Lots of interesting decisions have been coming out of the New York appellate courts recently.
- Last February, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department ruled that the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act does not prevent a legal action under New York Labor Law Sections 240 and 241 against a party who is neither a vessel owner nor the injured worker's employer. These sections of the Labor Law are, of course, New York's infamous "scaffolding law," which makes owners and general contractors of projects absolutely liable for injuries involving a height elevation when the injured worker was not given certain adequate safety devices.
- The First Department ruled in late October that a user's privacy-protected Facebook content is not necessarily safe from being discovered as evidence in a legal action.
- An insurer's failure to promptly deny a liability claim based on late notice of loss prevented it from obtaining a default judgment against its insured.
- Another insurer that did promptly deny a liability claim for late notice lost anyway because there is a question as to whether its insured had a reasonable belief that it was not liable for the loss.
- An insurer's letter to a hospital denying a claim for no-fault benefits "pending adjuster's review" and "investigation" was not sufficient to meet the law's 30-day deadline for paying or denying a claim.
The moral: Claim adjusters, deny your claims on time.