Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Course on Trigger for Malicious Prosecution Claims

An Illinois Appellate Court established a new rule for when malicious prosecution occurs and triggers coverage under a liability policy. In Sanders v. Illinois Union Insurance Company, the court determined that the triggering event for malicious prosecution coverage is the claimant’s exoneration, rather than the initiation of the alleged malicious prosecution. The rule established in Sanders is in direct contrast with a number of Illinois decisions, including several in the past few years that had held that the commencement of the
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Vicarious Liability and Additional Insured Coverage: Illinois Appellate Court Clarifies Factual Allegations Sufficient to Trigger Defense Duty

The Appellate Court of Illinois recently considered whether an underlying complaint against an a general contractor (additional insured), filed by the estate of an independent contractor/subcontractor’s employee who was killed in a job site accident, triggered the defense of the general contractor under the subcontractor’s liability policy. The subcontract at issue contained the standard additional insurance requirements. The court first decided that the liability policy’s additional insured endorsement did not protect an additional insured for its own negligence; and the
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Illinois Appellate Court Reaffirms Trigger Date for Malicious Prosecution Offense Under Coverage B

In First Mercury Insurance Company v. Ciolino, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District waded into the sea-change concerning the trigger of coverage for malicious prosecution offenses under a liability policy. The First District joined the other districts to consider the issue, departed from the Seventh Circuit’s Erie prediction, and reasoned that the trigger date for malicious prosecution coverage will be similar under law enforcement liability and commercial general liability policies. The facts giving rise to the coverage dispute stem from
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Illinois Supreme Court Puts the Brakes on Named Driver Exclusion

The Illinois Supreme Court held in Thounsavath v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 2018 IL 122558, that an insurer cannot rely on a named driver exclusion to deny underinsured motorist coverage to its insured because the exclusion is unenforceable under Illinois’ mandatory automobile insurance statutory scheme and the state’s public policy. State Farm provided automobile liability and uninsured motorist (UM)/underinsured motorist (UIM)coverage to Thounsavath, which contained a named driver exclusion stating no liability shall attach “while any motor vehicle
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Calling all Policies! N.J. Special Master Allocating Costs under Owens-Illinois Implicates Excess Before Primary Exhausts

In The Travelers Indemnity Company v. Thomas & Betts Corporation, No. 13-6187, 2017 WL 3187217 (D.N.J. July 26, 2017), New Jersey’s federal court offers a meaningful example of how trial courts can use a special master to help resolve the tricky issue of allocating defense and indemnity costs involving multiple policies, layers, and years. In Owens-Illinois, Inc. v. United Ins. Co., the Supreme Court of New Jersey urged trial courts to use a special master with “a substantial measure of
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Illinois Coverage Litigations Beware! Attorney’s Failure to Properly Investigate Results in Severe Sanctions

In American Access Casually Co. v. Alcauter, 2017 IL App (1st) 160775, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, affirmed the district court’s imposition of sanctions against the plaintiffs, American Access Casually Company (AACC) and its coverage counsel, James Newman, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137. Specifically, the Appellate Court held that there were sufficient grounds to uphold the sanctions because of the plaintiffs’ failure to properly investigate the continuing validity of their lawsuit, their failure to turn over pertinent
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What’s Yours is Mine and What’s Mine Isn’t Covered: Illinois Federal Court Rejects Coverage for Suit Seeking Restitution

In Westport Insurance Corp. v. M.L. Sullivan Insurance Agency, Inc., No. 15 C 7294, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1527 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 5, 2017), an Illinois federal district court underscored the importance of a policy’s damages requirement when it granted judgment on the pleadings in favor of Westport Insurance Corporation and against its insured M.L. Sullivan Insurance Agency. In the underlying suit, American Inter-Fidelity Exchange (AIFE) alleged Sullivan and one of its employees provided false information about insurance premiums due
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No Magic Words Needed To Trigger Application of the Construction Contract Anti-Indemnification Statute Says Illinois Appellate Court

In Pekin Insurance Co. v. Designed Equipment Acquisition Corp., 2016 IL App (1st) 151689, the Illinois Appellate Court examined a common issue for insurance carriers in disputes involving construction site injuries. In particular, the Appellate Court provided helpful clarification with respect to the application of the Construction Contract Indemnification for Negligence Act (Act), also known as the anti-indemnification statute. The circumstances at issue involved a rental agreement between Abel Building & Restoration and Designed Equipment Acquisition Corporation, whereby Designed leased
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Seventh Circuit Recognizes Illinois Law to Allow Extrinsic Evidence in Evaluating an Insurer’s Duty to Defend

The Seventh Circuit recently handed down a decision encouraging Illinois courts to consider evidence beyond the complaint and the insurance policy when evaluating an insurer’s duty to defend. In Landmark American Insurance Co. v. Hilger, 838 F.3d 821 (7th Cir. 2016), the Seventh Circuit reviewed a district court’s judgment on the pleadings favor of a purported insured in a declaratory judgment suit filed by Landmark American Insurance Company. At issue was whether Peter Hilger was covered as an insured in
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Insurers Beware: The Illinois Department of Insurance Issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Regarding Knowledge of Misrepresentations and False Warranties

In August, the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) proposed its second rule on misrepresentations and false warranties in less than two years. Citing various concerns, the DOI withdrew its December 2014 proposed rule nearly a year ago, in October 2015. The impetus for the new proposed rule appears to be the DOI’s perception that insurers are not considering “readily available information” before seeking to rescind insurance policies. The new proposed rule on misrepresentations would be promulgated as Ill. Admin. Code
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