COVERAGE DISCLAIMER SHOULD BE HEARD IN ONE PLACE
After MB was injured while seated in a parked car, some insurance companies requested that he appear for an examination under oath (EUO), but when he inexplicably refused to do so, the insurers filed a suit seeking a declaration that they were under no obligation to provide no-fault coverage for his medical expenses.
Thereafter, two of MB’s medical providers filed some eight (8) actions against the insurers in Richmond County Civil Court seeking payment for ML’s treatment. When the latter sought to consolidate those civil court cases with their New York County Supreme Court litigation, the presiding justice denied that request.
Since the “same defense" -- i.e., no obligation to provide coverage -- applied to all the civil court disputes, the Appellate Division, First Department, thought it was an “improvident exercise of judicial discretion” for the Supreme Court to deny the insurers’ consolidation request. It noted, in pertinent part:
“The issue of whether [MB] failed to submit to the EUO, and whether such failure entitles [the insurer} to disclaim coverage for his alleged injuries and treatment, would affect the outcome of each of the cases, and [the insurer] would risk inconsistent verdicts and multiple trials if the Civil Court actions are not consolidated with this one …. Moreover, in opposing plaintiffs' motion, defendants have not argued that they would be prejudiced.”
As a result, the AD1 ended upon disclaiming the underlying determination and reversed.
We accept no fault there.
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