Home

Court Rules that Attorney Headed to Work Was Not Working
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

A law firm auto insurance policy did not cover an attorney who was involved in an accident on the way to work, a Virginia court has ruled.

Summary: A Virginia court has ruled that a law firm auto insurance policy will not cover an attorney’s accident because his travels did not rise to the threshold of “working.”

Virginia’s highest court has ruled that, although an attorney was thinking about work as he traveled to his office, he was not “working” as defined by firm’s automobile insurance policy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  
What
Where


H. Christopher Bartolomucci, a former partner at Hogan Lovells, was involved in a car accident on his way to work. The accident injured another driver, who sued Bartolomucci for $1 million in damages.

Bartolomucci’s liability coverage through his car insurance was capped at $100,000 in damages. Since he would potentially be responsible for the difference in damages, Bartolomucci tried to argue that his vehicle was covered by the firm’s insurance policy.

Some states allow drivers to provide electronic proof of insurance coverage.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!




The issue became whether, at the time of the accident, Bartolomucci’s use of his car related to Hogan Lovells’ business or to his own “personal affairs.” “Personal affairs” is defined as “non-income producing activities that benefit the business.”



Do you think the court ruled properly?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Bartolomucci argued that his commute to work was “more than a typical commute” in that it “was actually ‘in’ Hogan Lovells’ business.” Bartolomucci additionally argued that, since he works from a home office as well, he was traveling between work locations, instead of simply commuting.

Justice LeRoy F. Millette, Jr., the judge who penned the opinion of the court, wrote, “[A]lthough Bartolomucci could not recall what he was thinking at the time of the collision, Bartolomucci testified that he habitually thought about work related issues on his commute to work.”

A former Department of Justice attorney joined Hogan Lovells in the fall.

The court was not persuaded that Bartolomucci’s use of his vehicle related to the business of the firm, although a jury in a lower court had found that it did. In overruling the jury’s decision, Millette wrote:

“The only work related activity that Bartolomucci accomplished before leaving home was to check his work email and call his office voicemail. But the record does not indicate that Bartolomucci read or responded to any work related emails, that the voicemail itself was work related, or that Bartolomucci billed his time for these activities. In addition, beyond the fact that Bartolomucci occasionally worked at home, the record fails to show any relationship between Hogan Lovells and Bartolomucci’s home to establish that place as a Hogan Lovells work location….

And merely thinking about work does not make a commute “in” the business, as contemplated by the policy language. The record does not indicate that Bartolomucci billed for any activity or otherwise performed any work during his commute. Also, Bartolomucci was not reimbursed by Hogan Lovells for his commute.”

According to ABA Journal, the court also found that, although Bartolomucci’s Blackberry was within reach during the commute, simply having access to technology did not transform the drive into company business.

A law student won a scholarship for describing her experience with a dishonest attorney and a devastating car accident.

Bartolomucci, who now works as a partner at Bancroft PLLC , said that he was “disappointed that the jury’s verdict did not prevail but I respect the court’s decision.”

Randy Maniloff, an insurance attorney who writes legal commentary for Coverage Opinions, was not surprised at the court’s ruling. “If these various arguments made by the lawyer were accepted, it would fundamentally alter how a business auto policy is intended to operate. When it comes to insurance overage arguments, necessity has forever been the mother of intention.”

Bartolomucci (L), Maniloff (R)

Bartolomucci (L), Maniloff (R)

Source: Wall Street Journal

Photo credit: fcihealth.com



 

Interesting Legal Sites You May Like


BCG FEATURED JOB

Locations:

Keyword:



Search Now

Corporate, Mergers and Acquisitions and Securities Associate Attorney

USA-NY-New York City

New York City office of our client seeks corporate, mergers and acquisitions and securities associat...

Apply Now

Business Litigation Attorney

USA-CA-Santa Monica

Santa Monica office of our client seeks business litigation attorney with 1-3 years of experience. T...

Apply Now

Intellectual Property Litigation / Enforcement Associate Attorney

USA-CA-San Francisco

San Francisco office of our client seeks intellectual property litigation / enforcement associate at...

Apply Now

Health Industry Advisory Associate Attorney

USA-CA-Los Angeles

Los Angeles office of our client seeks health industry advisory associate attorney with 3-5 years of...

Apply Now

RELEVANT JOBS

Corporate Paralegal

USA-MA-Waltham

The Corporate Paralegal will assist the legal department in many facets of corporate law such as upd...

Apply now

Family Law Associate

USA-NY-New York City

Gorlick, Kravitz & Listhaus, PC. is seeking a general practice associate admitted in NY and NJ ...

Apply now

Office Technology Services Technician

USA-DC-Washington

We are looking for an Office Technology Services Technician to join our team.  Based in our Was...

Apply now

Associate - Mid-Level - GL Group

USA-NY-Valhalla

Defense firm seeking mid-level associate for Westchester office to fill General Liability position. ...

Apply now

SEARCH IN ARCHIVE

To Top