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
Read More

USDC for Western District of New York Grants Summary Judgment to Homeowner’s Insurer in Property Coverage Dispute and Finds that Demolition Costs Should Be the Responsibility of the Property Owner

In Porter v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., the District Court for the Western District of New York addressed a case in which Plaintiff brought suit against her homeowner’s insurer following a fire that destroyed the insured property. Plaintiff sought coverage under the policy for replacement cost, rental income, personal property coverage and debris removal. The matter was assigned to a Magistrate Judge, who analyzed the coverage issues and submitted a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) that the Court grant State Farm’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Plaintiff’s claims for replacement cost, rental income and personal property coverage 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

Pennsylvania Supreme Court To Review Superior Court Decision Regarding the Payment of General Contractor Overhead and Profit

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted certiorari in Wintersteen v. Truck Insurance Exchange to examine the appellate court’s holding that general contractor overhead and profit (“GCOP”) was not required to be factored into two homeowners’ actual cash value payments from their insurer for property damage. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s holding that GCOP was required by state law to be included in actual cash value payments. The Supreme Court granted review to address one issue: whether the Superior Court erred as a matter of law in finding that the limitation of payment of GCOP from actual cash value in
Read More

New Jersey Appellate Court Reverses Trial Court’s Holding That Plaintiff Could Not Demonstrate Proximate Cause for Her Accident in Personal Injury Suit

In Winstead v. Yorkshire Village, the New Jersey Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to a landlord in a personal injury suit. Plaintiff brought suit against the landlord after she was injured by a malfunctioning automatic exterior entry door at her apartment building. The trial court determined that the malfunctioning door was not the proximate cause of Plaintiff’s injuries because Plaintiff did not have a reasonable fear of being struck by it. The appellate court disagreed and held that a genuine issue of disputed material fact precluded entry of summary judgment for the landlord. Plaintiff was
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 Supreme Court Holds That Injured Motorists Cannot Recover PIP Benefits In Excess of Policy PIP Limits

In Haines v. Taft, the New Jersey Supreme Court considered whether injured motorists who chose the $15,000 insurance minimum for PIP benefits can seek admission of evidence regarding medical expenses in excess of the minimum amount. The Court examined whether the New Jersey Legislature intended to deviate from its highly regulated no-fault system of first-party self-insurance to cover medical expenses arising from automobile accidents when it amended the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act (“AICRA”) to allow an insured to elect smaller amounts of PIP coverage. Finding that there was no evidence of a clear intent by the Legislature to deviate
Read More

USDC for the Middle District of Florida Holds That A Policyholder Must First Prove Breach of the Policy Before Pursuing a Claim for Bad Faith

In Grey Oaks Country Club v. Zurich American Insurance Company, the District Court for the Middle District of Florida examined whether a policyholder could sustain a cause of action for bad faith against an insurer simultaneously with a coverage action. Relying on well-settled Florida case law, the court held that plaintiff’s bad faith claim was premature because a bad faith cause of action does not accrue until there is a determination of both liability and damages in the coverage case. Accordingly, plaintiff’s bad faith count was dismissed without prejudice. Grey Oaks Country Club brought suit against Zurich for damages to
Read More

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
Read More

New Jersey Appellate Division Affirms Summary Judgment for Insurer in Coverage Dispute Seeking Payment for Personal Property Loss Following a Fire at the Insured Property

In Thomas v. Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, considered a coverage dispute between the insurer and a person living at the insured property for loss of personal property. Plaintiff was not a named insured under the policy and was not a relative of the named insured. The court affirmed the trial court’s award of summary judgment to the insurer, agreeing with the trial court that coverage was not owed because plaintiff was neither a named insured under the policy or a resident of the household who was related to the named insured. Plaintiff
Read More