Robert M. Kaplan, Esq., a partner in our southern New Jersey office, received the Superior Court of New Jersey ruling in the case of Cupido v. Perez, a personal injury auto matter where the Superior Court overturned the lower court ruling. The Superior Court found the auto insurer, although not authorized to transact insurance business in NJ, was affiliated with other insurers so authorized and, therefore, is subject to the limitation-on-lawsuit threshold, commonly referred to as the “deemer statue.”
On behalf of the defendant, Mr. Kaplan argued the plaintiff was subject to the deemer statute because plaintiff’s out-of-state insurer controlled affiliated insurance companies authorized to transact commercial motor vehicle insurance in the State.
In reversing the lower court ruling, the Superior Court noted “… generally, commercial motor vehicles are not required to be insured for PIP benefits … (h)owever, the issue is not whether a plaintiff’s insurance policy actually includes New Jersey no-fault PIP benefits coverage. Rather, the issue is whether an out-of-state insurer that issues a motor vehicle insurance policy was authorized to transact either private passenger automobile or motor vehicle insurance business (including commercial motor vehicle insurance), directly or indirectly, in New Jersey. If so, then the insurance policy is deemed to include New Jersey no-fault PIP benefits, standard liability insurance, and uninsured motorist coverage pursuant to the deemer statute, thus subjecting the plaintiff-insured to the defense of the limitation-on-lawsuit threshold.”