United States District Court, D. New Jersey
KEVIN MCNULTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, Judy Luzzi, brings this action against HUB
International Northeast Ltd. ("HUB") and Fidelity
and Guaranty Insurance Underwriters, Inc.
("Fidelity"), an affiliate of The Travelers
Companies, Inc. ("Travelers").
now move for summary judgment. As to defendant HUB, the
motion is granted on all Counts. As to defendant Fidelity, it
is granted as to Count I, but denied as to Counts II and III.
December 2013, at the suggestion of her real estate agent,
Ms. Luzzi decided to obtain renter's insurance before
moving into a second-floor apartment of a two-family home in
Woodland Park, New Jersey. (DSMF ¶ 1; Pl. Dep.
13:12-:23, 38:6-39:17). She testified that she "was
seeking coverage for renter's insurance, whatever that
covered." (Pl. Dep. 44:12-: 13). Thereafter, in mid to
late December, she telephoned the same company that she used
for her auto insurance, Travelers of New Jersey.
(Id. at 39:24-40:1, 41:l-:2, 43:13-:14). Luzzi spoke
to an unidentified individual who told her to call HUB (id.
at 40:19-:23), an "insurance agency licensed to issue
policies of insurance in the State of New Jersey."
(Compl. ¶ 1. See Ans. ¶ 1) (admitting that HUB
"is authorized to conduct business in the State of New
Jersey and HUB maintains its principal place of business in
the State of New York").
telephoned and spoke to Anna Rodriguez, who she believed was
a representative of HUB. (DSMF ¶ 2; PRSMF ¶ 2; Pl.
Dep. at 42:20-:22, 43:l-:2). According to Luzzi, during that
call, Ms. Rodriguez asked her only the following questions:
1) if she had a Fire extinguisher, 2) where the extinguisher
was, 3) if she had a deadlock on the door, and 4} how many
rooms were in the apartment. (Id. at 45:22-:25,
55:l-:2), Luzzi testified that although she thought that the
renter's insurance would cover her personal property, no
one ever explained to her what the renter's insurance
would cover. (Id. at 44:14-45:2). Luzzi testified
that Ms. Rodriguez did not ask her about her personal
property or the value of that property. (Id. at
46:10-: 11, 54:14-:20). According to Luzzi, Ms. Rodriguez
also did not discuss, or ask her about, the dollar limits of
coverage. (Id. at 47:3-:4). See (id. at
46:10-: 17, 50:21-:22). Luzzi testified that she
"trusted" Rodriguez and believed that the questions
Rodriguez asked "were the only questions that needed to
be asked." (Id. at 46:4-:7). See (id.
at 51:l-:4, 54:9-: 13). Because she was not asked, Luzzi did
not provide any information about her personal
property. (Id. at 54:14-:20).
Rodriguez had a different recollection of die telephone
conversation. After reviewing her notes of the conversation,
Rodriguez testified that she specifically asked Luzzi about
personal property; specifically, she asked about furs, fine
china, jewelry, or other valuable items. (Rod. Dep. 26:16-:
17, 27:8-:10). Based on her notes, Rodriguez testified that
she explained valuable-item coverage to Luzzi, who ultimately
"declined" such coverage. (Id. at
27:l-:25). Rodriguez also recalled that she asked Luzzi if
she wanted a "platinum package," which provided
coverage for valuable items on an all-risk basis.
(Id. at 34:8-: 17). Rodriguez's notes indicate
that Luzzi "declined" that package. (Id.
at 34:18-: 19. See Rod. Dep., Exh. AR-3 (providing a
copy of Rodriguez's notes)).
Luzzi moved into die apartment. She received a letter from
Travelers dated December 30, 2013, which enclosed a copy of a
Travelers renter's insurance Declarations Page and
Homeowners Policy Booklet. (Pl. Dep., Exh. A, P-4). The letter
identified the policy period as December 26, 2013 through
December 26, 2014, and stated, in part:
You will find important documents related to your Travelers
policy and coverage:
Your New Insurance Policy, which includes your
Declarations,  policy form and
endorsements. Please take a moment to review these
important materials, especially your Declarations Page, which
shows the coverages and limits that you have selected.
