Archives for Complex Insurance Liability

New Jersey Appellate Division Finds in Favor of Tenant and its Insurer in Coverage Dispute Between a Tenant and Its Insurer Against the Landlord

In Lopez v. Palin Enterprises, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, considered a tenant’s duty to defend its landlord against a personal injury suit brought by the tenant’s employee. In this insurance coverage dispute, the landlord filed a third-party action against the tenant and its insurer, Wausau, seeking primary coverage as an additional insured under the Wausau policy and contractual indemnification from the tenant. The trial court determined that Wausau was required to provide the landlord with primary coverage and that the tenant was required under the terms of the lease to indemnify the landlord for its own negligence.
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New Jersey Law Division Holds That Waiver in Condominium Bylaws Precludes Insurer of Unit From Pursuing Subrogation Claim Against Condominium Association

In Universal North American Ins. Co. v. Bridgepointe Condominium Ass’n, the Law Division of the New Jersey Superior Court for Middlesex County examined a subrogation action brought by an insurer arising from a fire at a condominium unit. After paying a claim for damage to the unit, the insurer commenced a subrogation action against the condominium association and other entities for the failure to maintain the property. The condominium association filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that its by-laws precluded insurers of condominium residents from pursuing subrogation claims against the association. The Court began its analysis of the motion
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New Jersey Appellate Court Upholds Denial of Businessowners Liability Coverage for Accident Involving Mechanical Lift Attached to Truck

In Ruffa v. Ruffa, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court examined an insurance coverage dispute arising from an accident involving a box truck. The defendant purchased the box truck for his catering business. The truck included a hydraulic lift. A warning printed on the lift directed that individuals should not ride on its platform. The truck’s owner manual also cautioned against using the lift as a wheelchair or personnel lift. The day after the defendant purchased the truck, he was installing shelving in the truck when his four-year old son accidentally activated the lift. The child’s arm
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Middle District of Pennsylvania Holds That UIM Insurance Action Arising From 2003 Accident Timely When Filed Shortly After 2016 Coverage Denial

In Legos v. Travelers Cas. Co. of Conn., the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania examined an underinsured motorist insurance claim arising from a 2003 automobile accident. The injured party filed a writ of summons against the other driver in 2005, followed by a lawsuit in 2006. Shortly thereafter, the injured party filed an underinsured motorist claim with his automobile insurer. The insurer acknowledged receiving the claim. In 2012, the injured party settled his action against the driver. In 2016, the injured party’s insurer sent a letter advising that the statute of limitations on the UIM
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New Jersey Appellate Division Holds That Failure to Disclose Excess Nature of Coverage on Certificate of Insurance Does Not Constitute a Misrepresentation

In The State-Operated School District of the City of Paterson v. American Alternative Ins. Co., the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division examined allegations of misrepresentation by a transportation company retained by a school district to transport its students. The school district solicited bids for companies to provide transportation, noting in its bid specifications that the selected company must obtain insurance (including automobile liability insurance) naming the school district as an additional insured. The transportation company chosen by the school district entered into a contract requiring it to obtain such insurance. The company was also required to provide a certificate
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Pennsylvania Superior Court Holds That Vehicle Dismantling Exclusion Does Not Apply to Liability Insurance Claim Regarding Fueling Accident

In Tuscarora Wayne Ins. Co. v. Hebron, Inc., the Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed a declaratory judgment action brought by a commercial general liability insurer regarding an incident at the insured’s vehicle dismantling facility. While one of the policyholder’s employees was fueling a flatbed truck, a fire started that caused damage to the facility, as well as neighboring vehicles and businesses. The subject policy contained an endorsement providing that the insurance did not apply to “property damage arising out of” the policyholder’s operations, which were identified as “vehicle dismantling.” The term “vehicle dismantling” was not defined in the policy. The liability
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Middle District of Florida Applies Bar/Tavern Exclusion to Claim Tendered by Security Company

In Mt. Hawley Ins. Co. v. Tactic Security Enforcement et al., the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida examined a claim for the defense and indemnification of two lawsuits against the policyholder security company, alleging inadequate security with regard to shooting incidents at a facility where the policyholder provided services. The subject policy contained language excluding coverage for “[a]ny and all operations involving bars, taverns, gentlemen’s clubs and nightclubs.” The plaintiff insurer brought an action seeking a declaratory judgment that it was not required to provide coverage. At trial, the sole issue for the jury was
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New Jersey Appellate Court Holds That There is No Coverage for Domestic Violence Under a Standard Liability Policy

In D.G. v. B.E.A., the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division addressed a demand for a homeowners’ liability insurer to provide defense and indemnification of a lawsuit raising allegations of domestic violence. The insurer denied coverage on the grounds that the lawsuit did not raise allegations of an “occurrence” as required by the policy, and also because the lawsuit fell within an exclusion for injuries “expected” or “Intended” by the policyholder. The policyholder claimed that the lawsuit should be covered because he was extremely intoxicated at the time of the incident and was unable to form an intent to cause
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New Jersey Appellate Court Holds That Insurer’s Decision to Provide “Courtesy Defense” of Non-Covered Action Does Not Constitute Estoppel

In Northfield Ins. Co. v. Mt. Hawley Ins. Co., the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, examined a declaratory judgment action brought by a property owner’s insurer against a contractor’s liability insurer. The case arose from a roof installation performed by the contractor and a subcontractor at a hotel in the summer of 2012. Shortly after the work was completed, Superstorm Sandy struck the property, causing roof damage and water damage to the hotel’s interior. The hotel’s property insurer advised the contractor’s insurer of a potential claim. The contractor’s insurer rejected the claim, determining that the damage at issue was
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New York Court of Appeals Rejects “Unavailability of Insurance” Exception In Long-Tail Allocation Cases

In KeySpan Gas East Corp. v. Munich Reinsurance Am., Inc., the New York Court of Appeals examined an action against a liability insurer for indemnification of long-tail environmental damage. The plaintiff power company owned two manufactured gas plants that began operations in the late 1880s and early 1900s, and had remained in operation for several decades. After the plants had ceased operations, a state environmental agency detected long-term environmental damage at both sites arising from contaminants seeping into the ground and leeching into groundwater. The power company was required to perform expensive clean-up operations at both sites. The power company
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