An Overview Of Indemnification And “additional Insured” Coverage

Attorneys who comprise this department are in fact TRIAL attorneys. Each case is analyzed by the Chairman of the department and an active trial attorney, in an effort to identify those matters which are most likely to be tried and those which are most likely to settle. The approach, however, in the handling of each case is the same, unless directed otherwise by the client. The basic philosophy of
this firm is to require our adversary to react to us, as opposed to us reacting to them. This is done by taking a positive, aggressive approach in the discovery process and the obtaining of information from outside sources. This sets the tone for the handling of the claim and immediately signals to our adversary that, whether it is a case to be settled or tried, he knows that he has his work ahead of him.

Geographically, the Tort Litigation Department handles litigation for our insurance clients and selfinsured statewide in the 21 counties of New Jersey and four Pennsylvania counties. The attorneys of the department routinely try cases involving automobile, fall down, false arrest, libel, slander, medical
malpractice, construction, and UIM and UP declaratory judgment actions.

In addition, since the inception of casino gambling in Atlantic City, we have provided legal representation to various casino properties. Each of these properties has its own risk management and legal departments with which we interface on a daily basis. Therefore, we have gained more than 20 years of extensive experience in providing legal advice to all departments of these casino operations including security, construction, facilities, operations, and personnel.

Case Law Update: Patrick Switzer v. Connectron Inc.

This case involves a reversal by the Superior Court on respondent’s Motion to Dismiss.

Petitioner filed an occupational claim against Connectron where he had been employed as a punch press operator from l987 until 5/93. Petitioner alleged that position required repeated trauma to both hands and wrists which caused carpal tunnel syndrome. He first “learned” of his alleged injury when he experienced pain and numbness but became aware it was work related in May l994 after he was laid off by Connectron and began working for a new employer, Capitol Ornamental Concrete Specialties. He was sent to a physician on May 3, l994 after injuring
his left wrist while shoveling during the course of employment.

Switzer v Connectron Inc (JimP).pdf

Case Law Update: Danuta Rosinski v. General Motors

Respondent appeals from a final determination by the Workers Compensation court who found petitioner was entitled to death
benefits because her husband died while on special mission. The central issue raised on appeal is whether the decedent was engaged
in the direct performance of his duties when he suffered a heart attack while waiting outside the hotel in which he was staying after a fire alarm.

We affirm the lower court decision for the following reasons:

Decedent was a union representative and was scheduled by his employer to attend a training session on April 21, l998, along with other employees, in Michigan. Travel arrangements were made through a company who contracted with respondent who also paid for
his room, car rental and transportation.

Rosinski v General Motors.pdf

New Challenges In Trying A Negligence Case

In this case, Cedar Johnson was employed by Cambridge Frozen Bakery Products Company. Johnson’s supervisor, Ray Majewski, asked Johnson to drive to
Majewski’s home and retrieve his prescription medicine. Johnson did as he
was instructed, and used his own car for transportation. En route, Johnson struck a vehicle operated by plaintiff Samuel Finn, who was seriously injured.

Johnson was “on the clock” at the time of the accident. He later testified that he and other employees were often asked to run personal errands for Majewski and other supervisors on company time. Majewski indicated he was the only manager on duty during his shift and could not leave the plant unattended. Depositions of the parties indicated that the Cambridge Company’s supervisors routinely used
employees to perform both company and non-company related errands.

New Challenges to Trying a Negligence Case (LN,BB,WK).pdf

Will the Bankruptcy Bill Protect You when the Delinquency Wave Hits

The devastation created by the Tsunami that hit Southeast Asia was exceeded only by the worldwide outpouring of assistance, generosity and goodwill. It is
both a testament to the precarious reality of our existence and the resiliency and
fortitude of mankind. The Tsunami was a consequence of an earthquake which, few, if any experts, anticipated. As a consequence, there were no warning signs. There was no time to act, react or prepare.

Fortunately, the “Delinquency Tsunami,” which many economists characterize as inevitable, is preceded by substantial warning signs. There is time to act. There are concrete steps that can be taken to fortify our positions prior to the onslaught. At the end of the day, those who ignore these warning signs and fail to provide for and manage these tangible risks will suffer, perhaps irreparably.

