eNotes: Liability – November 2021
November 01, 2021
NJ CLIENT ADVISORY
New Insurance Information Disclosure Law
Bill A-3444 (S-1558) has been signed into law. This new law requires automobile insurers to disclose policy limits upon request by a licensed New Jersey attorney. This law took effect immediately for all new motor vehicle accidents occurring after July 22nd, and as of September 20, 2021 its requirements also apply to accidents occurring on or before July 22, 2021.
Under the new law, automobile insurance carriers, who receive a written request from an attorney, seeking disclosure of a private passenger automobile insurance policy’s limits, are required to provide written disclosure of the policy limits within thirty (30) days from receipt of the written request. The insurance company’s written disclosure must indicate the limits of all applicable private passenger automobile insurance policies and any applicable umbrella or excess liability insurance policies issued by the insurer. The new law also requires that the request for disclosure from the injured claimant’s attorney must be in writing, and it is required to include the following information:
(1) a statement that the attorney represents an individual who has suffered bodily injury or death alleged to be caused by a motor vehicle accident with an insured under a private passenger automobile policy issued by the insurer;
(2) the name and last known address of the insured;
(3) the date and approximate time of the motor vehicle accident;
(4) a copy of the accident report, if available; and
(5) a statement of certain insurance information, including the policy number, the policyholder’s name; the applicable tort threshold selection; and the personal injury protection coverage limit.
Questions about this advisory can be directed to Mark Sander at (856) 334-0415 ext. 8915 or email@example.com.
SIGNIFICANT CASE SUMMARIES
FEDERAL CASE SUMMARY
Blizman v. Travelers Home & Marine Ins. Co.
United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
Decided: August 30, 2021
Plaintiff entitled to inter-policy UIM stacking where stacking waiver only referred to the “policy” and new stacking waivers were required when vehicle added to policy.
Plaintiff was the executrix of her husband’s estate, who died in a motor vehicle accident while riding a scooter. Plaintiff’s decedent was insured under an automobile policy by Defendant. The scooter Plaintiff’s decedent was using on the day of the accident was covered by a separate scooter policy from Progressive. Defendant’s policy’s inception date was March 5, 2008, and, at the time of the inception of the policy, three vehicles were under the policy and Defendant obtained a rejection of stacking limits for UIM coverage. Several changes were then made to the policy over the years, including the removal and addition of vehicles. After each change, Defendant did not obtain new rejection of UIM stacking forms from Plaintiff’s decedent.
On June 9, 2019, Plaintiff’s decedent was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in his death. At the time of the accident, his automobile policy with Defendant reflected underinsured motorist benefits of $100,000 each person/$100,000 each accident, with stacking rejected. Multiple vehicles were listed on the policy. Progressive, under the decedent’s scooter policy, paid $25,000 representing the UIM policy limits of the Progressive scooter policy. The pertinent issues before the Court were: (1) whether the UIM stacking waiver forms obtained by Defendant were effective as to inter-policy stacking of coverage; and (2) whether additional stacking waivers were required after the addition of a vehicle to the policy pursuant to the “After-Acquired Vehicle Clause” (“AAVC”) in the policy.
First, the Court found that the UIM stacking waivers obtained by Defendant in 2008 were inapplicable to inter-policy stacking. The language of the 2008 waivers only referenced a singular “policy” and did not address the effects of waiver when multiple insurance policies apply for the purposes of inter-policy stacking. Thus, the waiver forms did not provide the necessary notice to allow for a knowing waiver of inter-policy stacking. Second, the Court found that the AAVC was not triggered and the addition of a vehicle to the policy, accompanied with an increase in premiums, meant that Defendant was obligated to acquire a new executed waiver of stacked UM/UIM limits. The AAVC was not applicable because Plaintiff’s decedent informed Defendant of the new vehicle and asked to have the new vehicle put on the existing policy. The Court found that, under these circumstances, new rejection forms were required.
Questions about this case can be directed to Michael Weinert at (610) 332-7025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PA CASE SUMMARIES
A.H. v. Roosevelt Inn, LLC
Pennsylvania Superior Court
No. 1797 EDA 2020
Decided: October 7, 2021
Insurer of hotel permitted to intervene in sex trafficking case in order to propose a special verdict form and jury interrogatories to assist in coverage determinations regarding indemnification.
