Melissa A. Natale

Counsel

18 Columbia Turnpike, Suite 200
Florham Park, NJ 07932
Direct Dial: 973-820-0056 Download vCard Download VCard
mnatale@saiber.com

Melissa A. Natale concentrates her practice in insurance coverage matters, including over ten years of experience in litigation, defense and advice for matters pending in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and New York relating to claims under a variety of policies, including first party property and bodily injury claims, pollution liability, toxic tort, comprehensive general liability, excess liability, professional liability, construction defect, auto and transportation. She also litigates coverage aspects of liability cases, including large environmental matters and construction accidents in New Jersey and New York. Melissa also handles the defense of policyholders in property damage and subrogation matters, and has handled defense of subprime mortgage, employment, wrongful death and various personal injury matters.

Honors and Awards

Listed In: New Jersey Super Lawyers® - Rising Stars - 2012-2013

Selection methodology for awards and honors can be found here.

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Professional History

Melissa clerked for the Hon. Mark M. Russello, New Jersey Superior Court from 2003 to 2004.

Representative Matters

Provide advice under professional liability policies on issues of timing and scope of acts, errors or omissions, additional insurance, and contractual and/or common law indemnification for construction defect claims under New York and New Jersey law.

Provide advice under commercial property policies on issues involving Covered Causes of Loss, application of exclusions, and Business Income with and without Extra Expense under New York and New Jersey law.

Represent insurers in matters involving coverage for diacetyl-related injuries, including issues of trigger of coverage and allocation under New York and New Jersey law.

Represented commercial excess auto insurer in coverage dispute in connection with an underlying accident involving a mini-bus insured under a policy issued to federally-registered motor carriers.

Represented excess liability insurer in complex environmental coverage lawsuits involving Superfund Sites and Projects in New Jersey which involved questions of allocation, interpretation and enforcement of a prior settlement agreement, application of “sudden and accidental” pollution exclusions, corporate succession and choice of law.

Provided advice to Contractors Pollution Liability Insurer regarding settlement of Chinese Drywall claims and oversaw remediation and soft cost payments on behalf of Insurer.

Noteworthy Decisions

Obtained dismissal of Insurer in lawsuit seeking building and business interruption coverage because Plaintiff could not establish a covered collapse, nor that any covered loss or damage commenced during the policy period. Santos v. General Star Indemnity Co., et al., New Jersey Superior Court, Docket No. MID-L-1395-17.

Obtained dismissal with prejudice for Insurer in lawsuit alleging liability for a slip and fall because Plaintiff lacked stranding to bring a direct action against the Insurer under New Jersey law. Kelly v. Richard & Robbins, et al., New Jersey Superior Court, Morris County, Docket No. DC-1418-16.

Successfully removed coverage lawsuit to Federal Court through realignment of the parties. Arriaga v. General Star National Ins. Co., 16-cv-03202-JLL-JAD (D.N.J.).

Obtained dismissal for excess insurer by successfully arguing that the insurer would be substantially prejudiced by a rental company’s failure to comply with the notice requirement of Rule 4:5-1(b)(2), and the joinder requirements of the Entire Controversy Doctrine, through the company’s belated attempt to amend its third party complaint to seek additional insured coverage nearly two years after the original complaint and after receipt of a disclaimer because discovery had closed, and the company had settled the underlying lawsuit and already obtained a crucial coverage ruling against the primary insurer. Dismissal later affirmed by the New Jersey Appellate Division. Ingling v. Ryder Truck Rental, Inc., 2010 WL 391811 (N.J. App. Div., Feb. 5, 2010)).

Publications

Memberships and Activities

New Jersey State Bar Association

New York State Bar Association

Coach, Seton Hall University School of Law Interscholastic Moot Court Board