Saturday, September 13, 2008

Subrogating an Insured's Conversion Loss, 256 Years Later

Philadelphia Contributionship Ins. Co. v. A 440 Keyboard Corp.
(Sup. Ct., New York Co., decided 9/3/2008)

Not so much coverage worthy stuff in this case. But I love the full name and identity of the plaintiff insurer in this case -- The Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire, the oldest property insurance company in the United States, founded by Benjamin Franklin and a group of prominent Philadelphia citizens. I haven't seen contributionship used as a word since, oh, 1752 when The Contributionship was organized. And this marks the first time in, what, 256 years that The Contributionship has made it into a New York reported decision. Worthy of posting for that reason alone.

This is a subrogation action brought by The Contributionship against a corporation and its principal shareholder for the defendants' alleged conversion of a Bösendorfer grand piano valued at $46,300. Among other rulings, New York County Supreme Court Justice Louis York held that The Contributionship's cause of action for conversion was timely commenced under CPLR §214(3), which provides a three-year statute of limitations for "an action to recover a chattel or damages for the taking or detaining of a chattel.” Justice York also ruled that plaintiff had the legal capacity to sue and could maintain a subrogation action against the corporate defendant for conversion.

At this rate, the next time we'll see a New York case with The Contributionship in the caption will be the year 2264. Of course, by then, Google undoubtedly will have figured out a way of resolving civil disputes with some kind of search engine method, adwords notwithstanding.

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