News Brief

Philadelphia Team Obtains Summary Judgment in Coverage Litigation Matter

June 10, 2013

Jonathan Dryer (Partner-Philadelphia) and Wendy Testa (Partner-Philadelphia) obtained summary judgment on behalf of an insurer in a coverage action venued in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In the underlying dram shop action, a $750,000 judgment was entered against the tavern for personal injuries sustained by the individual plaintiff. The firm's client, the insurer of the tavern, denied coverage for defense and indemnity of the tavern in the underlying case.  As a result, through an assignment of rights by the tavern, the individual plaintiff in the dram shop action, initiated suit against the tavern's insurer alleging breach of contract and violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL).

To successfully obtain summary judgment in favor of the tavern’s insurer, Wilson Elser argued that:  1) there was no coverage afforded for the underlying personal injury suit pursuant to two consecutive liquor liability, claims-made policies and; 2) the insurer did not violate the UTPCPL as the commercial liability policy was not a contract between the insurer and private citizen plaintiff in the underlying case or a contract for personal, household or family items or use.  As such, the UTPCPL was inapplicable.

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