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Respondent’s Motion to Vacate Is Denied by New York Appellate Court


The petitioner in this case is Government Employees Insurance Company. The respondents in the case are Rinella Binns-Harty, and Technology Insurance Company. Proposed additional respondents are Sandra Ramos.

Case History

The respondent, Binns-Harty has moved for an order that vacates the award given to the arbitrator on July 28, 2009. The petitioner, Government Employees Insurance Company and Sandra Ramos both oppose this motion.

The case began with a car accidentthat occurred on June 30, 2006. At this time the offending vehicle was operated by Ramos and the car was owned by Transcare. The vehicle was insured by the proposed additional respondent, TICO. Binns-Harty filed a demand for arbitration for an uninsured motorist claim and the Government Employees Insurance Company states they received the claim on March 13, 2008. Government Employees Insurance Company began the instant special proceeding, pursuant with the law, CPLR 7503, and sought to stay arbitration of the respondents uninsured motorist claim.

The first petition was dismissed by Honorable Nicholas Figueroa, based on the fact that the issue was time barred because it was not started within 20 days of being received. Additionally, Justice Figueroa granted the respondents motion to resettle the issue on October 16, 2008.

A New York Injury Lawyer said that during the interim, the matter went before Howard I Bushin, Esquire of the American Arbitration Association. A telephone conference was held with both Government Employees Insurance Company and Binns-Harty being represented by counsel. Attorneys for Transcare testified on behalf of Government Employees Insurance Company stating that the vehicle that was operated by Ramos at the time of the accident was insured by TICO. The arbitrator found that the car was insured on the date of the accident and therefore dismissed the uninsured motorist claim which had been made by Binns-Harty.

Binns-Harty moves to vacate the arbitrators’ award, based on the grounds that the arbitrator did not have the authority to decide the issue of insurance coverage and therefore exceeded his authority.

Case Results

In this particular case, the respondent has not met the requirements needed to vacate the arbitrators’ award. When reviewing the records the court finds no evidence that the arbitrator exceeded his power when finding in favor of the Government Employees Insurance Company’s coverage issue. A Staten Island Personal Injury Lawyer said that during the teleconference the arbitrator indicated that the issue of coverage would be considered. Additionally, the respondent and his attorney’s waited four months before seeking clarification from the decision and order made by Justice Figueroa, which left the question of coverage up to the arbitrator to decide. For this reason, the Court cannot find that the arbitrator exceeded his authority by dismissing the uninsured motorist claim made by the respondent. A Suffolk County Personal Injury Lawyer said the records indicate that his finding was supported by the fact that the vehicle in question was insured on the day of the accident. The position made by the respondent would require the Court to ignore all concessions made by the counsel for the offending vehicle and make new findings in the case.

The Court upon hearing the evidence in the case has ruled that the respondent’s motion to vacate the arbitrators’ award is denied. The Court finds in favor of the Government Employees Insurance Company and the dismissal of the uninsured motorist claim is confirmed.

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