10/2/18 Utica Mutual Assurance Company v. Levern Steward.

The underlying accident occurred on August 24, 2016 at or near the intersection of Furman Street and Fulton Street, Brooklyn, New York. The Police Report indicates that an individual fell asleep at the wheel and struck two (2) pedestrians, one of whom was Levern Steward.

Counsel on behalf of Mr. Steward filed a demand for Supplemental Underinsured Motorist/ Uninsured Motorist insurance coverage (SUM/UM) arbitration on April 11, 2017. On behalf of Utica Mutual Assurance Company, James Walsh filed a Petition to permanently stay the SUM/UM arbitration aruging that there is no SUM/UM coverage under the Utica insurance policy because Mr. Steward was a pedestrian, and not “occupying” a vehicle.

Judge Santorelli held a framed issue hearing and requested trial memorandum on the law at the conclusion of the hearing. In a written opinion, the Court agreed with Mr. Walsh’s Petition and permanently stayed the arbitration having found as a matter of law that the respondent did not occupy the Utica insured truck at time of the accident and is not an insured within the meaning of the SUM endorsement.