Hema P. Mehta

Partner

hmehta@chartwelllaw.com
P
(215) 972-5497
F
(215) 972-7008
Philadelphia, PA
130 North 18th Street
26th Floor
Philadelphia
,
PA
19103
,
,

PRACTICE AREAS

Insurance Coverage

Insurance Defense

First Party Claims

Bad Faith

Commercial Litigation

Construction Litigation and Construction Defects

Cargo, Trucking and Logistics

Admissions

Pennsylvania

New Jersey

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

United States District Court of New Jersey

Third Circuit Court of Appeals

Education

Rutgers Law School

J.D., 2002

University of Pittsburgh

B.S., 1997

Hema P. Mehta is an accomplished insurance coverage and insurance defense attorney. She focuses her practice on representing clients in insurance coverage and bad faith litigation concerning general liability, property and casualty claims.

Ms. Mehta’s insurance coverage practice emphasizes complex disputes concerning coverage for mass tort and products liability, opioid liability insurance coverage litigation, professional liability (E&O), and healthcare liability. She is also experienced in handling various insurance defense proceedings pertaining to bad faith, first party claims, construction and other casualty matters. Some of her recent successes include the successful representation of:

  • An insurance carrier that was sued for breach of contract and bad faith arising out of the insurer’s denial of coverage for a civil lawsuit in which the insured allegedly accidently killed the decedent. The insured pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter admitting that he had an imperfect claim of self-defense, when he struck the decedent with a loaded pistol that accidently discharged, killing the decedent. Agreeing with our interpretation of the criminal acts exclusion in the insurance policy, the court found that the insurer acted properly in denying coverage because it was the criminal nature of the act, not the degree of criminal culpability, which triggered the applicability of the exclusion.
  • An insurance carrier in a case in which police officers sought a defense and indemnity in response to plaintiffs’ claims that the officers sent anonymous harassing text messages. Plaintiffs sued the officers alleging defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence per se for violations of two criminal statutes – harassment and disorderly conduct – invasion of privacy and conspiracy. The trial court ruled in the insurer’ favor, finding that there was no duty to defend and indemnify the police officers as there was no occurrence to trigger coverage and that the allegations of intentional conduct fell outside the scope of their employment.
  • An insurer where the insured sought first-party coverage for a fire loss and also sought defense and indemnification with respect to an action filed against him by the injured party. The insurer issued a vacant building insurance policy that contained vacancy warranty and secured premises warranty endorsements. The insurer contended, among other things, that the vacancy warranty endorsement barred coverage because the dwelling was tenant occupied at the time of the fire. The insured contended that it was unaware of the occupancy and, as such, the warranty did not apply. The court, agreeing with the insurer, found that the language of the vacancy warranty endorsement was clear and unambiguous and did not require the insured’s knowledge of the occupancy. The court ruled that the insurer did not have a duty to defend and/or indemnify the insured and that the insurer did not breach the insurance contract by failing to pay the insured’s fire loss claim.

In addition, Ms. Mehta has received motion for summary judgment while representing an/a:

  • Insurer for its alleged bad faith in denying a water loss claim. Plaintiff alleged that she had interior water damage to her home due to wind damage to the roof. After conducting a thorough inspection of the roof and the interior, the insurer concluded that none of the damage caused to the interior or the roof was caused by wind damage. The plaintiff instituted an action against the insurer arising out of its denial to pay benefits for her alleged loss. The court agreed that the insurer acted reasonably in denying coverage and did not act in bad faith.
  • Insurer in a first-party case where the insured alleged breach of contract and negligence as well as bad faith for the alleged failure to pay for three separate losses to the same insured property.  After filing a motion for summary judgment, the case settled for an amount significantly lower than the plaintiff’s initial claim.
  • Insurer for a bad faith claim alleging that the insurer failed to provide coverage pursuant to the insurance policy issued to the insured. The insured’s home was destroyed due to flooding resulting from several days of continuous rain. The insurer denied coverage under several exclusions, including, water exclusion relating to flood water, surface water and water below the surface of the ground, and governmental action exclusion. After filing a motion for summary judgment and oral argument, the insured realized that there may be valid coverage issues and the case settled for nuisance value.
  • Leasing company sued as a result of a multiple fatality motor vehicle accident. Plaintiffs alleged that the driver of the leased vehicle was an employee of the leasing company and was acting within the course and scope of its employment at the time of the accident. The court ruled that respondeat superior liability could not apply because the lessor was not an employee of the leasing company at the time of the accident. Plaintiffs also alleged negligent violation of a statute relating to securing a minimum amount of insurance for the vehicle. Plaintiffs argued that the leasing company’s noncompliance with the statute deprived plaintiffs of funds which would have otherwise compensated them for their alleged losses. The court agreed with the leasing company and ruled that noncompliance with the statute was not actionable.

Prior to joining Chartwell Law, Ms. Mehta, a partner with a Philadelphia firm, was a member of the firm’s litigation group focusing on insurance law.

Professional Associations

Pennsylvania Bar Association

New Jersey Bar Association

South Asian Bar Association

Defense Research Institute

Philadelphia Court of Common Please Arbitration Program, Arbitrator

Achievements

Selected to Pennsylvania Rising Stars® (2012-2013)

Community Service

Ashburn Village Homeowners Association, Presdident (2010-Present)

Articles

"Navigating the Dangers of Multiple Claimant-Burning Limit Policy Scenarios," For the Defense, May 2018.

