Christopher Pickett - Practice Highlights
Summary Judgment – “Other Insurance” Clause Prohibits Stacking UM Coverage.
Won summary judgment after the court declared that our client’s UM coverage was excess and could not be stacked with the primary UM coverage afforded on a State Farm policy to compensate plaintiff's estate in fatal automobile accident.
Summary Judgment – Plaintiff Failed To Disclose Pre-litigation Claim In Bankruptcy.
Won summary judgment for client after learning that plaintiff failed to disclose his tort claim when he filed for bankruptcy. The plaintiff worked for the US Post Office and filed a lawsuit in 2013 claiming that he fell through our client’s pre-cast concrete steps while delivering mail to his home in 2011. The plaintiff claimed that the resulting spinal injury and cervical fusion surgery prevented him from returning to his job. Plaintiff claimed nearly $300,000 in medical bills and another $300,000 in lost wages.
The court granted our motion for summary judgment, holding that all elements of judicial estoppel were present. The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that his failure to disclose the potential lawsuit resulted from mere oversight, mistake, or inadvertence.
Judgment On The Pleadings - "Physical Distress" Is Not "Bodily Injury."
Won judgment on the pleadings for his client Acuity, with the court declaring that Acuity did not owe a duty to defend or indemnify its named insureds against an underlying case for negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Summary Judgment - Res Judicata Bars Action Seeking Over $150,000 In Attorneys' Fees and Interest.
Won summary judgment on behalf of his client, arguing that his former attorneys were barred from seeking attorneys' fees under the doctrine of res judicata.
Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment.
Won an appeal clearing the path for client to recover nearly $500,000 in defense fees and indemnity payments from the defendant carrier.
No Duty To Defend Or Indemnify Insured Against $9,660,000 TCPA Judgment.
We obtained summary judgment by arguing that our client’s Owners, Landlord & Tenant policy only applied to claims involving both an occurrence and resulting damage on the premises. We also argued that the insured’s fax advertisements were not the insured’s “good,” “products,” or “completed operations” as defined by the policy’s commercial product and completed operations coverage.
No Duty To Defend Named Insured For Construction Defect Lawsuit.
Our client’s named insured was the general contractor for new residential construction. The homeowner sued after claiming that defective construction resulted in water and mold damage to the property, as well as mental suffering related to mold exposure. We obtained summary judgment by arguing that damage to the home was not covered property damage, that mental suffering was not covered bodily injury, and that the mold exclusion applied.
$465,000 Summary Judgment Entered In Subrogation Action.
After a trucking liability insurer denied coverage for an accident involving our client’s insured, our client honored the insured’s uninsured motorist (“UM”) claim. The UM arbitration resulted in a $500,000 award, which our client later settled for less than the award. In the ensuing subrogation action, we obtained summary judgment by arguing that we did not need to prove the insured’s damages, only that our client’s settlement for less than the arbitration award was made in reasonable anticipation of liability. The trucking liability insurer that had previously denied coverage paid the judgment.
Sanctions Affirmed In Discovery Dispute.
After two years and eight motions to compel, our opponent was found to have withheld documents without any good-faith basis, ordered to pay our attorneys’ fees as a sanction, and held in contempt of court.
Over $400,000 In Defense Fees And Indemnity Recovered.
After our client was target-tendered by a general contractor, our client assumed the defense and indemnify of the general contractor in exchange for an assignment of rights against another CGL carrier. Having paid over $400,000 in defense and indemnity payments, our client sued the defendant CGL carrier under a theory of equitable subrogation and as the general contractor’s assignee. We obtained summary judgment by arguing that the defendant carrier owed a duty to defend, that its “tender to all carriers” condition was unenforceable, that the defendant carrier breached its duty to defend, and that the defendant carrier had waived and was estopped from asserting any defense to indemnity.
Summary Judgment Affirmed In Wrongful Death Case.
The decedent was repairing an overhead garage door when it opened unexpectedly, striking and killing the decedent. We argued that, although the decedent was employed by another company, he qualified as our client’s borrowed employee at the time of his death and, accordingly, that our client was immune from tort liability pursuant to the exclusive remedy provision of the Worker’s Compensation Act. The trial court awarded our client summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal.
General Contractor Not Entitled To Additional Insured Coverage.
We successfully argued that an additional insured endorsement providing coverage when the “insured and such person have agreed in writing” did not apply unless there was a direct contract between the named insured and the putative additional insured.
No Duty To Defend Or Indemnify Wrongful Death Claim.
Our client’s insured operated a tavern and allegedly returned car keys to an intoxicated man that drove off and caused a serious automobile accident, causing several serious injuries and a fatality. We obtained summary judgment by arguing that there was no occurrence on the insured premises, as required to trigger coverage under the policy at issue.
Insured’s Breach Of Notice Condition Negated Coverage.
The trial court entered summary judgment after finding that the insured’s timely notice of a counterclaim did not excuse the prior 13-month delayed notice of the complaint, thus negating any potential coverage for either claim.
Not Guilty Verdict For Contractor Alleged To Have Caused Property Damage And Bodily Injury.
The plaintiff alleged that our client’s work on a neighboring driveway resulted in property damage and bodily injury, including diabetes due to increased anxiety, stress, and inhalation of debris. The plaintiff sought damages of over $150,000. After a three-day trial, the jury returned a not guilty verdict in 75 minutes.
No Duty To Defend Or Indemnify Claims For Mold Injury.
We obtained summary judgment on the grounds that our client’s mold exclusion applied if mold was even a contributing factor to the underlying plaintiff’s alleged brain damage.