Archives for Complex Insurance Liability

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
Read More

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
Read More

United States District Court for the Western District of New York Grants Summary Judgment to Insurer After Additional Insured Fails to Provide Proof of DamagesDuring Coverage Period

In Welliver McGuire, Inc and Technology Ins. Co. Inc. v. Ace American Ins. Co., the United States District Court for the Western District of New York addressed a case where a general contractor (“Welliver”), brought a declaratory judgment action seeking coverage as an additional insured under Defendant’s (“Ace”) insurance policy with a subcontractor. Holding that the incident giving rise to damages occurred after the termination of the policy, the court granted summary judgment to Ace. This case arose when Welliver was hired to be the general contractor for a construction project for apartment buildings.Pursuant to a contract dated April 30,
Read More

Western District of New York Grants Summary Judgment to Federal Insurance in Suit Brought by an Insured Seeking Additional Criminal Defense Costs Under Insurance Policy

In Korn v. Federal Ins. Co., the District Court for the Western District of New York addressed a case in which an insuredbrought suit against his insurer seeking additional criminal defense costs under his Directors and Officers liability policy. Under the policy, the limits of liability were reduced by the payment of defense costs. The insured sued Federal Insurance Company after the policy limits were exhausted during six years of litigation by the defense costs and he owed defense counsel additional amounts. After analyzing the evidence submitted by both parties, which included the policy, emails exchanged by the parties, and
Read More

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Grants Summary Judgment to National Fraternity Organization and Local Fraternity Chapter in Survival and Wrongful Death Action

In Hall v. Millersville University, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted summary judgment to the Acacia National Fraternity (“Acacia”) and Acacia Fraternity, Millersville (“Chapter 84”) in a survival and wrongful death action filed by the estate of a student (“Hall”)who was murdered by her boyfriend (“Orrostieta”) in her university dorm after attending a fraternity party together. The court found that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had “unequivocally held that a national fraternity is not liable under the social host doctrine for acts of its chapters.” The court also found that although the social host doctrine
Read More

Commonwealth Court of PA Affirms Commissioner’s Holding that PLHIGA Act Provision Authorizing PLHIGA to Make Assessments Against Medicare Parts C and D Premiums is Preempted by Federal Law

In Pennsylvania Life & Health Ins. Guar. Ass’n v. Pennsylvania Ins., the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania addressed an appeal by the Pennsylvania Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association (PLHIGA) of the decision by the Insurance Commissioner (“Commissioner”) to sustain the appeals of nine member health insurers and reverse assessments imposed by PLHIGA on the health insurers’ Medicare Parts C and D premium accounts. During the initial agency adjudication, the Commissioner determined that the assessments, which PLHIGA imposed on all member insurers pursuant to its enabling act, were preempted by federal law. The Commonwealth Court agreed with the Commissioner’s order and
Read More

New Jersey Appellate Court Affirms Trial Court Ruling That A Tenant’s Insurer Has No Duty to Provide Coverage to a Landlord’s Real Estate Manager As An Additional Insured

In Diaz v. Chrys S. Norwood Family, LP, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to an insurer in a personal injury suit that included a declaratory judgment cross-claim by one of the defendants for insurance coverage. In this case, the Plaintiff was an employee of a tenant who was injured when he slipped on ice and brought suit against the landlord, the landlord’s property manager, and another third party. The property manager sought defense and indemnification from the tenant’s insurer as an additional insured on the basis that the tenant’s policy included coverage
Read More

New Jersey Appellate Court Affirms Insured Win in Declaratory Judgment Action on Basis That the Language of the Assault and Battery Exclusion Was Ambiguous

In CMS Investment Ventures, Inc. et al. v American European Insurance Company et al., the New Jersey Appellate Division examined a trial court’s granting of declaratory judgment in favor of an insured. The insured landlord filed a claim for defense and indemnification after a tenant who was sexually assaulted in her apartment filed suit under a theory of premises liability. The insurer denied coverage under the Assault and Battery Exclusion of the policy. The trial court found in favor of the insured, holding that the Exclusion was ambiguous and that the insurer was estopped from denying coverage due to a
Read More

New Jersey Grants Summary Judgment to Insurer in Coverage Dispute by Another Insurer Seeking Reimbursement of Defense and Indemnification Costs for a Mutual Insured

In Ace American Insurance Company v. Penn National Insurance Company, the New Jersey Superior Court, Bergen County, considered a coverage dispute between two insurers providing insurance to a mutual insured for reimbursement of defense and indemnification costs associated with the settlement of a suit against the insured general contractor. The court held that the suit was barred by the applicable six-year statute of limitations, which began to accrue when an enforceable settlement was reached in the underlying action, and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant insurer. In this case, Ace provided general liability insurance to the insured, while
Read More

Eastern District of Pennsylvania Dismisses Declaratory Judgment Action Brought by Insurer to Determine Its Duty to Defend and Indemnify as Premature

In First Specialty Insurance Corp. v. Hudson Palmer Homes, Inc., the district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania considered a declaratory judgment action brought by an insurer to determine the scope of its duty to defend and indemnify the insured, a home builder, in connection with ten construction defect lawsuits brought against it. None of those cases had been ruled upon when the declaratory judgment action was filed. The insured filed a Motion to Dismiss on the basis that the insurer’s action was not ripe for adjudication. The court, applying the three factors set forth in Step-Saver Data Sys.,
Read More