"Chapter 5 - Business Courts," Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation, ABA Committee on Business and Corporate Litigation, 2008-2010.

"And the Defense Wins," For the Defense, Defense Research Institute, June 17, 2009.

Hema P. Mehta is an accomplished insurance coverage and insurance defense attorney. She focuses her practice on representing clients in insurance coverage and bad faith litigation concerning general liability, property and casualty claims.

Ms. Mehta’s insurance coverage practice emphasizes complex disputes concerning coverage for mass tort and products liability, opioid liability insurance coverage litigation, professional liability (E&O), and healthcare liability. She is also experienced in handling various insurance defense proceedings pertaining to bad faith, first party claims, construction and other casualty matters. Some of her recent successes include the successful representation of:

  • An insurance carrier that was sued for breach of contract and bad faith arising out of the insurer’s denial of coverage for a civil lawsuit in which the insured allegedly accidently killed the decedent. The insured pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter admitting that he had an imperfect claim of self-defense, when he struck the decedent with a loaded pistol that accidently discharged, killing the decedent. Agreeing with our interpretation of the criminal acts exclusion in the insurance policy, the court found that the insurer acted properly in denying coverage because it was the criminal nature of the act, not the degree of criminal culpability, which triggered the applicability of the exclusion.
  • An insurance carrier in a case in which police officers sought a defense and indemnity in response to plaintiffs’ claims that the officers sent anonymous harassing text messages. Plaintiffs sued the officers alleging defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence per se for violations of two criminal statutes – harassment and disorderly conduct – invasion of privacy and conspiracy. The trial court ruled in the insurer’ favor, finding that there was no duty to defend and indemnify the police officers as there was no occurrence to trigger coverage and that the allegations of intentional conduct fell outside the scope of their employment.
  • An insurer where the insured sought first-party coverage for a fire loss and also sought defense and indemnification with respect to an action filed against him by the injured party. The insurer issued a vacant building insurance policy that contained vacancy warranty and secured premises warranty endorsements. The insurer contended, among other things, that the vacancy warranty endorsement barred coverage because the dwelling was tenant occupied at the time of the fire. The insured contended that it was unaware of the occupancy and, as such, the warranty did not apply. The court, agreeing with the insurer, found that the language of the vacancy warranty endorsement was clear and unambiguous and did not require the insured’s knowledge of the occupancy. The court ruled that the insurer did not have a duty to defend and/or indemnify the insured and that the insurer did not breach the insurance contract by failing to pay the insured’s fire loss claim.

In addition, Ms. Mehta has received motion for summary judgment while representing an/a:

  • Insurer for its alleged bad faith in denying a water loss claim. Plaintiff alleged that she had interior water damage to her home due to wind damage to the roof. After conducting a thorough inspection of the roof and the interior, the insurer concluded that none of the damage caused to the interior or the roof was caused by wind damage. The plaintiff instituted an action against the insurer arising out of its denial to pay benefits for her alleged loss. The court agreed that the insurer acted reasonably in denying coverage and did not act in bad faith.
  • Insurer in a first-party case where the insured alleged breach of contract and negligence as well as bad faith for the alleged failure to pay for three separate losses to the same insured property.  After filing a motion for summary judgment, the case settled for an amount significantly lower than the plaintiff’s initial claim.
  • Insurer for a bad faith claim alleging that the insurer failed to provide coverage pursuant to the insurance policy issued to the insured. The insured’s home was destroyed due to flooding resulting from several days of continuous rain. The insurer denied coverage under several exclusions, including, water exclusion relating to flood water, surface water and water below the surface of the ground, and governmental action exclusion. After filing a motion for summary judgment and oral argument, the insured realized that there may be valid coverage issues and the case settled for nuisance value.
  • Leasing company sued as a result of a multiple fatality motor vehicle accident. Plaintiffs alleged that the driver of the leased vehicle was an employee of the leasing company and was acting within the course and scope of its employment at the time of the accident. The court ruled that respondeat superior liability could not apply because the lessor was not an employee of the leasing company at the time of the accident. Plaintiffs also alleged negligent violation of a statute relating to securing a minimum amount of insurance for the vehicle. Plaintiffs argued that the leasing company’s noncompliance with the statute deprived plaintiffs of funds which would have otherwise compensated them for their alleged losses. The court agreed with the leasing company and ruled that noncompliance with the statute was not actionable.

Prior to joining Chartwell Law, Ms. Mehta, a partner with a Philadelphia firm, was a member of the firm’s litigation group focusing on insurance law.

Professional Associations

Pennsylvania Bar Association

New Jersey Bar Association

South Asian Bar Association

Defense Research Institute

Philadelphia Court of Common Please Arbitration Program, Arbitrator

Achievements

Selected to Pennsylvania Rising Stars® (2012-2013)

Community Service

Ashburn Village Homeowners Association, Presdident (2010-Present)

Resources

News
Chartwell Law Continues Its Growth in Pennsylvania
December 30, 2019
December 30, 2019