Insurance Services and Coverage Litigation Practice
The Insurance Services and Coverage Litigation Group consists of attorneys dedicated to a specialized insurance practice, providing analysis and representation to a diverse client base for all manner of insurance policies and claims.
We author coverage opinions to assist insurers and insureds in assessing the existence and scope of coverage. We evaluate complex and high exposure claims to devise appropriate claim management strategies. We provide litigation counsel in declaratory judgment actions and in arbitrations addressing the applicability and/or interplay of coverage. We provide counsel in bad faith and extracontractual liability suits. We participate in the mediation of complex multi-party underlying actions to creatively resolve coverage disputes between an insured and its insurers or the priority of coverage disagreements between insurers.
Our long-established relationships with major international insurers bring a depth of experience to the services we provide beyond coverage analysis. We draft policy language and forms for major carriers and provide counsel concerning claim handling procedures. The Group regularly counsels excess and umbrella insurers on coverage and claims strategies. We also serve as monitoring counsel, including the review of the reasonableness of the defense costs incurred by independent counsel. Our experience includes evaluating coverage for claims made under policies insuring:
- General Liability
- Products Liability
- Homeowner's Insurance
- Directors & Officers
- Broker Liability
- Toxic Torts/Environmental
- Medical Malpractice/Healthcare
- Construction Accident/Defect
- Errors & Omissions/Professional Liability
- Employment Practices
- Property Insurance
- Intellectual Property
- Employer’s Liability
- Business Interruption
- Personal/Commercial Auto/Trucker’s Insurance
Selected Insurance Decisions
The Insurance Services and Coverage Litigation Group has extensive appellate experience in State and Federal Courts nationwide. Among the significant issues presented to appellate courts by our office are the following:
- Wilson Central School Dist. v. Utica Mut. Ins. Co., 123 A.D.3d 920, 999 N.Y.S.2d 440 (2d Dept. 2014). School District not covered as additional insured under commercial general liability policy issued to school bus company since policy limited additional insured coverage to the District’s vicarious liability for the acts of the bus company.
- Holiday Village East Homeowner’s Ass’n v. QBE Ins. Corp., 517 Fed. Appx. 113 (3d Cir. 2013). No first party property coverage for damage to clubhouse roof where “collapse” coverage specifically limited coverage to an immediate collapse, and denied coverage where there was only “an imminent state of collapse.”
- Utica Mut. Ins. Co. v. Government Employers Ins. Co., 98 AD 3d 502, 949 N.Y.S.2d 182 (2nd Dept. 2012). Personal umbrella insurer issued untimely disclosure based on “business pursuits” exclusion, and commercial umbrella policy was excess over personal umbrella policy.
- National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. Connecticut Indem. Co., 52 A.D.3d 224, 860 N.Y.S.2d 35 (1st Dept. 2008). Excess insurer settled claim and then sought equitable contribution from various auto insurers for owner and sublessee of vehicle. The court found in favor of excess insurer, and held “bobtail” exclusion void as against public policy.
- City of New York v. Sabeco Insurance Co. of America, 31 A.D.3d 478, 818 N.Y.S.2d 256 (2nd Dept. 2006). City was not an additional insured under commercial general liability insurance policy issued to private foster care agency for claim based on City’s removal of children from home. There was no wrongdoing by foster care agency since City had legal authority on decision to remove children.
- Tjong v. Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P., 2006 WL 1574079 (N.J. App. Div. 2006). Court enforced a “step-down” provision in an auto liability policy issued to a car rental company, which limited coverage for renter to statutory minimum.
- National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. The Pep Boys - - Manny Moe & Jack, 304 A.D.2d 218, 759 N.Y.S.2d 42 (1st Dept. 2003). No duty to defend or indemnify a retailer under its commercial general liability policy for consumer fraud class action, notwithstanding existence of allegations of negligence.
- Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co. v. American International Group, Inc., 300 A.D.2d 24, 751 N.Y.S.2d 175 (1st Dept. 2002). No coverage available under construction project wrap-up policy for subcontractor not approved or enrolled into insurance program by project owner.
- Roundabout Theatre Co. v. Continental Cas. Co., 302 A.2d 1, 751 N.Y.S.2d 204 (1st Dept. 2002). In the absence of damage or injury to covered property, no coverage under business interruption policy for losses sustained by adjoining property owners due to evacuation of area.
- HRH Construction Corp. v. Forest Electric Corp., 299 A.D.2d 282, 750 N.Y.S.2d 74 (1st Dept. 2002). Subcontractor's failure to provide general contractor with information about purchase of retroactive coverage created factual issue about subcontractor's breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
- New York City Transit Authority v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., 288 A.D.2d 13, 732 N.Y.S.2d 161 (1st Dept. 2001). No coverage under Owners and Contractors Protective Liability Policy for owners' own affirmative negligence in serious electrocution accident.
- National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. Hartford Ins. Co., 248 A.D.2d 78, 677 N.Y.S.2d 105 (1st Dept. 1998), aff'd, 93 N.Y.2d 983, 695 N.Y.S.2d 740 (1999). Rejecting collateral estoppel and awarding co-insurance to client. Terms of policy control over underlying trade contract.
- Polarome Mfg. Co., Inc. v. Commerce & Indus. Ins. Co., 310 NJ Super 168, 708 A2d 450 (N.J. Super. 1998). Choice of law analysis undertaken by New Jersey court, which applied New York law to the question of whether an insurer can assert late notice without a showing of prejudice.
Monteleone v. Crow Const. Co., 242 A.D.2d 135, 673 N.Y.S.2d 408 (1st Dept. 1998). The intent and effect of absolute employee bodily injury exclusion was to bar coverage, and, reading exclusions seriatim, no ambiguity presented by other policy terms.