News & Events
December 23, 2019

Traub Lieberman’s Greg Pennington and Kevin Sullivan Win Summary Judgment Dismissing Claim Seeking Excess UIM Coverage Under Personal Umbrella Liability Policy

Related Attorneys: Gregory S. Pennington, Kevin Sullivan

On November 21, 2019, Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry LLP’s Gregory S. Pennington and Kevin Sullivan secured summary judgment dismissing a claim for excess UIM coverage under their client’s personal umbrella liability policy. The insured, a passenger in an auto involved in a multi-car collision, had been treating steadily since 2014 for her alleged injuries, including multiple surgeries. After the insured exhausted her primary UIM coverage, she sought excess UIM coverage under a personal umbrella liability policy. When her umbrella insurer denied coverage, she filed suit seeking a declaration that the personal umbrella liability policy provided excess UIM coverage.

In their motion for summary judgment, Greg and Kevin argued successfully that the personal umbrella liability policy provided third-party liability coverage only – not excess UIM coverage. In so doing, Greg and Kevin convinced the court that under the plain and ordinary meaning of the policy language and the binding precedent of Stiefel v. Bayly, Martin & Fay of Connecticut, Inc., 242 N.J. Super. 643 (App. Div. 1990), the personal umbrella liability policy unambiguously provided excess liability coverage only. Further, under Weitz v. Allstate Insurance Co., 273 N.J. Super. 548 (App. Div. 1994), the insured could not have any reasonable expectation of excess UIM coverage under a personal umbrella liability policy. Accordingly, the court granted Greg and Kevin’s client’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the insured’s complaint in its entirety.