New York Insurance Coverage and Surety Litigation Attorneys

The lawyers at Muchmore & Associates PLLC are experienced in litigating insurance coverage disputes under general liability, property and casualty, and workers compensation insurance contracts, and litigation over premium calculations. The firm's attorneys also litigate claims against sureties in relation to performance bonds, payment 
bonds, and mechanic's lien discharge bonds.

New York is an insurer-friendly 
jurisdiction and does not recognize an independent cause of action for bad faith denials of coverage. As a result, insurance companies often disclaim coverage until a law firm is retained to litigate a claim against the policy. Insurance companies in New York often disclaim coverage on the basis of late notice of an insurance claim, although New York Insurance Law § 3420 to require insurance companies to demonstrate prejudice in order to disclaim coverage. Insurance carriers have a broad duty to defend their insureds from lawsuits, even when the claim lacks merit and no liability exists on the part of the insurer or the insured to the claimant.

Our Lawyers know Insurance Coverage and Surety Disputes

Our firm's lawyers are experienced in prosecuting claims for insurance coverage and claims against surety bonds in the New York courts. Where coverage exists, we can draft a notice of claim and demand for defense and indemnification to the insurance carrier. If the insurer disclaims coverage, we can commence a declaratory judgment action to require the insurer to provide defense and indemnification, and we can defend you from the underlying claim in the interim. The firm's lawyers are particularly experienced with insurance and surety disputes involving the construction industry. We prosecute claims against sureties
under payment bonds, performance bonds, and mechanic's lien discharge bonds, and defend such claims on behalf of sureties and contractors serving as principals. We are also familiar with the issues that lead insurers to disclaim coverage, such as action-over exclusions and New York Limitation Endorsements. We can review your policy to ensure such exclusions will not result in a disclaimer when you need coverage.

Contact Us to Schedule a Free Initial Consultation

Contact Muchmore & Associates PLLC at (917) 932-0299 to schedule a free initial consultation if you are involved in an insurance or surety dispute, including the following:

  • General Liability: Most lawsuits commenced against property owners and contractors are covered by general liability insurance policies. However, insurers often disclaim coverage based on late notice of claim and exclusions in the insurance policy. In such cases, our attorneys can commence declaratory judgment actions to resolve insurance coverage issues and compel defense and indemnification under the insurance policy. While the dispute over insurance coverage is pending, we can defend you from the underlying claim and assert claims against other parties that may be liable.

  • Payment Bonds: New York State Finance Law § 137 requires general contractors on most public works projects to purchase payment bonds. A payment bond ensures payment to those who provide labor and materials on construction projects. The principal and surety under a payment bond are liable to any party that does not receive payment, even if full payment was made to the subcontractor that hired them. Our attorneys are experienced in making payment bond claims, advising sureties on liability under payment bonds, and defending principals and sureties from claims under payments bonds.

  • Performance Bond Claims: A performance bond guarantees the performance of a party under a contract. Typically, performance bonds are taken out by general contractors on large construction contracts to assure the owner that, if they fail to perform, there will be a deep pocket to collect from. Obtaining a performance bond from a surety requires years of experience and a track record of completing construction contracts without incident. The possession of a bonding line makes general contractors eligible to bid on larger projects and signals to property owners that they are experienced and capable. Our firm's attorneys have extensive experience defending general contractors and sureties in relation to performance bonds, minimizing liability, and safeguarding the relationship between surety and contractor.

  • Mechanic's Lien Discharge Bonds: If a contractor has a bonding line with a surety, the easiest way to discharge a mechanic's lien is by filing a mechanic's lien discharge bond with the county clerk pursuant to Lien Law 19(4). The bond binds the principal and surety for any sum found to be due in a lien foreclosure action, and replaces the real property as collateral for the lien claim. Our attorneys have extensive experience asserting claims against mechanic's lien discharge bonds and defending principals and sureties under mechanic's lien discharge bonds.

  • Workers Compensation: When workers are injured in the course of their employment, they are generally compensated through the New York State Workers Compensation system and cannot directly sue their employers. However, they may still be entitled to sue property owners and other parties, who in turn may have claims for indemnification against the employer. When employers misclassify employees as independent contractors or otherwise fail to obtain workers compensation coverage, they can be liable for substantial penalties under the Workers Compensation Law. Our attorneys have defended against claims before the New York Workers Compensation Board, and defended clients from litigation initiated by the New York State Workers Compensation Fund seeking to assess additional premiums on the basis of disputed and estimated audits.

insurance coverage and surety litigation


litigation professionals