When Results Matter

“There is no substitute for hard work.”
– Thomas Edison

Results

October 2017 – Lawrence R. Woehrle won a $675,000 verdict in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, following a three day jury trial, on behalf of an “at will” employee terminated only three months after moving his family from China to Philadelphia to accept the position.

March 2017 – Lawrence R. Woehrle obtained summary judgment in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of a defendant employee alleged to have sexually assaulted minor children in his care.

February 2017 – Louis A. Bové and Marc J. Syken secured a declaration in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in favor of an apartment building seeking additional insured coverage for an accident involving an employee of a contractor who was performing work at the building.  Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Indian Harbor Ins. Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24379 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 21, 2017).

February 2017 – Louis A. Bové and Marc J. Syken obtained a judgment in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in favor of a commercial auto insurer, with the court holding that the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law permits a commercial insured to reject UM/UIM coverage for its fleet of vehicles, while designating certain individuals as being eligible for UM/UIM coverage.  Wiley v. Universal Underwriters Ins. Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16817 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 6, 2017).

December 2016 – Lawrence R. Woehrle obtained a F.R.C.P. 50 Judgment as a Matter of Law for defendants following a two day Arbitration in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania where defendants had been sued for multiple civil rights violations, including Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment violations.

December 2016 – Bruce W. McCullough was part of a trial team that successfully defended an insurance coverage case in Delaware.  A financial services company had sued for reimbursement of underlying legal fees incurred in class action litigation.  The firm’s client was one of a number of insurance carrier defendants and, after more than a week of trial, the jury accepted the client’s late notice and lack of consent defenses.  The firm’s client was the only defendant insurance carrier not found to be liable for the $9.3 million claim.

December 2016 – Rex F. Brien obtained an affirmance by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals of the dismissal of an insurance bad faith and ERISA action arising from Appellant’s underlying employment discrimination case.  Zurich successfully defended Appellant’s former employer in the underlying action.  In the subsequent insurance coverage action, Appellant alleged that Zurich breached a duty owed to him by failing to make good faith offers to settle his employment action.  The Third Circuit ruled that Appellant failed to state a plausible claim for relief as he plainly is not an insured under the liability policy issued by Zurich to Appellant’s former employer.  The Court also ruled that the subject liability policy “clearly is not an ’employee welfare benefits plan’ subject to ERISA.”  Leboon v. Zurich American Insurance Company, No. 16-2088, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22019 (3rd Cir. December 12, 2016).

Update: Appellant’s petition for panel rehearing or rehearing en banc was denied by the court on January 3, 2017.

November, 2016 – Louis A. Bové prevailed in a coverage action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on behalf of a primary insurer seeking defense and indemnity from another primary and excess insurer on the risk for a common insured under an additional insured endorsement and follow form excess policy. The other insurer provided coverage to the underlying claimant’s employer, and while that employer was dismissed from the underlying case on employer immunity grounds, Mr. Bové successfully argued that the employer’s primary and excess policies nonetheless provided primary and non-contributing coverage to the additional insured which had settled the large exposure underlying claim. Steadfast Ins. Co. v. Berkley Nat’l Ins. Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160693 (S.D. W. Va. Nov. 21, 2016).

September 2016 – Louis A. Bové successfully recovered all settlement sums advanced by a commercial excess insurer and its insured in an underlying wrongful death case from the importer of a Chinese product and its excess insurer in protracted litigation pending in Norfolk City, Virginia.  The recovery followed arguments on summary judgment motions against the excess insurer and the importer of the product.  The case turned on coverage under a vendor’s endorsement in the importer’s primary and excess policies, as well as a contractual indemnity provision in the sales contract for the product.  In a previously reported decision of first impression in the same case, the Circuit Court in Virginia held that Mr. Bové’s clients were not “volunteers” for purposes of the equitable indemnity claims against an excess insurer.  Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Ins. Co., 91 Va. Cir. 433, 2015 Va. Cir. LEXIS 189 (Va. Cir. Ct. 2015).

September 2016 – Adam C. Lazarow was able to secure a defense verdict in a Philadelphia Arbitration matter for which he represented the only Defendant.  Plaintiff alleged permanent back injuries following an alleged slip and fall incident in a facility owned and operated by our client.  Plaintiff’s credibility was questioned and notice of any alleged condition was disputed during deposition practice, throughout discovery and up through to Arbitration.  The Arbitration panel found in favor of the Defendant.

