Derek J. Spada Wins Trifecta Against Insurance Giant

judge using gavel

When you become a client of Basch & Keegan, our attorneys will never give up on your case. There is no better example of this fact than the victory Derek J. Spada received this week from the Appellate Division: Second Department.

You may remember this case as we shared the details last year – our client is a lifelong toy inventor who had the prototypes of action figures he invented in the 1960s stolen from his home. Our client filed a claim with his homeowner’s insurance policy. The insurance company denied his claim and alleged that the toys were business property, which is not covered by the policy. Derek engaged in a lengthy battle with the insurance company and won a summary judgment motion pertaining to the coverage issue in June 2021.

After the court decided that the insurance company had to pay, the compensation trial took place in October 2021. The insurance company offered $27,500. Derek rejected the offer. The case proceeded to trial and Derek obtained a $141,000 verdict (plus interest) for our client.

After losing the summary judgment and trial to Derek, the insurance company still refused to pay and filed an appeal. Big insurance companies will often bring their top attorneys and use all their resources to fight a claim, as they did in this case. Derek once again did not back down.

Appeals can take years to be resolved. However, Derek submitted a motion to expedite this matter due to our client’s age, which the appellate court granted.

The court scheduled an oral argument before a panel of judges. Derek went to Brooklyn to argue the appeal. There is a link to a video of the argument at the bottom of this page.

Despite the insurance company’s exhaustive efforts to deny this claim, Derek prevailed.

In the decision, the Appellate Division stated, “We conclude that the policy language is reasonably susceptible of an interpretation that would not apply the limitation to the particular property at issue in this case, which was unique property created by the plaintiff decades earlier and retained as part of a collection. The insurer’s reliance upon the plaintiff’s use of other property not at issue, in this case, is unavailing. Thus, the Supreme Court properly construed the language in favor of the insured.”

The link to the full decision is here

Derek describes this as one of the top 10 cases of his lifetime. He prevailed on a case where one of the largest insurance companies in America put forth its top attorneys and spared no expense in an attempt to wrongfully deny a claim.

In doing so, Derek achieved a rare trifecta by winning a (1) summary judgment motion, (2) trial, and (3) appeal all in the same case.

Ask your attorney friends how often a lawyer wins a summary judgment motion, trial, and appeal in the same case. (Hint: Just about never.)

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE APPELLATE DIVISION ARGUMENT:

Fast forward to 1:31:47 when the case is called and 1:48:43 when Derek begins.

https://wowza.nycourts.gov/vod/wowzaplayer.php?source=ad2&video=OA_2022-06-06_09-59-51.mp4
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