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  • HOME | WCM Law

    Results Speak for Themselves We are litigators who think practically not abstractly. We are trial lawyers who understand coverage and coverage lawyers who try cases. We are advisors who help you manage your risk. PRACTICE AREAS Our Practice Areas OUR VISION What sets Wade Clark Mulcahy apart Wade Clark Mulcahy LLP attorneys represent clients who rely upon our success as advocates and our practical, results oriented advice and recognized expertise as trial and appellate lawyers across a broad spectrum of insurance, commercial and coverage matters. While we practice from our offices in New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Long Island, our clients regularly call upon us to manage risk in jurisdictions across the country. Our growth has been driven by client referrals. ATTORNEYS Latest News

  • E. Alexis Bevis

    E. Alexis Bevis Partner New Orleans +1 504 291-2360 abevis@wcmlaw.com Education JD, Loyola University College of Law BA, The Pennsylvania State University Bar Admissions Louisiana Court Admissions U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana U.S. District Court Middle District of Louisiana U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana U.S. District Court Northern DIstrict of Florida U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit Professional Experience Alexis regularly handles cases in state and federal courts in Louisiana. Alexis concentrates her practice on defending casualty and professional lines carriers focusing on casualty, commercial, and complex litigation fields of transportation, energy, manufacturing, highway engineering, construction negligence, premises liability, product liability, cyber litigation, and catastrophic loss. Professional Activities Louisiana State Bar Association New Orleans Bar Association Bar Association for the Federal Fifth Circuit Publications I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy. Download

  • City Defendants Win Summary Judgment on Trivial Defect Defense (NY)

    News City Defendants Win Summary Judgment on Trivial Defect Defense (NY) September 10, 2020 < Back Share to: In Acevedo v. City of Yonkers, the infant plaintiff was allegedly injured when he was playing basketball in the street in front of his home, located in Yonkers, and tripped and fell over a water valve cap that was recessed into the street. The family brought suit against the City of Yonkers. The defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing contending that they did not receive prior written notice of the condition alleged as required by section 24–11 of the Charter of the City of Yonkers, and that the defect alleged was trivial and therefore not actionable as a matter of law. The Supreme Court granted that branch of the defendants' motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, finding that the defendants established that they had not received prior written notice of the defect alleged. The plaintiffs appeal. The Appellate Division Second Department found that the defendants should have been granted summary judgement; however, due to the fact the defect was trivial and not on notice. The Court held “In determining whether a defect is trivial, the court must examine all of the facts presented, including the ‘width, depth, elevation, irregularity and appearance of the defect along with the time, place and circumstance of the injury.’ “A defendant seeking dismissal of a complaint on the basis that the alleged defect is trivial must make a prima facie showing that the defect is, under the circumstances, physically insignificant and that the characteristics of the defect or the surrounding circumstances do not increase the risks it poses.” Here, the defendants established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting, the area of loss did not possess the characteristics of a trap or nuisance, and therefore, was not actionable. The Appellate Court did not discuss the notice portion of defendants’ brief. The granting of summary judgment on the defense of trivial defect is rare as Courts find that triviality is a question of fact for the juror; however, the dimensions of the area where the infant plaintiff fell, along with photographs and the testimony of the plaintiffs all combined for the Appellate Court to rule that the defect was indeed trivial. Thanks to Paul Vitale for his contribution to this post. Please email Georgia Coats with any questions. Previous Next Button Button Button Button Contact

  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court Weighing Bad Faith (PA)

