Insurer Ordered To Defend Legionnaires' Suits

Law360 Insurance Authority

The insurer of a nonprofit providing housing to at-risk individuals in New York City must defend it in three underlying lawsuits alleging that numerous residents contracted Legionnaires' disease at two properties in the Bronx, a New York federal court ruled, finding a communicable disease exclusion inapplicable.

Granting The Doe Fund Inc.'s motion for partial summary judgment Tuesday against Berkley Insurance Co., U.S. District Judge Jessica G.L. Clarke noted that Doe Fund's commercial general liability policy excluded injury claims arising from the "transmission of a communicable disease" but left the term "communicable disease" undefined


While the New York state health code designates Legionnaires' disease, among others, as an "infectious, contagious or communicable disease," it does not specifically designate Legionnaires' as a communicable disease, Judge Clark said, highlighting the use of "or."

The same goes for the New York City health code, which merely names Legionnaires' in a list of "diseases and conditions of public health interest that are reportable," she added.

Doe Fund is represented by Steven J. Pudell, Luma S. Al-Shibib and Madison Marlow of Anderson Kill PC.

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Insurance Recovery Attorney | Anderson Kill P.C.
Steven J. Pudell
Managing Shareholder (Branch)
Insurance Recovery Attorney | Anderson Kill P.C.
Luma S. Al-Shibib
New York
insurance recovery; policyholder; insurance
Madison S. Marlow
New York

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