GVK Associate Rozaly Cohen Obtains Summary Judgment in Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, on behalf of our Insurance Carrier Client in a Declaratory Action Filed by its Insured

The matter involves an underlying personal injury action, wherein the plaintiff sued our insurance carrier client’s insured for damages incurred as a result of a slip/trip and fall accident taking place on the insured’s property. When applying for coverage, the insured defendant elected first-party property damage coverage only. However, after being named a defendant in the underlying personal injury action, the insured defendant claimed he was entitled to general liability coverage under the subject policy and filed a declaratory action against our client seeking defense and indemnity of the plaintiff’s claim. Specifically, the insured defendant claimed he misinterpreted the coverage application form, and that his mistake was not a valid reason to disclaim coverage.

In our motion for summary judgment, we argued the insured never purchased commercial general liability coverage, and therefore, the carrier was not obligated to indemnify or defend the insured in the underlying action brought forth by the plaintiff. The motion was granted by The Honorable Keith Lynott, J.S.C. The Court agreed with our arguments and concluded the insured’s confusion or intent when filling out the insurance application and applying for insurance coverage is not relevant. Rather, the policy itself is the document that forms the contract/agreement between a carrier and its insured, and the policy herein is unambiguous. The Court held it is undisputed that the text of the policy does not provide coverage for general liability claims alleging bodily injury as a result of work or other activities conducted on or at the insured property. Consequently, our motion for summary judgment filed early and during the discovery period was granted, and all claims against the carrier have been dismissed with prejudice.