Plaintiff A.H. filed a Complaint against various hotels and related Defendants, including 4200 Roosevelt LLC, alleging that while A.H. was a minor, she was the victim of sex trafficking. The Complaint alleged, generally, that the Hotel Defendants were aware of the sex trafficking occurring within their premises and failed to prevent it or report the conduct to the authorities. As a result, the Hotel Defendants financially profited and/or benefitted from the trafficking of A.H. on its properties. The Complaint included several counts of negligence as well as asserted reckless and/or intentional conduct against all Defendants.
Nationwide, as an insurer of Roosevelt defending under a reservation of rights, filed a Petition to intervene in the action for the purpose of submitting special jury interrogatories and a jury verdict slip. Nationwide argued that intervention was necessary in order to ascertain the basis of the jury verdict, relevant on the issues of coverage and indemnification. Nationwide argued that a general verdict would not permit a determination of whether the verdict was based on negligence or based on intentional conduct– a determination essential on the issue of coverage. The Petition to intervene was denied by the Trial Court, which determined that Nationwide’s rights were adequately represented by retained defense counsel on behalf of Roosevelt and, therefore, intervention was not required.
The Superior Court determined that the Trial Court, without first holding the requisite hearing, manifestly abused its discretion in denying Nationwide’s Petition to intervene. The Court opined that an insurer may be permitted to intervene in order to propose a special verdict form and jury interrogatories to assist in coverage determinations regarding indemnification. The Court agreed with Nationwide’s argument that Roosevelt’s defense counsel was not expected to address any coverage issues and that a clear potential for conflict would arise if defense counsel was requested to represent both the interests of Roosevelt and Nationwide, who may have a duty to indemnify Roosevelt. The Order denying Nationwide’s Petition to intervene was reversed and the matter was remanded to the Trial Court for further proceedings.
Questions about this case can be directed to John Lucy at (717) 441-7067 or email@example.com.
Franks v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co.
Pennsylvania Superior Court
No. 2784 EDA 2019, 2021 Pa. Super. 192
Decided: September 24, 2021
Superior Court of Pennsylvania holds that new underinsured motorist stacking waiver is not required when a vehicle is removed from a policy.
This case arises from an application for re-argument before the full Superior Court by Defendant State Farm in appealing the Superior Court’s three-judge panel’s decision that removal of a vehicle from a policy requires a new underinsured motorist stacking waiver under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act (“MVFRL”). Under the MVFRL, an auto insurance carrier is required to provide an insured the opportunity to waive stacking whenever coverage is purchased. Plaintiffs filed a Complaint seeking a judgment that State Farm owed stacked limits due to failure to obtain a new underinsured motorist stacking waiver following the removal of a vehicle from Plaintiffs’ auto policy.
The Court determined that Section 1738 of the MVFRL requires that a new stacking waiver is required whenever there is a “purchase” of coverage. The Court cited the line of Sackett cases, which held that the addition of a vehicle to an auto policy constitutes a new purchase of coverage, thereby requiring a new stacking waiver be obtained. The Court, in analyzing the novel issue of whether the removal of a vehicle required a new stacking waiver, looked to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s analysis in Bernard v. Travelers Home and Marine Ins. Co., wherein the Supreme Court, in analyzing the definition of “purchase,” emphasized that a purchase requires an insured to “obtain something that she does not already possess.” The Court, in emphasizing the language of the statute itself, which uses the word “purchase” and not “change,” held that the removal of a vehicle does not meet this definition.
The full panel of the Superior Court reversed the three-judge Superior Court panel and held that the removal of a vehicle from an auto insurance policy does not constitute a “purchase” of coverage and thereby does not require an insurance company to obtain a new underinsured motorist stacking waiver under the MVFRL.
Questions about this case can be directed to Katie Prudente at (267) 861-7572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sullivan v. Holy Redeemer Hosp. & Med. Ctr.