August 2016 – Louis A. Bové successfully pursued an appeal of a trial court decision denying charitable immunity to an inner city YMWCA before the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey.  The trial judge had found that the YMWCA was merely a fitness club without the attributes necessary to qualify for immunity under New Jersey’s Charitable Immunity Act.  Mr. Bové was retained to brief and argue the interlocutory appeal from that decision, and secured a reversal of the trial court’s decision overcoming both Amicus and the underlying plaintiff’s arguments.  Walters v. YMCA, 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1904 (App. Div. August 15, 2016).

August 2016 – Bruce W. McCullough successfully defended an adversary action in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.  A bankrupt company had sued one of its former directors, alleging that payments made to him were preferential payments and needed to be refunded to the company.  Following development of the ordinary course defense, plaintiff agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case with prejudice and without any settlement payment being made.

July 2016 – Robert D. Fischer secured summary judgment in a personal injury action in the Law Division of Monmouth County on behalf of a business owner based on defects in the plaintiff’s notice and expert proofs.

May 2016 – Louis A. Bové successfully argued before the Superior Court of Pennsylvania for affirmance of a decision granting summary judgment on an insurer’s declaratory judgment action under Coverages A and B of a series of commercial general liability policies in connection with 37 underlying cases.  The dual decisions by the Superior Court addressed the threshold issue of whether emotional distress, without antecedent physical injury, qualifies as a “bodily injury” under a commercial general liability coverage form, and whether the publication by a third party of photos covertly taken at a sun tanning salon qualifies as a personal or advertising injury offense under Coverage B of the same commercial general liability coverage form.  Steadfast Ins. Co. v. Tomei, 2016 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1864, 2016 WL 2989982 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2016) and Penn-America Ins. Co. v. Tomei, 2016 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1859 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2016).

April 2016 – Robert D. Fischer secured summary judgment in a wrongful death action in the Law Division of Essex County on behalf of a private school based on the New Jersey Charitable Immunity Act and defects in the plaintiff’s expert proofs.

April 2016 – Rex F. Brien obtained a dismissal, with prejudice, of an insurance bad faith action in federal court.  The Court ruled that an insurer that successfully defended its insured owed no duty to the plaintiff to settle his claims against the insured.  As the Court determined, “[T]he duty to negotiate a settlement in good faith arises from the insurance policy and is owed to the insured, not to a third-party claimant.”  LeBoon v. Zurich American Ins. Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51381 (E.D. Pa. April 18, 2016).

March 2016 – Marc J. Syken and James W. Scott, Jr. secured a dismissal of a coverage action brought against a commercial property carrier by the owner of an office building.  At issue was whether a vacancy condition applied to preclude coverage for the loss.

February 2016 – Louis A. Bové secured summary judgment in favor of an insurance client on claims for conspiracy, bad faith, unfair trade practices, and tortious interference in the Commerce Program of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County arising out of the proper settlement of property damage claims.  An appeal from this decision was later abandoned by the underlying insured.

August 2015 – Louis A. Bové and Marc J. Syken on behalf of an excess insurer secured a dismissal in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania of a claim for reimbursement brought by a high excess insurer who claimed that the payment of counsel fees by the lower-tiered excess insurer did not erode limits. Allied World Assur. Co. v. Steadfast Ins. Co., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111454 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 24, 2015).

June 2015 – Marc J. Syken and James W. Scott, Jr. secured a dismissal of a bad faith claim in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County where the insured had provided an expert report identifying alleged bad faith conduct on part of the insurer.

June 2015 – In a detailed opinion, the Delaware Supreme Court upheld the summary judgment that Bruce W. McCullough obtained for his client in defending malicious prosecution and abuse of process claims.

March 2015 – Louis A. Bové successfully argued for the dismissal of all coverage claims asserted against a commercial general liability insurer in an action pending in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee with respect to underlying consolidated cases involving a brutal assault and rape at its insured’s restaurant.  The decision is reported at Belz Park Place, G.P., and Belz/South Bluffs, Inc. v. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Inc. and Zurich American Insurance Company, 2015 WL 11145058 (W.D. Tenn., Western Div. 2015).

February 2015 – Louis A. Bové secured summary judgment on an insurer’s declaratory judgment action under Coverages A and B of a series of commercial general liability policies in connection with 37 underlying cases pending in Westmoreland County, PA.

October 2014 – Louis A. Bové secured summary judgment on behalf of a commercial auto insurer in a coverage and bad faith action brought by an employee of an international company who claimed entitlement to first party underinsured motorist benefits under a multi-state commercial fleet auto policy for a leased vehicle used and possessed by employee. Mr. Bové successfully argued that an employer could validly reject UIM benefits under a commercial fleet policy on behalf of an employee under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility law.

October 2013 – Marc J. Syken secured a defense arbitration award in a coverage/bad faith action involving the interpretation of a commercial property grant.

April 2013 – Louis A. Bové prevailed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in a coverage case arising out of a defective construction of a prison in New Jersey. Mr. Bové successfully maintained that the insurance policy was governed by Pennsylvania law, despite the underlying tort claims against the policyholder pending in New Jersey. The Third Circuit held that the claims of faulty workmanship levied against the policyholder did not qualify as an “occurrence” under the policy notwithstanding the existence of collateral property damage caused by that work, or the claims that the policyholder’s subcontractors engaged in willful misconduct which was not foreseeable. The Third Circuit’s decision is reported at Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. R.M. Shoemaker Co., 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 6093 (3d Cir. Pa. Mar. 27, 2013).

March 2013 – Bruce W. McCullough obtained a ruling that established fraud in an adversary case following trial in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The case challenged the discharge of a debt owed to the firm’s client.

March 2013 – Marc J. Syken secured via summary judgment a dismissal of a coverage action brought against a commercial property carrier arising out of the release of diesel fuel.

February 2013 – In a case of first impression in Pennsylvania, the insurance coverage practice group obtained a ruling that a parking garage operator does not qualify as a real estate manager under a commercial general liability policy.

December 2012 – Louis A. Bové obtained a jury verdict in favor of a non-profit charitable organization and two of its employees following a week-long trial in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County. Although the facts leading up to the loss were hotly contested, and the expert witnesses who testified reached contrary opinions as to the causal fault for the accident, the jury ultimately returned a verdict in favor of all defendants. In securing a defense verdict, the defendants avoided a significant exposure given the alleged severe and permanent injuries sustained by the plaintiff-wife.

June 2012 – Lawrence R. Woehrle obtained summary judgment in a personal injury action in the Law Division of Monmouth County on behalf of a non-profit entity based on the New Jersey Charitable Immunity Act.

May 2012 – James W. Scott, Jr. obtained summary judgment in the Western District of Pennsylvania on behalf of the manufacturer of a turbocharger in a subrogation claim arising out of a fire in rock band’s tour bus. Westfield Ins. v. Detroit Diesel Corp., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64301 (W.D. Pa. May 8, 2012).

April 2012 – Marc J. Syken secured a verdict in a declaratory judgment action tried in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County involving the interpretation of an omnibus insuring grant in a personal lines policy.

March 2012 – The Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld a $1.6 million jury verdict obtained by Lawrence R. Woehrle in a claim involving an unusual malicious prosecution claim against a private individual. Snyder v. Glass, 207 EDA 2011 (Pa. Super., Mar. 19, 2012).

February 2012 – James W. Scott, Jr. obtained partial summary judgment on behalf of a framing contractor in the Law Division of Essex County, winning dismissal of the claims arising from two of four phases of a condominium project.

September 2011 – Louis A. Bové successfully litigated application of the business enterprise exclusions in a professional liability policy issued to an attorney sued in connection with professional services rendered while acting on behalf of an accounting firm. Applying New Jersey law to the dispute, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey found in favor of Mr. Bové’s industry client, and held that the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify the insured for these underlying claims, as the business enterprise exclusions limited professional liability coverage to professional liability claims arising out of his services as a solo legal practitioner. Am. Guar. & Liab. Ins. Co. v. Falk, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109747, 2011 WL 4499282 (D.N.J. Sept. 27, 2011).

July 2011 – Jay M. Green successfully defended a local business on an appeal in which the New Jersey Appellate Division refused to certify a private class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. – Local Baking Products, Inc. v. Kosher Bagel Munch, 421 N.J. Super. 268, 23 A.3d 469 (App. Div. 2011).