American Reliance Ins. Co.v.Natl. Gen. Ins. Co.

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Second DepartmentFeb 17, 1987
127 A.D.2d 720 (N.Y. App. Div. 1987)

February 17, 1987

Appeal from the Supreme Court, Queens County (Bambrick, J.).

Ordered that the order is affirmed, with one bill of costs.

The plaintiff's claims for punitive damages and attorneys' fees were properly dismissed. "`[I]t has been consistently held that plaintiffs may not recover [punitive] damages without submitting factual allegations that [a] defendant, in its dealings with the general public, engaged in a fraudulent scheme which demonstrates "such wanton dishonesty as to imply a criminal indifference to civil obligations"'" (Korona v. State Wide Ins. Co. 122 A.D.2d 120, 121; Fleming v. Allstate Ins. Co., 106 A.D.2d 426, affd 66 N.Y.2d 838, cert denied ___ US ___, 106 S Ct 1493, quoting from Walker v. Sheldon, 10 N.Y.2d 401, 405). Here the plaintiff has submitted no factual allegations to support its conclusions concerning the defendant National General Insurance Company's conduct. In addition, it is well settled that attorneys' fees may not be awarded in the absence of a statute expressly authorizing their recovery, or an agreement or stipulation to that effect by the parties (see, Donn v. Sowers, 103 A.D.2d 734), and the instant suit does not fall within the narrow exception to the general rule set out in Mighty Midgets v. Centennial Ins. Co. ( 47 N.Y.2d 12). Brown, J.P., Weinstein, Rubin and Spatt, JJ., concur.