[Id.) (emphasis in original). The Declarations Page
set a total policy premium of $126. (ECF No. 48-4, Exh. B at
1). Section I of the form, entitled "Property
Coverages," set a $15, 000 limit for personal property.
[Id.) As for the Homeowners Policy Booklet,
Section I addressed "Property Coverages," including
coverage for personal property. (Id. at 13-14).
did not read the policy because she "wouldn't have
understood it." (Pl. Dep. 65:14). She explained: "I
don't understand these policies. They're written way
above my head." (Id. at 65:15-: 16). She also
testified that she was unaware that the policy had limits of
coverage for certain types of personal property, and never
read that section of the policy because she
"wouldn't have understood it, anyway."
(Id. at 73:2-: 11). She stated: "I had the
policy and I figured I was covered." (Id. at
65:20). Plaintiff placed her copy of the policy in a Tiling
cabinet. (Id. at 65:19, 71:l-:5).
two months later, on February 17, 2014, a fire occurred at
Luzzi's apartment. (Compl. ¶ 9). After the fire,
Luzzi reported the loss to HUB and Fidelity, and submitted a
claim for the loss of her personal property. (PSMF ¶ 19;
Compl. ¶ 10). Specifically, she submitted
"Inventory Submission" spreadsheets in which she
identified the items that were lost in the fire. (Pl. Dep.,
Exh. P-7) (listing 354 items and the "quantity
lost" for each of those items)). These included two
decorative figurines each of which had a $750 replacement
cost, 475 pairs of shoes with a total replacement cost of
$56, 350, an $8, 000 full-length mink coat, a $6, 000
three-quarter length mink coat, a $4, 500 mid-length mink
coat, a $4, 000 full-length Persian lamb coat, a $3, 000
Persian lamb jacket with a mink collar, four diamond
bracelets each of which had a $2, 125 replacement cost, and
seven gold bracelets each of which had a replacement cost of
$857.14. According to Luzzi, her actual damages on a
replacement cost basis were $270, 000, plus additional living
expenses. Fidelity paid $15, 000, the policy's personal
property limit. (PSMF ¶ 20; Compl. ¶ 10).
24, 2015, Luzzi filed a Complaint against HUB and Fidelity in
the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Passaic
County. (Compl.) She asserts three claims against HUB and
Fidelity based on the theory that "[i]n obtaining a
policy of insurance from Fidelity," HUB was acting as
the agent, servant, workman or employee of Fidelity for the
purpose of providing a policy of insurance issued by
Fidelity." (Id. at ¶ 6).
of the Complaint asserts breach of contract. "In
obtaining the policy of insurance for Plaintiff," HUB,
as agent for Fidelity, "either negligently failed to
obtain the correct information from Plaintiff concerning the
proposed insured property" or "failed to transmit
the correct information to Fidelity," thereby causing
Fidelity to limit Plaintiffs recovery "to only $15,
000." (Comp., I ¶ 11).
By failing to obtain the proper information in order to
obtain appropriate insurance coverage for [her] premises or,
alternatively in failing to transmit the proper information
necessary to obtain insurance coverage for [her] property,
HUB breached its agreement to obtain reasonable,
necessary and proper insurance coverage for [her] property
thereby becoming liable for the resulting damage caused by
Fidelity's limitation of [her] claim.
(Id. at I ¶ 12) (emphasis added).
II of the Complaint alleges negligence:
The direct and factual cause of the uncovered losses was the
negligence and carelessness of HUB in failing to obtain the
reasonable, necessary and proper insurance coverage for [her]
property and/or in failing to properly transmit the necessary
information in order to obtain insurance coverage for [her]
(Id. at II ¶ 2).
III of the Complaint alleges negligence/respondeat superior
The failure of Fidelity's agent HUB, acting within the
course and scope of its authority and on the business of
Fidelity in failing to obtain and/or transmit the necessary
information is negligence and such negligence is imputed to
Fidelity under the Doctrine of Respondeat Superior.
(Id. at III ¶ 4).
Complaint seeks compensatory damages, attorney's fees,
costs of suit, and "such other relief as the Court may
deem equitable and just." (Id. at text
following I ¶ 12, II ¶ 2, III ¶ 4.
See Comp. ¶ 10 (stating that "actual
damages were ...