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 Grants Summary Judgment to Store in Slip and Fall Negligence Action

In Thomas v. Family Dollar Stores of Pennsylvania, LLC, the district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania considered a premises liability action brought by a shopper due to injuries she received when she slipped and fell in a thick, yellow substance on the floor of an aisle at a Family Dollar retail store. The court granted summary judgment to the store, holding that Family Dollar owed no duty to the shopper and that no evidence existed that could show Family Dollar had constructive notice of the spill prior to the shopper’s fall. Plaintiff argued that Family Dollar was negligent
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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 Affirms Summary Judgment for Insurer in Coverage Dispute by Landlord Seeking Additional Coverage for Property Damage Caused by a Sewer Backup in A Tenant’s Restaurant

In Salih v. Ohio Security Insurance Co., the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, considered a coverage dispute between a landlord and its insurer involving a demand from the landlord for additional coverage under the lost business income provision of the policy for property damage caused by a sewage backup. The court affirmed the trial court’s award of summary judgment to the insurer, holding that the unambiguous language of the business income provision of the policy and a custom endorsement did not provide additional coverage over the sublimit set forth in the endorsement. The landlord argued that the business income
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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 Appellate Division Affirms Summary Judgment for Defendant in Premises Liability Action Finding That No Dangerous Conditions Existed That Caused Plaintiff’s Accident and That Plaintiff Was Aware of the Conditions and Possible Risks of the Property

In Platvoet v. Mancini, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, considered a premises liability case arising from the plaintiff’s fall into her mother’s pool while pulling a tarp over the water. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and subsequently denied plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of the judgment. Plaintiff appealed and argued that there were genuine issues of material fact regarding the presence of a dangerous condition on the property that precluded the entry of summary judgment. Her argument was based on competing expert engineering reports produced by plaintiff and defendant about whether a dangerous condition
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Third Circuit Authorizes New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Claim Against Automobile Insurer Regarding Allegedly Fraudulent Procurement of Release

In Alpizar-Fallas v. Favero, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit examined a putative class action arising from an automobile accident allegedly resulting in injuries. Both the injured party and the other driver were insured by the same company. On the day after the accident, the injured party was contacted by a claims adjuster for the insurer, who asked that he visit her home later that day. When the adjuster visited, he purportedly requested that the injured party sign certain documents, claiming that this would expedite the handling of her claim. The injured party (whose native language
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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 Division Affirms Summary Judgment for Defense in Premises Liability Suit

In MacKenn v. Agios Haralambos Corp., the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, considered a premises liability case arising from the plaintiff’s fall on an allegedly buckled mat while entering a restaurant. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. In a brief opinion, the Appellate Division observed that there was no evidence of how long the mat had been buckled. Accordingly, the plaintiff could not establish that the defendants had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous property condition. The Court also noted that there was no evidence that the defendants had violated a duty to inspect
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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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