Oct 16, 2014

Firm Wins Summary Judgment in Property Damage Subrogation Case

Selective Insurance Company v. Phillipsburg Marble Company, Index No. 157588/2012 (Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cty).

The firm recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of Selective Insurance Company as subrogee of its insured, Joseph Natoli Construction (“Natoli”), the general contractor on the Statue of Liberty monument renovation.  The court held that Sentinel (Hartford) Insurance Company owed Selective’s insured additional insured coverage for over $500,000 in property damage that occurred at the Statue of Liberty monument when an exposed sprinkler pipe burst as a result of sub-freezing temperatures.  The flooding caused extensive damage to the museum portion of the monument.  The court agreed that the damages were caused at least in part by the acts of Sentinel’s insured, Phillipburg Marble Company (“PMC”), a sub-contractor hired by Natoli to do the marble work on the renovation project.  The pipe burst in a location of the museum where a portion of the marble ceiling tile had been removed.  The opening in the ceiling was left open and exposed for several weeks in the winter.

The court also denied PMC’s motion for summary judgment dismissing Selective’s separate claim for contractual indemnification on the basis of a waiver of subrogation clause in the Natoli/PMC sub-contract, holding that the waiver of subrogation clause relates only to the property damage coverage part of the policy, not the CGL portion at issue in this case.

Partners Joseph D’Ambrosio and Andrew Mandelbaum and Associate John Mattoon worked on this matter.

By, Joseph D’Ambrosio