Nicholas Malfitano Sep. 4, 2015, 8:45am


PHILADELPHIA – Defense counsel in pending contract litigation have successfully petitioned to be relieved of representing their client.

On Aug. 13, George Bochetto and Jeffrey W. Ogren of Bochetto & Lentz, along with William R. Balaban and Matthew D. Coble of William Balaban & Associates, motioned to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas to withdraw their representation of Washington, D.C.-based Pinelands Insurance Company.

They did so due to “irreconcilable differences” centered on “fundamental and material issues in litigation”, in addition to mounting legal debts and “deteriorated communication.”

A hearing in this matter had been set for Monday at Philadelphia City Hall, in Court chambers.

In May 2014, Germantown Cab Company elected to sue Pinelands Insurance Company, levying claims of breach of contract, declaratory judgment, breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference.

In 2013, Germantown Cab had been a client of Pinelands Insurance for eight years. On May 10 of that same year, Germantown Cab entered into a settlement agreement to renew for two more years as “occurrence” policies, at a price of $5,750 per vehicle. In order to execute the agreement Germantown Cab paid the necessary amount of $610,800 in premiums for more than 100 vehicle on Oct. 31, 2013.

Six months later, Ronald Hambrecht Sr., the executive in charge of Pinelands Insurance, allegedly demanded Germantown Cab invest an additional six-figure amount with the company, in an attempt to provide coverage for alleged financial mismanagement on the part of Hambrecht.

When Germantown Cab refused, it said Hambrecht issued the company both a “Notice of Cancellation” and a “Form K”, revoking Germantown Cab’s policies with Pinelands Insurance.

Germantown Cab claimed they requested official reasoning for the policy revocations, but alleged the only response they received from Hambrecht was another demand to provide $880,000 to Pinelands Insurance, and only then would the company reinstate the policies. In their suit, Germantown Cab labeled this as “legally ineffective” and an attempt of “blackmail and commercial extortion”.

The plaintiff is seeking specific performance, damages, attorney’s fees and other relief.

The plaintiff is represented by Zachary L. Grayson of Salaman Grayson, in Philadelphia. 

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 130402929

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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