Practice Areas & Industries: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C.


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Practice/Industry Group Overview

There are few areas of the insurance industry that involve such direct and personal contact with insureds in their time of need than first party claims that arise out of homeowner and commercial property policies. Unfortunately, there are few areas of insurance claims that generate more complaints and litigation. Even when an insurance company handles first party property claims faultlessly and fairly, it is an unfortunate inevitability that some litigation will result.

The direct and personal contact with the insureds, the complex nature of the policies at issue, the limitless number of claims scenarios, combined with the ever-increasing percentage of insureds represented by public adjusters, make this area of insurance claims ripe for lawsuits. When other unique areas of dispute – such as appraisal, matching and replacement cost – are considered, sometimes during catastrophe (CAT) operations, the importance of having legal counsel concentrating his or her practice in property litigation cannot be underestimated.

Our Property Litigation Practice Group is very familiar with these issues and the state of the law as it pertains to first party matters and bad faith. Marshall Dennehey's Property Litigation Practice Group maintains a synergistic relationship with our Insurance Coverage/Bad Faith and Fraud/ Special Investigative Litigation Practice Groups. These relationships allow our attorneys to coordinate their efforts and stay current relative to these overlapping areas of practice.

Our services go beyond representation after a lawsuit is filed and include:

  • Coordinating counsel services;
  • Pre-litigation commercial and residential claims consultation, including such issues as business interruption, extra expense, profit and overhead, “matching” and appraisal;
  • Drafting reservation of rights and coverage position letters;
  • Drafting property coverage opinion letters;
  • Regulatory consultation and responding to insurance department complaints and inquiries;
  • Examinations Under Oath to clarify facts and coverage;
  • Training of management and staff;
  • Selection of vendors;
  • Assistance in developing claims protocols; and
  • Assistance in drafting new and revising existing policy language.

Included in the Property Litigation Practice Group are attorneys who, prior to law school, worked as property claims representatives. These attorneys bring experience in property damage estimation, contents evaluation and public adjuster representation. They possess a unique perspective that enables them to advise and assist the claims professional both before and after litigation.

We welcome the opportunity to be of service to you. We are available to discuss any property claims issues, as well as give presentations or lectures at your location or at any one of our regional offices.

Group Presentations
  Insurance Fraud 360, 800 Ridge Pike, Lafayette Hill, PA, June 5, 2014
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

Supreme Court of New Jersey Holds That Cardiovascular Death Is Not Compensable
Angela Y. DeMary, August 11, 2014
In its July 30, 2014, decision of James P. Renner v. AT&T (A-71-11) (068744), the New Jersey Supreme Court reiterated that there remains a heightened standard of proof and causation for cardiovascular claims. The Supreme Court opined in Renner that the decedent husband/petitioner failed to sustain...

Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act Bars Claims Sustained Due to Accident With Vehicle Stolen From Local Agency. Motor Vehicle Exception to Governmental Immunity Applies Only Where Agent of Local Agency Actually Operated Vehicle in Question
Paul G. Lees, July 01, 2014
The tortfeasor in this matter was taken into custody by the Philadelphia Police Department, handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser. Notwithstanding his restraints, he somehow managed to commandeer the police cruiser. The plaintiff was in her vehicle when the police cruiser driven by...

Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act Provides Immunity to County and County Nursing Home for Wrongful Discharge of One of Its Employees
Paul G. Lees, July 01, 2014
The plaintiff worked for the county as a nurse’s aide for eight years, until she was terminated due to drug testing results. Prior to her discharge, the plaintiff had injured her neck and back at work while assisting a co-worker in lifting a 300-pound patient. Lewis filed a claim under the...

The Storm After the Storm
Eric R. Brown, May 29, 2014
It has now been more than 18 months since Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, but the litigation related to that storm is just getting started. With any event that brings such damage, there is always a concern that judges may look to expand the bounds of coverage in favor of insureds. The...

New Coordinating Judges Assigned to Asbestos Cases in Middlesex County (NJ) and Northampton County (PA)
Arthur D. Bromberg,Paul C. Johnson, May 06, 2014
The Northampton County court in Easton, PA and the Middlesex County court in New Brunswick, NJ recently appointed new coordinating judges to supervise the asbestos programs in their courts.

PA Superior Court Rules Plaintiff Must Show Regular and Frequent Exposure as Cause of Disease
Arthur D. Bromberg,Paul C. Johnson, May 06, 2014
In a non-precedential opinion, the court affirmed two summary judgment rulings in which the trial court had dismissed the plaintiff's claims for failing to produce evidence that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos from the defendants' products on a regular and frequent basis and that the...

Punitive Damages May Be Sought in NYC Asbestos Cases
Arthur D. Bromberg,Paul C. Johnson, May 06, 2014
Judge Sherry Klein Heitler recently issued an order and opinion granting a motion filed by Weitz & Luxenberg on behalf of several plaintiffs amending the New York City Asbestos Litigation ("NYCAL") case management order to allow the plaintiffs to seek punitive damages against the...

