendants ultimately sued to defend and indemnify Dan
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Employee Who Voluntarily Left His Job After a Suspension Denied Unemployment Compensation By The New Jersey Appellate Court

In Sanseverino v. Board of Review, New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division affirmed a state Department of Labor decision denying unemployment benefits to Dennis Sanseverino, because he voluntarily left his employment with Foulke Management Corporation without good cause. Sanseverino was a commission-based car salesman for Foulke Management between 2013 and 2018. After making a sale in January 2018, Sanseverino’s commission was reduced by $2,100 to repay a company pool of money he drew from on weeks that he did not have any sales. After learning about the reduction in pay, Sanseverino’s expression of anger toward his manager led to a
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USDC for New Jersey Grants Summary Judgment to Casualty Insurer in Property Coverage Dispute Stemming from Superstorm Sandy for Filing Suit After the Expirationof the Suit Limitations Provision

In G. Matts Hospitality, LLC t/a Sands Motel v. Scottsdale Insurance Company and John Doe 1-100, the Federal District Court of New Jersey addressed a case in which an Insured suedits commercial insurer for property damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. The action was brought more than three years after the Insured received a coverage determination letterfrom the Insurer that partially denied coverage. The Insured filed a Complaint against the Insurer asserting a cause of action for breach of contract seeking consequential damages due to the alleged failure to pay a covered loss. The Court found that the Insurance Policy’s suit
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Third Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Ruling that Insurer Was Entitled to Deny Insured’s Life Insurance Claim Due to Suicide Exclusion Clause

In Gianfranco Arena v. RiverSource Life Insurance Co., the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals addressed a case in which the Plaintiff brought suit against an insurer after theinsurer denied the insured’s claim for life insurance due to a suicide exclusion clause in the policy. The District Court had granted the insurer summary judgment after determining that the actions the decedent took to cause her death were sufficient circumstantial evidence to establish that she intended to end her life. The Court held that the insurer showed that the coverage exclusion applied and that the insured failed to produce evidence
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New Jersey Appellate Division Affirms Trial Court Order Granting Summary Judgment in Favor of Insurers and Accountants in Coverage Dispute Stemming from Superstorm Sandy

In Fedway Associates, Inc. v. Engle Martin & Associates, Inc., the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Appellate Division affirmed the Trial Division’s decision to grant summary judgment to Defendants Engle Martin & Associates (Adjusters); Matson, Drisocoll & D’Amico, LLP; and Certain Underwriters at Llyod’s of London (Lloyd’s) in a case seeking a declaration that the Insurer was obligated to provide excess insurance coverage for a claim arising from Superstorm Sandy. The complaint alleged that the Insured was obligated to repair and restore its leased premises. While meeting this obligation the Adjusters misappropriated the cost of repairs between insurers and claimed
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Superior Court of Pennsylvania Vacates Trial Court’s Judgment and Remands Case for Judgment in Favor of Defendants in Philadelphia Eagles Restroom Fight Premises Liability Case

In Patrick Pearson v. Philadelphia Eagles, LLC, Eagles Stadium Operators, LLC, and Executive Services Management Inc., the Superior Court of Pennsylvania vacated the trial court’s judgment and reversed an order denying the Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendants Philadelphia Eagles and their security staff provider in a case seeking damages from injuries sustained during a restroom altercation. At the trial stage, the jury returned a verdict for Mr. Pearson, finding the Defendants negligent in their security program and awarding Plaintiff$700,000 in damages. The Superior Court disagreed with the trial court and found that, when applying the standard ofnegligence for the
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