    News Pennsylvania Supreme Court Weighing Bad Faith (PA) November 27, 2019 < Back Share to: Back in April, we noted all eyes were on the PA Supreme Court to further clarify the bad faith standard with respect to insurance coverage in the lawsuit captioned: Berg v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., Inc. On Thursday, November 21, oral arguments were finally held in this matter. During arguments, the PA Supreme Court was asked to consider whether the PA Superior Court abused its discretion by reweighing evidence relied upon by the trial court in its finding of bad faith on the part of an insurance carrier. By way of background, this lawsuit stems from a 1996 car accident involving Sharon Berg which led to well over a decade of litigation between Berg and her automobile insurer. The insurance company chose to send the vehicle for repairs rather than deem it totaled. Berg sued her insurer on the premise that the repairs were defective and the car was no longer crashworthy. One of the hotly contested issues became whether the insurer had, in bad faith, decided to repair the vehicle because it was half the cost of rendering it totaled, although the car was in fact totaled. A Berk’s County jury found almost entirely in favor of the insurer and only found it should pay $295 for violating the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. However, the trial judge found bad faith on the part of the insurer and added $18M in punitive damages and $3M in counsel fees to Berg’s verdict. Specifically, the trial judge cited to the insurer’s later decision to deem the car totaled, its failures to disclose information about the vehicle’s condition, abusing the discovery process, and its failure to negotiate in good faith. On appeal, the Superior Court found the evidence relied upon by the trial judge to be unconvincing and reversed the trial court’s verdict. Specifically, it found that there was no evidence that the insurer knew the vehicle was not safe to be put back on the road nor that it acted in bad faith, stating, “The trial court simply ignored a large body of evidence that rendered is finding unsupported.” In addition, the appellate court found bias on the part of the trial judge because of language in the judge’s opinion that appeared to condemn the insurance industry in broad terms. On Thursday, the PA Supreme heard oral arguments after granting Berg’s appeal. It will issue its decision on, among other things, whether the appellate court abused its discretion “by reweighing and disregarding clear and convincing evidence introduced in the trial court upon which the trial court relied to enter a finding of insurance bad faith.” Continue to stay tuned for the PA Supreme Court’s ruling and its impact on PA bad faith litigation. Thank you to Priscilla Torres for her contribution to this post. Please email Colleen E. Hayes with any questions. Previous Next Button Button Button Button Contact

  • "Wet Floor" Signs and Mats May Not Be Proof of Notice

    News "Wet Floor" Signs and Mats May Not Be Proof of Notice December 3, 2021 < Back Share to: In Snauffer v. 1177 Ave of the Americas LP, Plaintiff suffered personal injuries after slipping and falling on a wet floor in his office building. Defendant moved for and was granted summary judgment after claiming it had no actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that it was a rainy day, and that defendants had mats out and signs up in other portions of the building thus proving defendants had notice of the conditions. The First Department agreed with the trial court, finding that the signs and mats were out as a safety precaution and not in response to complaints about a dangerous condition where plaintiff fell. Moreover, the First Department discounted the affidavits of plaintiff’s co-worker and expert on the grounds that neither had stated the date which their observations were made. As such, the First Department affirmed unanimously. Thanks to Alison Weintraub for her contribution to this post. http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2010/2010_08773.htm Previous Next Button Button Button Button Contact

  • Conclusory Allegations of Bad Faith Against Insurer Insufficient to Survive Motion to Dismiss (PA)

    News Conclusory Allegations of Bad Faith Against Insurer Insufficient to Survive Motion to Dismiss (PA) January 8, 2021 < Back Share to: Recently, in Daniel Dietz v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania considered whether the factual averments in the plaintiff’s complaint were sufficient to overcome Liberty Mutual Insurance Company’s partial motion to dismiss Dietz’s bad faith claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). By way of brief background, Dietz was involved in a motor vehicle accident with a driver who was insured by Farmers’ Insurance Company. At the time of the accident, Dietz was insured under an automobile policy issued by Liberty. On behalf of Dietz, Liberty obtained a settlement; unfortunately, the settlement was insufficient to cover all of Dietz’s medical expenses from the accident. Accordingly, Dietz submitted an underinsured motorist claim (“UIM”) with Liberty, which Liberty ultimately denied. Subsequently, Liberty offered to settle the UIM claim; however, Dietz rejected the proposed settlement as he believed Liberty erroneously did not obtain an additional stacking waiver when Dietz added a fifth vehicle to his automobile policy. After Liberty denied Dietz’s request for a copy of Liberty’s underwriting file, Dietz commenced the instant action, alleging claims for a declaratory judgment, breach of contract and bad faith. In support of its motion to dismiss, Liberty argued Dietz failed to state a bad faith claim upon which relief can be granted. In consideration of 42 Pa.C.S. § 8371 through the lens of the Court’s well-established standard of review, the Court determined Dietz failed to plead a claim for bad faith as the complaint contained no factual content indicating Liberty lacked a reasonable basis for denying his claim and that Dietz failed to show it either knew or recklessly disregarded its lack of reasonable basis. In addition, the Court concluded Dietz’s complaint, as pleaded, asks the Court to infer Liberty’s motive in refusing to produce its underwriting file was to deceive Dietz. Further, the Court cited other reasons why Liberty could have refused to produce a copy of its underwriting file, such as the fact that underwriting files often contain confidential business information. As the Court held the complaint failed to make any real factual averments, the Court granted Liberty’s motion and dismissed Dietz’s claim for bad faith. Ultimately, this case is a reminder of impact motions to dismiss can have on litigation in federal courts, and the premium courts place on well-pled complaints. Thanks to Lauren Berenbaum for her contribution to this post. Please contact Heather Aquino with any questions. Previous Next Button Button Button Button Contact

