In professional negligence cases, as in a wide swath of litigation cases, a special relationship is necessary before an entity (real estate agent, non-attorney, non-physician professional, municipality) might be liable for shortcomings. So it is with insurance agents in STB Invs. Corp. v Sterling & Sterling, Inc. 2019 NY Slip Op 08606 Decided on December 3, 2019
Appellate Division, First Department.
“Issues of fact exist as to whether a special relationship arose between plaintiff STB Investments Corporation and its managing agent plaintiff 303 West 42nd Street Realty Co. (plaintiffs), on the one hand, and defendant insurance broker, on the other, that imposed on defendant a duty to advise plaintiffs as to insurance coverage that would have included the loss arising from plaintiffs’ demolition project (see Voss v Netherlands Ins. Co., 22 NY3d 728, 735 ). Plaintiffs contend that the special relationship arose from an interaction with defendant in which they relied on defendant’s expertise as to coverage. There is evidence that plaintiffs’ property manager, who allegedly had never before purchased insurance for a demolition project, requested that defendant obtain adequate coverage for that particular risk, and that defendant agreed to do so, reviewed the demolition contract as part of its efforts, and discussed with plaintiffs the demolition contractor’s coverage in the larger context of determining the appropriate level of coverage to obtain for plaintiffs (see NWE Corp. v Atomic Risk Mgt. of N.Y., Inc., 25 AD3d 349 [1st Dept 2006]).”