Monthly Archives: May 2017

SUM –Why is it so Important to your Auto Insurance?

May 4, 2017

What do the letters “S-U-M” mean and why is it so important concerning your auto insurance? Well, SUM stands for Supplementary Underinsured Motorist coverage.  To drive in New York State one needs a minimum basic 25/50 policy for third party liability.

That means in any auto accident, if you are sued, you have $25,000 coverage available for any one person making a claim against you and $50,000 available to all parties making a claim against you (if there is more than one).

This is really an inadequate amount of liability coverage in today’s world.  What happens if you are in an auto accident and the other party is at fault and they only have this minimum $25,000 available for your claim against them?  Further, what if your medical bills and lost time far exceed $25,000 – not to mention your pain and suffering from your injuries?

Here is where SUM comes into play. If you yourself have a $300,000 liability policy, you can add to your coverage $300,000 SUM. What this means is that after you collect on your claim against the party at fault from his insurance company of the $25,000 limit, you can then seek damages with a claim against YOUR OWN COMPANY by filing an SUM claim. $275,000 would be available to you, the injured party ($300,000SUM coverage less the $25,000 collected from the party at fault).

There are some technicalities such as one must file the SUM claim within a reasonable time of discovering the other driver has coverage inadequate to “cover” your damages, and one must obtain your own company’s consent before accepting the policy limits of the faulting party’s coverage.

If you only have minimum SUM coverage, we advise it’s time you speak to your insurance broker about a change in coverage.

Misiano Wins Federal Appeal Judgment for Client

May 3, 2017

On April 24, James Misiano argued a case before the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit – Green Tree Servicing vs. Christodoulakis. His clients, Christodoulakis, were sued in Federal District court by Green Tree for unjust enrichment of a sum of $295,000.

“The case was a true David versus Goliath case and was hotly contested,” said Misiano.

Misiano raised the defenses of Standing (Green Tree was not the real party in interest) and the measure of damages – if unjust enrichment were to be declared occurred – was a much lower figure.  His motions were denied and basically lost at every battle in the lower court.  However, Misiano appealed the decision for a money judgment of $295,000 plus interest.

The three judge Appellate court, after reading Misiano’s extensive brief and hearing argument, decided in his favor in that the measure of damages was indeed incorrectly assessed and lowered the judgment to $106,500 – saving the client quite a bit of money.

“This was an exciting experience for me,” said Misiano. “I traveled to downtown Manhattan where the court sits and was grilled with questions concerning the case by the panel of judges.  It brought me back to my law school days when every day a professor challenged your logic.  While I have argued cases before NYS Appellate division, this was my first Federal Appeal and I’m glad I persisted.”