Chris Bannon and Lisa Brodsky Obtain Summary Judgment in Coverage Battle


On September 11, 2015, insurance coverage litigators Christopher J. Bannon and Lisa J Brodsky obtained summary judgment for the firm’s client, a legal professional liability insurer, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. The court granted a declaratory judgment that the insurer had no obligation to pay for an underlying $833,000 judgment against a New Jersey lawyer and her law firm.

In ruling in the insurer’s favor, the court found that the claim against the insured lawyer was made before the insurer’s policy began, when counsel for the claimant sent the lawyer a letter stating that he represented the claimant in an action against the firm, described alleged wrongful conduct by the insured lawyer, and instructed her to “put your carrier on notice.”

The court rejected the claimant’s argument that the letter did not constitute a “claim,” and that the “claim” was not made until the underlying suit was filed during the insurer’s “claims made” policy period. The court also found that the insurer could have no obligation to pay for the underlying judgment because the letter, and other communications between the insured firm and the claimant’s attorney, was sufficient to trigger the insurance policy’s “prior knowledge” exclusion.

About Christopher Bannon and Lisa Brodsky

Christopher J. Bannon focuses his practice on helping clients resolve commercial disputes through litigation, mediation, arbitration and other dispute resolution methods. He devotes a substantial part of his practice to representing insurance companies in resolving complex coverage disputes arising out of various types of insurance policies and relationships. He has been Co-Managing Member of Aronberg Goldgehn since April 2009.

Lisa J. Brodsky practices primarily in the area of insurance coverage litigation and analysis, representing insurance companies in complex insurance coverage matters involving underlying product liability and professional liability claims. She also serves as third party administrator for clients with significant self-insured retentions, including the management and handling of general and product liability claims within the self insured retention.

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