NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted April 23, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. L-2474-12.
Law Offices of Edward Hoagland, Jr., attorneys for appellant 21st Century
Insurance Company (Sue-Ann Rowley, on the brief). William H. Carmel, attorney for respondent Meital Raviv.
Harwood Lloyd, LLC, attorneys for respondent GEICO (Curtis J. Turpan, of counsel and on the brief; Paul E. Kiel, on the brief).
Before Judges Alvarez and St. John.
The question posed by this appeal is whether the statute of limitations applicable to claims for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits expires two years after the date of the accident even where the claimant was unaware of the identity of the insurance carrier. We answer the question in the negative in this unusual case, concluding that plaintiff Meital Raviv is entitled to benefits payable by defendant 21st Century, improperly designated as Farmers Insurance Group. We affirm the May 11, 2012 judgment compelling 21st Century to extend PIP coverage.
We summarize the relevant facts. On December 1, 2009, Raviv was injured while driving a car, owned by a friend and insured by GEICO. A few days later, she submitted an affidavit of no insurance along with a claim for benefits to GEICO, listing her address as 10 Hilliard Avenue, Edgewater. The affidavit stated that she lived at that address with her husband Oswaldo Novo.
Born in Israel in 1977, Raviv relocated to the United States in 2004 or 2005, and has some language difficulties. Counsel nonetheless agreed before a 2012 examination under oath (EUO) that no Hebrew interpreter was required. She lived at the Hilliard Avenue address for approximately four or five years.
In March 2010, GEICO conducted the first EUO of Raviv. She testified that she first lived at that address with her sister Shlomit Raviv (Shlomit) who moved out when Raviv got married. She thought it was probable that her sister's vehicle was still registered there.
Raviv then also stated that her husband did not want her to provide information regarding his car insurance. It was later determined that Novo registered his car in Texas where he had an apartment, and he elected, as permitted by Texas law, not to provide insurance for his wife. He and Shlomit were both flight attendants, and Texas was his home base and his place of residence after the parties separated sometime in 2008.
At a March 2012 EUO conducted by 21st Century, Raviv noted that although Novo was on the lease in 2007 and 2008, she could not recall if he was on the lease in 2009. Raviv also clarified that Shlomit lived with her at the Hilliard Avenue apartment, moving out briefly around the time of Raviv's marriage in late 2007. Her recollection was ...