Consumer debt is at the highest level in 50 years. 2004 saw a 4.5% increase to over $2.1 Trillion. This is solely credit card and car loan debt. If mortgages and other consumer credit are included, the figure rises to $9.3 Trillion. Gas prices have skyrocketed and interest rates are creeping upwards. Not surprisingly, consumer confidence and the stock market are down

Will the Bankruptcy Bill Protect You when the Delinquency Wave Hits.pdf

The Golden Years: Outliving Our Independence

The National Center for Health Statistics reported on June 11, 2008 that life expectancy hit a new record high, surpassing 78 years. One aspect of living longer is an issue that many of us try not to think about – outliving our independence.

The truth is that most of us face this situation for at least one family member at some point in our lives. For the fortunate few with total economic security, the choice can be easy. Many in that enviable position arrange for the construction of accessibility modifications to the home, select certified nursing assistants to provide care, and rest easy in the knowledge that their loved ones are surrounded by all the comforts of home.

The Golden Years – Outliving Our Independence.pdf

Danger In Winter Wonderland

Winter brings us joyous holidays, crystalline beauty on the trees and a new year. It also brings ice and snow on roads and sidewalks. While we gaze in wonder at trees turned refulgent as diamonds, our feet may slip out from under us and land us on our posteriors. Even a warm winter day with an elusive hint of spring can prove treacherous, as melted snow and ice re-solidifies overnight, creating unexpected patches of slick sidewalk.

Ice is arguably worse than snow – particularly “black ice” – which mimics a surface merely darkened by innocuous moisture or stains. And ironically, a shoveled sidewalk or mounds of snow by steps may be the source of the daytime melting water that refreezes through frigid winter nights.

The law normally does not require homeowners to clean the sidewalks in front of their private residences. (Although this can be mandated by local ordinance.) Homeowners typically are not responsible for those who slip and fall on uncleaned sidewalks adjacent to their homes. Again, it is ironic that a homeowner who does
clean off his sidewalk, but who inadvertently and with the best intention creates a more hazardous situation can be found liable, should someone slip and fall on the partially cleaned area.

Commercial property owners, in contrast, must take reasonable steps to keep their entranceways and sidewalks clear of potential hazards. Complications can arise in the “residential” vs. “commercial” classification, as well as in whether an owner had a reasonable opportunity to clear off a sidewalk in the event of a sudden snowfall or ice storm.

For further information on wonderful winter season hazards, contact Lewis for a free consultation, 609-572-7338 or lapril@cooperlevenson.com

Recent Case Summary Reports On Matters Involving Insurance Coverage

In Skeete v. Dorvius, decided by our Supreme Court on June 10, 2005, the Court held that a step-down clause for UIM coverage in an automobile policy was
unenforceable. Specifically, the reduction in UIM coverage for passengers in the policy was buried in approximately two hundred pages of materials.

In this case, Shedrack Skeete was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by Queenie Thomas when the vehicle was struck by defendant Chaisner Dorvius. Skeete was not entitled to any other UIM coverage because he did not own a vehicle nor was he a member of a household with insurance coverage. As a result, he brought a UIM claim against the host vehicle’s policy with $100,000 UIM policy limits.

In 1999, Prudential changed Queenie Thomas’ policy. Specifically, Ms. Thomas
received notice of a step-down clause in two packages of material from Prudential totaling over two hundred pages. The amended declaration page listed coverage for UIM benefits for $100,000 per person with no notation about the step-down clause in coverage.

Insurance Coverage Bulletin.pdf

Verbal Threshold Defeats Lawsuits Once Again

Involved in a motor vehicle accident and governed by the verbal threshold, plaintiff, Ortenzio, undergoes electromyography demonstrating right C5 and C6
radiculopathies and bilateral L5 and S1 radiculopathies. A cervical MRI reveals disc bulging at C4-5 through C6-7, but no herniation. An MRI of plaintiff ‘s jaw shows hypermobile condyle with retro-discal inflammation and internal derangement.

Plaintiff, Wachala, also involved in a motor vehicle accident and governed by the verbal threshold, has traumatically displaced discs of the cervical spine at C6-7; traumatically displaced discs of the lumbar spine at L2-3, L3-4; L5-S1; radiculopathy, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic sprain and strain,
cervical sprain and strain, lumbar sprain and strain, myofascial pain syndrome, traumatic cephalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder. A lumbar MRI shows L2-3, L3-4 and L4-5 disc thinning and disc bulging, but no extrusions or herniations. A cervical MRI reveals disc bulging at C6-7, but with no herniations.

Does it not appear that both plaintiffs have the permanent injuries to overcome the verbal threshold?

Verbal Threshold Defeats Lawsuits Once Again.pdf