Five Yards for Encroachment: Prematurity Doctrines Found to Preclude Insurer’s Use of Extrinsic Evidence to Evade Coverage

In Pekin Insurance Co. v. St. Paul Lutheran Church, 2016 IL App (4th) 150966, the Illinois Appellate Court refused, based on the Prematurity Doctrine, to consider extrinsic evidence in an insurer’s declaratory judgment action in connection with an underlying wrongful death suit. As background, Hope Farney, as administrator of the estate of Kitty Mullins, sued St. Paul Lutheran Church (Church) for wrongful death. She alleged that a Church employee, Matthew Geerdes, used his personal vehicle for Church business and negligently
Continue reading...

No Coverage for Innocent Insureds: West Virginia Supreme Court Decision Proves the Smallest Words Continue to Have Huge Impacts on Coverage

The distinction between the terms “the insured” and “any insured” in an insurance policy is a critical one and continues to spark coverage litigation. This distinction was key to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia’s recent decision denying coverage to parents sued in a wrongful death action arising from murder committed by their minor children. Answering certified questions from the federal court, the court held that the parents’ homeowners policies did not provide coverage because exclusions barring coverage
Continue reading...

Read the Fine Print: Contingent Coverage is Not Excess Coverage

In Bartowiak v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, 2015 IL App (1st) 133549 (August 31, 2015), the Illinois Court of Appeals ruled that the defendant-insurer did not have a duty to defend or indemnify the plaintiff in underlying wrongful death action pursuant to a contingency liability policy. On October 31, 2009, a truck delivering road-resurfacing material struck and killed a road-construction worker. The decedent’s wife sued the truck driver, the trucking company, and the truck broker. The truck driver had a
Continue reading...