Significant Decisions

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.

District of New Jersey Federal Court Judge Grants Declaratory Judgment in Favor of an Insurer Finding No Coverage Based on the Vacancy Provision as the Property had Been Vacant for Over 60 Days at the Time of the Vandalism and Theft

In a Declaratory Judgment Action, a New Jersey Federal Court District Judge granted Wright & O’Donnell’s Motion for Summary Judgment enforcing the vacancy exclusion in an insurance policy. The Insured had purchased a commercial property which it was planning to renovate. Plans were being developed and the Insured was soliciting bids from various contractors. More … Read more

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.

Eastern District of Pennsylvania Federal Court Judge Grants Declaratory Judgment in Favor of an Insurer and Found No Coverage Based on the Lack of an “Occurrence” Pursuant to the Terms of a Commercial General Liability Policy

Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. CPB Int’l, Inc., 562 F.3d 591 (3d Cir. 2009)(citing Pennsylvania Mfrs. Assn. Ins. Co. v. LB Smith, Inc., 831 A.2d 1178 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2003)). In this Declaratory Judgment Action, which Wright & O’Donnell filed and litigated on behalf of an Insurer, regarding an underlying Pennsylvania state court suit filed by a general … Read more

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.

New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division Affirms Grant of Summary Judgment and Denial of Motion to Amend in Light of Insurance Policy’s One-Year Suit Limitation

In this Declaratory Judgment Action filed against the Insurer by the Plaintiffs/Insureds, the Superior Court Appellate Division affirmed the Trial Courts’ Orders granting Summary Judgment in favor of the Insurer as a result of the Plaintiffs’/Insureds’ failure to comply with their first-party property damage policy’s one-year suit limitation clause, and the subsequent related Denial of … Read more

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.

Court Grants Summary Judgment in Favor of Insurer in Declaratory Judgment Action with Regard to Claim for Defense and Indemnity by Another Party as Covered Vehicle was Under Lease Not Related to Named Insured’s Business

In this Declaratory Judgment Action, a New Jersey Federal District Court Judge granted relief to an Insurer against a party not named as an insured under the policy who was seeking coverage for claims being pursued against them by a driver and passengers of a motor vehicle involved in a collision with a vehicle owned … Read more

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.

Jury Rules in Favor of Defendant Truck Driver and Against Plaintiff Driver in Personal Injury Suit Arising out of an Intersectional Accident

Following trial in the Burlington County Superior Court, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant Truck Driver, and against the elderly plaintiff, finding that the proximate cause of the accident at issue was plaintiff’s execution of an improper left turn. Using the light sequence records, and the testimony of a traffic engineer, … Read more

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.

Third Circuit Court Rules in Favor of Insurer Seeking Declaratory Relief under the Terms of Project and Premises Limitation Endorsement.

In this Declaratory Judgment Action, interpreting the language of the Project and Premises Limitation Endorsement included in the Policy at issue, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Trial Court’s finding of defense and indemnity obligations to the Named Insureds. The Circuit Court specifically found the Project and Premises Limitation Endorsement did not allow … Read more

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.

Maritime Action: Failure to State a Claim

Timbauba Agricola S.A., et al. v. M/V CAP SAN RAPHAEL, et al., 2005 AMC 139 (E.D. Pa. 2004) (2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24181, 2004 WL 2755541) In this maritime action concerning claims for alleged damage to a cargo of mangoes, the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted the Motion for Summary Judgment … Read more

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.

Motion for Summary Judgment Granted on Sexual Harassment Claim

Denise Schmidt v. Joseph Mulholland t/a Island Joe’s Tattoo Studio, Rose Mulholland, et al., N.J. Super. Ct., Cape May County, Docket No. L-441-04 In this personal injury action involving claims of sexual harassment and assault, the New Jersey Superior Court partially granted a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Wright & O’Donnell on behalf of … Read more

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.

Court Agrees that Policy Requires Damage to Commence During Policy Period

Western Metal Bed v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, 2007 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 240 (August 29, 2007) and 2007 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 340 (November 26, 2007) and 2008 Pa. Super. LEXIS 3079 (September 19, 2008) In this breach of contract, bad faith and declaratory judgment action, involving claims of insurance coverage … Read more

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.

Court Holds Contractor is not Entitled to Coverage Under Additional Endorsement Where Requisite Connection to Primary Insured’s Operations was Lacking

Markel International Insurance Company, Ltd. v. Centex Homes, LLC, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4780 (D.N.J. 2006) Summary This lawsuit arises from a coverage dispute between a residential home builder, Centex Homes, LLC, and Markel International Insurance Company, Ltd, the insurer providing a commercial general liability policy to a subcontractor, Alpha Contractors. Alpha was engaged to … Read more

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.

Jury Rules Indemnity Provisions Do Not Indemnify Landowner’s Employee

Valenti v. Central Parking System, et al., Nos. 385 and 726 EDA 2007 (Pa. Super. Ct., Nov. 26, 2008) Summary Following trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a jury returned a verdict of $5,000,000.00 in favor of Plaintiff, an employee of Landowner, and against the Parking Contractor, and found no liability on the … Read more

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.