Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Application of Government Employee Insurance Company to Stay Arbitration

Supreme Court, Suffolk County

December 7, 2017

In the Matter of the Application of Government Employee Insurance Company to Stay Arbitration, Petitioner,
v.
Caitlin Minton, Respondent.

          Gail S. Lauzon, Esq. Attorneys for Petitioner

          Cerussi & Gunn, P.C. Attorneys for Respondent

          PETER H. MAYER, J.S.C.

         Upon the reading and filing of the following papers in this matter: (1) Notice of Motion by the petitioner, dated September 19, 2016, and supporting papers; (2) Affirmation in Opposition by the respondent, dated October 26, 2016, and supporting papers; (3) Reply Affirmation by the petitioner, dated November 4, 2016, and supporting papers; and now

         UPON DUE DELIBERATION AND CONSIDERATION BY THE COURT of the foregoing papers, the motion is decided as follows: it is

         ORDERED that, inasmuch as this matter was not resolved at a Conference held with the Court and counsel for the parties, the application (001) by petitioner, Government Employees Insurance Company ("GEICO") for a stay of arbitration is hereby granted and the respondent, Caitlin Minton, is permanently stayed from proceeding to arbitration with GEICO for the accident of November 26, 2014; and it is further

         ORDERED that counsel for GEICO shall promptly serve a copy of this Order via First Class mail upon counsel for the respondent, and shall promptly thereafter file the affidavit of such service with the Suffolk County Clerk.

         This action arose from a motor vehicle accident that occurred on November 26, 2014. When the accident occurred, the respondent, Caitlin Minton, was operating a 2007 Toyota when it was struck by a vehicle owned and operated by Christopher Savage. At the time of the accident, Minton's vehicle was insured by GEICO under a policy with Bodily Injury ("BI") and Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist ("SUM") coverage limits of $25, 000/$50, 000, while Savage's vehicle was insured by National Liability & Fire Insurance Co. with a BI limit of $25, 000. Given the minimum limits and offset provisions of Minton's SUM Endorsement, SUM coverage was not available to Minton under her own policy with GEICO. Instead, Minton served GEICO with a Demand for Arbitration under a policy of insurance issued by GEICO to Minton's same-sex partner, Vanessa Guarino, which carried BI and SUM limits of $100, 000/$300, 000.

         Minton's Demand for SUM Arbitration under the Guarino policy is premised upon Minton's allegation that she resided with Guarino on the date of the subject accident. GEICO contends, however, that Minton was not a "resident relative" of Guarino's household on the date of the accident and that, therefore, Minton is not entitled to SUM benefits under Guarino's policy. Consequently, GEICO seeks an order permanently staying Minton from proceeding to SUM arbitration.

         In support of its petition GEICO annexes the relevant Declarations Page from the Guarino policy, which shows that while Guarino's address was "29 Hulse Ave., Wading River" on the date of the accident, the relevant police accident report lists Minton's address as "119 Hampton Vista Dr., Manorville." Therefore, GEICO denied Minton's claim for SUM coverage under Guarino's policy on the grounds that Minton was neither a "resident relative" of Guarino, nor a "named insured" under Guarino's policy. Accordingly, GEICO argues that Minton is not entitled to proceed to SUM Arbitration against GEICO under Guarino's policy.

         Pursuant to paragraph 1 of the Definitions section of Guarino's GEICO SUM endorsement, "insured" is defined as:

(a) you [Guarino], as the named insured and, while residents of the same household, your spouse and the relatives of either you or your spouse (bold in original);

         In opposition to GEICO's petition to stay arbitration, Minton contends that the 119 Hampton Vista Drive, Manorville address listed on the police report was a temporary address, and that since July of 2014 she has continuously resided with Guarino at 29 Hulse Avenue, Wading River. In support of this contention, Minton submits a copy of her November 26, 2014 accident-related hospital registration record, as well as a bank statement, each listing her address as 29 Hulse Avenue, Wading River. Minton further contends that since July 2014 she and Guarino have "lived together at [that] address... in a committed relationship as if [they] were in a traditional 'spouse' relationship."

         Here, it is undisputed that Minton was not a named insured under Guarino's GEICO policy. It is also beyond dispute that, despite their committed, "as if" spouses, relationship, Minton and Guarino were not legally married on the date of the accident. Therefore, irrespective of the residency issue, Minton did not meet the definition of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.