Tahir v. Travelers Property Casualty Ins. Co.
Cite as: Tahir v. Travelers Property Casualty Ins. Co., 570632/11, NYLJ 1202584003013, at *1 (App. Tm. 1st, Decided September 19, 2012)
Before: Schoenfeld, J.P., Shulman, Hunter, Jr., JJ.
Decided: September 19, 2012
Defendant appeals from a judgment of the Civil Court of the City of New York, New York County (Anil C. Singh, J.), entered on or about May 10, 2010, after a nonjury trial, in favor of plaintiff and awarding it damages in the principal sum of $1,277.64.
Judgment (Anil C. Singh, J.), entered on or about May 10, 2010, reversed, with $25 costs, and judgment awarded in favor of defendant dismissing the complaint. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment accordingly.
It is well settled that the 30-day period within which an insurer must pay or deny a claim for first-party no-fault benefits is tolled until it receives a response to properly
issued verification requests (see 11 NYCRR 65-3.8[a]; Hospital for Joint Diseases v. Travelers Prop. Cas. Ins. Co., 9 NY3d 312, 317 ). Here, the defendant insurer established at trial that it timely and properly mailed its initial and follow-up verification requests to the plaintiff medical provider's attorney, as authorized by plaintiff's counsel's prior correspondence to defendant (see St. Vincent's Hosp. of Richmond v. American Tr. Ins. Co., 299 AD2d 338, 339-340 ; New York Hosp. Med. Ctr. of Queens v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 293 AD2d 588, 590-591 ), and that plaintiff failed to respond. In the absence of any countervailing evidence from plaintiff, the clear and consistent testimony of defendant's litigation examiner as to the substance of plaintiff's counsel's letter of representation and defendant's standard office mailing procedure was sufficient to establish proper mailing of the verification requests and to create an as yet unrebutted presumption of receipt, and this despite the absence from the record of counsel's representation letter.
We note plaintiff's failure to file a respondent's brief on appeal.
THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER OF THE COURT.