New York’s Second Department Holds That Carrier Must Pay Judgment Obtained by Plaintiff as Carrier Did Not Meet Burden to Prove Willful Non-Cooperation

A pile of money bills

Attorney Craig Rokuson analyzes DeLuca v. RLI Insurance Company.

November 23, 2020
Craig Rokuson - Traub Lieberman

In the recent case of DeLuca v. RLI Insurance Company, 2020 WL 5931054 (October 7, 2020), the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department held that RLI had a duty to pay a judgment obtained by an underlying plaintiff against RLI’s insured, MLSC. The underlying plaintiff brought the action directly against the carrier after obtaining a judgment against MLSC, and when the judgment remained unsatisfied, serving RLI with the judgment. As an initial matter, the court found that the direct action by the plaintiff was proper under New York Insurance Law 3420(a), which allows for an injured plaintiff to maintain a direct action against a carrier if a judgment against that carrier’s insured remains unsatisfied for a period of 30 days and the carrier is served with that judgment. In that event, the plaintiff steps into the shoes of the insured and is entitled to the rights of the insured (and is also subject to the carrier’s coverage defenses).

Reprinted courtesy of Craig Rokuson, Traub Lieberman

Mr. Rokuson may be contacted at crokuson@tlsslaw.com

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