Insurer Wants Out of Crane Collapse Liabilities

     MINEOLA, N.Y. (CN) – A state-run insurance company wants to share some of the legal expenses for more than 50 civil lawsuits filed after the deadly collapse of a 200-foot crane in Midtown Manhattan.
     The March 15, 2008, crash, which killed seven people and injured dozens, brought about a string of civil suits and a criminal trial of a rigger who was acquitted of negligent homicide and other charges.
     New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF), which has been defending Joy Contractors in the ongoing wrongful death and personal injury litigations, recently demanded that Lincoln General, a private Pennsylvania company, reimburse those legal expenses.
     Lincoln has argued that it no longer has to pay because it extinguished its obligations by settling with Rite Aid, which had a store damaged by the collapse, for $1 million.
     NYSIF says, however, that Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Smith ruled that Lincoln would settle the Rite Aid action for $450,000, and an action involving one of NYSIF’s clients for $550,000.
     NYSIF seeks unspecified damages for breach of contract, declaratory judgment, unjust enrichment, contribution and subrogation.
     It is represented by Robert Baxter of Baxter Smith & Shapiro in Hicksville, N.Y.

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