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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.

In a recent Opinion,1 the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed a large grocery store cooperative’s $12 million trial award against its insurance broker for coverage advice that allegedly left its stores exposed to millions of dollars in Superstorm Sandy damage.
Continue Reading Grocery Chain Left Without a Reason to Cry Over Spoiled Milk After Court Affirms Multi-Million Dollar Verdict for Loss from Insurance Broker’s Coverage Advice

Earlier this year, I wrote how, under Michigan law, insurers were required to provide coverage to innocent co-insureds notwithstanding any insurance policy exclusion for intentional acts by an insured.1 This was the case as Michigan law prohibits the exclusion as void against public policy. The Supreme Court of Arkansas, however, very recently found directly to the contrary with respect to innocent co-insureds.
Continue Reading Innocent Co-Insureds: Court Rules Intentional-Acts Exclusion Bars Coverage for House Fire Caused By Spouse

Last year, I wrote about a New Jersey federal court decision that involved an insurance policy’s anti-concurrent causation clause. An anti-concurrent causation clause bars coverage when two identifiable causes-one covered and one not covered-contribute to a single loss. In that case, the court dismissed the insured’s claim for damages to certain portions of the property, noting that federal and state courts in New Jersey have applied and enforced anti-concurrent causation provisions.
Continue Reading New Jersey Introduces Legislation That Prohibits Anti-Concurrent Causation Clauses In Homeowners Insurance Policies

Ordinarily, multiple family members residing in the same household qualify as insured persons under a homeowner’s insurance policy. What happens when one of the insureds intentionally causes a loss, but the others do not? Are the innocent co-insureds precluded from recovering under the policy?
Continue Reading Am I Barred From Recovering Under An Insurance Policy Because of Another Co-Insured’s Intentional Acts?

Homeowner insurance policies often contain exclusions disclaiming coverage for certain losses if an insured residence is unoccupied. These exclusions are designed to prevent extensive damage from accidents that might otherwise be avoided with early detection or simple preventative measures, as an unoccupied house presents a risk that damage will go unnoticed for some time.
Continue Reading Does the Presence of Furniture In My House Satisfy My Insurance Policy’s Occupancy Requirement?

Homeowners insurance policies ordinarily exclude losses caused by water or sewage which backs up through sewers or drains. Does it follow that all water or sewage that infiltrates a home through sewers or drains constitutes excluded back up?
Continue Reading Is All Damage Caused By Sewage or Water Infiltration Excluded By My Homeowners Insurance Policy?

In a recent case, a federal appeals court held that named insureds’ son and daughter-in-law were required to submit to an examination under oath (“EUO”) because they resided in the insureds’ house, and that their failure to do so precluded recovery on the insurance claim.1
Continue Reading Are My Children and Their Spouses Required to Submit to an Examination Under Oath for My Property Damage Claim?

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 Arson of Vacant House: Covered Fire Loss or Excluded Vandalism?