Biller, Sachs, Zito & LeMoult Sets Legal Precedent Involving Theft and Vandalism Claims

Mercedes Zee Corp., LLC v. Seneca Ins. Co., 151 F. Supp. 3d 255 (D. Conn. 2015).

Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer

In this case, Biller, Sachs, Zito & LeMoult successfully recovered insurance proceeds for its client, whose claim had been previously denied. The case resolved before trial, and in ruling on the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment, Judge Meyer, a United States District Court judge, established three principles for interpreting the scope of coverage under an insurer’s vandalism / theft clause. The first principle is that the policy makes both its coverage for vandalism and its exclusion for theft contingent on the wrongdoer’s intent. Therefore, determining intent of vandalism or theft requires an item-by-item consideration of the property that was lost or damaged. The second principle is that the theft exclusion extends beyond the loss of stolen property itself to exclude damage caused by or resulting from theft. Finally, property damage stemming from an act of attempted theft that does not result in actual theft is a covered act of vandalism. As a result of BSZL’s efforts, the clients claim, which was originally denied, was paid by the insurer.

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