  • No Delay Damages After Rejection of Settlement Offer (PA)

    News No Delay Damages After Rejection of Settlement Offer (PA) June 10, 2013 < Back Share to: The Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas recently denied delay damages to insureds in an automobile accident case. Delay damages compensate the plaintiff when there is a delay in the ultimate resolution of a matter, including the failure of the defendant to make a timely written settlement offer. Pursuant to Pa.R.Civ.P 238, damages begin to run from a date one year following the proper service of process. In Dickerman v. Erie Ins. Exch., Plaintiff William Dickerman was injured in an automobile accident by the vehicle of Joseph Danilla that crossed a center dividing line. Allstate, Danilla’s insurer, paid Dickerman and his wife the policy limit of $100,000 and was thereby released from all claims. Subsequently, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against their own insurer, Erie Insurance Exchange, for alleged breach of policy and loss of consortium. Plaintiffs requested damages in amounts representing the policy limit of their underinsured motorists (UIM) coverage ($250,000) and incident coverage ($500,000). Erie claimed to be entitled to a credit in the amount of Allstate’s original payment to the Plaintiffs ($100,000). Prior to trial, Plaintiffs refused multiple written settlement offers in the amounts of $250,000, $300,000 and $400,000. Defendant made a final oral offer of $450,000 on the morning of trial which was again rejected. The jury found in favor of the Plaintiffs, awarding $530,000 in damages ($495,000 in non-economic damages and $35,000 for loss of consortium). Ultimately the court molded the verdict to $430,000, reflecting the deduction of the $100,000 credit requested by the Defendant, and denied delay damages outright. On appeal, the court held that Plaintiffs first claim, alleging that the court failed to properly apply Pa.R.Civ.P. 238 to the issue of delay damages, was too vague for the court to review and was therefore considered waived. Plaintiff’s second claim was another broad statement positing that the court erred in ruling that the pretrial written settlement offers in this case barred the award of delay damages. Ultimately, the court held the denial of delay damages under these circumstances appropriate. The court reasoned that the requisite elements for awarding delay damages were not met here. Pursuant to Pa.R.Civ.P. 238, the Plaintiff cannot recover delay damages in this case because he refused all pretrial written settlement offers (open for 90 days up to the date of trial) and, because neither the jury award nor molded verdict surpassed 125% of any of the those settlement offers. The court also noted as a general matter that delay damages are not recoverable on loss of consortium claims. Special Thanks to Samantha Epstein for her contribution. For more information, contact Denise Fontana Ricci at dricci@wcmlaw.com . Previous Next Button Button Button Button Contact

  • SDNY: Suit Alleging Christie’s Misidentification of da Vinci Work Time Barred

    News SDNY: Suit Alleging Christie’s Misidentification of da Vinci Work Time Barred February 12, 2011 < Back Share to: While the art world is riddled with forgeries and stolen works or art, some dealers may also have to be mindful of the reputable auction houses which display their collections. Last week, District Judge John Koetl of the Southern District of New York, dismissed as time barred an action by Jeanne Marchig, and her charitable trust, against Christie’s -- http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/02/02/DaVinci.pdf The suit alleged that Christie's negligently failed to identify her piece of art as a valuable drawing done by Leonardo da Vinci. The relevant facts are as follows. Jeanne Marchig approached the London location of the famed auction house seeking to consign and auction off a drawing she believed was composed by a late-Renaissance Italian painter. Christie’s resident old master drawing’s expert examined the piece and set an estimated value of $12,000-15,000. In January 1998, it ultimately sold at auction for $22,000. More than 11 years later, in July 2009, Marchig was approached by other experts in the art world who believed her previously sold drawing was actually the work of da Vinci, and could be valued as high as $100 million. Marchig brought an action against Christie’s claiming the auction house had been careless and failed to properly investigate her drawing. While both sides engaged experts to determine the authenticity and true origin of the work, Christie’s moved to bar the claims as untimely, alleging the applicable statute of limitations (3 years – negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and 6 years – negligent appraisal) had long since expired. Judge Koetl agreed and dismissed the action as too much time had passed between the appraisal in question and the suit. Special thanks to Chris O'Leary for his contributions to this post. For more information about it, or WCM's fine art practice, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com . Previous Next Button Button Button Button Contact

  • Claim Against NJSEA For Escalator Collapse At Giants Stadium Reinstated By NJ App. Div.

