Eastern District Awash in Sandy Insurance Cases
Though some insurance policies on wind storm damage have a one-year window on when its determination can be challenged, Delgado said the "norm" is a two-year statute of limitations.
Despite the possibility of more lawsuits, Delgado, a former adjuster and insurance defense attorney, said there is a "huge percentage of attrition" between policyholders who are denied and those who press on in court.
That drop-off, he said, was attributable to a possible plaintiff's flagging will and also the fact that "some people don't even have the time."
One of Delgado's client's, Dr. Harold Parnes, a certified diagnostic radiologist and neuroradiologist in Brooklyn, had three policies on his business through CNA and put in a claim after getting 40 inches of sewage in the office building's basement.
Parnes said he put in a claim for "millions of dollars" but has only received a "small percentage." He said Delgado is now preparing a lawsuit.
Noting he built the practice himself, Parnes, 53, said he got insurance for "peace of mind in case something happens, then something happens" and he has not been fully covered.
"That's really not appropriate," he said.
As the Eastern District grapples with the case spike, other courts are not as affected.
Southern District Executive Edward Friedland said there were four pending Sandy-related suits over disputed flood insurance claims and another one that closed in December.
Though there could have been other Sandy-related suits that concluded even earlier, Friedland said any previously-uncounted cases would not make for a case load "anywhere near the numbers" in the Eastern District.
The Southern District covers Manhattan, the Bronx and the Hudson Valley; though Lower Manhattan was slammed during Sandy, the storm's full wrath was due east.