Photo of Paul LaSalle

Paul L. LaSalle focuses his practice of law in first party property damage cases and bad faith litigation. Prior to joining the Merlin Law Group, Mr. LaSalle defended public entities and public employees in civil rights, personal injury and employment litigation matters. He uses his prior experience working with insurance companies to be a passionate and prudent advocate for policy holders to ensure they receive all deserved benefits from their insurance policies following their losses.

Mr. LaSalle has litigated hundreds of varying types of civil cases. He has substantial appellate experience, having argued a dozen appeals before state and federal courts. He has also successfully petitioned, then won a case before, the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Mr. LaSalle is a Cum Laude graduate of Monmouth University and the University of Dayton School of Law, where he earned the highest grade in his legal research and writing class. He is a life-long resident of Monmouth County, New Jersey. When not working hard for his clients, Mr. LaSalle spends his time at the beach with his family.
Read More...

In a recent case,1 a federal appeals court addressed the issue of whether fire damage to a vacant dwelling from an arsonist was considered distinct from vandalism, so as to not implicate an exclusion within a homeowners insurance policy. In that case, Wells Fargo Bank owned an insurance policy on an abandoned house that an arsonist set ablaze. The insured sued its insurer after the insurer refused to indemnify the insured for the loss, relying on a policy provision exclusion for damage caused by “vandalism or malicious mischief” after the property had been vacant for more than thirty consecutive days.
Continue Reading

When engaged by a member of the public to obtain insurance, an insurance broker is expected to possess reasonable knowledge of the types of policies, their different terms, and the coverage available in the area in which their insured seeks to be protected. If the insurance broker neglects to procure the insurance or if the policy is void or materially deficient or does not provide the coverage they undertook to supply because of their failure to exercise the requisite skill or diligence, the insurance broker may be liable to their insured for the loss sustained.
Continue Reading

Hurricane Florence 9/12/2018

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting at the Spring Meeting & Seminar of the Professional Public Adjusters Association of New Jersey (“PPAANJ”). One of the more thoroughly discussed topics during my presentation was a recent New Jersey federal court decision involving insurance policy language commonly known as an anti-concurrent/anti-sequential causation clause.1 The clause bars coverage when two identifiable causes-one covered and one not covered-contribute to a single loss.2
Continue Reading

Linda A. Lacewell, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services

Since the New York Department of Insurance was abolished in October 2011, the New York State Department of Financial Services has supervised and regulated all insurance companies that do business in New York. The Department of Financial Services attempts to ensure fair and equitable dealings between insurers, agents, and policyholders regarding all insurance transactions. The Department of Financial Services also receives and investigates all complaints against agents or insurers.
Continue Reading

In a recent court opinion,1 the New Jersey Appellate Division interpreted a homeowner’s insurance policy’s water damage exclusion and determined whether damage from a broken municipal water main under a public street was covered under the policy. In that case, a homeowner brought an action against his insurer for breach of contract after the insurer disclaimed coverage on the basis that damage to his real and personal property resulting from a broken water main was excluded under the policy as flood, surface and ground water intrusion.
Continue Reading

The statute of limitations period applicable to a breach of contract cause of action in New York is ordinarily six years. However, parties to a contract may agree, in writing, that any lawsuit must be commenced within a shorter period of time. Moreover, while the statute of limitations on a breach of insurance contract generally starts to run on the date that coverage is disclaimed by the insurance company, the parties to an insurance contract are likewise free to include distinct language in their agreement demonstrating that they intend for the limitations period to run from the date of the underlying loss as opposed to the date of the disclaimer of coverage.
Continue Reading