Vandalism Claims Denied

Joseph v. New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association, Index. No. 21862/2015 (NY Sup. Ct. Suffolk Co. 2019)

The court granted New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association’s (NYPIUA) summary judgment on an alleged vandalism claim filed by a homeowner. The court found, after NYPIUA presented affidavits from its independent adjuster and its claims representative, that plaintiff’s water damage was not proven to be the result of vandalism. The homeowner returned from a winter vacation and found water damage. He claimed, despite his alarm system, that someone had gained entry to his home such that, when he went to investigate plaster that had fallen from his first floor ceiling and water gushed out, vandalism was the cause of his damage. The police found no forced entry. The court found that plaintiff, in response to the motion, presented no evidence that proved an issue of fact remained to be tried and granted summary judgment to NYPIUA. The court found: “Defendants have established prima facie that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law dismissing the complaint as asserted against them. The burden then shifted to plaintiff to raise a triable issue of fact. Plaintiff has failed to do so. Plaintiffs have established that plaintiff’s claim of property damage allegedly due to vandalism was properly denied.”

Plaintiff had sued not only NYPIUA, but its independent adjusting company and that company’s individual adjuster. These defendants were also granted summary judgment. Previously the court had dismissed the complaint as to the New York State Department of Financial Services, which plaintiff alleged had failed to force NYPIUA to pay his claim.

NYPIUA was represented by partner Costantino P. Suriano and senior attorney Jon Quint.


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