Insurance issues arise in many cases. Mr. Adelstein has dealt with numerous issues involving insurance. He has also handles appeals directly involving some of these insurance issues.
A toilet overflowed causing damage to the homeowners' home. Several months later, while it was being repaired, a small fire caused some additional damage. The insurance company failed to pay for some of the damage and other expenses, and the homeowners sued. The case raised issues involving repairs to the house, property damage, and ALE (additional living expenses) for two separate losses. The insurer removed the case to federal court and successfully moved for summary judgment. Mr. Adelstein represented the homeowners on appeal, and the Ninth Circuit reversed the summary judgment.
Ninth Circuit Opinion.
Court: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Case No. 08-55781
Author: Memorandum Opinion
Opinion Date: January 5, 2010
Trial Counsel: Steven Sandler at the Law Offices of Steven Sandler.
An insured had loaned his car to friend, who was in an accident that was the other driver's fault. Two-and-a-half years later, he loaned his car to another driver, who was also involved in an accident that was not his fault. Nonetheless, his insurer cancelled his policy. The insurance policy and Proposition 103 (codified at Ins. Code, § 1861.03, subd. (c)) both permit an automobile insurer to cancel a policy for a "substantial increase in the hazard insured against." However, the insurer had internal underwriting guidelines, which were never disclosed to the insured, stating that a accident by a permissive user constitutes a "lending loss" (even if the insurer pays nothing on the claim), and two such lending losses within three years constitutes a "substantial increase in the hazard insured against."
The insured sued under several causes of action. The insurer moved for summary judgment, arguing that its own undisclosed internal guidelines could give dispositive meaning to the otherwise ambiguous insurance policy. The trial court agreed with this and other claims and granted summary judgment. Mr. Adelstein represented the insured on appeal, and the Court of Appeal reversed the summary judgment on the breach of contract claim. The court held that there was no evidence that there was a "substantial increase in the hazard insured against."
Court of Appeal Opinion.
Court: California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight (Los Angeles)
Case No. B205205
Author: Justice Patricia A. Bigelow
Opinion Date: March 6, 2009
Trial Counsel: Svitlana Sangary at the Law Offices of Svitlana Sangary.