Archives for General Insurance Liability

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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Southern District of New York Holds That Collateral Estoppel Prevents Injured Plaintiff from Re-Litigating Issue of Whether Driver Was Within Scope of Employment at Time of Accident

In Cianfano v. Village of Tuckahoe, the District Court for the Southern District of New York addressed a personal injury case where an injured plaintiff brought suit against the local township and its police department after his suit against the driver was dismissed. In his suit, he alleged violations of his rights under federal and state law. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the issue of whether the driver was working under the scope of employment had been raised, fully and fairly litigated, and adjudicated against plaintiff in the prior lawsuit. The court agreed with defendants and found
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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
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New York Trial Court Denies Bar Owner’s Motion for Summary Judgment After Plaintiff’s Expert Affidavit Creates Fact Issues Regarding Reasonableness of Security Measures at Bar

In Gaskin v. OBMP-NY LLC, the New York Supreme Court considered a personal injury suit against a bar owner, his landlord and the bar’s security company for injuries arising from a fight that broke out in the bar. OBMP-NY, the bar owner who leased the property from landlord 701 West 135, orally contracted 5Points to provide security services for the bar. Plaintiff sought to impose liability on 701 West 135 under the theory that the landlord could not avoid liability under Real Property Law § 231, which provides that the owner of real property who knowingly leases it to be
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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
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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.,
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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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