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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

New York Trial Court Vacates Jury Verdict Against Liability Insurer Due to Plaintiff’s Change of Position From Underlying Tort Action

In Riconda v. Liberty Insurance Underwriters, Inc., the Supreme Court of Suffolk County, New York examined a motion to set aside a $2.8 million verdict entered against a directors & officers insurer in a coverage dispute. The litigation concerned the sale of a corporation in which the purchase price was never paid, and the purchasing entity ultimately declared bankruptcy. The owner who sold the corporation instituted an action against the directors and officers of the purchasing entity for fraud, self-dealing, and breach of fiduciary duty. The directors and officers sought a defense from their directors & officers liability insurer, which
Read More

New Jersey Appellate Division Holds That ATVs Are Not “Private Passenger Vehicles” Covered Under Automobile Insurance Policy

In Starner v. Haemmerle, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court considered an action arising from an accident involving an all-terrain vehicle driven on a public road by a fourteen-year old girl, who drove the vehicle with the permission of its adult owner. The ATV flipped, injuring one of the passengers. As the ATV was uninsured, the driver sought coverage for the accident under her parents’ automobile policy, which provided coverage for accidents involving non-owned private passenger automobiles driven by an insured or resident relative. The term “private passenger automobile” was defined in the policy as “a four-wheel
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

New Jersey Appellate Division Holds That Restaurant Landlord Is Not Liable for Accident Resulting from Obstruction of Doorway

In Gross v. Fotinos Enterprises, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, examined an action arising from an accident at a restaurant where the plaintiff worked. The plaintiff tripped and fell over a cinder block used to prop open an exterior door at the restaurant, sustaining injuries to her arm and shoulder. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the building’s landlord, claiming that the landlord breached a duty to inspect the property pursuant to the lease agreement and enforce lease violations. The lease agreement was a triple-net lease that required the lessee to maintain and repair the property. The
Read More