Firm Co-Managing Partner Lance J. Kalik secured a victory for our client Harleysville Insurance (a Nationwide subsidiary) in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. The case involved a dispute between Allstate Insurance and Harleysville over responsibility to defend and indemnify an insured business in an underlying automobile personal injury action. The insured was sued in New York State Court for injuries sustained when a trailer unhitched from his SUV, allowing machinery to fall on another individual. Allstate denied coverage, arguing that its policy did not cover the trailer once it was unhitched from the SUV. Nationwide agreed to defend the case under reservation, and retained Riker Danzig to bring suit against Allstate in the Southern District of New York, seeking a ruling that it had no duty to defend or indemnify the insured based on the auto exclusion in the general liability policy it had issued. Nationwide also sought reimbursement from Allstate for its defense costs incurred in the underlying State Court action.
The District Court found that the Harleysville policy applied, not Allstate’s. Riker Danzig appealed to the Second Circuit, which concluded that the District Court erred, and that Harleysville was entitled to judgment that it had no duty to defend or indemnify the insured and was entitled to full reimbursement from Allstate for the costs of defense.
Lance led the Riker Danzig Insurance team, which included Peter M. Perkowski, Jr., Lucas D. Katzenmeier, and Christen L. Rafuse.
The Second Circuit's decision was covered in Law360 (subscription required).