Significant Decisions

Wright & O’Donnell, P.C. successfully moved for Judgment on the Pleadings in a Declaratory Judgment Action filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The Court determined that an exclusion in the insurance policy prohibited insurance coverage for claims arising from injuries sustained by an employee of a subcontractor hired by the Additional Insured.

The New Jersey Superior Court granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of a hotel, finding there was no evidence on the part of a hotel’s shuttle bus driver.

The United Stated District Court for the District of New Jersey granted Wright & O’Donnell, P.C.’s Motion for Summary Judgment for an insurer finding there was no coverage for the first party claim for theft and vandalism. The Court determined the property was vacant for more than 60 days prior to the loss, and therefore, the vacancy provision of the policy applied and prohibited coverage.

In connection with a Pennsylvania State Court construction defect case, Wright & O’Donnell successfully obtained summary judgment for a Lloyd’s syndicate in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The court held that claims for “negligence” in the underlying case were merely claims for faulty workmanship and, as such, were not “occurrences” or “accidents” for which coverage would apply in a Commercial General Liability policy.

The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division affirmed the Trial Court’s granting of Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for Summary Judgment obtained for an insurer as a result of an insureds’ failure to comply with the first party property damage policy’s One Year Suit Limitation clause.

In a personal injury case seeking damages for catastrophic burns sustained by a commercial tenant’s employee, the New Jersey Superior Court granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for Summary Judgment in favor of the tenant’s landlord, finding the negligent conduct was that of the tenant, even though the landlord was also the principal of the commercial tenant corporation.

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for Summary Judgment, ruling that as the party who was seeking coverage under the policy was not named as an insured, that party had no meritorious defense to the declaratory judgment action. Additionally, the court determined that the insured vehicle was being used at the time under a lease agreement for a business unrelated to the named insured and, thus, excluded from coverage under the terms of that policy.

Using traffic light sequence records and the testimony of a traffic engineer at a jury trial in Burlington County Superior Court in New Jersey, Wright & O’Donnell refuted the testimony of independent eyewitnesses, and established that the Plaintiff’s left turn arrow was not illuminated when she made a left turn in front of the oncoming insured tractor trailer, obtaining a defense verdict in a catastrophic personal injury case.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the Trial Court’s ruling, and granted Wright & O’Donnell’s appeal, holding that a Project and Premises Limitation Endorsement did not allow for coverage for the Named Insured as a result of an accident that did not occur at or near, or involve, the Insured premises listed in the policy.

Wright & O’Donnell obtained summary judgment for a charterer in a maritime action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, with the Court holding that the shipper’s failure to identify in its Complaint, by specific number, any bills of lading was fatal to Plaintiff’s claims, and the one year Statute of Limitations in The Carriage of Goods by Sea Act of 1936 (COGSA) precluded the shipper’s ability to amend the Complaint to cure that defect.

In a personal injury action involving claims of sexual harassment and assault on a customer of a tattoo parlor, the New Jersey Superior Court granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for Summary Judgment as to the Plaintiff’s claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress, as Plaintiff had no claims of physical manifestations, medical or psychological treatment, nor had she provided any evidence of severe and demonstrable psychiatric injury or “severe emotional trauma” so as to sustain such a cause of action.

In this breach of contract, bad faith and declaratory judgment action, involving claims of insurance coverage under an “all risk” policy, the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for Summary Judgment since the insured was not able to present any evidence as to when the damage occurred and if it had commenced during the policy period, and the insured also failed to file suit within the 2 year period required by the Suit Limitation provision.

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for Summary Judgment, ruling that an insurer issuing an Additional Insured Endorsement did not owe the general contractor a defense or indemnification for an accident occurring when an insured subcontractor struck another vehicle while leaving the jobsite, reasoning that the requisite connection between the contractor’s alleged negligence and the insured subcontractor’s operations on the site was not present.

In a dispute between a commercial auto carrier and a Lloyd’s syndicate who issued a Non-Trucking Liability (NTL) policy, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for Summary Judgment, finding that a Business Use Exclusion in an NTL policy precluded coverage for an accident while the tractor (truck) was enroute to a dealership to be sold/traded, even though the truck had not been dispatched by the motor carrier to pick up any loads.

Following catastrophic injuries resulting from a shooting in a parking lot of a commercial property, Plaintiff sued the property owner for negligent maintenance of security devices/locks that allowed the unknown assailant to access the property, enabling the shooting to occur. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for a Judgment on the Pleadings in favor of a London insurer, finding that the insured’s alleged negligence did not directly cause the harm and, on the contrary, the harm was caused by the actual shooting, for which coverage was excluded by an Assault and Battery Exclusion in the policy.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for a Judgment on the Pleadings in favor of an insurer, holding that an Assault and/or Battery Exclusion was clear and unambiguous, and precluded coverage for injuries occurring as a result of an assault and battery occurring in the parking lot of a strip club.

The Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for Summary Judgment, dismissing a landowner’s suit against a township, finding that the lawsuit was untimely and, moreover, the township was statutorily immune from the landowner’s claims, as they did not fall within any of the exceptions to the Tort Claims Act.

After a $5,000,000.00 personal injury verdict against a contractor, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the Trial Court’s denial of the contractor’s indemnity claim against the landowner, as the indemnity provisions in a licensing contract did not contain the express language required for the landowner to have been deemed to have waived its workers’ compensation immunity provided under Pennsylvania law.