East Coast CM Report of Recent Decisions – 2020 Volume 1

April 22, 2020 / CM Reports

A New Jersey Appellate Court Finds Ambiguity In The Exclusions Section Of A Policy Cannot Create Coverage For An Unlisted Peril

The Superior Court of New Jersey reversed the grant of summary judgment to the Insureds, Robert Cusamano and Julie Marzanao, finding the policy language outlining covered perils was clear and any ambiguity with the exclusions could not create coverage. Robert Cusamano, et al. v. New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association, Docket No. A-1704- 18T2, Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division (March 3, 2020). The Court rejected the Insureds’ attempt to make the policy exclusions language ambiguous because it did not specifically exclude water which leaked from a pipe.

New Jersey Superior Court Holds That Exclusion Precludes Coverage For Golf Cart Accident

In Tolotti v United Servs. Auto. Assn., No. A-4102-18T4 N.J. Super. Unpub.
LEXIS 371 (Super. Ct. App. Div Feb. 21, 2020), the appellate court held that each exclusion is meant to be read in line with the insuring agreement and independent of every other exclusion. Therefore, where one policy exclusion applies there is no coverage under the Policy, regardless of any inferences of coverage made in another exception or qualifications found in another exclusion.

Clausen Miller’s First-Party Property COVID-19 Task Force

As COVID-19 continues to impact all corners of the globe, we are not simply throwing together blurbs for Twitter, but rather carefully listening to the needs of our clients who are already facing insurance claims arising out of the Coronavirus.

Licensed Professionals Named Only As Third-Party Defendants Must Still Participate At Trial, Unless Previously Dismissed On The Merits

Recently, the Supreme Court in New Jersey held that third-party defendants are subject to contribution claims filed against them, unless a meritorious right to a dismissal exists against them. Samuel Mejia v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc., No. A-88-18 (Decided March 16, 2020).

The Advancement Of Social Media Discovery In New York State: Subject Matter Limitation No Longer Necessary

Recently, the First Department clarified the standard for obtaining social media discovery in the state of New York in Caserta v. Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Auth., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1157 (February 18, 2020). Although social media usage is widely popular, its discovery has had limited judicial clarification; thus, it has been a contentious issue between adversaries.

New York Appellate Court Clarifies The Relationship Between Subrogation And Insured’s Claims

The Second Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order denying summary judgment to the Defendant insurer, Star Net Insurance Company (“Star Net”), and found that all the claims against it arose from one occurrence under the terms of its Policy, but that it was premature to determine whether a settlement in the subrogation action brought by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (“State Farm”) diminished the available funds from which the Insured, Plaintiff Richard Bennett (“Homeowner”), could be compensated if his suit is successful. Bennett v State Farm Fire & Casualty Company, 2020 NY Slip Op 01901 [Mar. 18, 2020].

Appellate Court Determines Whether Claimant Is Entitled To An Additional Schedule Loss Of Use Award For Different Portions Of The Same Body Part In A Separate Accident

In the Matter of the Claim of Thomas Johnson v. City of New York, Workers’ Compensation Board, 2020 NY Slip Op 00903 (App. Div., 3d Dept., February 6, 2020), the Third Department was asked to determine whether a Workers’ Compensation claimant is entitled to a separate schedule loss of use (“SLU”) award for a statutorily-enumerated member for a separate body part regarding injuries sustained in a separate accident.

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