Blog Archives

Summary Judgment May Be Appropriate When Insured Fails to Take Reasonable Measures to Prevent Property Damage

Many first party property insurance policies exclude claims for water damage that occurs when the insured premises is left vacant or unoccupied, unless the insured has used reasonable care to prevent such losses. In litigation challenging the denial of such claims, whether or not the insured’s actions in preventing property damage were reasonable is generally treated as a question of fact to be decided by a jury. However, when the facts are not disputed, and there are no credibility issues presented, a court may grant summary judgment on behalf of the insurer upholding the denial. Such a result recently occurred in a Pennsylvania case involving substantial losses as a result of water damage from burst pipes. Micalis Pazianas, M.D., et

Posted in Freezing, Homeowners Coverage, Vacant or Unoccupied, Water, Water

An Injured Third Party’s Knowingly False Deposition Testimony Establishes the Materialty Component for Insurance Fraud

On May 13, 2006, Edward Feierstein was driving home from his Philadelphia fitness club when his car was rear-ended. Two days later, Feierstein filed a claim with the tortfeasor’s liability insurer seeking reimbursement for his alleged bodily injuries.  Two years later he filed suit against the company’s insured.  The liability insurer, in its defense of the suit, hired a private investigator. Surveillance video footage was secured of Feierstein working out at a fitness center, and his club, while stretching, exercising on an elliptical machine, a weight-lifting machine, and playing tennis. At his deposition, Feierstein was unware of the video surveillance.  He testified that he had not played tennis at all since the accident, nor worked out in any gyms since

Posted in Fraud

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds that a Person Violates the Insurance Fraud Statute Even if Insurer is Not Duped Into Paying a Fraudulent Claim

In the recent case of State of New Jersey v. Robert Goodwin, 224 N.J. 102, 129 A.3d 316 (N.J. 2016), the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that a person violates the insurance fraud statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4.6(a), even if he or she does not succeed in duping an insurance carrier into paying a fraudulent claim. In doing so, the Supreme Court reinstated Robert Goodwin’s conviction for insurance fraud. At trial, it was established that Goodwin and “Stacey” were involved in a romantic relationship since 2004 and living together in Newark, New Jersey. In April 2009, Stacey purchased an SUV for over $6,000, financed by Goodwin co-signing the loan. Insurance was procured from Progressive Insurance Company. Goodwin was the primary operator

Posted in Fraud
About The Property Insurance Law Observer
For more than four decades, Cozen O’Connor has represented all types of property insurers in jurisdictions throughout the United States, and it is dedicated to keeping its clients abreast of developments that impact the insurance industry. The Property Insurance Law Observer will survey court decisions, enacted or proposed legislation, and regulatory activities from all 50 states. We will also include commentary on current issues and developing trends of interest to first-party insurers.
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