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Nassau County Supreme Court Determines if Defendant Insurance Company is Obligated to Defend Insured


The plaintiff for this particular case is Tri-State Consumer Insurance Company. The defendants in the case are Karen Venezia, Patricia and Christopher McMonigle, and Megan Lawlor. The defendants are called the Venezia defendants throughout the case. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Nassau County.

Case Background

The Venezia defendants have made a motion to grant a summary judgment and direct the plaintiff, Tri-State Consumer Insurance Company to provide defense and coverage in the case of Megan Lawlor versus Karen Venezia and to award reasonable counsel fees.

The original case stems from a claim that was brought up by defendant Megan Lawlor against the other three defendants, Karen Venezia, Patricia and Christopher McMonigle. Megan Lawlor is seeking recovery for injuries that she sustained from a dog bite.

The defendant, Karen Venezia owned a property located on Oaks Drive in New York. Karen’s sister and her nephew, the defendants Patricia and Christopher McMonigle, lived there with her. The two owned a dog. This dog bit Megan Lawlor on her face on the 17th of January in 2010.

On the 25th of January, the incident was reported to the insurance company by Venezia. On the 17th of June, the insurance company issued a letter stating that the claim had been denied. The insurance company based this decision on the fact that in the policy unlicensed dogs were not covered.

During the time that Venezia was waiting for the response from the insurance, Megan Lawlor brought a suit against Venezia and the McMonigles, naming them as the responsible parties for the dog bite injuries.

Court Discussion and Decision

There are many questions brought up in this case. The first is the matter of fact that defendants from the previous case had defaulted in the case against them made by Lawlor as they were waiting to hear from their insurance company. the motion for an extension of time by the defendants is granted and the defendants must answer all of the questions in regard to the claims and counter claims.

The cross motion that is made by the defendant Megan Lawlor for summary judgment for dismissal of the complaint made by TSC is denied.

The cross motion that is made by the plaintiff for an order of summary judgment that awards against the defendants and declares that the company is not obligated to defend or indemnify the defendants or any other person involved in the case is denied.

These decisions have come about based on thorough review of the case at hand. It is felt that the insurance policy that was issued to the defendants was written to provide coverage to the insured for bites that are made by a dog that is licensed. There has been no proof provided that the dog in question was not licensed and for this reason the court finds that the animal falls within the range of the coverage terms, but was denied solely on an exclusion insurance policy.

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