In view of the $3.25M settlement in Bernards Township, amid the national rash of municipalities being sued by religious institutions, Michael J. Faul, Jr., special insurance counsel, located in Warren, N.J., is a highly informative resource for this topic. This case is a microcosm of lawsuits happening throughout the country. Although Mr. Faul cannot comment specifically on Bernards Township; since he was responsible for successfully obtaining the insurance coverage that funded the settlement, he can speak about the critical need for municipalities to remain vigilant and engage the services of independent and unbiased special insurance counsel before any suit is filed.
It’s important for municipalities to hire special insurance counsel before they are denied insurance; every municipality needs to remain vigilant; the goal is for taxpayers not to have to pay a dime — as was the case with this recent settlement. Bernards Township knew enough to call in special insurance counsel at the very beginning. There are many municipalities who still do not have this protection.
Michael Faul can speak to your audience about:
The role of special insurance counsel in the pursuit of insurance to cover defense costs and damage awards for the benefit of the public and the residents of their communities, specifically in Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), and civil rights lawsuits.
About Michael J. Faul, Jr.
Michael J. Faul, Jr., practices a very interesting and important aspect of law – the pursuit of insurance to cover defense costs and damage awards. He states, “It is for the benefit of the public and the residents of their communities that townships have to protect the public purse by vigorously pursuing the maximum amount of insurance as allowed by law. Cities, municipalities and towns facing Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and civil suits from religious institutions denied zoning permits must face the reality that insurers are increasingly seeking to limit their exposure and forcing their government insured’s and the taxpayers of their communities to fend off the often aggressive prosecution of these suits by major law firms in New York, Washington DC and by the Federal Government on their own dime. These suits are financed and backed by well heeled civil rights groups and private foundations with millions of dollars in their war chests to effectuate “Justice”.
These suits are often quarterbacked by the Federal Government that investigates and even is empowered to file suits to enforce federal law to protect civil rights and religious freedoms. Insurance coverage often exists to defend the governmental insured from these suits and investigations. Insurance recovery can only be fully maximized through effective legal representation by attorneys such as Mr. Faul who has won several significant victories for his government clients faced with the prospect of insurance companies seeking to deny, delay or severely limit insurance benefits paid for by the governmental agency.
Insurance to defend these lawsuits and pay what could be millions of dollars in damage awards is often available but only if maximum coverage is pursued by experienced counsel in this highly specialized area of the law. Often, brokers who have procured these policies are ineffective in seeking maximum coverage from the insurance carriers or are negligent in placing adequate coverage because they fail to understand the nature magnitude of the potential risk.
“Government entities face a Hobson’s choice to either maximize your insurance recovery as an effective and necessary risk management strategy or have the tax payers bear the brunt of the defense of these civil rights prosecutions.”
Mr. Faul has served as special insurance counsel for municipalities sued under RLUIPA and for alleged civil rights violations. He has successfully prevailed against insurance companies seeking to limit their exposure by contending that exclusions or limitations bar insurance recovery. He has secured decisions that have ruled that various exclusions and limitations in policies are void as matter of public policy and can offer tremendous insight to your listenership. This topic is extremely timely.