Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Case To Watch At The Court of Appeals

Yesterday the Court of Appeals heard arguments in State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. v. Langan.  The case will ask the Court to revisit its 1963 decision in McCarthy v Motor Veh. Acc. Indem. Corp. (16 AD2d 35 [1962], affd 12 NY2d 922 [1963]), which upheld the denial of uninsured motorist benefits for injuries resulting from intentional conduct. As Justice Mastro of the Second Department, however, noted in his partial dissent "in the years since McCarthy was decided, the overwhelming national trend has been to permit such coverage under facts similar to those at bar, with a substantial majority of jurisdictions now doing so."  The Court, therefore, could decide to adhere to years of precedent or break from precedent and join the majority of other states.  A decision can be anticipated in mid-March. 

At issue is also whether the plaintiff is entitled to recover benefits under the policy's mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) endorsement and its death, dismemberment, and loss of sight provisions.  The majority held that unlike with uninsured motorist benefits, intentional conduct was irrelevant.  The issue is whether from the insured's perspective the accident was unexpected, unusual or unforeseen.  The dissent, however, found such a decision inconsistent with its prior holding in this case that no coverage was available for intentional conduct under the entire policy. Furthermore, the dissent argued that it could not support "radically" different interpretations of similar language within the same policy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment