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Court Decides Which Insurance Co. Liable in Million Dollar Judgment


The respondent in the case is Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. The appellants in the case are Aetna Casualty & Surety Company.

Original Case

A New York Injury Lawyer said the current action for a judgment to declare the four insurance companies stems from an accident that was subject to action to recover damages for personal injuries.

The original case was a personal injury action case that resulted in the Catherine Cranston the plaintiff in the case, receiving a verdict in the sum of $1,526,000 for injuries that she received when she was hit by a car that was being driven by Esther Dancour. The car that was involved in the car accidentwas owned by the Oxford Resources Corporation and was leased to Manny’s Kiddie Shop, which is a business that is owned and controlled by Esther and her spouse Morris Dancour.

Current Case

The main problem in this declaratory judgment action is determining which of the different insurance policies that the defendants held are liable in the personal injury suit for the compensation of the judgment in the action. The vehicle that was involved in the accident was covered through an insurance policy that was issued by Liberty and provided $100,000 in coverage’s for the lessee, Manny’s, and a million dollars coverage for Oxford in a “step down” endorsement. Aetna provided a policy of $1 million of coverage to Manny’s under their business owners policy. INA provided an excess liability insurance policy to Mr. Dancour that provided $2 million worth of coverage to the driver of the vehicle, Esther Dancour. Liberty Insurance Company conceded to paying $100,000 towards the agreement in the judgment.

Liberty then moved for a summary judgment towards the obligations of the other various insurance providers. A Westchester County Personal Injury Lawyer said the Supreme Court ruling in the case directed Liberty to pay $1,100,000 towards satisfaction of the judgment. Aetna was directed to pay the remaining amount. In appeal to the case, the Kings County Supreme Court adapted the order and submits the issue for further discovery to determine the coverage in the personal injury action.

Upon further discovery, it was determined through the depositions given by Esther and Morris Dancour that Esther was driving the vehicle as a course of her job at the time the accident occurred. The underlying judgment was settled by the insurance companies and Liberty paid the entire policy limit of a million dollars plus interest and INA and Aetna paying the remaining balance.

In the current case, Liberty paid $1 million plus interest on behalf of Oxford to satisfy a portion of the underlying judgment in the personal injury case and is now asserting their right to be subrogated to Oxford’s right to seek indemnification from Esther Dancour who was driving the car at the time of the accident. However, since Liberty insured both Oxford and Manny’s, who employed Esther Dancour, the antisubrogation rule comes into effect and precludes Liberty from seeking subrogation of the rights of Oxford or indemnification from Dancour for any payment above $100,000. A Suffolk County Personal Injury Lawyer said the motion by Liberty for a summary judgment seeking enforcement of the prior order of the court is therefore denied and the cross motions in this area for Aetna and INA are granted.

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