Forum Non Conveniens: Where Your Convenience Does Not Matter
David Salazar, March 17, 2014
For years, defendants have been at the mercy of a plaintiff’s choice of venue. Other than removing to federal court or objecting to an improper venue, defendants have little control over where a matter will be litigated. Forum non conveniens has long been somewhat of a mirage: an option that,...

Occupant In a Fleeing Vehicle Is Not an Innocent Bystander...Or Is He?
Kimberly A. Boyer-Cohen, March 14, 2014
Under the law in Pennsylvania, police officers owe no duty of care to the driver of a fleeing vehicle, Lindstrom v. City of Corry, 763 A.2d 394 (Pa. 2000), but they do owe a duty of care to innocent third parties, Jones v. Chieffo, 700 A.2d 417 (Pa. 1997), who are bystanders unconnected with the...

Patiently Waiting for the Florida Supreme Court to Decide Whether Pregnant Women Are Protected Under the Florida Civil Rights Act
Jeannie A. Liebegott, March 14, 2014
There is currently a conflict within the Florida circuits on the issue of whether the Florida Civil Rights Act (§§ 760.01-010, Florida Statutes) protects against workplace discrimination based on pregnancy. This issue was heard by the Florida Supreme Court in late May 2013, in the case of...

The Rise of Legal Malpractice Lawsuits
Rocco J. Carbone,John Viggiani, March 14, 2014
Recently, there has been an alarming increase in legal malpractice lawsuits in all practice areas. This article discusses the applicable standard of proof and the statute of limitations for these actions.

PA Supreme Court To Hear Failure To Disclose Psychological Damage To Property Appeal
Samuel E. Cohen, February 03, 2014
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently granted the petition for allowance of appeal of a December 26, 2012, Superior Court ruling that psychological damage to real property is not considered a material defect in the property which must be revealed by the seller to the buyer.

Florida Supreme Court Prohibits Most Partial Proposals for Settlement
John W. Heilman, January 06, 2014
The Florida Supreme Court in November 2013 made a notable change to Florida's Proposal for Settlement rule. Namely, the Court generally gutted the ability of a party to serve a partial Proposal for Settlement. This notable change in Florida civil procedure becomes effective on January 1, 2014.

An Employee Injured In a Motor Vehicle Accident That Occurs When He Is Returning To the Workplace from a Lunch Break Was Not Within the Course and Scope of His Employment
Paul V. Tatlow, January 03, 2014
This case involved a petition to determine compensation due filed on behalf of the claimant alleging that his motor vehicle accident on July 2, 2012, occurred during the course and scope of his employment and, therefore, was compensable.

PA Supreme Court Holds That Employer’s Burden Of Proof When Seeking Modification Of Benefits Based On Labor Market Survey Requires Showing Existence Of Open Jobs Claimant Is Capable Of Filling, Not Simply The Existence Of Jobs That Already Filled
Francis X. Wickersham, January 03, 2014
In this case, the claimant sustained a work-related injury to her left shoulder. The claimant received physical therapy, and three surgeries were performed on the shoulder. The employer later filed a modification petition based on the results of two labor market surveys.

The Employer’s Making of Medical Payments Over An 18-Month Period was done Under a Feeling of Compulsion and Thereby Tolled the Statute Of Limitations
Paul V. Tatlow, January 03, 2014
This case was tried before the Superior Court regarding the employer’s appeal from a Board decision that granted the claimant’s petition to determine additional compensation due by awarding payment of medical expenses as well as a counsel fee. The Board had concluded that the...

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania clarifies Section 413 (a) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act
Francis X. Wickersham, January 03, 2014
This case involved a claimant who sought a reinstatement of temporary total disability benefits after the 500-week period of partial disability had long since expired. The claimant was injured in January of 1989. In September of 1989, the claimant returned to work with no loss of earnings, and...

Not So Fast!!! The Court Reverses Dismissal of Unjust Enrichment Claim for Overpayment of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Robert J. Fitzgerald, December 18, 2013
In Adam Weiner v. Elizabeth Board of Education, 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1729 (N.J. Super. App. Div. July 15, 2013), the New Jersey Appellate Division addressed the issue of what process is required in order to properly evaluate an unjust enrichment claim. The fact of the case are...

The Disregarded Diagnosis--How to Litigate the Termination Petition Without an Unreasonable Contest
Raphael M. Duran,Andrea C. Rock, December 18, 2013
Both defense attorneys and insurance adjusters have been in the situation where they receive an IME report in which the doctor seems to have disagreed with the work-related diagnoses or ignored what was judicially determined as work-related by a workers’ compensation judge. While this...

Delaware Supreme Court Concludes That Medical Bills of A Non-Certified Provider Are Not Compensable Because Preauthorization Was Necessary
, November 26, 2013
In Wyatt v. ResCare Home Care (decided November 20, 2013)-a case argued by Linda Wilson of our Wilmington, Delaware, office-the Delaware Supreme Court rejects the Superior Court’s decision in Vanvliet v. D&B Transp., 2012 WL 5964392 (Del. Super. Ct. Nov. 28, 2012) and holds that the medical...

