William K. McVisk: Representative Cases
- Patrick Engineering v. Old Republic Ins. Co., 2012 IL App (2d) 111111 (Ill. Ct. App. 2012). Won summary judgment for insured, Commonwealth Edison Co., on question of whether it was covered as an additional insured on a policy issued to a subcontractor engineering firm in connection with an excavation project, and summary judgment was affirmed on appeal. The insurer argued that the loss was excluded under the professional services exclusion because the liability stemmed from engineering services provided to Commonwealth Edison by the named insured. The court held that the separation of insureds clause prevented the professional services exclusion from applying to Commonwealth Edison, which had not provided professional services.
- Iowa Physicians’ Clinic Med. Foundation v. Physicians Insurance Co. of Wisconsin, 547 F.3d 810 (7th Cir. 2008). Won judgment on the pleadings in favor of insurer in suit alleging that insurer breached duty of good faith by failing to settle claim within the insurer’s policy limits, resulting in a verdict of $3.5 million, which was $2.5 million in excess of the insurer’s policy limits. The insurer’s policy covered the defendant physician, but did not cover the clinic which employed the physician. After the judgment was entered, the insurer paid its policy limits, and the clinic paid the remainder of the judgment. The clinic and physician then sued the insurer for breaching the duty to settle, claiming that they would not have been subjected to the excess verdict if the insurer had acted in good faith. The trial court granted judgment on the pleadings for the insurer, and the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The court ruled that the physician could not sue the insurer for bad faith, since the clinic had paid the excess judgment, meaning that the physician had not been damaged. The court further ruled that the insurer owed no duty of good faith to the clinic, even though it was vicariously liable for the physician, because the clinic was not an insured under the policy.
- Won summary judgment for auto insurer in an underinsured motorist claim, establishing that the $1 million liability limit of the underinsured motorist coverage had to be reduced by the amount of the workers’ compensation payments made by the same carrier, and that if the damages sustained by the plaintiff were less than the $1 million policy limit, the workers’ compensation payments had to be deducted from the amount awarded. The plaintiff argued that the policy precluded the insurer from deducting the workers’ compensation payments since the policy did not apply to the direct or indirect benefit of any workers’ compensation insurer. The plaintiff maintained that since the underinsured motorist insurer was also the workers’ compensation insurer, allowing it to deduct the workers’ compensation payments from its limits would benefit the workers’ compensation insurer. The court ruled that the language of the policy requiring that the worker’s compensation benefits be deducted from the limits was clear and unambiguous, and further ruled that to prevent double recovery, the workers’ compensation benefits had to be deducted from any award that was less than the policy limits as well. The case is on appeal.
- Wright v. American States Ins. Co., 765 N.E.2d 690 (Ind.App. 2002). Summary judgment for insurer affirmed on question of whether the insured school’s CGL policy covered damages for injuries to several school children in a crash of a school bus operated by the school. The school and the plaintiff in the underlying case claimed that the CGL policy should apply because the complaint alleged that the school was negligent for failing to investigate the driver’s driving record, employing an incompetent driver with a suspended license, and failing to equip the bus to prevent injuries to the children. The court ruled that the insurer owed no duty to defend or indemnify the school, because the efficient and predominant cause of the injuries was the use of an auto, which was excluded under the policy.
- National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. R. Olson Constr. Contractors, 329 Ill.App. 3d 228 (2002). Represented insurer in suit against contractor claiming that it was an additional insured under the policy issued to its subcontractor. The court ruled that there was no coverage for the contractor, because the additional insured endorsement provided that there would be no coverage for any liability resulting from the additional insured’s own negligence. Since the complaint did not seek to hold the contractor vicariously liable for the subcontractor’s conduct, there was no coverage, and the insurer had no duty to defend.