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Man’s fight with insurer over lead paint payment reinstated

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A man’s fight with a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based insurer over the interest payment on a $1.5 million lead paint judgment was reinstated Thursday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The three-judge appeals court panel in Daquantay Robinson v. Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company said Mr. Robinson’s May 2021 suit was timely because the statute of limitations began to run in August 2020 when the insurer made its insufficient payment and refused to adjust the amount.

Pennsylvania National failed to persuade the appeals panel that the statute of limitations on Mr. Robinson’s breach of contract claim began to run when the post-judgment interest started to accrue on the September 2014 verdict.

Mr. Robinson sued his landlords, who were insured by Pennsylvania National and CX Reinsurance Co. Ltd., in Maryland state court for injuries he suffered from lead paint exposure. In September 2014, a jury awarded him $2 million, which an appeals court later reduced to just over $1.5 million, court records show.

In October 2016, Mr. Robinson sued the insurers seeking a determination on the amount they would pay toward that judgment. The judge in that case found Pennsylvania National was liable for 12.04% of the verdict as well as post-judgment interest.

In August 2020, Pennsylvania National sent Mr. Robinson a check for $289,997.12, which covered its share of the judgment as well as post-judgment interest on that amount.

Mr. Robinson informed the insurer that it owed post-judgment interest on the whole amount of the verdict, not just its share and that the payment was short $773,960. The insurer refused to pay the additional amount, prompting Mr. Robinson’s May 2021 breach of contract suit.

A federal judge in Baltimore dismissed Mr. Robinson’s suit after finding it was barred by the three-year statute of limitations. The judge concluded that the limitations period began to run when post-judgment interest on the verdict began to accrue.

Representatives for the parties did not respond to requests for comment.