Pennsylvania Superior Court
2021 Pa. Super. 191, No. 1990 EDA 2020
Decided: September 24, 2021
Claim for injuries following tetanus shot barred by failure to exhaust administrative remedies under federal vaccine law.
Plaintiff received a tetanus vaccination from Defendants following an exposure to human tissue and blood. She alleges that the injection was into the subacromial bursa, a small fluid sac in the shoulder that helps support the motion of the shoulder, instead of the muscle of the arm. This caused Plaintiff severe burning and tingling in the back of her shoulder and neck. The pain caused Plaintiff to miss time from work, and she received treatment for the issue for over 3 years. Plaintiff then sued Defendant for negligence. In Defendant’s New Matter, it pled that Plaintiff’s action is barred by the Vaccine Act’s provision, 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-11, that prohibits actions for damages exceeding $1,000 for vaccine-related injuries, unless the plaintiff has first filed a petition for compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (“NVICP”) and exhausted her remedies under the Program.
Plaintiff admitted to the Trial Court that she had not filed a petition for compensation with the NVICP. Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, which was denied. Defendants then moved to certify the interlocutory appeal, which was denied as well. Defendants then filed a Petition with the Superior Court for permission to appeal which was granted, to answer the jurisdiction question.
The Superior Court reversed the decision of the Trial Court and remanded the case with instructions to relinquish jurisdiction. The Court held that language of the Vaccine Act was clear and must be enforced. The exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement applied to any person who sustained a vaccine related injury or death, and was qualified to file a petition for compensation under the program. This included Plaintiff, who was qualified under the act and sought more than $1,000 in her civil case. The Court further held that Plaintiff’s argument that the negligence was unrelated to the vaccine itself and instead was related to its administration did not prevent Plaintiff from recovering under the act, as a shoulder injury related to vaccine administration is specifically codified in the injury tables under the Act.
Questions about this case can be directed to Logan Nagle at (717) 255-7234 or email@example.com.
Best v. Investors, Ltd.
Pennsylvania Superior Court
No. 1000 WDA 2020
Decided: August 27, 2021
Hills and ridges doctrine applies where no evidence supports a claim of artificial accumulation of snow and ice.
Plaintiff was a homeowner in a condominium community. One day prior to Plaintiff’s slip and fall accident, it had snowed and the community’s snow removal contractor plowed streets and driveways, but did not apply salt. The following day, it snowed again and while Plaintiff was retrieving mail for an elderly neighbor, she walked up the neighbor’s snow covered driveway to deliver the mail and fell on her way back. Plaintiff sued the landowner and the snow removal contractor. Following discovery, Defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that they were shielded from liability due to the hills and ridges doctrine. The Trial Court granted the summary judgment.
On appeal, Plaintiff claimed error contending that her accident is an exception to the hills and ridges doctrine because she slipped on ice under the fresh snow which was created by the plowing the day before. The record included testimony of the snow removal contractor conceding that plowing could leave a thin layer of snow or ice on a driveway’s surface, but he unequivocally stated that it was clear after he’d plowed the day before. Plaintiff testified that the snow was untouched before she walked across it less than 2 hours after the snowfall had ceased and admitted that it appeared to be a natural accumulation. The Court determined that the record did not support Plaintiff’s contention that she fell on an artificial condition because Plaintiff merely hypothesized, without evidence, that the plowing caused an unnatural condition under the new-fallen snow.
The Superior Court affirmed the entry of summary judgment holding that the Trial Court properly applied the hills and ridges doctrine where there was no evidence of an artificial condition of ice or snow which led to Plaintiff’s fall.
Questions about this case can be directed to James F. Swartz, III at (610) 332-7028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gleason v. Alfred I. DuPont Hosp. for Children
Superior Court of Pennsylvania
2021 Pa. Super. 156
Decided: August 5, 2021
Workman’s Compensation carrier permitted to intervene in third party negligence suit to protect and preserve its subrogation rights and challenge apportionment of settlement proceeds to loss of consortium claim.
