The split three-judge panel of the Superior Court had ruled that the two brothers and the father of victim Benjamin Lipsky each had their own bodily injury claim for a potential maximum of $100,000 rather than having a single claim based on the victim's injuries.
The panel upheld a Philadelphia trial court's ruling that the definition of "bodily injury" in State Farm's policy agreement was ambiguous enough to allow for negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) to be included as a bodily injury, but the court did so on slightly different grounds.
The Superior Court found the definition wasn't ambiguous, but rather was simply broad enough to include emotional harm without physical injury, according to the memorandum opinion written by President Judge Correale Stevens.
Legal Malpractice After Settlement?
The justices were also set to weigh in on a legal malpractice suit against Margolis Edelstein, stemming from a case in which one of Margolis' clients' insurers paid a $5 million policy limit before trial but was then found not liable by a jury.
In Ingerman Affordable Housing v. Margolis Edelstein, Margolis attorney Walter J. Timby III represented a low-income housing company and the similarly owned construction company it uses to build properties.
The case stems from a toddler's fall from a screened window at his low-income housing unit in Philadelphia. In the ensuing litigation, Timby represented both the housing company Ingerman Affordable Housing and its construction component Ingerman Construction which are insured under separate "towers" by different insurance companies.
Ingerman Affordable Housing was the first to enter into a partial settlement, through its insurer TIG Insurance Co. leaving Ingerman Construction exposed.
Ingerman Construction then settled through its insurer, Ohio Casualty, for the full limit of its excess policy $5 million.
The case proceeded to trial because there were remaining cross claims, but a jury found that Ingerman Affordable Housing was alone liable to the tune of $7 million. The jury found in favor of Ingerman Construction.
Ohio Casualty, as assignee of Ingerman Construction's claim, followed with a legal malpractice action against Margolis, claiming that Timby, the attorney, was presented with a conflict of interest by representing all of the Ingerman entities.