The Appellate work of Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford lawyers, Kathleen Burr and John Lipsitz, was instrumental in their clients’ big win at the New York Court of Appeals in the case of Bi-Economy Market, Inc. v. Harleysville Insurance Co. of New York, 10 N.Y.3d 187 (2008), reargument denied, 10 N.Y.3d 890 (2008).
The case involved two Rochester businessmen who co-owned the former Bi-Economy Meat Market once located at 175 Jay Street in Rochester. On October 19, 2002, the Bi-Economy Market caught fire and was badly damaged, causing business operations to cease.
After the fire, property losses, business equipment losses, and business income losses were presented to the insurer, Harleysville Insurance Company of New York. But, as alleged by these business owners, Harleysville proceeded to breach the insurance contract by refusing to timely adjust the claims, by employing delaying tactics, and by presenting under-valued offers, all to the ultimate demise of the business which never could resume operation.
The Court of Appeals held that Bi-Economy’s owners could state a claim for breach of contract and seek recovery of foreseeable consequential damages, in Bi-Economy’s case, the value of the lost business. This is a ground-breaking decision in the realm of first-party insurance because, for the first time, it exposes insurers in New York to a risk of extra-contractual consequential damages for which the insurer could be liable outside of the coverage limits of the insurance policy. The win secured by Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC in the Bi-Economy case will greatly help New York policyholders and promote fairer claims-handling practices by first-party insurers who are covering the homes, the cars, the health and the very lives of this state’s consumers.