Relates to expediting actions involving insurance claims for damages resulting from a state disaster emergency.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to expediting actions involving insurance claims for damages resulting from a state disaster emergency
PURPOSE: To allow property damage-related litigation in State Disaster Emergency declared counties to proceed in an expedited manner.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 would add new rules 3410, 3411, and 3412 to the civil practice law and rules, and create a mandatory expedited preliminary conference for property damage claims against insurers for damages sustained in counties where a State Disaster Emergency has declared by the Governor pursuant to Executive Law Section 29-a.
Section 2 would amend rule 3403 (a) of the civil practice law and rules to allow such litigation to be granted a special trial preference, thus expediting ultimate resolution of same.
Section 3 states that this act shall take effect immediately.
EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER: This bill would allow claims against insurers resulting from property sustained, where the Governor has declared a State Disaster Emergency, to be advanced and expedited.
JUSTIFICATION: Where many insurers have dealt with the victims of property damage losses sustained as the result of State Disaster Emergencies, i.e. most recently Storm Sandy, in a responsible and timely manner, some insurers have not. This has resulted in litigation by property owners, i.e. homeowners, to enforce their rights under contracts of insurance. Many of these property owners have sustained utter financial ruin due to severe property damage losses, and this bill seeks to allow for a swift and certain resolution of their claims against their insurers in court.
For example, there is no reason why an individual who has lost their home and all of their belongings due to Superstorm Sandy should have to wait years for their claims against their insurer to be adjudicated in court.
This bill requires that upon institution of an action by an insured against an insurer for damages related to a State Disaster Emergency as declared by the Governor, the court shall hold a preliminary conference within thirty (30) days after the request for judicial intervention is filed.
In addition, this bill requires that all parties shall appear for preliminary conference by a person fully authorized to dispose of the case. It is hoped that requiring same will permit many of such actions to be resolved without the need for further proceedings.
For actions which cannot be resolved at the preliminary conference, the bill requires that discovery be completed within 60 days of the holding of the conference, absent good cause shown.
Finally, this bill allows for these types of actions to be given a special trial preference, and be tried in advance of most other types of litigation. An expedited discovery schedule and a special trial preference represent a recognition that property owners who have lost all of their possessions due to natural disaster (as declared by the Governor), should have the ability to obtain prompt and swift adjudication of their claims against any insurers who would ostensibly be contractually responsible to them.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: No negative effects anticipated. If contractual claims against insurers are resolved in a more timely manner, there may be some positive effects upon State and Local government disaster-related expenditures.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5531 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 16, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. BOYLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to expe- diting actions involving insurance claims for damages resulting from a state disaster emergency THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The civil practice law and rules is amended by adding three new rules 3410, 3411 and 3412 to read as follows: RULE 3410. MANDATORY PRELIMINARY CONFERENCE IN CERTAIN INSURANCE ACTIONS. (A) IN ANY ACTION INVOLVING AN INSURANCE CLAIM FOR DAMAGES OCCURRING TO PROPERTY IN A COUNTY WHERE A STATE DISASTER EMERGENCY HAS BEEN DECLARED BY THE GOVERNOR PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW RELATING TO ANY CLAIM ARISING FROM THE CAUSE OF SUCH DECLARATION, THE COURT SHALL HOLD A PRELIMINARY CONFERENCE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL INTERVENTION IS FILED. (B) AT ANY CONFERENCE HELD PURSUANT TO THIS RULE, ALL PARTIES SHALL APPEAR IN PERSON OR BY COUNSEL, AND IF APPEARING BY COUNSEL, SUCH COUN- SEL SHALL BE FULLY AUTHORIZED TO DISPOSE OF THE CASE. IN THE COURT'S DISCRETION, THE COURT MAY PERMIT A REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY PARTY TO ATTEND THE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE TELEPHONICALLY OR BY VIDEO-CONFERENCE. (C) UPON FILING OF A REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL INTERVENTION, THE COURT SHALL PROMPTLY SEND A NOTICE TO PARTIES ADVISING THEM OF THE TIME AND PLACE OF THE CONFERENCE, THE PURPOSE OF THE CONFERENCE AND THE REQUIRE- MENTS OF THIS RULE. THE NOTICE SHALL BE IN A FORM PRESCRIBED BY THE OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATION, OR, AT THE DISCRETION OF THE OFFICE OF COURT ADMINISTRATION, THE ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE OF THE JUDICIAL DISTRICT IN WHICH THE ACTION IS PENDING, AND SHALL ADVISE THE PARTIES OF THE DOCUMENTS THAT THEY SHOULD BRING TO THE CONFERENCE.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08348-06-3 S. 5531 2
(D) NO ADJOURNMENT IN EXCESS OF TEN DAYS SHALL BE GRANTED BY THE COURT FOR ANY SUCH PRELIMINARY CONFERENCE, AND SUCH AN ADJOURNMENT SHALL ONLY BE GRANTED UPON GOOD CAUSE SHOWN. (E) DISCOVERY SHALL BE COMPLETED WITHIN SIXTY DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THE PRELIMINARY CONFERENCE, AND PENALTIES MAY BE ASSESSED AGAINST ANY PARTY AS PER SECTION THREE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-SIX OF THIS CHAP- TER FOR REFUSAL TO COMPLY WITH DISCOVERY WITHIN SAID SIXTY DAY TIME PERIOD. THE COURT MAY EXTEND SAID SIXTY DAY TIME PERIOD SUA SPONTE IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE, OR UPON GOOD CAUSE SHOWN BY ANY PARTY. RULE 3411. MANDATORY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE IN CERTAIN INSURANCE ACTIONS. IN ANY ACTION INVOLVING AN INSURANCE CLAIM FOR DAMAGES OCCUR- RING TO PROPERTY IN A COUNTY WHERE A STATE DISASTER EMERGENCY HAS BEEN DECLARED BY THE GOVERNOR PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT OF THE EXECU- TIVE LAW RELATING TO ANY CLAIM ARISING FROM THE CAUSE OF SUCH DECLARA- TION, THE COURT SHALL HOLD A MANDATORY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS AFTER A NOTE OF ISSUE HAS BEEN FILED FOR THE PURPOSE OF HOLDING SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS PERTAINING TO SUCH INSURANCE CLAIMS. RULE 3412. MOTIONS IN CERTAIN INSURANCE ACTIONS. (A) NOTWITHSTANDING SUBDIVISION (A) OF RULE THIRTY-TWO HUNDRED TWELVE OF THIS CHAPTER, IN ANY ACTION INVOLVING AN INSURANCE CLAIM FOR DAMAGES OCCURRING TO PROPER- TY IN A COUNTY WHERE A STATE DISASTER EMERGENCY HAS BEEN DECLARED BY THE GOVERNOR PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW RELATING TO ANY CLAIM ARISING FROM THE CAUSE OF SUCH DECLARATION, ALL PRE-TRIAL MOTIONS SHALL BE MADE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE NOTE OF ISSUE IS FILED. (B) THIS RULE SHALL NOT APPLY TO CLAIMS INVOLVING REINSURANCE. S 2. Subdivision (a) of rule 3403 of the civil practice law and rules is amended by adding a new paragraph 7 to read as follows: 7. AN ACTION TO RECOVER DAMAGES RESULTING FROM DAMAGE TO PROPERTY IN A COUNTY CAUSED BY A NATURAL DISASTER UPON DECLARATION OF A STATE DISASTER EMERGENCY BY THE GOVERNOR PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-EIGHT OF THE EXECU- TIVE LAW RELATING TO ANY CLAIM ARISING FROM THE CAUSE OF SUCH DECLARA- TION. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.