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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 addition to physical damage caused by an insured peril, there may be significant costs incurred by an insured to remove debris following a loss. Most property insurance policies include payments for debris removal as an “additional coverage.” Typically, if the total of the debris removal expenses plus the amount for direct physical loss exceeds the policy’s limit, the policy provides an additional amount for the debris removal expenses.
Continue Reading Are Costs To Physically Detach Unusable Material From a Damaged Building Covered Under An Additional Limit For Debris Removal?

In a recent case,1 a Pennsylvania federal court ruled the earth movement exclusion within an insurance policy was not limited to natural causes but applied to damage by human causes as well. In that case, an insured’s commercial building sustained damage due to its neighbor storing wooden railroad ties on its property and laying them against the insured’s building. This caused the soil beneath the insured’s property to shift, resulting in significant structural damage to the insured’s building in the form of a bowed exterior block wall.
Continue Reading Is the Earth Movement Exclusion Limited to Damage From Natural Causes?

In 2007, a law became effective in Maryland that, for the first time, permitted insureds to sue their insurers for failing to act in good faith in settling their first party claims under a property insurance policy. The cause of action, which is found in Maryland Code § 3-1701, applies in actions to determine whether coverage exists under the relevant insurance policy, and also in actions to determine the extent to which the insured is entitled to receive payment from the insurer for a covered loss.
Continue Reading Insurance Bad Faith in Maryland: Part 1

The National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) permits an insured to file a supplemental Proof of Loss that adds or changes an earlier submitted version. To be valid, the supplemental Proof of Loss must be filed within 60 days of the loss. No exception allows the insured to submit a supplemental Proof of Loss after the 60 days, even if the insured later determines that the flood damage it sustained exceeds the amount stated in the original Proof of Loss.
Continue Reading Can an Insured Submit a Supplemental Flood Proof of Loss If the Insurer Has Already Paid the Initial Proof of Loss?

In a recent case,1 a federal appeals court ruled that the insureds’ rental of their house to a good friend for two-and-a-half years constituted a “business purpose” for which coverage for a loss was properly denied by the insurer under the relevant homeowners insurance policy.
Continue Reading When Is The Rental Of My House A Business Use So As To Preclude Coverage For Losses?

In a previous post, I discussed a case that found that damage to a dwelling from a broken municipal water main was covered under a homeowners insurance policy. In that case,1 the New Jersey Appellate Division concluded that the term “surface water” in the insurance policy’s water exclusion was ambiguous and that the water main break’s water did not qualify as surface water under both definitions of the term.
Continue Reading Is Damage From a Broken Water Main Covered By My Insurance Policy?

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