State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. LiMauro – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. LiMauro, 65 NY2d 369, 373-74, 482 N.E.2d 13, 492 N.Y.S.2d 534 [1985], the Court of Appeals examined the terms in two insurance policies--one issued by State Farm Fire & Casualty Company ("Fire") and the other by Aetna--and found that the Fire policy's language negated any intention to contribute with any other policy (other than policies specifically purchased as excess over the Fire policy) (LiMauro, 65 NY2d at 376-77).

The Fire policy stated, "If other collectible insurance with any other insurer is available to the Insured covering a loss also covered hereunder (except insurance purchased to apply in excess of the sum of...the limit of liability hereunder), the insurance hereunder shall be in excess of, and shall not contribute with, such other insurance" (LiMauro, 65 NY2d at 376-77 ).

The LiMauro court emphasized that the juxtaposition of clauses in the Aetna policy "strongly suggests" that Aetna meant for the policy to be excess over all other insurance only in relationship to one of the covered risks (i.e., to damages caused by a policyholder on non-owned vehicles) (LiMauro, 65 NY2d at 376).

Therefore, Fire did not have to contribute to the damages until the coverage limits of the Aetna policy were reached.

The Court held that "If the Insured has other insurance against a loss covered by the Liability Coverage of this policy the Company shall not be liable under this policy for a greater proportion of such loss than the applicable limit of liability stated in the declarations bears to the total applicable limit of liability of all valid and collectible insurance against such loss; provided, however, the insurance with respect to a temporary substitute automobile or non-owned automobile shall be excess insurance over any other valid and collectible insurance" (LiMauro, at 376).