Mr. Gleason was employed as an MRI Field Service Technician by Medical Imaging Group (MIG). The Hartford provided workman’s compensation insurance to MIG. While Mr. Gleason was performing maintenance on an MRI machine at DuPont Hospital, a fire and explosion occurred, resulting in personal injuries to Mr. Gleason. The Harford paid $988,474 on behalf of Mr. Gleason in medical expenses, wage loss benefits, and to fund a medical set aside account for future medical expenses. Thereafter, Mr. Gleason and his wife pursued a civil action against several Defendants alleging negligence and loss of consortium.
During litigation, the Gleasons reached a proposed settlement with the Defendants and filed a Petition seeking the Trial Court’s approval of its terms. The agreement provided for a total settlement of $1.45 million, allocated between the Gleasons, with $580,000 to Mr. Gleason and $870,000 to Mrs. Gleason for her loss of consortium claim. The Defendants joined in support of the Petition, without taking a position on the allocation of the proceeds. The Trial Court approved the unopposed settlement.
However, the Hartford filed two Petitions to intervene in the third-party suit to protect its statutory lien interest under Section 319 of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, arguing that the unfair 40%/60% allocation of the settlement proceeds, with the higher allocation to Mrs. Gleason, was designed to shield the settlement proceeds from The Hartford’s recovery of its lien. Both of the Petitions were denied. The Hartford appealed.
On appeal, the Superior Court ruled that the Trial Court abused its discretion when it disallowed intervention by The Hartford as intervention was necessary to fully protect The Hartford’s subrogation rights and to challenge the apportionment of the settlement proceeds. The Court cited Rule 2327 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure which governs intervenor status, noting that the Rule provides: “At any time during the pendency of an action, a person not a party thereto shall be permitted to intervene therein [if] . . . (2) such person is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof; or . . . (4) the determination of such action may affect any legally enforceable interest of such person whether or not such person may be bound by a judgment in the action.” Pursuant to Rule 2327, an workman’s compensation carrier may intervene in an employee’s third party action to protect and preserve its right to recover a portion of the benefits it paid from any money awarded to its employee in that suit. The case was remanded with instructions to allow intervention.
Questions about this case can be directed to Julia Morrison at (717) 441-7056 or email@example.com.
Nichols v. Ray
Blair County Court of Common Pleas
No. 2019 GN 2711
Decided: July 12, 2021
Allegations of texting while driving, without more, is insufficient to state a claim for punitive damages.
In an action for damages claimed to have resulted from a rear-end motor vehicle accident, Plaintiffs’ Complaint alleged that the Defendant driver’s texting while driving supported a claim for punitive damages. Specifically, the Complaint alleged that the driver was texting while driving which diverted his attention from looking at traffic ahead of him for a prolonged period of time. Defendants filed Preliminary Objections in the nature of a demurrer.
The essential fact needed to support a claim for punitive damages is that the defendant’s conduct be outrageous. The Trial Court noted the distinction between negligence and recklessness to be that recklessness requires conscious action or inaction which creates a substantial risk of harm, whereas negligence suggests unconscious inadvertence. Without any published decisions directly on point, the Court observed that several cases ruled that allegations of talking on a cell phone at the time of an accident, without more, failed to include allegations necessary to establish an evil motive or conscious indifference to permit a claim punitive damages to move forward. Noting that texting while driving is an unsafe practice and is, in fact, a violation of the Motor Vehicle Code, the allegations of texting while driving, without additional allegations to suggest conscious disregard, lacked the indicia of recklessness to support claims for punitive damages.
The Trial Court sustained the Preliminary Objections and struck the claims for punitive damages from Plaintiffs’ Complaint because the allegations in the Complaint fell short of the bar required to make out a claim for punitive damages.
Questions about this case can be directed to James F. Swartz, III at (610) 332-7028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MD CASE SUMMARY
Roebuck v. Geico Cas. Co.
Maryland Court of Special Appeals
2021 Md. App. LEXIS 837 (unreported)
Decided: September 21, 2021
In an unreported opinion, the Court of Special Appeals refuses to allow a Plaintiff to obtain UIM coverage through a statutory definition of “named insured” when the Plaintiff does not fall under the policy definition of “insured.”
