With all that is going on in the world, it is a logical extension to think that insurance companies or states might extend the period for filing suit. For example, most recently, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an Executive Order suspending “any specific time limit” on the start or filing of any legal action, notice, motion or “other process or proceeding.” The wide-ranging executive order suspending the statute of limitations applies but is not limited to, criminal procedure law, civil practice law and the courts of claims act. The order pausing those rules goes through April 19, 2020. Likewise, the Supreme Court of Georgia has tolled the statute of limitations in civil cases through April 13, 2020. However, for most states right now, it appears as though it is business as usual when it comes to complying with the statute of limitations. Therefore, it is important that insureds, public adjusters, and attorneys all be aware of any impending suit limitations periods.
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In this unreported New York decision,1 Steven Hirth filed suit for breach of contract on a homeowner’s insurance policy after American Insurance Company (AIC) denied coverage for additional living expenses (ALE). On August 12, 2012 Hirth’s apartment sustained water damage when another apartment in his building had a water issue that damaged Mr. Hirth’s apartment so severely, he and his family were forced to evacuate and arrange for lodging elsewhere. AIC paid him $208,108.63 for damage to the apartment and for contents. AIC also paid an additional $10,725.38 in ALE for the Hirth’s hotel stay from August 26 through September 1, 2012. AIC also offered to pay for a comparable hotel in New York City for an additional four months (the period of restoration). Hirth disagreed with AIC’s estimate of the cost of the hotel and instead entered into a short-term sublease at $22,500 per month (AIC originally offered $40,000 per month). The repairs to his apartment took almost two years, and the apartment could not be occupied until July 1, 2014. Hirth declined to provide certain documents to AIC without a confidentiality agreement and AIC declined any further payment for ALE. Hirth filed suit on February 24, 2015.


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