Adelman and Salzillo Obtain Summary Judgment in $1MM Declaratory Judgment Action
On August 14, 2015, Jonathan Adelman and Alex Salzillo obtained summary judgment on behalf of an insurance company in a declaratory judgment action where the parties had stipulated that the insurance company would pay $1,000,000 if coverage applied for the underlying loss. The case stemmed from an automobile accident that was caused by the teenaged son of an insured individual who was the sole proprietor of a law practice. Plaintiff sought a determination that the insured’s business liability and commercial umbrella policies provided coverage for the accident.
The case turned on whether the “non-owned auto” exception in the business policy had been triggered. In plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, she urged the court to determine that the insured individual and his law practice were two separate entities, which she argued would have triggered the “non-owned auto” exception. In a 42 page opinion, Judge Murphy of the Northern District of Georgia agreed with the insurance company and granted summary judgment, finding no coverage. Judge Murphy held, in pertinent part, that the insured individual and his sole proprietorship law practice were one-in-the-same for purposes of determining the identity of the insured. Prior to Judge Murphy issuing his order, plaintiff had offered to compromise the claim for $650,000.