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Mizrahi v. Allstate Ins. Co.

Decided: May 11, 1994.

MELANIE MIZRAHI, GENERAL ADMINISTRATRIX AND ADMINISTRATRIX AD PROSEQUENDUM OF THE ESTATE OF SOLOMON MIZRAHI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY AND SCOTTSDALE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



Fisher, Jr.

Fisher

OPINION

CLARKSON S. FISHER, JR., J.S.C.

May an individual, offered as an expert on insurance matters, testify if that person is not licensed as an "insurance consultant" pursuant to the "New Jersey Insurance Producer Licensing Act," N.J.S.A. 17:22A-1 to -25? That novel issue, twice raised during the course of this action, must be answered in the negative.

I

INTRODUCTION

The trial of this non-jury insurance coverage action began on November 29, 1993. At that time, plaintiff Melanie Mizrahi, the Administratrix ad Prosequendum of the Estate of Solomon Mizrahi (Mizrahi), called her first witness, James H. Frank. During the voir dire concerning his expertise, it was learned that Mr. Frank had an extensive background in various areas of the

insurance industry, including the type of insurance at issue in this case.*fn1 It was also learned, during the voir dire conducted by counsel for defendant Scottsdale Insurance Company (Scottsdale), that Mr. Frank is not now, nor has he ever been, licensed by the Commissioner of Insurance of New Jersey.

Scottsdale moved to bar Mr. Frank from testifying as an insurance expert because he was not licensed under the New Jersey Insurance Producer Licensing Act (the Act). The motion was granted.*fn2 Mizrahi immediately moved for a continuance in order to obtain a new expert. That request was granted. A new expert was retained by Mizrahi and subsequently deposed by Scottsdale. Now before the court is Mizrahi's motion "for a ruling that plaintiff's expert is not required to be licensed in the State of New Jersey and that therefore his lack of a license does not preclude him from testifying on plaintiff's behalf."

II

ANALYSIS

The arguments raised by Mizrahi as to both her former and current experts must be rejected for essentially the same reasons. At the outset, however, it is important to consider the goals and policies that underlie the applicable rules of ...


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