Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Top 50 in My 50

Some of you may know that I recently turned 50 and that I subscribe to the "you're only as old as you behave" mentality, which, most of the time, makes me much, much younger than my chronological age. 

After celebrating my elapsing the half century mark with family and friends, an aging thought did occur to me:  most if not all of the seminal New York decisions involving the property and casualty insurance coverage stuff that fuels this blog were decided in the last 50 years.  For those of who may be be arithmetically challenged, that's since 1960, the year of my issuance (inception having taken place sometime in 1959, with annual renewals starting in 1961).  So although some might consider me old, most prevailing New York insurance coverage law certainly is not, relatively speaking.  In fact, the past 50 years have witnessed the issuance of the foundational decisions that support the corpus of the prevailing P&C insurance coverage law in New York.  As I grew, so did New York insurance coverage law.  We're pretty much the same age.  And if New York insurance coverage law is young, so am I, I would argue.

Of course, it's natural for courts to look first to newer rather than older precedent, especially in the area of insurance coverage law.  Policy language, provisions and coverages have developed and evolved over the past 100 years, requiring ever new and updated interpretations and applications.  Who knew there would be such things as asbestos contamination, lead poisoning, cyber liability and Chinese drywall claims back in 1960?  As risks of loss have increased and changed, coverages have adapted, albeit usually more slowly and deliberately, and courts have found it necessary to review and construe established policy terms under sometimes unanticipated loss scenarios.

In any event, I've decided to mark the contemporaneous passing of my 50 years by creating and posting a hyperlinked list of the top 50 New York property and casualty decisions from the past 50 years.  Sorta like a "This Is Your Life" in New York insurance coverage case terms.  My aim is to finish this project by the end of this year, and I'd like your help in doing so.  In comments to the post, or in an email to me, please nominate any number of what you consider to be seminal or important property and casualty (pretty much anything other than life, health, and disability) insurance coverage decisions issued by New York state or federal courts since 1960.  I'd like to give attribution to the contributors to this list, so please use your name in commenting on this post.  Bonus points will be awarded for anyone who nominates a case that make the list in the 1960-1975 time frame.  Don't worry about citations.  Just give me as close to the case's name as possible and, if you're not sure of the name, essentially what it's about. 

I expect the challenge won't be in coming up with a list of the 50 most important New York P&C insurance coverage cases decided in the last 50 years; it will be in coming down to that number.  It'll also provide some good grey matter exercise for me.  And we AARP-eligible types (someone I until recently regarded as a friend presented me with 3-year paid membership as his gift) can use all the grey matter exercise we can get.  Someone's alternative view on aging is that we're only as old as we think.  So please join me in thinking about this.  And look for the list later this year.  If I live that long.  Thanks. 

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