On June 30, 2016, U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp issued a ruling in Indian Harbor Insurance Company v. NL Environmental Management Services Inc., et al., finding that Porzio client Indian Harbor Insurance Co. (Indian Harbor) has no obligation to defend lead pigment maker NL Environmental Management Services Inc. (nor NL Industries Inc.) in a suit over river contamination. Judge Shipp concluded that failure of the insurance policy to exclude the company was clearly a genuine mistake. Indian Harbor is represented by Porzio principal Charles J. Stoia.
Indian Harbor sought a declaratory judgment denying coverage of NL Environmental Management Services Inc. and NL Industries Inc. for a contamination suit brought by Raritan Baykeeper.
Judge Shipp agreed with Indian Harbor's argument, stating in his order that “solely listing ‘NL Industries’ or ‘NL Industries Inc.’ as excluded from coverage … was merely scrivener’s error and because of this mistake, the writing does not accurately reflect the parties' agreement and should be reformed to also include exclusions as to NL Environmental."
The case was recently covered by Brandon Lowrey in the Law360 article, "Insurer Ducks Pollution Coverage Citing 'Scrivener's Error'." Law360 is a subscription website. Subscribers can read the full article here.
On June 23, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court released its opinion in Mortgage Grader, Inc. v. Ward & Olivo, siding with the arguments advanced by Porzio counsel, Peter J. Gallagher, on behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), who appeared as amicus curiae.
The question on appeal was whether a partner in a law firm practicing as an LLP loses the liability protections normally afforded to partners in LLPs if the LLP fails to maintain professional liability insurance as required under Rule 1:21-1C(a)(3). During his oral argument, Mr. Gallagher asserted that, “there's no scenario under the Uniform Partnership Act, or even the spirit of it, that would allow for what the trial court did here.” For video of the oral arguments, click here. (Mr. Gallagher's argument begins at minute 53.)
In its decision, the Court agreed, holding that the insurance requirement for LLPs under the Court Rules does not extend to a firm's windup period, and that there is no requirement that an LLP purchase tail insurance once it ceases to do business. The Court also agreed that the trial court did not have the authority to convert an LLP to a general partnership.
Justice Albin dissented, suggesting that the Court Rules be amended to put attorneys on notice that an LLP will lose its liability protection if its does not meet the insurance requirements, and requiring LLPs to purchase tail insurance for six years following their dissolution.
To read the full Court opinion, please click here.
Porzio counsel Peter J. Gallagher was mentioned in the New Jersey Law Journal article, "Malpractice Insurance Not Required During Windup of LLCs; No Automatic Conversion Says Supreme Court," regarding his work in Mortgage Grader, Inc. v. Ward & Olivo. Mr. Gallagher appeared on behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) as amicus curiae in the case, and also authored the brief.
On June 23, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court released its opinion in Mortgage, siding with Mr. Gallagher's arguments on behalf of the NJSBA.
To learn more about the case, please see the article, "NJ Supreme Court Releases Opinion in Favor of Porzio's Argument on Behalf of the NJ State Bar Association."
On Feb. 1, the New Jersey Supreme Court heard oral argument in Mortgage Grader, Inc. v. Ward & Olivo, a case that could have been ripped straight from a law school exam. The question on appeal is whether a partner in a law firm organized as a limited liability partnership loses the liability protections normally afforded in those partnerships if the business fails to maintain professional liability insurance.
This article was originally published in the June 2016 issue of New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, a publication of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and is reprinted here with permission.
Porzio, Bromberg & Newman P.C. is pleased to announce that 15 firm attorneys have been recognized by New Jersey Super Lawyers 2016 and 5 firm attorneys have been recognized by New Jersey Super Lawyers - Rising Stars 2016.
Each year, no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state receive this honor. The lists appear in the April 2016 issue of New Jersey Monthly magazine, New Jersey Super Lawyers 2016 magazine and on SuperLawyers.com.
Porzio, Bromberg & Newman P.C. (Porzio) is pleased to announce the promotions of Christine N. Bradshaw to principal and Phillip C. Bauknight, Michelle M. Burke, Jonathan B. King and Michael J. Naporano to counsel. The promotions are effective July 1, 2015.
Porzio principal Richard J. Oparil was mentioned in the Law360 article, "Welsh Government Beats Copyright Suit Over Dylan Thomas Photos," by Bill Donahue.
Mr. Oparil is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property and Litigation Departments, and has over 30 years of experience representing clients before federal courts, agencies and Congress.
To read the full article, please click here.