A New Jersey law that requires “transportation network companies” to provide at least $1.5 million in underinsured motorist coverage does not apply to food delivery services such as Uber Eats, a New Jersey appeals court ruled Tuesday, in a case involving a motorcyclist who was injured while delivering food.
Scott C. Malzberg, who had enrolled with Portier LLC, a Uber Technologies Inc. subsidiary, to use his personal motorcycle to deliver food on behalf of Uber Eats, was injured when he collided with a car. His injuries exceeded the car driver’s personal insurance’s limits, according to the ruling in Scott C. Malzberg v. Caren L. Josey, James River Insurance Co., et al.
Mr. Malzberg filed suit against defendants including Uber insurer James River Insurance Co., contending that New Jersey’s Transportation Network Co. Safety and Regulatory Act, which requires transportation network companies to provide at least $1.5 million in underinsured motorist coverage, applies to food delivery services. The James River policy does not provide underinsured motorist benefits, the ruling said.
A lower court ruled in James River’s favor, and was affirmed by a three-judge, Jersey City-based appeals court panel. “Nothing in the statutory text or legislative history of the TNCSRA suggests that the Legislature intended to regulate app-based food delivery services,” the decision said.
The ruling says there is pending legislation in New Jersey that would supplement the TNCSRA to provide underinsured motorist coverage for the delivery of goods, but, “We decline to venture an opinion on whether that pending legislation supports or undermines plaintiff’s argument on this appeal.”
Mr. Malzberg’s attorney, Grace E. Robol, a senior associate with Davis, Saperstein & Salomon P.C. in Teaneck, New Jersey, said, “We’re disappointed in the appellate court ruling, of course, but understand the rationale” that there is “nothing in the text or legislative history to include food delivery drivers, and unfortunately it appears that food delivery drivers are unaware of this gap in coverage.”
James River’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.