In Sandy Dispute, Court Declines to Hear Motions to Strike Expert Opinions “Dressed Up” as Summary Judgment Motions for Loss of Business Income and Property Damage Claims

In Port Pires, LLC v. Scottsdale Insurance Company, the Court declined to hear summary judgment motions brought by the insured for loss of business income and property damage payments after determining that the motions were actually motions to strike expert opinions “dressed up” as summary judgment motions. The insured’s restaurant was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and the insurer partially reimbursed the insured for the loss, but the insured requested additional payments. The parties entered arbitration, but the insured rejected the award that was issued and demanded a trial de novo. Subsequently, the insurer filed two motions for summary judgment: one for additional payments to the insured for property damage, and another for additional payments to the insured for loss of business income.

However, in analyzing the motions, the Court determined that the motions were actually motions to strike expert opinions. As such, the issues regarding the insured’s architectural and accounting experts had to be resolved before the Court could analyze the insured’s claims for additional payments. The Court denied the motions for summary judgment without prejudice, and directed the insurer to move to strike the opinions of the insured’s expert. The Court held that once the anticipated motion or motions with regard to the experts were resolved, the insurer could again move for summary judgment.