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 than six months after the acquisition of the property, and before a general contractor had been retained, a vandalism and theft event had occurred at the property. The Insured sought coverage under the insurance policy. The District Court Judge agreed with Wright & O’Donnell, P.C.’s position that having plans to make changes or repairs to the property did not equate to being “under renovation”, which is an exception to the vacancy provision in the policy. Accordingly, the District Court found that the property was not under renovation and was vacant for more than 60 days prior to the vandalism and theft. Therefore, the District Court held there was no coverage under the insurance policy.