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Intelligent Financial Systems, Inc. v. National Grange Mutual Insurance Co.

September 27, 2007

INTELLIGENT FINANCIAL SYSTEMS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
NATIONAL GRANGE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY,
DEFENDANT.
NATIONAL GRANGE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, THIRD PARTY PLAINTIFF,
v.
JEROME MITRO AND THOMAS MITRO, THIRD PARTY DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leslie G. Foschio United States Magistrate Judge

(consent)

DECISION and ORDER

JURISDICTION

On December 14, 2004, the parties to this action consented pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) to proceed before the undersigned. The matter is presently before the court on Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 21), filed May 24, 2005, and on Plaintiff's cross-motion for partial summary judgment (Doc. No. 28), filed June 24, 2005.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Intelligent Financial Systems, Inc. ("Plaintiff" or "the insured") commenced this action in New York Supreme Court, Niagara County, on September 15, 2004, alleging Defendant National Grange Mutual Insurance Company ("Defendant" or "the insurer") breached a contract to provide insurance coverage. Plaintiff specifically seeks a court order directing Defendant to provide insurance coverage for water damage to personal property allegedly occurring at Plaintiff's place of business, located at 1410 Main Street ("1410 Main Street"), in Niagara Falls, New York, caused by faulty plumbing on March 25, 2003 and March 31. 2003. Plaintiff maintains such damage is covered by a one-year insurance policy bearing policy No. BPV14426, issued by Defendant on April 10, 2002 ("the policy). On October 26, 2004, Defendant, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, removed the action to this court, asserting diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).

Defendant's answer, filed on October 26, 2004 (Doc. No. 2), asserts several affirmative defenses relevant to the instant motions, including the Fifth, Seventh, Eight, and Ninth Affirmative Defenses alleging, respectively, breaches of policy requirements that the insured give prompt notice of the alleged loss, provide an inventory of the damaged property, allow the insurer to inspect the damaged property, and provide a signed proof of loss statement. These affirmative defenses are also asserted in the amended answer filed on November 15, 2004 (Doc. No. 6).

On February 18, 2005, Defendant filed a Third Party Complaint (Doc. No. 13), against Third Party Defendants Jerome Mitro and Thomas Mitro, the owners and landlords of 1410 Main Street, alleging Third Party Defendants breached a duty to Plaintiff to maintain 1410 Main Street in a reasonable state of repair, and seeking, in the event Plaintiff should recover against Defendant, indemnification insofar as Defendant would then be subrogated to Plaintiff's rights against Third Party Defendants. An Amended Third Party Complaint (Doc. No. 14), was filed on March 7, 2005. To date, Third Party Defendants have failed to file an answer.

On May 24, 2005, Defendant filed a motion ("Defendant's motion") for summary judgment based on Plaintiff's failure to file a timely proof of loss. Defendant's motion is supported by the Affirmation of Scott D. Storm, Esq. (Doc. No. 22) ("Storm Affirmation"), the Affidavit of Defendant's Corporate Property Claims Consultant Dennis C. McClure (Doc. No. 23) ("McClure Affidavit"), a Memorandum of Law (Doc. No. 24) ("Defendant's Memorandum"), and a Statement of Undisputed Facts (Doc. No. 25) ("Defendant's Facts Statement"), with attached exhibits A through V ("Defendant's Exh(s). __").

On June 24, 2005, Plaintiff filed a cross-motion ("Plaintiff's motion") opposing Defendant's motion and seeking partial summary judgment dismissing Defendant's Fifth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Affirmative Defenses. Plaintiff's motion is supported by the attached Affidavits of Carlo Goffi ("Goffi Affidavit") and Robert A. Crawford, Jr., Esq. ("Crawford Affidavit"), Plaintiff's Statement of Undisputed Facts ("Plaintiff's Facts Statement"), and Exhibits A through D ("Plaintiff's Exh(s). __"), and a separately filed Memorandum of Law (Doc. No. 29) ("Plaintiff's Memorandum").

On July 11, 2005, Defendant filed in further support of Defendant's motion and in opposition to Plaintiff's motion a Reply & Responding Attorney Affirmation of Scott D. Storm, Esq. (Doc. No. 31) ("Defendant's Reply"). On July 11, 2005, Plaintiff filed in further support of Plaintiff's motion and in further opposition to Defendant's motion the Affidavit of Dennis C. McClure (Doc. No. 32) ("McClure Reply Affidavit"), with attached exhibit A ("McClure Reply Affidavit Exh. A"). Oral argument was deemed unnecessary.

Based on the following, Defendant's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED; Plaintiff's cross-motion seeking partial summary judgment and the Amended Third Party Complaint are DISMISSED as moot.

FACTS*fn1

Although Plaintiff seeks insurance coverage for water damage to property attributed to faulty plumbing and occurring on March 25 and 31, 2003, Plaintiff first reported the loss to Defendant on April 1, 2003. Defendant then retained the services of independent insurance adjusters A.E. Mahoney & Co., Inc., to assist in investigating Plaintiff's claim, and on April 17, 2003, an adjuster for the company, ...


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