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Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Co. v. Parkshore Development Corp.

June 17, 2009

PENNSYLVANIA NATIONAL MUTUAL CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PARKSHORE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert B. Kugler United States District Judge

(Not for Publication)

(Docket Entry No. 31)

OPINION

Presently before the Court is a motion by Defendant Parkshore Development Corporation ("Parkshore") for reconsideration of this Court's Opinion and Order of September 10, 2008 in which the Court denied Parkshore's motion for summary judgment and granted in part the motion for summary judgment filed by Plaintiff Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company ("PNI"). For the reasons set forth below, Parkshore's motion for reconsideration will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Parkshore was the developer and general contractor for the Catalina Cove Condominiums. The last unit was completed in 1998. In 2006, the Catalina Cove Condominium Association ("Catalina Cove") filed suit against Parkshore and other defendants, claiming that Parkshore breached its contract with purchasers of the condominium units by failing to design and construct the condominium buildings in an acceptable manner; was negligent in designing and constructing the condominium buildings; breached implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose; and violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. Catalina Cove further claimed that Parkshore and the other defendants were negligent in failing to properly diagnose the cause of and failing to remedy water infiltration, failing to repair structural damage caused by water infiltration, and failing to prevent further water infiltration. According to Catalina Cove, this negligence caused common elements of the Catalina Cove condominiums to sustain substantial damage.

Parkshore submitted a claim for defense and indemnification in the Catalina Cove action to PNI, from whom Parkshore had obtained a Comprehensive General Liability ("CGL") insurance policy. PNI disclaimed coverage for the Catalina Cove action, finding that the policy requirements of an "occurrence" and "property damage" had not been met. PNI subsequently filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Parkshore in connection with the Catalina Cove suit.

Both Parkshore and PNI filed motions for summary judgment. PNI argued that coverage under its policy had not been triggered because there was no "occurrence" within the meaning of the policy. According to PNI, Catalina Cove's claims were based on faulty workmanship, which is not an occurrence. According to Parkshore, there was an occurrence because Catalina Cove's claims were for consequential damages that arose after construction had been completed and that were unanticipated by Parkshore. In its September 10, 2008 Opinion and Order, this Court found that there had been no occurrence, and granted in part PNI's motion for summary judgment and denied Parkshore's motion for summary judgment.Parkshore now seeks reconsideration of that Opinion and Order, arguing that this Court failed to address the distinction between a construction defect present at the time of closing and consequential damages sustained later as a result of the construction defect, and that this failure constituted a "manifest error of law."

II. STANDARD

In the District of New Jersey,Local Civil Rule 7.1(i) governs motions for reconsideration. Church & Dwight Co. v. Abbott Labs.,545 F. Supp. 2d 447, 449 (D.N.J. 2008).This rule "permits a party to seek reconsideration by the Court of matters 'which [it] believes the Court has overlooked' when it ruled on a motion." NL Indus., Inc. v. Commercial Union Ins. Co., 935 F. Supp. 513, 515 (D.N.J. 1996) (quoting local rule); see also United States v. Compaction Sys. Corp., 88 F. Supp. 2d 339, 345 (D.N.J. 1999) (noting that party seeking reconsideration must show "that dispositive factual matters or controlling decisions of law were overlooked by the court in reaching its prior decision"). "The standard of review involved in a motion for [reconsideration] is quite high, and therefore relief under this rule is granted very sparingly." United States v. Jones, 158 F.R.D. 309, 314 (D.N.J. 1994) (citing Maldonado v. Lucca, 636 F. Supp. 621, 630 (D.N.J. 1986)). In order to prevail, the party moving for reconsideration must "show[] at least one of the following grounds: (1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court granted the motion for summary judgment; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Max's Seafood Cafe v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing N. River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)).

Rule 7.1(i) does not allow parties to restate arguments which the court has already considered. SeeG-69 v. Degnan, 748 F. Supp. 274, 275 (D.N.J. 1990). "A motion that merely raises a disagreement with the Court's initial decision is not an appropriate reconsideration motion, but should be dealt with in the normal appellate process." Church & Dwight Co., 545 F. Supp. 2d at 450 (citing Bowers v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 130 F. Supp. 2d 610, 612 (D.N.J. 2001)).

III. DISCUSSION

In its September 10, 2008 Opinion, this Court found that there was no occurrence because the only damage was to the condominiums built by Parkshore. The Court noted that the New Jersey Supreme Court has not ruled on when, if ever, faulty workmanship could constitute an occurrence. This Court further noted, however, that the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey has held that faulty workmanship that damages only the work product of the insured is not an occurrence. See Firemen's Ins. Co. of Newark v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. ...


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