Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Time to Update the McKinney's

UM – POLICY CANCELLATION – VEHICLE & TRAFFIC LAW § 313
Matter of Allstate Ins. Co. v. Harris

(1st Dept., decided 12/2/2008)


It's hard enough winning insurance coverage cases in court sometimes. Not raising arguments at the motion court level or relying on outdated statutes makes it infinitely more difficult. Like in this case.

This is a special proceeding to stay a UM arbitration. Allstate presumably argued that National Grange owed liability coverage for the offending vehicle (OV) because it had improperly canceled the OV's policy. National Grange argued that it was not required to file its cancellation notice with the New York State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles because its insured had failed to pay a renewal premium on a policy that had been in force for six months or more. Two problems with that argument, found the First Department:
We decline to reach respondent National Grange Mutual Insurance Company's argument, advanced for the first time on appeal, that an insurer need not file a notice of termination with the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles after the insured has failed to pay a renewal premium on a policy that had been in force for six months. Were we to consider this argument, we would find it without merit, as it relies on a version of Vehicle and Traffic Law § 313(2)(a) that has not been in effect since 1998 (see L 1998, ch 509).
Order unanimously affirmed, with costs, not suprisingly. Time to update the McKinney's.

P.S. Since I am currently a LexisNexis subscriber, I suppose I should mention their competing New York statutory collection product -- New York Consolidated Laws Service. Now how 'bout a free month, LN?

2 comments:

Hugh Fustercluck said...

Spiffy legal work by National Grange's attorneys! But they might not be completely to blame. National Grange uses in-house counsel for much of their defense work, and being familiar with the frugality of insurance carriers when it comes to supplying in-house counsel with the tools they need to do the job, the latest copy of McKinney's they have might well be pre-1998 vintage. For them, and all other attorneys with niggardly employers (no, that is NOT a racial epithet!), here is a free source of up-to-date New York statutes:

http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/menugetf.cgi?COMMONQUERY=LAWS

Hugh Fustercluck

Roy A. Mura said...

Here's a question: if Allstate's attorney pointed out the outdated statutory reference in Allstate's respondent's brief, why didn't NGM withdraw the appeal? Or was it the First Department that caught that undersight?