Board Grants the Employer’s Termination Petition Based on the Employer’s Medical Expert’s Opinion that the Claimant Has Sufficiently Recovered from the Work Injury to the Point Where She can Perform Full-Time Sedentary Work.
Paul V. Tatlow, October 21, 2013
The claimant sustained a compensable work injury to her neck and right shoulder on December 7, 2010, while working as a certified nursing assistant. By agreement, she was put on total disability and was compensated for a 20% permanency to the cervical spine. Thereafter, the employer filed a...

Claimant’s Medical Expert’s Testimony Regarding the Cause of the Decedent’s Death Was Not Equivocal Simply Because the Expert Offered Alternate Theories Regarding the Exact Cause of Death.
Francis X. Wickersham, October 21, 2013
The claimant filed a fatal claim petition, alleging that the death of his decedent was caused by injuries he sustained from a fall from a crane platform at work. The decedent and a co-worker were working, without harnesses, on an elevated crane platform with no handrails approximately six feet from...

Data Breach Lawsuit against LinkedIn is Dismissed for Lack of Standing.
Eric A. Packel, October 21, 2013
After a hacker obtained 6.5 million passwords and email addresses from LinkedIn (the professional networking site), two of its users brought a putative class action claiming that LinkedIn had misrepresented its level of security. However, the plaintiffs ran into a threshold problem seen in many...

Employers’ Right to Direct Claimants to Obtain Prescribed Medications from the Employer’s Preferred Pharmacy Affirmed by Delaware Supreme Court.
Paul V. Tatlow, October 21, 2013
The Delaware Supreme Court has issued its ruling in this case, agreeing with the Superior Court and the Industrial Accident Board, that under the Compensation Act, employers have the right to direct claimants to obtain their prescribed medications from the preferred pharmacy chosen by the employer.

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Patients First Act Requires High Threshold for Expert Witness Qualifications in Malpractice Cases.
Michael G. Daly, October 21, 2013
The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision to allow expert testimony from a witness who did not “specialize” in the same field of medicine as the defendant-physicians. Nicholas involved a malpractice claim against two physicians, among others, for the alleged...

Payment of Medical Payments Over an 18-Month Period by the Employer was Done under a Feeling of Compulsion and Thereby Tolled the Statute of Limitations.
Paul V. Tatlow, October 21, 2013
This case was tried before the Superior Court regarding the employer’s appeal from a Board decision that granted the claimant’s petition to determine additional compensation due by awarding payment of medical expenses as well as a counsel fee. The Board had concluded that the...

The Effects of the Statute of Repose on the Allocation of Fault amongst Joint Tortfeasors.
Christopher J. Gonnella, October 21, 2013
This matter arose out of claims involving the alleged structural failures of the plaintiff’s public safety facility. Construction began in the fall of 1994 and on November 24, 1995, a Certificate of Substantial Completion was issued. On April 9, 1996, the first Temporary Certificate of...

The Supreme Court Holds that an Employee is a “Supervisor” for Purposes of Vicarious Liability under Title VII Only When the Employer has Empowered the Employee to Take Tangible Employment Actions against the Alleged Victim.
Lee C. Durivage, October 21, 2013
The Supreme Court resolved a circuit split and held that an employee is a supervisor for purposes of establishing vicarious liability in a Title VII hostile work environment case only when “the employer has empowered that employee to take tangible employment actions against the victim, i.e.,...

The United States Supreme Court Holds that a Mixed-Motive Jury Instruction in a Title VII Retaliation Case is Improper.
Lee C. Durivage, October 21, 2013
The United States Supreme Court held that a plaintiff bringing a retaliation claim under Title VII must demonstrate “that the desire to retaliate was the but-for cause of the challenged employment action” and further noted that a “mixed-motive” jury instruction in a Title...

When Claimant with Residual Disability Who Seeks to Return to Light-Duty Job, Suffers Non-Work-Related Total Disability and Not Able to Work at All, Employer is Not Obligated to Reinstate Benefits and Need Not Show Continuing Availability of Suitable Work
Francis X. Wickersham, October 21, 2013
In June 1996, while working under permanent, light-duty restrictions, the claimant suffered a work injury to his right knee. The claimant filed a claim petition, and benefits were awarded after a Workers’ Compensation Judge granted the petition. Shortly after the June 1996 injury, the...

When an Insurer Tenders a Defense Subject to a Reservation of Rights, the Insured May Choose One of Two Options
Sarah J. Brown,Allison L. Krupp, October 21, 2013
When an insurer tenders a defense subject to a reservation of rights, the insured may choose one of two options: (1) accept the defense, in which case it remains unqualifiedly bound to the terms of the consent to settle provision of the policy; or (2) the insured may decline the insurer’s...