News Brief

Martin Granted Affirmation of Summary Judgment in High-Exposure Case

January 19, 2018

Chris Martin (Partner-Albany) obtained a unanimous decision in an appeal in the Third Department that affirmed the trial court order granting our motion for summary judgment and dismissing the complaint against the firm’s client insurance agent, with costs. As background, the plaintiff, a construction worker, was severely injured when he fell approximately 20 feet from a ladder while working in premises owned by the insurance agent’s client and a limited liability company wholly owned by the insurance agent’s client. A lawsuit was commenced by the plaintiff against various parties, including the insurance agent’s client/owner of the premises, and a jury ultimately returned a verdict in excess of $6 million. Our motion at the time relied in large part on a letter sent by our client to the plaintiff’s assignor/the owner of the premises after the CGL policy at issue was quoted but before it was procured. The letter informed the assignor that (1) the policy did not cover injuries sustained by employees of contractors and (2) there was another policy available that did provide that coverage for a premium of approximately $5,000 more per year. We argued that based on the letter, the assignor, and in turn the plaintiff as assignee, could not point to any breach of a duty on the part of the insurance agent. The assignor did not recall receiving the letter, but he testified that he was aware of the applicable exclusion prior to the plaintiff’s underlying incident and never requested the more-expensive policy that did not contain the exclusion at issue.

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