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New York Appellate Court Decides Summary Judgment Motion in Insurance Case


In this case the plaintiffs are Precise Management Inc., the Bridge Street Development Corporation, and BSDC NRP I Limited Partnership. Their case is against the Tower Insurance Company of New York, Tower Group Companies, and as an additional party to the counter claim, Kenneth L. Johnson. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the state of New York located in Kings County.

This case is a motion for a summary judgment by the defendants requesting that the complaint made against them by the plaintiff is dismissed. The defendants also seek to have a summary judgment made in their counterclaim.

Case Background

This is a case involving insurance coverage. The verified complaint that has been issued by the plaintiffs declares that the Tower companies are obligated to provide them with insurance defense in the case that was brought against them by Kenneth L. Johnson. Johnson is seeking damages for personal injuries that he allegedly sustained on the 12th of November, 2007 when he fell on a stairway located on Lexington Avenue in Brooklyn. The staircase is in a building that the plaintiffs own and Kenneth Johnson is a tenant there.

Tower has issued a counterclaim in regard to this matter and states that they are not obligated to provide the plaintiff’s with a defense. The plaintiffs have not responded to this verified answer that was provided by the defendants. Mr. Johnson has served an answer to the counterclaim through his attorney.

The plaintiffs are required to provide an answer to the counterclaim and have not yet done so. In this aspect, the motion for a summary judgment on behalf of the defendants is somewhat premature.

Case Facts

The plaintiffs were issued a Commercial Lines Insurance policy by Tower on the 20th of June in 2007. this policy provides that an insured company must notify tower as soon as an offense occurs where a complaint may be made. Other provisions of the claim make it clear that the claim must be made against the insured and not by an insured against Tower.

The case in question involves the fall that Kenneth L. Johnson took while on the premises owned by the plaintiff. In the insurance clauses it is stated that the insured must notify Tower as soon as they are notified that a potential claim may be made against them. According to Johnson, the accident occurred on the 12th of November, 2007. However, the plaintiffs were not made aware of the potential claim until the 14th of August, 2008.

Case Discussion and Decision

In order for a summary judgment to be granted, the individual requesting the summary judgment must prove that they are entitled to this verdict. In this particular case the defendants have proven that they are not required to defend the plaintiffs in this matter.

The plaintiffs have failed to give an adequate reason for not filing an answer to the verified answer that was provided by the defendant in regard to their complaint.

The court has reviewed all of the issues in this matter and determined that the verified complaint made by the plaintiff’s is dismissed. In addition, the defendants are granted the right to declare that they are not obligated to provide the plaintiffs with a defense in the case involving Kenneth L. Johnson.

If you are in need of legal advice in regard to any type of accident or other matter, contact the law offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Our team of lawyers will be happy to discuss your case with you during a free consultation. Our offices are located throughout the metropolitan area of Manhattan for your convenience.

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