The Honorable R. Stanton Wettick of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas recently dismissed a $13 million dollar professional malpractice case against an insurance broker. Plaintiffs were the owners of a condominium building in downtown Pittsburgh and claimed that the broker failed to provide them with “soft cost” coverage on their builder’s risk policy to cover economic losses incurred after a fire loss at a manufacturing facility. The facility manufactured panels that were to be installed on the condo building. Although Plaintiff did not own the panels, they claimed the soft cost endorsement on their builder’s risk policy should have provided coverage for business interruption after the fire caused a delay in the building. The Plaintiff initially sued its insurance company for its damages, but the company denied coverage stating that the soft cost endorsement did not provide coverage for losses that did not occur at the jobsite. Plaintiff then sued the broker for negligence. The Judge found that the Plaintiff’s expert did not establish a claim for professional negligence against the broker and dismissed the Complaint. Click here for the Judge's opinion and order on the case.
On May 16, 2014, BCC partner Sheila M. Burke won a defense verdict in Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas for a local insurance agent in a professional malpractice case. The 2½ day trial before the Honorable Christopher Feliciani ended with a decision that the broker’s actions did not cause any damages to the Plaintiff. The allegations by Plaintiff were that the broker failed to explain the co-insurance provision on a commercial policy when placing coverage for Plaintiff’s apartment building. In 2007, a fire partially damaged the building and Plaintiff made a claim under his commercial insurance policy. Plaintiff was paid for his damages but the payment was reduced due to the co-insurance provision in his policy. Plaintiff claimed he was entitled to additional money under the policy from his broker. From the beginning, the broker denied that he failed to explain the co-insurance provision to the Plaintiff, that Plaintiff was aware he was purchasing less coverage than he needed to fully rebuild the building and that the amount of money he received was sufficient to cover his losses. Plaintiff alleged damages in excess of $100,000.
Sheila M. Burke spoke on a panel at the Professional Liability Defense Federation’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. Sheila spoke on the topic of Emerging Issues in