    News Claim Against NJSEA For Escalator Collapse At Giants Stadium Reinstated By NJ App. Div. February 17, 2011 < Back Share to: In DiBartolomeo v. New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority ( NJSEA), the Appellate Division reinstated a personal injury suit against the NJSEA for a 2006 escalator collapse at Giants Stadium after a New York Jets football game. Plaintiff claimed that as fans were exiting, the escalator buckled and the treads flattened causing patrons to slide down with bodies piling up at the bottom. The Appellate Division reversed summary judgment to the NJSEA finding that it was not entitled to immunity under the NJ Tort Claims Act. The court found that the stadium escalators could be found to pose a danger to the general public even when being used in a foreseeable manner. The potential dangerous condition was the NJSEA policy of operating the escalators that were rated for 300 lbs. per step, when it was foreseeable and likely that greater loads would be routinely applied. Please contact Robert Ball with any questions regarding this post. http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a2716-09.pdf Previous Next Button Button Button Button Contact

  • Spiderman, Spiderman -- Does Whatever a Lawyer Can?

    News Spiderman, Spiderman -- Does Whatever a Lawyer Can? February 14, 2011 < Back Share to: The artistic and technical problems of the new Spiderman musical are well-chronicled -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/09/spider-man-reviews_n_820640.html. And, it is certainly a good thing that NY's Labor Law does not apply to actors' falls from heights -- http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=12446206. But, since the odds of some kind of lawsuit ultimately arising are, at least, decent, Saturday Night Live has decided to have some fun -- http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/spider-man-lawsuit/1291746/. If only, there wasn't some truth to the absence of professional standards. For more information about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com . Previous Next Button Button Button Button Contact

  • Shh! Police Telling A Preacher To Keep It Down Is Not A First Amendment Violation

    News Shh! Police Telling A Preacher To Keep It Down Is Not A First Amendment Violation February 18, 2011 < Back Share to: In Costello v. City of Burlington, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit examined whether a police officer violated a preacher’s First Amendment Rights when the officer told the preacher to lower his voice when preaching on at a pedestrian mall. The Preacher was shouting and yelling, and disrupting other pedestrians. When the preacher refused, the officer issued a written warning for violation of Burlington’s noise control ordinance. According to the officer, the preacher could be heard over 350 away. The Second Circuit upheld Burlington’s right to limit the preacher’s volume. The Court noted that Costello’s voice dominated the area, and impinged on the use of the neighborhood by others. Significantly, the office did not tell the preacher to stop speaking, but only to lower his voice. If you have any questions regarding this post, please contact David Tavella at dtavella@wcmlaw.com . http://pdf.wcmlaw.com/pdf/costello.pdf Previous Next Button Button Button Button Contact

  • Preservation of Appellate Review – Is It Waived?

    News Preservation of Appellate Review – Is It Waived? July 21, 2023 < Back Share to: Dupree v. Younger, Case Number 22-210 (May 25, 2023) addresses the preservation of legal issues for appellate review. In Dupree, the U.S. Supreme Court found that a summary judgment motion “allows the district court to take first crack at the question that the appellate court will ultimately face: Was there sufficient evidence in the trial record to support the jury’s verdict?” The court also found that “[b]ecause the factual record developed at trial supersedes the record existing at the time of the summary judgment motion, it follows that a party must raise a sufficiency [of the evidence] claim in a post-trial motion in order to preserve it for appeal.” The court further found that a “repeat-motion requirement” would be an “empty exercise,” where the averse ruling is based on a purely legal issue because “a purely legal question is, by definition, one whose answer is independent of disputed facts” and, thus, “factual development at trial will not change the district court’s answer.” Applying this reasoning to the case at hand, the Dupree Court unanimously held that where an averse pretrial ruling is based on a purely legal issue, a litigant need not, to preserve the issue for appellate review, re-raise the issue at or after trial. The Take Away. Be careful! While Dupree eliminates the need to re-raise averse rulings on purely legal issues; to avoid waiver, and preserve appellate review of fact-based issues, one must re-raise the fact-based issue(s) at trial and by post-trial motion. Thanks to Charles "Chip" George for this post. Please contact Chip with any questions. Previous Next Button Button Button Button Contact

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