Plaintiff Roebuck was injured as a result of an automobile accident in Delaware. Roebuck was a passenger in a car driven by John Rodriguez, whose negligence was the cause of the accident. Roebuck settled with Rodriguez’s insurer for the policy limits. However, Rodriguez’s policy did not cover all of Roebuck’s damages. Subsequently, Roebuck sought uninsured motorist (“UIM”) benefits from Geico under an automobile policy issued to her daughter. Roebuck’s daughter’s policy listed the daughter as the “named insured” and Roebuck as an “additional driver” on the declaration’s page. The policy was in effect at the time of the Delaware accident. Under the policy, UIM coverage was owed to the “insured.” Geico denied Roebuck’s claim, finding that she did not fall under the policy definition of “insured.” Roebuck filed suit against Geico in the Circuit Court for Cecil County, seeking a declaratory judgment that UIM coverage extended to her under her daughter’s policy. In addition, Roebuck sought damages for breach of contract.
Roebuck moved for summary judgment, claiming that the policy and MD. Code Ann., Ins. § 19-501(d) and 19-509(c)(1) entitled her to UIM coverage. Geico cross-moved for summary judgment. The Circuit Court denied Roebuck’s Motion and granted Geico’s Motion, finding that Roebuck was not entitled to UIM coverage under the policy. Roebuck appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. On appeal, Roebuck did not challenge the Circuit Court’s finding that she was not an “insured” as defined by the policy. Instead, she argued that the definition of “named insured” under MD. Code Ann., Ins. § 19-501 entitled her to coverage because she was denominated on the declarations page as an additional driver. Section 19-501 defines “named insured” as the “the person denominated in the declarations in a motor vehicle liability insurance company.” Moreover, Roebuck argued that MD. Code Ann., Ins § 19-509 does not specify that one must be denominated specifically as a “named insured” in order to qualify as such.
The Court of Special Appeals affirmed the decision of Circuit Court for Cecil County and held that Roebuck was not entitled to UIM coverage. The Court, relying on prior decisions of the Court of Appeals, determined that whether one is entitled to UIM coverage is first and foremost a matter of contract interpretation and that Roebuck did not qualify for UIM coverage under the language of the policy.
It should be noted that this is an unreported opinion. Therefore, it has no precedential or persuasive value in Maryland Courts. Nonetheless, it demonstrates an application of Maryland law by Maryland’s intermediate appellate court.
Questions about this case can be directed to Andrew White at (443) 641-0572 or email@example.com.
NJ CASE SUMMARY
Gonzalez v. City of Jersey City
New Jersey Supreme Court
No. A-19-20, 084381, ___ N.J. ___
Decided: August 4, 2021
With regard to public employees and qualified immunity, the NJ Supreme Court has held that whether the relevant actions were discretionary or ministerial is a jury question, where there factual disputes as to the employees’ duties.
Plaintiff was involved in a one-vehicle accident. Defendant police officers responded to the scene and found that Plaintiff’s vehicle was inoperable. One of the officers offered Plaintiff a ride to a gas station, but Plaintiff refused, stating that he would wait for his brother. The officers were unable to wait with Plaintiff until his brother arrived and advised Plaintiff to wait in the pedestrian walkway. However, Plaintiff was later struck and killed by another vehicle. A toxicology report revealed that Plaintiff had a BAC of .209 percent. Defendant officers testified that Plaintiff did not appear intoxicated.
Plaintiff’s estate filed suit against Defendants. The Trial Court granted summary judgment for Defendants, finding them immune under the Tort Claims Act (“TCA”) because the officers performed their duties in good faith. The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, reversed, ruling that the officers’ duties at the accident scene were ministerial in nature and therefore TCA immunity was unavailable. Defendants appealed from the Appellate Division’s decision.
This reported New Jersey Supreme Court decision dealt with a novel question, requiring the Court to determine the analysis appropriate for a determination of whether the actions of public employees are properly characterized as ministerial or discretionary. In its decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed and modified the Appellate Division’s findings. The Supreme Court agreed that immunity under the TCA and the Good Samaritan Act were unavailable, first ruling that the officers’ actions did not implicate the Good Samaritan Act. The Court held that the officers might be entitled to qualified immunity if their actions at the accident scene were discretionary rather than ministerial in nature. However, the Court ruled that determining the nature of the officers’ duties required resolution of factual disputes by a jury, making summary judgment inappropriate.
