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Two New Jersey decisions provide guidance on policy reformation
Reformation of an insurance policy is an equitable remedy that is rarely employed by the courts. Yet, in the rare circumstances when it may be applied, the remedy can throw a wrench into even the most well-developed coverage defenses. If successful, a reformation posture can take policy language that clearly precludes coverage, and reform the policy such that it ultimately provides coverage. In 2021, New Jersey’s courts issued two decisions which illustrate the circumstances when reformation may be ordered.
Whose duty is it? Crafting a “no duty of care” defense
It is a scenario that arises every day – a subcontractor’s employee injures themselves on a job site and is out of work for an extended period of time. Under negligence principles, who had the duty to ensure employee safety and can thus be potentially liable for the employee’s injuries and damages, including perhaps decades of future lost earnings?
Proposed COVID-19 legislation in New Jersey
The COVID-19 global pandemic and the resulting efforts to contain it are events of unprecedented scale. New Jersey is among the states seeing the most comprehensive containment measures, including the shuttering of many non-essential businesses or modifying their operations in a manner that impacts their income stream. For instance, as of March 16, 2020, bars and restaurants can no longer offer “dine in” options and can now only operate by takeout or delivery.