On September 21, 2017, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan affirmed the District Court's decision finding that Travelers breached its contract with its insured, Warehouse Wine, and subsequently determined that the insured suffered damages in the amount of $1.1 million. Weg and Myers initiated suit against Travelers after it denied coverage for a theft of Warehouse Wines liquor inventory that was temporarily stored in a warehouse by the insured's transportation carrier. The transportation carrier and the warehouse were both operated by James Ceseretti. Mr. Ceseretti subsequently allocuted to the theft in a criminal proceeding. The District Court had granted Weg & Myers' Summary Judgment motion wherein it sought a determination, as a matter of law, that the entity who had stolen the inventory was a "carrier for hire", thus triggering coverage. A trial then took place with respect to the value of the inventory that was stolen. Subsequent to the District Court's entry of judgment in favor of the insured in the amount of $1.1 million, Travelers appealed. In rejecting Travelers' appeal the Second Circuit found that the evidence clearly established that Warehouse Wine had placed its inventory into the hands of a transportation carrier and that the theft of the inventory occurred while in its possession. The Second Circuit also rejected Travelers' attack on the Court's calculation of damages and the application of pre-judgment interest, holding that "Travelers cannot circumvent §5001(b) by denying coverage while conducting a nearly year-long investigation into Warehouse Wines' claims, and then, once it is adjudicated liable, avoid paying prejudgment interest from the 'earliest ascertainable date the cause of action existed'. The trial and appeal were handled by Dennis T. D'Antonio and Joshua L. Mallin and assisted by Amanda Peterson.Click here to read the entire decision.
Second Circuit affirms verdict in warehouse loss against Travelers Insurance Company and confirms damage award of $1.1 million