Questions about this case can be directed to Mark Sander at (856) 334-0415 ext. 8915 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DC CASE SUMMARY
Washington Executive Servs. v. Hartford Cas. Ins. Co.
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185033
Decided: September 28, 2021
U.S. District Court for District of Columbia holds that virus exclusion unambiguously applies to COVID-19 business interruption claims.
Plaintiffs, a number of shared workspace providers, filed suit against their insurance company, the Hartford, for failing to cover their lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hartford moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that Plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the policy’s language. Plaintiffs argued that their lost income should be covered because their losses were caused by the District of Columbia’s closure orders, not the pandemic. Plaintiffs also argued that even if the virus exclusion applied, it does not bar Plaintiff’s suit because civil commotion that occurred during and after March 2020 caused the virus to spread in the District.
The District Court held that Plaintiffs were not entitled to relief because the policy’s language barred coverage. The Court reasoned that the virus exclusion barred Plaintiff’s claims because their losses were caused “directly or indirectly” by proliferation or spread of a virus. The Court observed that many other courts reviewing the same issues have unambiguously applied the virus exclusion to COVID -19 business interruption claims and that the virus’s presence at the insured’s property is not a prerequisite for the exclusion’s application. The Court added that the virus exclusion’s anti-concurrent cause language allows the exclusion to apply as long as the virus is a cause of the loss, even if it is not the direct cause. The Court rejected Plaintiff’s argument that the virus exclusion’s civil commotion exception applies because of civil commotion throughout the District after March of 2020. The Court reasoned that the civil commotion exception only applies where the civil commotion causes the virus rather than spreading the virus. The Court granted the Hartford’s Motion and dismissed Plaintiffs’ case.
Questions about this case can be directed to Ryan Stanley at (202) 945-9504 or email@example.com.
VA CASE SUMMARY
Wall v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
United State District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
2021 U.S Dist. LEXIS 156389, 2021 WL 3671188
Decided: August 18, 2021
A Wal-Mart employee’s statement that the plaintiff wanted to fight her did not serve as a basis for a common-law defamation claim.
Mr. Wall visited a Wal-Mart store in Richmond, Virginia. While in the store, Mr. Wall asked that an employee retrieve a pack of cigarette lighters that were behind a store counter. At that point, another Wal-Mart employee informed him he needed to wait in line for service. When Mr. Wall protested about the wait, the employee insisted: “You’re going to get in my line if you want to get the lighter.” Mr. Wall then commented: “Your attitude is off, like your green hair.”
The employee then responded with: “Oh, you said you want to fight me.” The employee allegedly stated on several occasions that Mr. Wall indicated his desire to fight her, which prompted the store manager to arrive at the scene. The employee told the manager that Mr. Wall stated he wanted to fight her. Despite Mr. Wall stating he said no such statement, Mr. Wall was ordered to leave the store. The police arrived and told Mr. Wall to leave the store, which he ultimately did. Mr. Brown alleged that as a result of this incident, he suffered humiliation, damage to his standing and reputation, and sustained serious emotional distress. He sought damages for one claim of defamation based on the statement that Mr. Wall wanted to fight the employee. Wal-Mart moved to dismiss the action.
The Court granted Wal-Mart’s Motion to dismiss. The Court explained that, to state a claim for defamation under Virginia law, a plaintiff must show: (1) publication; (2) of an actionable statement; with (3) the requisite intent. The parties disputed the second element, which requires a statement to carry the requisite defamatory sting, i.e. impugning Mr. Wall’s character or subjecting him to disgrace, shame, scorn, or contempt. The Court found there was no defamatory sting and reasoned that stating that a customer wants to fight an employee, without more, does not inflict such reputational injury as to subject the customer to disgrace, shame, scorn, or contempt. Instead, the Court explained, it merely suggests that the customer, like many before and since, had an unpleasant and heated interaction with the customer service department. As such, the Court dismissed the case as such statement did not constitute defamation as a matter of law.
Questions about this case can be directed to John Dunnigan at (804) 566-3571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.