Anthony D. Luis obtained a defense verdict in a motor vehicle insurance coverage case where the Orange County Supreme Court held a framed issue hearing to determine whether an insurer was liable for the intentional criminal acts of its insured. The Court initially stayed arbitration between the injured party and his insurer to determine whether the vehicle insurer of the injuring party should have been liable for its insured’s actions, which prompted a framed issue hearing to determine whether or not said actions were intentional after said insurer failed to disclaim coverage specifically for intentionality. After deliberating on the evidence presented and testimony elicited, the Court accepted Mr. Luis’ arguments that the injuring party should be disclaimed from coverage due to his intentional criminal actions, and his insurer should not be included in the underlying action. The request of the injured party’s insurer that the injuring party’s insurer be included in the action was denied.
As Mr. Luis noted, “the Orange County District Attorney’s office pled the injuring party down to reckless assault instead of the original charge of intentional assault, which would have been a prima facie showing of intent for insurance exclusionary purposes. In this case, in order to properly show the Court the actions were indeed intentional, it required the use of comprehensive circumstantial evidence to provide a clear narrative of the underlying events.” Upon its presentation, the Court accepted the testimony of two corroborating police officers and the claims representative for the insurer of the injuring party, all of which clearly showed the injuring party committed an intentional criminal act, which fell within the insurer’s policy as an exclusionary act. Associate Attorney at Rawle & Henderson, Luke Shemeth, was integral to the outcome by locating witnesses and gathering of essential evidence.
Anthony D. Luis is a partner in the New York City and Hackensack offices of Rawle & Henderson, LLP, and can be reached at (212) 323-7063 or at email@example.com.