East Coast CM Report of Recent Decisions – 2021 Volume 3

October 22, 2021 / CM Reports

New Jersey Appellate Court Refuses To Reform Insurance Policy To Reflect The Owner As An Additional Insured

In Affiliated FM Ins. v. Rothschild Realty I, L.P., 2021 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1661(Super Ct App Div Aug. 6, 2021), the New Jersey Appellate Court had to address whether a property owner met the high burden required to reform an insurance policy, which it claimed was necessary due to a mutual mistake between the insured and the carrier. In particular, the owner sought to reform the portion of the policy that did not list the owner as the additional insured under the tenant’s policy.

Business Owed No Duty Of Care To Plaintiff Who Was Struck By Van Door As No Relationship Existed Between The Property Owner And The Tortfeasor

One of the main issues that a defendant has to determine in a tort case is whether it had a duty to the injured plaintiff since as it is often said: “no duty, no liability.” In the context of a premises liability matter, the property owner owes a duty to persons who are lawfully on its property. If there is no duty owed to the plaintiff, then liability cannot be attached to the property owner. Very often, duty is attached if the plaintiff demonstrated a degree of control over the instrumentality or individual that caused the accident.

New York Appellate Division Enforces Time Limitation Provision In Homeowners Policy

In Avery v. WJM Dev. Corp., 2021 NY Slip Op 04961 (App. Div., 2d Dep’t., September 15, 2021), the Appellate Division held the trial court correctly determined that the insureds’ action against their insurer was time-barred because a homeowners insurance policy provision provided the action had to be commenced within two years after the occurrence causing loss or damage. The insureds filed suit six years after the fire. 

Massachusetts Court Of Appeals Vacates Trial Decision Because Judge Informed Jury That An Insurance Company Was The Real Party-In-Interest

In Antoniadis v. Basnight, 99 Mass. App. Ct. 172, 164 N.E.3d 206 (2021), Plaintiff George Antoniadis’ (“Antoniadis”) home renovations ended in flames when a subcontractor hired to finish his floors left oil-soaked rags in a bucket which spontaneously combusted. Mr. Antoniadis’ insurance carrier, Amica Mutual Insurance Company (“Amica”), brought a subrogation claim against the subcontractor and the contractor hired to perform the renovations, after settling Antoniadis’ insurance claims. Id., 99 Mass. at *173. Amica originally filed the Complaint in its own name, but later removed its name and substituted in that of Antoniadis, in accordance with Massachusetts Rule of Civil Procedure 17(a). Id. 

No Hoist Here: Second Department Rules Collateral Estoppel Bars Plaintiff’s Workers’ Compensation Claim Of Elevator Injury

In Lennon v. 56th and Park (NY) Owner, LLC, et al., 2021 NY Slip Op 04972 (App. Div., 2d Dept., September 15, 2021), the Second Department affirmed a lower court decision granting Defendants’ motion, pursuant to CPLR 3025(b), for leave to amend their Answer to include the affirmative defense of collateral estoppel, and thereupon, for summary judgment dismissing the second Amended Complaint.

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