Sep 18 2017

Courtroom Success 2017-29: Morrison Mahoney Partner John Graceffa & Associate Brian Suslak

Morrison Mahoney Partner John Graceffa and Associate Brian Suslak recently prevailed in the Appellate Division of the District Court. The Appellate Division upheld the entry of summary judgment in favor of our client, an insurer, in a G.L. c. 93A/176D claim on the grounds that the claim was barred by the statute of limitations.

In December 2010, the plaintiff/appellant was involved as a passenger in a single car motor vehicle accident. He sustained serious bodily injuries and made UM and PIP claims with the insure, which was the insurer of the vehicle in which he was a passenger. After receiving the claim, the insurer requested that the plaintiff/appellant submit to an EUO on multiple occasions, which he refused to do. The insurer subsequently denied PIP and UM coverage to the plaintiff/appellant by letter in June 2011. In July 2015, the plaintiff/appellant filed suit against the insurer, alleging that its denial of PIP and UM coverage violated G.L. c. 93A and 176D.

Upon receipt of the assignment, Brian and John promptly moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the claim was barred by the statute of limitations, which was granted in November 2015. The plaintiff/appellant subsequently appealed, and the Appellate Division affirmed the entry of summary judgment in favor of the insurer, reasoning that if any violation of G.L. c. 93A and/or 176D occurred, it was when the insurer denied the PIP and UM claim in June 2011. Accordingly, the plaintiff/appellant failed to file the lawsuit within the four year statute of limitations permitted for c. 93A/176D claims.

Brian Suslak and John Graceffa prepared both briefs, and Brian argued the motion for summary judgment and the appeal before the Appellate Division, with John second chairing the appellate argument. The decision was reported in the September 11, 2017 edition of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

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